A guitar built for a purpose

When local guitar craftsman and builder Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit attended a United Way event at the end of 2017, he never expected it would turn into one of his greatest guitar-builds yet, and all in the name of improving lives locally.

A long-time member of the Southwestern Ontario Luthiers Guild, a group of local and regional stringed instrument makers, Dan has been building guitars since the mid-80s when he modified his younger brother’s Univox Stratocaster. A born tinkerer, Dan has been tweaking and building one-of-a-kind guitars ever since.

But when Dan and a United Way staffer had an off-the-cuff conversation two years ago about how great United Way’s new custom colour #UNIGNORABLE would look on a guitar, no one thought it would become a reality.

This year United Way is hyper-focused on three local issues impacting lives everyday: local poverty, homelessness and barriers to education. The #UNIGNORABLE colour aims to catch your attention and make people aware of these issues.

“It took two years of percolating the idea, and waiting for the right time,” says Jennepher Cahill, United Way Elgin Middlesex. “Honestly, when we first discussed it, it was nothing more than a cool idea that neither of us expected to go anywhere.”

But the #UNIGNORABLE campaign has a way of holding on to your attention, similar to its signature colour.

“It took a lot more to get the colour matched than I originally thought,” says Dan. “A good friend of mine, Dan Thrasher, who is also a member of the Luthiers was the one to get it right.

The guitar, a one-of-a-kind work of art that cannot be bought, is Dan’s finest build yet. Combined with its nearly unmatchable, patented colour, this guitar is truly something for the most dedicated aficionado.

A T-style electric, the guitar has a solid poplar body with a 22-fret rosewood fretboard and “skunk stripe”. It has Alnico 5 pickups, Grover Rotomatic tuners and an Oak Grigsby three-way selector switch with steel domed control knobs.

And just to tease the true collector, it has vintage-style push-back cloth wiring, with many of the internal components retooled from the old Gibson guitar plant on Parsons Street in Kalamazoo, Michigan that closed in 1985.

“This guitar was built for a purpose,” shares Dan. “Its colour commands your attention and was conceived to be #UNIGNORABLE from the very beginning.”

The guitar is not for sale. Available only through online auction which ends November 21 at www.ihasta.com, bids have already been placed. A wrap party for the auction will be hosted at Railway City in St. Thomas from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on November 21.

Custom made for the 2019 United Way campaign, all dollars raised are invested in strategic leadership, community-building initiatives and programs and services at local agencies – and that’s music to our ears!

Place your bid today!

Topics :