It’s been 4 years since Avishay Shabat created the first guitar, and today as ‘Shabat Guitars‘, he holds a rising and growing boutique for fine instruments, working with artist around the world, Including to major artists. bands like ‘Smash Mouth‘, as guitarist Sean H. is one of the company’s artists. Shabat also worked with guitarist Chris Traynor from ‘Bush’, building and designing his own guitar. Coming from Tel Aviv (Hence ‘Shabat’) to California, The guitars really started taking off in the last couple of months. Also making a very good impression on visitors and artists in the last NAMM convention in California. We’ve got the full profile for you.
Watch: Sean H. of Smash Mouth Rocks It
‘In 2003 I decided to go to Nuremberg for the “Rock im Park” festival and check it out. There I stumbled upon a music store, I saw a cool 5 string Ibanez bass and decided to buy it without really checking it too much’, Shabat tells YouTab Magazine, ‘The festival was a great experience and then I came back home all excited to play my new bass. When I picked it up the action was really high so I decided to take it to the local pro guitar techs and they all said the truss rod inside the neck was broken and can’t be adjusted, and that it doesn’t worth repairing. Until I found Yaki Algranati.
‘Yaki is full of love and a positive kind of guy and he wasn’t quick to bury my guitar . We share the same attitude of not giving up on stuff but fight to save it. He suggested taking the fingerboard off the neck and fix the truss rod. He also said that he’s about to open his own luthiers school and said I can fix it at school as a project and build my own new instrument as well. That’s when I said: “I’m waiting for your call and I’ll be the first to sign up”. Few months later I got the call and I signed up and we were both very excited. The course was amazing and I was hooked. I built another 5 string bass and started a small shop at my parents garage. At the time I was a sound engineer and doing guitar tech gigs. That’s when I realized that I want to deal with guitars more then being a sound engineer.
‘I was in love with working with wood and creating instruments. After that I decided that the best place to do it would be in LA so I packed my bags and move there with failure is not an option in mind. I worked for some local repair shops and did some work at home. Honed my craft with LSL instruments for four years and then decided to go on my own with my repair business, ‘Guitar Groomer‘ and Shabat guitars’.
How would you define your guitars? what’s the most special thing about them?
‘My main goal when I build a guitar is to make it like you make a good tool. It’s got to be around decades after I’m long gone inspiring who ever owns it to play it and create great tunes with it. I really feel that the final product got soul and it’s alive to the point where I still find it hard to let go of my instruments. I only use the best materials that I can find, I hand pick all the wood as well. Only use one piece body blanks and they’re all fully hand made in my shop. My finish is very thin to make the instrument resonate better. One very important aspect that I got from being a guitar tech is to make sure my guitar never lose tuning on the road and the neck always stays stable with minimum adjustment even under extreme weather changes. It must be a rock and roll machine, It must be able to take some beating. It must feel like home from the first time you pick it up. It’s must play fast and smooth. It must have endless sustain and ring to it when you strike a chord and it can’t fret out when bending notes. It must be setup perfectly’.
What was, to you, the greatest accomplishment until now?
‘To actually living my dream to come here and respectfully sustain myself In this field of guitar building and repairing. And do it my way with my vision independently. The cherry on top was working on some amazing instruments. And working face to face with great artists That I used to listen to growing up and still inspire me today’.
What are the plans for the future?
‘I’m just going to keep creating and designing new cool instruments and grow my brand, keep it consistently great. Keep growing and evolving organically. This is a new era for our business, The market is constantly shifting, so it should get very interesting’.