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INSIDE: MAYONES GUITARS & BASSES
Mayones makes guitars and basses by hand. This may seem like a common enough selling point for most boutique manufacturers, but for brothers Dawid and Tom Dziewulski this isn’t a marketing claim. It’s their heritage.
What began as a necessity has grown into a point of pride for the Dziewulski brothers and all of Mayones. With their mother Halina, Dawid and Tom continue to grow the family business and the “family” itself, hand-building some of the world’s finest electric guitars and basses with help from their team in Poland, their endorsees around the world, and most importantly, Dawid says, you.
What is Mayones?
Mayones is a guitar and bass manufacturer from Poland established in 1982, and since then it has been a family business. Each guitar and bass is handmade in Poland.
Who is Mayones?
Today the company is run by Halina Dziewulska, one of the founders of Mayones, and her two sons, Dawid Dziewulski and Tom Dziewulski. There are 40 employees behind the quality of Mayones and almost half of them have worked for the company for over 20 years. We can call us a family. This allows us to improve our quality, introduce new production solutions, as well as lead in unique features of our instruments.
Mayones is lead nowadays by Dawid, who is the creator of the company's balanced progress but he is also the inspiration behind new product development.
How did you get started building guitars and basses?
It all started in a garage. My father, Zenon Dziewulski, started to make the first instruments with his friend in early 1981. We were in a completely different state of awareness, possibilities and system in our country. 1982 was also a hard time in Poland because of martial law introduced by that government from ‘81 to ‘83. Back then we needed to do all the things by ourselves–tuners, bridges, pickups and of course instruments. My Mom made the pickups. My Father tried to find a company in Poland that could make magnets for us but it was the same thing as with all the guitar parts, which was my Father simply had to design them his own way. As we were behind the iron curtain and there were no suppliers, we even had to cooperate with national military companies. After the system change, suddenly it was possible to improve all of our work (machinery, solutions, build up experience), but we were still behind the leading guitar makers all over the world.
What inspired you to begin and what inspires you continue?
Well, at the beginning the big step to make this decision was the pressure to find a way to earn money. As my father is a musician, his first choice was instruments. So the decision was pretty simple. Demand for quality electric guitars or basses at that time in Poland was really big. After this important decision, inspiration came from the big names everybody knows like Fender, Gibson, Gretsch. It was impossible to find one of those guitars in Poland at that time, so my father tried to collect music magazines where artists used those brands. I suppose that for any company looking for inspiration in the 80s, these names were the most important. Today, with one click, you can have, like, hundreds of inspirations from all over the world. Instant information. Nevertheless, we try to manage the market’s needs and become the inspiration for other manufacturers.
How would you describe a Mayones guitar or bass to someone new to the brand?
I can describe briefly what is pretty unique for my brand:
- My guitars are 100% designed and made in Poland since 1982. We are not working with any other suppliers from Asia or any other countries.
- We are a boutique brand.
- Our designs, neck joints, and body shapes are very unique.
- All our instruments are built with attention to the smallest details
- We offer hundreds of custom options. Some of them you can check out in our online configurator.
- My goal is to make the most ergonomic, comfortable instruments and the best-sounding guitars and basses and possible.
How is a Mayones guitar or bass constructed from start to finish?
First step is to collect correct specifications from the customers or our distributors. This is a very important part so my skilled sales team has to be very focused on all the options. We have to make the correct specifications in our system. Each guitar will have a unique production number (or a “born number”). A great tool and big help is our new online configurator . Customers can choose the options they really want and immediately see what the guitar looks like.
Next step is to collect orders for our production lists. Then we start preparing wood, first for the necks. The blocks have to cure after the gluing process in our special warehouse for a minimum of one month before we start cutting the neck, and another 2 months before we start shaping them.
Another step is to prepare top wood and body back material, which we normally are making during the time the necks are seasoning. So the beginning is a pretty long time period but it is necessary for great stability and final quality.
After we make the neck and body (bolt-on models) or glue the body wings to the neck (neck-thru body construction), all parts are going to the sanding department. Then finally the instruments are stained to the ordered colours and we let them dry for another 2 weeks.
Next step is to start painting which normally takes around 3-5 weeks. We have to be sure that all layers have proper time to dry.
Some of the last steps are polishing the gloss surfaces and installing the fretwork properly, as well as final quality control and assembly.
One of the most important quality control checks is to scan it with our Plek machine. We are using this tool mainly to make a final inspection of the fretboard to be sure that everything is under control. Human eye and experience cannot see everything. The Plek is the most precise tool in the music industry.
What components, designs, techniques etc. make Mayones guitars and basses unique?
Our most recognizable elements are our headstock designs. We design our own bridges for our basses. Our necks, which are made of 11pcs, are very unique. Another important element designed and made in-house is our binding. We can do it in many colors matched to the body front color. Another very unique part is our radiused body construction. When you look at the body from the back you can easily see that the body is thinner on the upper side and thicker on the bottom.
What inspires your creative process?
We are focused on designing our own solution. For example, our newest Big Foot bass bridges. We’ve had two versions–brass and aluminium with regular steel or titanium saddles. My intention was to use both materials, but in the future we are going to use only Titanium ‘cause it greatly enhances the playability and sustain.
We've also designed and produced the smallest playable bass made from the remains of the production of regular basses. This instrument gave me the idea to make and design a special headphone system which allows you to use the bass while traveling or warming up before your gig. You can simply plug in your headphones and practice anywhere.
We always try to combine our instruments with any new technology, or techniques, available on the market, but it’s very important that most of the work is done by hand, so it has a human touch. This will not change ‘cause machines can’t make instruments with soul. However, we think that the most important issue besides the instruments is the atmosphere we try to create for the customers, friends and artists with whom we cooperate–the feeling and certainty that they are the part of the Mayones family.
One of our main ideas is simply authentic. It doesn't only mean authenticity of our products, which is obvious. It also means authenticity of our brand. It means that my instruments are made in an authentic way, with passion every day.
This is what makes a Mayones a Mayones.
How long does it take to make a Mayones guitar or bass start to finish?
Usually it takes 11-15 months. Most of the orders we do are custom instruments and basically each guitar is different from any other.
What is the spirit of Mayones?
Our spirit is a combination of the hard work of my whole staff and their love for what they are doing every day.
What is the mission of Mayones?
Our mission is to maintain the growth of the company while still being a boutique brand and achieving our goals step by step. Our customers’ and artists’ trust are our priority.
While the Dziewulski family now have the option of outfitting their guitars and basses with any manufacturer’s parts and pickups, one thing hasn’t changed: the amount of precision and pride that goes into the construction of each and every Mayones instrument. To understand what it feels like to hold family in your hands, stop by our Lincoln Avenue showroom and pick up a Mayones. What you’ll be holding is forty years of determination, ingenuity, and handcrafted love, “made in an authentic way, with passion every day.”
Give Chicago Music Exchange a call or visit our showroom to discuss Mayones Guitars and Basses.