Mayones Interview with Owner WiredGuitarist June 24, 2016 Articles, Interviews, Luthier Spotlight, Uncategorized Mayones has quickly become one of Europe’s premium brands, and one of the only guitar manufacturers in the world that can consistently put out an amazing guitar without any flaws. We sat down with Dawid Dziewulski, one of the owners of Mayones and asked him about the origins of Mayones, the possibility of headless Mayones models (confirmed!) and some of his favorite wood combinations and models. If you are not familiar with the brand, then read our guide to their guitars. Can you give us a history of Mayones and at what point you decided to go after metal guitarists? It all started in the early 80’s. In Poland at the time, communism was very big. Almost nothing was in shops. Most of the people did not think about other things like getting food and clothing. But there were people who really want to play guitar, we had couple of very good Polish rock bands which were very popular. My father Zenon Dziewulski together with his friend were thinking what to. They had a big passion for music and good skills. Finally they made a decision. Let’s try to make a guitar. It was pretty hard process, without the proper tools, wood and accessories. Nobody had experience and knew where to find woods for the instruments for example. In 1981 my father’s friend decided to make something different in his life and he left to Germany looking for a real job. In this case my father stayed alone with the whole idea of making instruments. After one year of developing, changing location, finally he found people who could help him. That time from 1981 to 1982 was the most important moment. The experience he built plus demand from the market allowed him to make the decision to establish the company officially. It was in June 1982. He made it together with my mother Halina Dziewulska. My parents started the business from almost the very beginning. They bought very basic, simple machines. The production was in a garage next to our family home. After making the first guitars, market demand became bigger and bigger. People slowly came from all around Poland to order the guitar personally. My mom made them tea and sometimes even breakfast after long trip to the factory. The biggest problem during that time was finding good components. Most of the hardware was from a company called Presto. They made tuners, strings and other small parts. Unfortunately, my parents were not able to buy pickups, bridges or knobs. My mother decided to start learning how to build the pickups. Definitely that time and even till today she was the only lady in Poland and I guess in Europe who made pickups. She was Polish Abigail. [Editor’s note, Abigail Ybarra is being referred to here] Making the bridge was another issue. My father found people who could make the bridges but they were working in big factories. The only way was that they could make the bridge was after work and without official permission. After a couple of years my parents decided to hire more people, many of them are still working with us. Our main goal was to design our own models. The first guitars designed by us were Maestro and Setius models. The next instrument was the Regius 7. It was first 7 string guitar we made and at that time the 7 string guitar could be compared to 9 or 10 string instruments today. Nowadays, Mayones is a still a family business. Currently I am running the company with my brother and our mother Halina. We focus on every aspect from wood purchasing, design, to the marketing of our instruments. All production is in our own facility in Gdansk, Poland. Mayones has been featured on CNN, how did that happen? Yes. We had the pleasure to be a part of the CNN program called, “Eye on Poland”. CNN made the program about companies from Poland and they chose our city of Gdansk. It was a great experience for us and we had a lot of fun making this material. We got great feedback from our customers and friends around the world. When did you personally decide to get into building guitars? I think this decision was never made. I mean I was born just before my parents established the company in 1982. So all my life Mayones is a part of me. On the very beginning when the company was really small, my mother made the pickups and I was trying to help her to do this. I was a 4 year old boy. My main toys were plastic pickup bobbins, magnets and wire :). Little later was wood, necks and basically everything around. So I grew up with everything. Same with my young brother Tom, who is taking care of all import and is a part of the production process which we share together now. What was something that you wish someone would have told you before deciding on building guitars as your career? I wish my father could met someone who told him : “do it, this is your way”. Unfortunatelly nobody like that was available. The main reason he started the business that time was his love for music and passion. Another very important factor was pretty big demand for the instruments, especially electric guitars. Do you have any tips for aspiring luthiers out there? Believe in what you are doing, be open and all the time go forward with your ideas. Do you still build guitars or are you primarily focused on growing Mayones? Currently I am focused on growing Mayones but I am involved in all the design, production processes. I am still personally looking for the best wood we can offer for our customers. We are a relatively small company. We take care of basically everything from finding the best wood, design, taking orders, production to sales, marketing and artists relations. We are trying to be independent in all areas which is very important for me. I am focused on developing new models, collecting ideas, and looking for new inspiration. I have the pleasure to work with so many great people inside my company. Most of them have been with us over 15 years. Our main goal is that everybody in the company is involved in design decisions regarding the shape, look and playability. So if someone has an idea, he can always share it. If you have your own design, solution, improvement, when you see something that can be better, just tell us. This is very important for me, for my people. This great creation energy. Have you considered releasing an ultra stripped down version of the Duvell and Regius? I was thinking about such a line of the instruments. We’ve made something similar with Setius series, we call this model the Setius Alpha. This is a simple, less expensive instrument but still made in Poland. It will be hard to make an ultra stripped down Regius. The great thing about the Regius is that this guitar is quite unique & very classy and elegant. It is hard to make this model flat, without the top and binding for example. In this case I am afraid that people will not be interested in to have Mayones like that. Has Mayones ever thought of starting an import line of Korean made guitars? So far no, and I wish I will not have to make such a decision in future. We are focused now on growing our production facility and increasing production. My goal is to keep the production in Poland and have 100% control over quality and the whole production process. We still have so many things to do, a lot of ideas to start. Unfortunatelly some chinese companies have been trying to make the copies of our models. I saw a couple of those guitars and must say that customers must be careful. We are trying to warn people on Facebook and our website but fighting with unknown chinese companies is nearly impossible. When you stop with one, another 3 pop up with the same models. The worst thing is that all the copies have the Mayones logo, they usually use original photos of actual Mayones guitars they take from other places. What are your favorite Mayones models and tonewood combinations? Definitely my favorite models are the Regius and Duvell series. Of course I love all the models like the Setius, Legend, Maestro and Virtuoso too but the Regius and Duvell are very special to me. I really like the sound and look of black limba and koa (especially the look of flamed koa). It gives great response and vibe from the body. Also my favorite sounding combination is Ash T.E.W. (Tonally Enhanced Wood) with a quilted maple top. I really like sound of the ebony fingerboard. My favorite pickups are classic Seymour Duncan SH2/TB4 and Bare Knuckle Cold Sweat and VHII. Also another great wood combination is buckeye burl which I have a chance to select personally during my trips to the USA and swamp ash. I can add the Bare Knuckle Cold Sweat/VHII pickups in camo finish and we get a perfect sound and look. Headless guitars are quite popular right now in the metal world, maybe even trendy. Is Mayones planning on releasing a headless guitar in the future? Currently we are focused on several new models/versions. Headless is definitely one of those. What has been your favorite guitar from the masterbuilder series so far? Well, this is a hard choice. However I can not tell about one guitar. I can tell which models are very special to me. First one is a Regius 6 Mosaic from MBC 2011 collection http://www.mayones.com/en/katalog/Master_Builder_Collection_Guitars_2011/regiusmosaic This guitar has an abstract finish. I like non-standard solutions. Another one is the Regius 8 TA Piezo from MBC 2012. The prototype of this model we made for Tosin Abasi from Animals As Leaders before year 2012. http://www.mayones.com/en/katalog/Master_Builder_Collection_Guitars_2012/regius_8_TA_piezo_MBC2012 From the MBC2013 collection I can immediately choose Regius 7 Cardamom. We used the best quilt maple tops for these. http://www.mayones.com/en/katalog/Master_Builder_Collection_Guitars_2013_EN/mayones_regius_7_cardamom_piezo_MBC_2013_EN I love the sound possibilities of this guitar and versatility. All those are definitely my top choices, but all of the models are very special to me. How do you guys manage to keep quality control so tight? Can you tell us a bit about the Mayones quality control process? One of our top priorities is quality control. We have a couple of main steps involved in our quality control. First 2 are during production the process. Another 2 are before and during the assembly process. From the very first moment when we get the specifications from the customer we focus on quality. The way we do the spec in our production system is the key to how the final instrument will look and if the customer can be happy. First main step is selecting the wood according the individual specification. We have very high control level and not all the wood can pass it. During each production step, we have smaller quality control points as well. For example in the sanding area, we have 3 quality control steps. We have to be sure that before the painting process we will not have any scratches, wood imperfections, dents etc… Each guitar on our production line has individual/unique order numbers. So from the very beginning to the end of the process the number is going together with the guitar. Behind each number you can find detailed specifications with all the information like wood choice, pickups, hardware or other special wishes etc… Another very important quality control step is checking each guitar before the assembly process. This is a very important and critical step. The instruments we can accept can stay in the assembly dept. the other ones, even with small imperfections have to come back to the production area again. Last main quality control is just after assembly and before the shipping. A very helpful tool is the PLEK machine. At the moment, nearly each instrument is going thru the PLEK. We can be sure that the frets, set-up is exactly like we want it to be. This is great tool for every manufacturer. Do you take into account user feedback when designing new models? Yes of course. It is very important to listen to our customers. Positive comments are important and help you to feel that you are doing great job but the negative comments are even more important. Of course negative comments show us real things we should improve or change. I am not talking about comments which are related to personal taste; like colours or wood choice. One of the big things we just changed based on customer feedback is the new armrest on all Regius models. This was strictly due to information we got from our customers. How did you come up with the name Mayones? Mayones was the nick name of my father’s friend. My father worked with him before Mayones become officially as a company. The Gitary Mayones name officially was announced in June, 1982 and officially become company name. What other guitar brands inspire you? Are you a big fan of vintage guitars at all? Why or why not? I think that everybody is looking for inspirations. So basically every company can give us inspiration. I know that we are also inspiration to BIG guitar companies. I am big fan of vintage guitars and basses. For sure the vintage is inspiration for me too. Currently we are coming back to the vintage colours in our basses Jabba series, but I am thinking to make it also on a very special Regius or Legend run. That concludes our interview with Dawid. If you’re interested in ordering a Mayones custom guitar, or just want to see what they look like, take a look at our in-stock Mayones.