It all began as a dream. Literally, while ElectroPhonic Innovations cofounder Joe Floyd laid asleep one night many years ago, he dreamt of an electric guitar that needed no amp or effects pedals, yet sounded loud and crisply traveled through a room. And this guitar has since been brought to life by the team at ElectroPhonic Innovations.
In layman’s terms, there are speakers inside of the ElectroPhonic guitars. The once seemingly impossible creation of an electric guitar with its own built-in amp and effects is manufactured here in Inglewood, led by Joe Floyd, Jan Lucas, and Andrew Bloch.
Word has quickly spread among musicians and music fanatics all around the world about ElectroPhonic guitars, and their innovative technology, which are meticulously built in a low-key, unmarked Inglewood manufacturing facility. This tight-knit crew, and their staff, are changing the game; so much so that they’ve accumulated a substantial backlog of online orders, flowing in domestically and internationally.
This year, they outgrew their previous space, which was also in Inglewood near Florence Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard. They’re now settled into a much larger location on Centinela Avenue, a former flooring shop. But their new manufacturing home was a project in itself. In January, when the team came across the location, the long-time vacant building had ceiling holes dripping with water, buckling floors; dusty and dirty was an understatement. But the guys have an eye for potential charm. They’ve transformed the space into exactly what they need it to be, and it only took six months to do it.
Upon walking in, there’s a lounging area and a space for musicians to jam, or the “R&D” space, as they call it, where the team looks forward to eventually hosting community events. Towards the back of the property, walking past office spaces, you’ll eventually land in the large, open-air wood shop where the guitar construction takes place, which consists of four major steps: wood carving by a computer-controlled machine, hand-sculpting, paint, and final assembly.
Recently, comedian Conan O’Brien, an avid guitar player, made an impromptu visit to the shop. A mutual acquaintance gave O’Brien an ElectroPhonic guitar about a year ago, but until last week, the comedian’s assessment was a mystery. “We didn’t hear from him, so we just thought he didn’t like it,” said Andrew Bloch. That assumption was proven wrong when Conan O’Brien unexpectedly showed up to place an order for another.
The brand is appealing to music enthusiasts of all levels and skillsets. There’s an obvious benefit of convenience when it comes to an electric guitar that needs no cables or amp equipment, but what ElectroPhonic Innovations is also doing is expanding the accessibility of high-quality instruments.
“We’ve increased the portability, much like an acoustic guitar,” says Julian Bloch, “and the barrier to entry is much lower. If you started a 10-year-old on a guitar and had to buy them an amp and effects, it would typically be more than the ElectroPhonic would cost.”
ElectroPhonic has patented their technology, and while replicas from other competitors in the near future wouldn’t surprise them, they’re proud to be the first to get it right.
As of now, ElectroPhonic Innovations offers two guitar models, “Model One” and the “Guitarmadillo”, both with a range of different colors and styles. But the Inglewood brand is just getting started. There’s even more on the horizon for the upcoming Spring season. Stay tuned, Inglewood.