- acoustic guitars
- electric guitars
Russtone Guitars were made in Moscow from 1988 onwards. The origins of Russtone were covered by Artyom Kadik and Douglas Williams in Guitar Player Magazine in 1991:
"IN THE HEART OF Moscow, between the Kremlin and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Soviet Union’s first private musical instrument factory has arisen—despite pre-perestroika rock restrictions and stormy political struggles surrounding the ownership of private property. Launched in 1988 by Artyom Kadik and Evgeni Bereza, Russtone Musical Instruments has already begun to make its mark: Bands now playing the company’s guitars include Russia's Aria, Va Bank, Master, Black Coffee, and Rondo,as well as Australia’s Climax and Denmark's Sixty Nine.
The Russtone factory started in a 1,200- square-foot basement of an old building. Today, the company has 12 employees and 14 outside contractors. It manufactures 30 guitars and 5 basses each month, including all parts—a sizeable undertaking necessitated by the U.S.S.R.’s lack of supply channels and hard currency. From the beginning, the instruments have been well received; a single ad in the Soviet newspaper Sobesednik generated over 2,000 orders. In the near future, Russtone will move to a larger facility to allow for greater production.
Co-founder Evgeni Bereza took his first step on this path in 1973, when he was hired as acoustic instrument craftsman at the state-run Moscow Musical Factory. But the talented 18-year old grew increasingly frustrated when his ideas for improving manufacturing processes were ignored by bosses and irritated co-workers. He quit after two years, disappointed by the choking bureaucracy that controlled manufacturing and the lack of prospects for progressive change.
In 1977, Evgeni moved underground and began to produce electric guitars on a regular basis. He honed his skills by doing repairs, disassembling famous name-brand guitars, and reading every book and magazine he could find. At first, no one took Evgeni’s guitars seriously; players continued to worship established names such as Fender and Gibson. However, with thousands of new Soviet rock bands springing up, there was a critical shortage of professional-grade electric guitars. As a result, Evgeni received a lot of orders for bootleg solid bodies.
As his instruments quickly improved, demand exceeded his solo manufacturing capabilities, so Bereza gathered Moscow's best craftsmen and delegated the work. He devised and built special machines and tools, and production soon rose to about 80 instruments a year. When famous Soviet rock groups appeared on TV with guitars sporting extravagant graphics, everybody thought they were made by Charvel or Jackson. Only the musicians knew they were Bereza originals.
For a while, the craftsmen worked out of their own apartments or garages. Because foreign-produced parts were impossible to obtain, hardware had to be custom-made—primarily on the sly by friends employed in state factories. At the time, Soviet law forbade private business, so contractors worked without official agreements, which often caused production delays. This arrangement proved both cumbersome and politically dangerous. Perestroika finally made it legal for Evgeni and friends to privately manufacture electric guitars. Like many other Russian musicians, Bereza’s partner Artyom Kadik, who was born in 1960, became acquainted with equipment design by necessity. As a youthful rocker, he learned that getting a better sound required rebuilding his East German Musima electric and making his own speaker cabinets. ..."
Source: The Russtones are Coming. Guitar Player. January 1991.