Whilst scrolling through my feed I came across a beautiful Telecaster for sale in Victoria (not the one pictured) from a guy who made it himself. I was immediately intrigued and decided to ‘follow’ his page to see what else he had. The range and styles on offer was impressive enough but what made this so much cooler was how the materials selected were actually recycled. That’s right, the wood, the most integral part wasn’t being spewed out of a factory or production line, but found and re-used. I had to know more!
MIA: Garage Guitars…a one man operation or do you have help?
Paul: This has always been a one man operation, just me and my tools. I guess it’s a way for me to express myself creatively, if anyone else was involved they’d mess it all up on me.
MIA: Are you cutting, shaping AND painting these things?!
Paul: I cut all of the bodies myself as well as routing, shaping and finishing/painting them, most of the other bits are bought unless I cut a custom pick guard. More often than not I will use a template and this allows me to be consistent and create custom shapes that can be reproduced accurately time and again.
MIA: I find it interesting that you use different woods for your builds. Where do you source your materials from and is there any reason for this?
Paul: I get my materials from a range of sources, sometimes wood suppliers but mostly from wherever I can find it. I am big on recycling and reusing materials that have been discarded sometimes taking old furniture or a pallet or perhaps off cuts from a construction site. I’m always looking for something I can up-cycle. Why cut down more tree’s when there is plenty of reusable materials out there, I even like to reuse old parts from other guitars
I guess I look for every opportunity to reuse and recycle.
MIA: Do you have a background in carpentry, electronics or as a luthier? Where did your interest in guitar making come from?
Paul: In school I was probably the least likely to take up a career in woodworking, I actually failed woodworking at tech school as I failed to hand in any completed projects. I have been tinkering with guitars as long as I have been playing and was known to love pulling things apart as well as playing around with electronics. Until I started building my own I was buying cheap guitars through gumtree and eBay to fix up and re-sell so I had a good understanding of what was needed to make a guitar, I had just not tried it at that point.
MIA: How did you get started? What interested you to get into this?
Paul: It was a group of friends who suggested I try building my own guitars, I was buying old beat up guitars and restoring them and someone suggested I have a crack at building my own, I used some scrap wood at home and some parts I had laying around to build the first one and haven’t looked back since. My main way of getting to know how to build guitar was mainly from watching YouTube videos and tutorials and asking questions on forums.
MIA: You use Facebook for promoting your guitars. Do you find online business works better than an in-store/retail model? Do you have other places where you operate Garage Guitars from?
Paul: I currently promote what I do via may Facebook page and use Facebook groups and market place as well as gumtree to sell them. I did at one stage look to put guitars in a retail store however mark ups and margins did not make this viable, I want my instruments to be as cost effective as possible so being able to sell direct is an important part of that.
Using social media is a great way to build a following fast and has a great deal of coverage, more than if my instruments were in a couple of retail stores, besides I don’t have to spend any money on advertising.
MIA: Do you have a favourite build or one you just didn’t or couldn’t sell?
Paul: I wish I could keep them all, their my babies… there is one I have kept that I cannot part with, it was one of my first builds and an artist friend of mine hand painted it for me, it’s a real work of art (pun intended)
MIA: And lastly…any advice for players who are curious about dabbling in this sort of work?
Paul: I recommend any serious guitarist take an interest in what makes their instrument work, buy an old guitar, pull it apart and mess around with it, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for what goes into it. Some of the worlds greatest guitarists messed around with their guitars!
For a full look at all the builds, custom jobs and stuff available you’ve GOT TO go have a look at the page:
or get in touch with Paul at: email@example.com