Fican Guitars offer custom instruments. Shape, woods, colours, design – you name it. Just ask Fican builder Stuart Monk himself. He’s had people round to his workshop for a coffee to discuss their new instrument and next thing they’re picking woods from his collection and drawing out designs. Of course Fican have a line of instruments they typically offer, with great model names, including the Tornado, Gimba, Cardwell and Eroxa. These guitars are all unique shapes and designs with hints of retro ideas and more way out stylings. I recently got to chat with Monk about all things Fican.
How did you get into building guitars?
I had an accident working on a boat and put an angle grinder through a finger. I had an operation and couldn’t bend it very well so ended up learning how to re-play. I needed something with a bigger neck but couldn’t find anything, so I thought I’d try and make one. It wasn’t as easy as I first thought it might be but then I got into it and someone liked the shape I’d made and asked me for one. Next thing you know, here we are today with a factory and I’m pumping them out.
How has your range developed?
I’ve got a range of my standard guitars like the Tornado and Cardwell, they’re going strong. The Gimba was designed as something a bit different. It looked quite big but it’s a nice feel, the way it sits on you and you’ve got plenty of tonal control. It’s somewhat based on the P Bass with a smaller neck and light body. There are plenty of options with a finger rest or finger rail for where they play. That’s how that developed and we’ve gone from there. So there’s our normal range and, of course, custom guitars where we can give people exactly what they want.
And some pretty different timbers?
Yeah, it’s quite difficult sourcing exotic pieces. Honduras Mahogany, Tulip Wood which I really like the tone of; some these are hard to get or cost too much to get. Fijian Mahogany is great to work with and I really want to get great tone by making solid guitars, not using veneers or just pieces. There are still enough people out there that appreciate tone and build quality, which we love. As well as a custom guitar, people get the experience of coming into the factory and chatting about designs and ideas. I can explain the differences in the woods coming from years of research and development from myself. Customers can pick their own wood, and even supply pieces if they wish. Getting that whole experience is very different to going to a shop and buying something off the rack.
Guitar shows seem like a good setting for you to show your wares?
We were in France recently which was great. With a focus on some international guitar shows next year and a number of orders currently being fulfilled, we won’t be at this year’s Melbourne Guitar Show, unfortunately. We’d love to be there again but a number of factors haven’t fallen into place. We’re very much still on scene, though, and appreciate our Melbourne connections.
Anything new on the horizon?
I do have a couple of new models on the way. One called the ‘Maxon’ which I’m hoping to get to you guys in the next little while to check out. Of course, if you’re looking for a complete custom guitar, get in touch with Fican Guitars and we can help you out.
For more information head to ficanguitars.com.