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Peter Fedorick’s dream career always involved screaming rock ‘n’ roll guitars. Not playing them — building them. And SAIT has helped him realize that dream.
Until recently, Fedorick (CNCO ‘12) was an accountant, first in private practice, then as an auditor with the Canada Revenue Agency. But his passion was making things in his woodworking shop.
That hobby inspired him to make a big life change and become an instrument maker. And, because his younger years were influenced by rock guitar, the instrument he chose to manufacture is the electric guitar. Fedorick is not a musician but his son Brandon is, so the two began hatching plans together: son would design and play the guitars; dad would run the business. Both would make guitars.
Drawing up a business plan was the easy part for Fedorick. But it became apparent that the only way this fledgling guitar-making company was going to fly was with a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine as part of the manufacturing process — and he didn’t have the foggiest idea how to operate one. That’s where SAIT came in. Fedorick signed up for the Computer Numerical Control Operator Certificate of Achievement program.
A CNC machine uses a computer to guide tools that cut and shape material according to designs created using software. It would allow Fedorick to carve wooden planks into distinctively shaped guitar bodies and necks very precisely, very quickly and in large quantities.
Although Fedorick’s woodworking skills qualified him to enrol in the program, the first CNC classes were a challenge.
“I was the only accountant in the class,” Fedorick says with a smile. “Most of the students were already working in the manufacturing industry and were upgrading their skills. It was a little intimidating at first, but the instructors were very helpful.
“The program included a series of evening courses over 28 weeks that taught me everything I needed to know, from how to use the software, to inserting the material inside the machine, to running it.”
Today, part of Fedorick’s business — called Hoodoo Guitars — is up and running. He imports guitar parts and sells them to hobbyists who build their own instruments. But Fedorick and his son continue to refine the unique designs for their “modern yet retro” Hoodoo electric guitars and the manufacturing process to create them. They introduced a prototype of their “Raygun” model at the annual Calgary Guitar Show in May to very positive feedback, particularly among younger potential customers.
“Most boutique guitars like ours sell for about $4,000,” Fedorick says. “We’re looking at a price of around $2,000. The CNC machine makes this possible because it adds so much efficiency to the process.”
He adds, “I use my SAIT training every day because the CNC machine is so important to our business.”
Written by Eric Rosenbaum