By Alicia Dziak

At last week’s SGI school board meeting, recent graduate Auston Bus presented an impressive custom guitar he built. “The idea of building a guitar really occurred to me when I found a locker combination knob on the ground walking to the bus one day of my freshman year,” Auston said. “I brought it home, showed it to my dad and then it was stuffed in a drawer somewhere until I found it my senior year. I thought it would be a cool custom knob for a guitar that no one else would ever think of!”

In late March of this year, Auston began ordering parts for his guitar, which he worked on until July. He didn’t use anyone else’s template for the guitar, in terms of the electronics wiring or the pick guard, and he said the black sheet of plastic on the front was completely made by him, which was another major challenge of building the guitar.

Besides the numerous custom parts on the instrument, Auston wanted to pay homage to his mom, who passed away in a tragic accident, by creating a custom logo of his name written in her handwriting. “The process was pretty tricky for an amateur but it came out beautiful with all the help I had,” he noted.

With the help of the staff in the guidance office, Auston was able to get his kindergarten registration paperwork, which had been filled out by his mother. From there, Auston scanned the image into Photoshop and with the assistance of his friend and classmate Mackenzie Engel, was able to “clean it up.”

“Then once I had the images that I had wanted, I went to Mr. Shelley, who is the teacher in charge of the CNC machine (a computer operated cutting/ laser machine),” Auston explained. “He told me that if I wanted his help I’d have to come in early before school at 6 a.m.” Auston did just that and with the help of Mr. Shelley, they laser burned the logos into the headstock.

“He was incredibly patient with me and even though I had never taken a class of his before, he took me like his student and there’s no way I could have done it without him or access to the school’s resources,” Auston said. “Having her handwriting on there is really special to me.”

Auston was quick to point out that there is no way he could have done this project alone, and was eager to thank all of those people who helped him along the way.

“Though I had never taken technology or any of his classes in high school, Mr. Baumgartner was incredible throughout this project,” Auston said. “I spent countless hours in the tech room during his off periods during school and even after school ended. For every one of my questions, there was an answer, and he had it.”

Auston also made sure to mention some of the other high school teachers and staff. “I took an independent study my senior year, music recording and production. And whatever my passion was through the year she was there for me to ask questions and help me stay focused!” Auston said of Mrs. Noeson.

He appreciated Mrs. Komenda for having an open room for him and allowing him use whatever supplies he needed. “I’d never taken art classes in high school, but now I feel like I got part of the experience,” he said.

Auston also wished to thank Mrs. Bligh in the guidance office, and Mrs. Willson and Mrs. Donahue in the main office, who he said had “great listening ears and they helped me get the knobs and my mom’s handwriting, which made this project as special as it is.”

Finally, Auston was thankful for the support of his good friend, Spencer Liddon, who gave him the original body of the guitar, who has since passed in late June. “I really wish he could see it! He was so excited for me!” Auston said.

Auston, who plans to attend ECC for business in the fall, spoke very highly of his time at SGI.

“This music department has been tremendously important in not only my high school experience, but in my development as a person as well,” he said.  “The staff at this school has done so much for me. They’ve answered late night emails, showed up to funerals for me and helped me pursue my interests. We have some really special people here in Springville and I know it’s kinda lame to say as an 18-year- old kid, but I want to encourage students to find good ways to spend their time! Who knows— you might come out of it with a really cool guitar!”