Southwest Florida’s Guitar Man

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LOCAL LUTHIER BECOMES GO-TO GUY: Doron Markowitz’s guitar business has been growing steadily in Southwest Florida.

He’s crafted guitars shaped like the famed Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. He’s made others that look like lightning bolts or glimmer like gold. Over 33 years, Doron Markowitz has made himself into a go-to guy in South Florida if you need a guitar repaired or want one made from scratch.

The life of the North Miami Beach native has been intertwined with the instrument since he plucked a classical guitar out of a trash can while he was walking home from school at age 9. He made his first guitar in woodshop in ninth grade. Shortly after, he started apprenticing with master luthiers. He says he learned an early lesson from one of his mentors: “It’s most important to produce the best possible product. If you cut corners, get out of the business. There are too many guys like that.”

He found a following in the Miami area before moving to Southwest Florida about five years ago. He operates D Guitars and Lutherie out of Port Charlotte.

Markowitz figures it can take 40 to 80 hours for a custom build—which, juggled with repair and renovation

work, can take him as long as six months. But the wait is worth it. One of his most popular designs is that guitar with the Millennium Falcon-shaped body. He got the idea from a photo a friend sent him of an art piece and figured he could create one that was functional. The result is a guitar with a Hasbro toy as the body that even features laser-like sound effects. The design landed him in Popular Mechanics magazine.

PURSUIT WITH STRINGS ATTACHED: It can take 40 to 80 hours to custom-build a guitar, Southwest Florida luthier Doron Markowitz said.

His business has been growing steadily in Southwest Florida in recent years, even getting a boost from hobbyists and professionals looking for something new during the pandemic. It’s true that current trends in pop music have swung toward more electronica—fewer of the traditional guitar-based rock bands dominate Billboard charts. But Markowitz isn’t discouraged. “Music tastes change. It’s all cyclical,” he says. “But I see a lot of kids starting rock bands, metal bands. I still have hope for the organic instrument player.”

 
Photo Credit: Kevin Bires

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