"It's like a big puzzle," he said. "Some are easy, like a string change, kind of little setup stuff. Bone nut, bone saddle, fix a couple things. Fix the height. Fix the action."

Dustin Cantey is a local guitar maker, a luthier. According to him, he may be the only luthier in Ascension Parish.

A graduate of Dutchtown High School '10, he lived in Destin, Fla. for 14 years. He is 26. Born in Baton Rouge, he began playing guitar in elementary school. His mom took him to get his first guitar when he lived in Destin.

"Around like fourth or fifth grade, I probably got one or two A's on my report card," Cantey said. "I always liked Dimebag Darrell. That was my hero back then. I always wanted to play guitar like him. We went to a pawn shop and picked up a classical. That's it right there. That's number one."

On the other hand, Cantey's dad taught him carpentry.

"Ever since I could swing a hammer," he said. "I kind of combined the two. In high school is when I really started to think about it. I knew exactly what I wanted to do after high school."

He attended Atlanta Guitar Works School of Building and Repair in Snellville, Ga. directly after high school to learn lutherie. During the six-month stay he built six guitars. He earned a degree in the field. During that time in Georgia, Cantey met another lutherie student from Baton Rouge who became a good friend. After graduation, Cantey worked for a few years at Tim's Guitar Workshop in Baton Rouge.

"He's like the guru around here," Cantey said.

Cantey said he has sold upwards of 20 guitars in his short career. He has a corner of guitars that people have left behind. His shop is nice and neat. He has several machines. Currently he works on a $5,000 dollar Gibson Les Paul that someone gave him to make an adjustment.

"Crazy stuff comes through here man," he said. "Like old 70s pedals."

But Cantey does not work on amplifiers. Although he has worked on pedals, he does not claim it as a specialty.

"I'll do tubes and stuff for people, but I know where to stop," he said.

Moreover, Cantey said lately he's getting a bunch of guitars that have flood damage. He shows several stringed instruments that he's working on that appear to be far gone.

"It's like a big puzzle," he said. "Some are easy, like a string change, kind of little setup stuff. Bone nut, bone saddle, fix a couple things. Fix the height. Fix the action."

Quality is the hallmark of independent luthiers, and Cantey knows what he is talking about. He likes old guitars. They were built with much more care back then. Today bone nuts, for instance, the slotted piece for the strings that sits between the head and neck of the guitar are often plastic. One of the highlights of the interview is when he pulls out a piece of bone that has not been slotted.

"It smells like the dentist," he said.

Moreover, he can answer all sorts of questions about stringed instruments. Like why would a player want a guitar made with Rosewood, Maple, or Ebony.

"Maple is going to be the most treble, like the most high-pitched kind of wood," Cantey said. "Rosewood is more warm. Ebony is like sterile. That's why they use it for more woodwind instruments. They have really good resonance."

When a potential client visits with Cantey, he will go on the computer to find an accurate estimate for their particular needs and write an invoice. Currently he is working on templates that he will use to reproduce a custom guitar model. Although his current shop is homegrown, he is working to one day have a storefront.

Visit his website at https://canteyguitars.wixsite.com/canteyguitars for more information.