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You log on to YouTube and the first thing you look for is that one favorite artist whose music you fancy so much you geek over it. And it’s not just the music you fancy; there’s also his/her guitar. Seeing him/her use that certain brand and model makes you think, “man, what I would do to have the same guitar he/she has.”

But, what if you find out that the exact same guitar said hero uses isn’t that expensive at all, and that owning it was within your reach?

Carlos Tanada and Paul Yap (Up Dharma Down) signature guitar and bass. Photos courtesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.
Carlos Tanada and Paul Yap (Up Dharma Down) signature guitar and bass. Photos courtesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.

That’s one of the primary concerns that Daren Lim, General Manager of Jen1ne Distributor, Inc. keeps in mind when a D&D Custom Guitar is being designed, although it’s not their primary goal. “Ayaw ko naman sabihin na it’s not about the price na sobrang mahal; it’s just that we want to give you the value for your money,” he says.

Diego Castillo, Raymund Marasigan, and Mong Alcaraz (Sandwich) signature models. Photos courtesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.
Diego Castillo, Raymund Marasigan, and Mong Alcaraz (Sandwich) signature models. Photos courtesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.

What started as a company in the garments industry (later on transitioning into I.T.) is now on the verge of hitting the 8-year mark in the business of building and selling quality guitars at affordable prices. Lim narrates how a family friend gave the idea of selling guitars from a guitar copy given to them. “I was then out of college tapos he sent us a blank Stratocaster copy; walang logo, walang kahit ano,” he narrates. “Nung binigay sa’kin ng dad ko, una gift lang, tapos tinanong n’ya ako informally, “ano, do you think you can sell this?” Lim thought it logical to shift focus to making instruments when the dot-com boom waned. This was when he sought help from guitarist Daniel Crisologo, who first addressed the need for an identity, starting with the logo and the brand name. From here, D&D Custom Guitars – the 2 D’s being Daniel and Daren – was born.

Barbie Almalbis signature model. Photo coutesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.
Barbie Almalbis signature model. Photo coutesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.

At D&D, they make sure that the guitars they make were built according to the artists’ specifications. “Minsan kasi may flavor ‘yung artist na ‘di namin ma-control, eh, na “we want this, we want that;” so, kami naman, naging formula na namin ‘yun (sometimes, artists have preferences we can’t control, ‘we want this, we want that;’ so on our end, we adapted that as our formula),” Lim shares.

To simplify: “Just give us what you want, we’ll make it.”

Manuel Legarda signature model. Photo courtesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.
Manuel Legarda signature model. Photo courtesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.

Some of the artists who’ve been the recipients of their own signature lines include Barbie AlmalbisGab Chee Kee and Darius Semana of Parokya ni EdgarManuel Legarda of Razorback, and most recently, Paul Yap of Up Dharma Down, whose signature bass guitar is the first to be produced by the company. But the company doesn’t limit itself to building guitars for your local guitar heroes; they also have a wide selection of models, though not identified with any artist, of the same make and passed the same quality standards.

Gab Chee Kee and Darius Semana (Parokya ni Edgar) signature models. Photos courtesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.
Gab Chee Kee and Darius Semana (Parokya ni Edgar) signature models. Photos courtesy of Renzo Sacro/D&D Custom Guitars.

Lim is very much aware that almost 8 years after they started the business with selling blank Stratocaster guitar copies, the company has grown much bigger than themselves. “Naging more about the artists, eh, making what they want, tapos nakita namin it resonates with the people and na-excite din sila, then na-excite din kami,” he shares. It’s also that resonance with the people that drives them to strive to be the most honest brand.

Then again, that’s what consumers are looking for in a brand these days – honesty, integrity, value for money, among other things. Daren Lim and the team behind D&D Custom Guitars sure are doing a great job showing the kind of honesty they aim to have, bringing local artists into the homes of each adoring fan who dreams of playing a guitar that looks exactly like the one his hero wields.

D&D Custom Guitars are located at the following:

D&D Store Glorietta 5
3rd Flr, Ayala, Makati City
Tel# 512-58-02

D&D Store Pasig
JG Building, C. Raymundo Ave.
Rosario, Pasig City
Tel# 643-94-50

D&D Store SM Mall of Asia
2nd Flr., Main Mall (North Arcade),
Pasay City
Tel#565-76-91

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