Argentinian-born Tomas Holgado was 14 years old the first time he stepped on stage at the Masquerade, one of Atlanta’s most iconic and scrappy venues. He played bass in his older brother’s band and recalls the floor of the uppermost of the venue’s three stages—named Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory—shaking as though if it would cave in at any moment. He recalls the moment of bliss that came with performing in front of a live audience and the pungent scent of booze, cigarettes, and sweat.
During Holgado’s youth, the North Avenue rock haven was located within the old DuPre Excelsior Mill, which for decades chopped wood slivers from logs to use as a packaging material. In 2016, the lot was purchased by developers Southeastern Capital Companies and Coro Realty with initial plans to convert the property into a , an office park.
The Masquerade venue, meanwhile, moved and inked a 10-year lease at Underground Atlanta in 2017, but the previous location’s nonhistoric buildings were set to be demolished in the redevelopment. Jay Clark, founder and CEO of Southeastern Capital Companies, previously said those who are worried about preserving the history of the 118-year old structure building shouldn’t be, because plans were to preserve the original flooring and columns. However, that was before the east wall of the mill during construction on December 27, 2019. The developers have since resumed construction and are working closely with the Atlanta Urban Design Commission and the Atlanta Department of City Planning to stabilize and restore the historic structure.
Holgado spent many late nights at the Masquerade attending shows, performing and later backstage as an employee for a company that supplied equipment to touring bands. He became good friends with the staff and management of the venue and when it came time for the big move in 2017, he was on site, lending a hand.
“We were using our trucks and helping [the Masquerade] move to their new location,” he says. “My mom sent me an email about this dude from New York who built guitars from buildings that were being remodeled that had incredible pine, similar to this stuff at the Masquerade—really old growth pine that’s dried inside for 100-150 years, which is unheard of. You can’t just buy that stuff.”
He decided to give it a shot and took a truckload of salvageable lumber pulled from the walls, floors, and railings 北京福利彩票官网. So far, Holgado’s designed and built six guitars made from the Masquerade wood, and will make at least three more. He says the wood is covered in stains, scrapes and nail marks, but the imperfections are what carries on the venue’s legacy most.
“Going into it I didn’t know if the pieces of wood were going to end up actually sounding awesome or just being more memorabilia of the Masquerade,” he says. “It turned out sounding incredible. The wood is super solid, dense and stable—all things it could have not been—it was the best case scenario.”
The limited edition guitars aren’t sold for top dollar, rather, he bases his sales on merit, vetting potential customers with one question: “Why do you want this Masquerade guitar and not just any other guitar?”