StringgBender x Kononykheen
Back in 2018-19, I got involved in making boutique pedal reviews/demos on my dedicated YouTube channel ‘PedalGamer’. Unfortunately, my country India does not have a culture of using boutique pedals and hence I did not have much of an audience to cater to at the time. The project died a slow death, but in that process, I got exposed to a ton of awesome companies building some never-seen-before custom electronics and instruments that completely blew my mind. One of those companies was Kononykheen Guitars, a custom-guitar manufacturer, based in Russia.
We got in touch at some point in 2019 to possibly associate with their guitars, but at the time I was not sure about what I wanted from my next guitar. At a very early stage in my career, a musician friend of mine gave me this advice, “If you sound like shit, no piece of equipment can make you sound less shitty. Work on your craft, work until your instrument becomes your bottleneck.” And that advice really stuck with me. Even today, when I make a choice to buy a piece of gear, I ask myself, can I make do without it? Can I use it to its full potential? Do I understand why I need it in the first place? And while I could not answer those questions at the time, I could not make it work with Kononykheen in 2019.
Then the pandemic happened, forcing everyone to be chained at home, trying to survive the deadly virus. While it was all dark, the silver lining was that I could sit at home and practice. Ever since I had started playing, I never got this sort of a dedicated time where the only thing I could do was practice, since the live shows could not have happened at all. I spent more time with all my guitars, and I started getting a hint of what I was looking to explore tone-wise, and how I could get it from a guitar. I gravitated more towards the Stratocaster, but my friends kept suggesting I buy a Telecaster. I even rented a Fender Telecaster for a month to try it out, but somehow I didn’t develop a relationship with it at all. There was a considerable amount of peer pressure about it and I was almost considering it, only because some of my more experienced friends suggested it. But then I remembered my chat with Kononykheen from 2 years ago and I thought why not ask them!
So I shared the exact same problem with them, about how I was obsessed with getting a Stratocaster but at the same time was coerced into considering the Telecaster. That’s when they presented me a guitar which essentially was the best of both worlds - Breed Thirty Three. A powerful yet sweet-looking instrument. You wouldn’t know it until you get your hands on it, trust me. They have built an exceptional guitar, with such beauty and precision, I could not have been happier.
But, apart from owning the guitar now, what makes me proud is that I am associated with an innovative company like Kononykheen Guitars. I feel that my personality and outlook co-incides with the company’s objective. I am someone who doesn’t get a kick from buying stuff that’s available off the shelf, in a very standard form. I like custom-made stuff, as it involves a certain thought process, and there is a definite reason for it to exist in a certain form. I am that guy who takes his ideas to creators and asks, “can you build this for me? Is it possible?” or most often I build it myself. With Kononykheen I realized that I had met a company that had the courage to dream big and turn their ingenious ideas into reality, something that I can relate to myself. So I am super proud that I am now associated with them as an artist and I wish them all the very best in their endeavour to build some kick-ass guitars.