Six scary questions—Codella Guitars

Last year I wrote an article each week about the guitars I would love to own (if budget wasn’t a real-world concern). One of the guitars I wrote about was by Codella Guitars. I don’t remember how I came across the company, but I was glad I did. Obviously I could only write about what I saw as I’m on the side of the planet that California isn’t. So how do I find out more about a guitar company I still want to know more about? Easy! I continue with my Six scary questions series! Let the questions and answers begin.

Six scary questions

  1. How did Codella Guitars get it’s start?It’s been alive in our minds for years. We just needed a change in circumstances to push us into actually doing it. Success in our 9-5 jobs depended too much on others. After an especially disappointing experience, I went to see my uncles Dave & Don Johnson at their machine shop. The 3 of us were standing near the coffee machine when I said “let’s build guitars”. At once they raised their hands in the air and we grabbed each other’s hands and said “we’re all in”. By the end of that week, we had a design down on paper.
  2. Many guitars these days will have perhaps one element that makes them unique. Codella Guitars seems to have a few at least (such as truss rod adjustment position, your custom bridge and the magnetic access panel). How did all of these features come about?When we get together the ideas flow freely. We wanted a heel truss rod adjustment—there are several good reasons why this is superior. As I was explaining the obvious objections people have to this type of adjustment, my uncle Dave was talking over me explaining how the ‘Simple Truss’ will solve this. As if it already existed. Our ‘Simple Truss’ adjustment is THE EASIEST Truss Rod adjustment there is. The magnetic access panel came to me while fooling around with my magnetic Apple iPad cover and seeing how Apple uses magnets to attached power cables on their lap tops. The question was “how to make it easily removable without sacrificing holding strength?” Again, Don & Dave immediately knew how to make it pop off by pressing on a certain spot. What a team!
  3. I love the concept of a flush mount pick guard. Does this feature offer any advantage to the average guitar player (apart from the aesthetic styling)?It sure would a lot easier to not make it flush mounted but we aren’t trying to make guitars that are easy or even cheap to make for that matter. We want to make the best guitars we can. A flush mounted Pick guard I think is something nobody does it because it presents a host of challenges. We think it’s just part of good design.
  4. I notice you’re using Sperzel tuners and Lace pickups. How important is it to you that your components are American where possible?its tempting to buy overseas components because they are often cheaper. But remember, we aren’t building cheap guitars here. We’re building great guitars that frankly aren’t cheap to make. I’ve met Donald Lace personally. I have his personal invitation to call him. I’ve met Bob Sperzel and have his personal contact information. Who out there who buys cheap overseas hardware know who to point the finger at if there’s a problem? I prefer not to have a problem in the first place. That said, we also know how important it is to get our costs down. This will be a constant effort that may one day include our sourcing certain components elsewhere. Whatever we do, we will not sacrifice quality. The Codella brand will always be synonymous with quality and we will always be able to say MADE IN USA.
  5. You recently provided the major prize for the Sonoma Wireworks Riff Rumble 23. What was that experience like?Let me first say what a great group of people Sonoma Wireworks is! Their outstanding products are used by the best players in the world. This was a great way to bring visibility to the Codella name brand. It was also what gave birth to the ‘Stormchaser’ model. We were under pressure to produce a guitar that Metal players would want. I think we nailed it.
  6. I noticed you recently received some very high praise from Anthony Gonzalez (aka M83). How important is such feedback from people in the industry who know a good instrument when they come across one?Anthony Gonzales’s kind words are so much appreciated. I think it certainly adds to the legitimacy of your brand to have celebrity endorsements like his. It will at least get folks to give you a look.

One not-so scary question

  1. What’s in the not-so-distant future for Codella Guitars and its customers?I am genuinely excited about our future. We not only have a great product but we literally have the dream team! We will continue to innovate. We have several ideas in the works. We’ve also been approached by overseas distribution channels from Europe and Asia who just love our guitars. I’m sure there will be bumps along the way but we won’t be the ones causing them—we are ready to GO!

I’d like to thank Dan Codella Sr for taking the time to answer these questions. The passion in these responses makes me want a Codella Guitars model that much more. I’m hoping the Stormchaser does well. It looks amazing to me. I look forward to future advances this company makes.

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