Jingle bell rock

Local musicians offer plenty of gift giving options

Jim Williford shows off his hand-made guitars.

Jim Williford shows off his hand-made guitars.

Chances are there is someone on your Christmas list who is a connoisseur of music or maybe wants to start his or her own garage-emo-punk-country-jazz fusion band.

But you may not know that Butte County is a hotbed for local artists who build and repair instruments or simply create music. So before making that trip to Sacramento and dealing with holiday road rage, check out some gifts available right in your own back yard.

Local artists such as Chico’s beloved Mother Hips can be found at Tower Records.

Beginning with less expensive items, a good place to start would be the music shops in town that sell local music. Tower Records, The Underground and Melody Records all sell reasonably priced CDs by local artists.

Touted as “the greatest album ever made … ever!!!,” Adventures in Sound is the latest release from local experimental rock duo Botchii. The disc is available at the band’s Web site for a measly five bucks!!!

If dirt-twirling in your living room strikes your fancy, you can pick up Butter and You Like It, from local jam band Chingus, for an environmentally safe $11.99 at Tower Records.

For the suburban thug in your life, there is the already classic Gangsta Rap Coloring Book, created by local artist Aye Jay Morano, for $8.95. The book was reissued this year with an extra 28 pages.

If you want to drop a few extra ducats, try the new Mother Hips documentary, This Is the Sound. The DVD was created by local archivist Bill DeBlonk and chronicles the band from its debut release, Back to the Grotto, to the present, and you can find it at Tower for about $25.

Jumping to the upper echelon of the gift spectrum, there are a number of local craftsmen who specialize in making gorgeous, custom guitars.

Jim Williford has been repairing and building guitars for about 20 years with his business, Stringed Instrument Works. Williford, who also plays guitar in local band Blue Paradise, fixes pretty much anything stringed, including violins and banjos.

If you know someone who has a guitar that’s been neglected, Williford can perform a basic tune-up for $25. He can also re-hair a bow for $35 and reset a neck for $200. Although he mainly does repairs, he also builds custom guitars ranging from $200 to $5,000.

Williford just finished expanding his workshop and said he won’t be building guitars anytime soon, but that he can do repair work. Call Stringed Instrument Works at 896-0612.

Model maker and luthier Paul Fisher specializes in arch-top acoustic and electric guitars with his business Fisher Handmade Guitars. Arch-top guitars look more like a violin or cello and are used in jazz and blues playing. They also come at a steeper price, averaging about $3,500 a piece. Fisher said he uses Chico walnut for his guitars because of its look, sound and, of course, availability.

Fisher said it takes in the neighborhood of two years to build a guitar but that he keeps a couple on hand. You can see Fisher’s guitars at www.fishermodels.com or call him at 896-9900.—Mark Lore