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Accessorizing Your Ax

July 15, 2001|Steven Banks

Bill Silverman apparently wasn't paying attention when the Rolling Stones sang "You Can't Always Get What You Want." After a fruitless five-year search for the perfect guitar strap to complement his prized '69 Fender Telecaster Thinline, he decided to make his own.

"El Dorado Guitar Accessories was born out of necessity," Silverman, 48, says. "I felt I could push the envelope of high-quality guitar straps." He contracted leather artisans to hand-tool each of the saddle leather straps in authentic Western designs, and silversmiths to apply intricate buckle work. "This kind of craftsmanship is almost a dying art," says Silverman, who operates the business from his Pasadena home.

Since the company launched in January 1998, a flood of international orders from guitar enthusiasts has business rocking. El Dorado places some straps in guitar stores, but 90% of Silverman's sales are by direct mail (www.eldoradostraps.com).

David "Kid" Ramos, lead guitarist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, purchased his first El Dorado strap at a vintage guitar show 2 1/2 years ago and now wears El Dorado straps exclusively. "It was like a piece of artwork. I bought it on the spot," says Ramos.

One early-morning phone order came from England. Noel Gallagher of Oasis needed 12 straps while on tour in New Zealand. Silverman's dream client? "Carlos Santana!"

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