Shane Dallolio is a man who doesn’t just live the DIY life, he rocks it.
Do-It-Yourself has been given a lot of attention recently as a growing trend. But for Shane it’s simply the way things have always been. He ventured all around Idaho as a young adult and today he’s back in the family home, just outside of Paul. This is where he grew up watching his father build and fix nearly everything himself, a habit Shane picked up as a motorhead in adolescence and has carried with him into adulthood to more refined interests…namely rock & roll.
Though he spends his weekdays traveling from Blackfoot to Caldwell overseeing inspections for the Department of Agriculture, on evenings and weekends he’s free to hang out with his wife, their kids, a family chinchilla and the electric basses he builds himself… from scratch. Shane claims that in his work you’ll find no earth-shaking designs and emphasizes his use of traditional lines, but one glance at a finished product is sufficient to defy the humility with which Shane discusses his work.
His first finished guitar is completely unlike anything you’re likely to find in even a specialty store. That’s because Shane uses an angle sander to establish basic shapes for necks and bodies but from there on it’s all hand-work.
And the tools he simply couldn’t do without, he made himself including an “improvised” fret-jig. In fact, fretwork (commonly dreaded in the guitar-world) has become somewhat of a specialty for Shane, doing partial and full re-frets on everything from a pawn-store ukulele to a classic ’59 Les Paul.
On his own models he typically uses rosewood for fingerboards and makes sure to try using varieties that aren’t endangered – that’s right, he’s environmentally conscientious, too. Often for the guitars’ bodies he’ll use more than one kind of wood but always tries to find lumber from native trees. Though mahogany is his favorite to work with he often relies on the regionally abundant poplar or elm if it has the right look and sound to it. The sounds of particular woods are the most important part.
“If I get a piece of wood, I tap it,” Shane says while looking around his shop for a moment. “This poplar has a nice ring to it…” he says grabbing an unfinished body then knocking enthusiastically.
Because so much of the work is done by hand, Shane knows he’ll never make two identical instruments and therefore likes to think of his creations as functional pieces of art. Each guitar is special. “I couldn’t make 2 exactly alike if I tried,” he notes. This tends to be okay because as he discovered very early on, everyone wants something different which is what keeps custom-guitar-makers in business. Ironically, it’s also one of the things that keeps Shane a hobbyist only. Because the materials for building a guitar from scratch (the hardware in particular) get very expensive unless purchased in bulk, which would, of course, only contradict the idea of a fully “customized” guitar. Guys like Shane who build only a couple a year can’t compete with the big guitar-makers. But that suits him just fine since to him it will never feel like work. Each guitar can be built with the same love and care with which the future owner will play it.
A Dallolio custom guitar is a one-of-a-kind investment. If you ever come upon a hand-crafted ‘axe’ with DCG carved in the head, play one riff and that will be worth a thousand words.
Check out his website at www.dalloliocustomguitars.com