“MY mother is an artist, and she’s making things too, so it’s in the blood. I remember when [I] was about 16 and I made a guitar and that was the start of it’.”
While Brian Leach first started repairing and making guitars as a teenager, it was back in 2013 that he decided that he wanted to increase his craft skills in this area, and so he joined a course in musical instrument building at St John’s Central College.
‘’I started making things just because I thought it was fascinating. To hear the sound of an instrument for the first time, that no one ever listened to that sound before, and then the first sound you get out of it is just amazing to me,” he says.
Brian also plays guitar with a local band.
‘’It’s a nice, enjoyable thing for me to go on stage and perform. I love that as well. And so I guess just you know, making a name for yourself as a good player’’.
Today, Brian repairs all types of musical instruments, as part of his business, Cork Guitars, but guitars are his main focus.
Talking about marketing his business, he says that social media is essential, but reputation and a kind word are more important.
“I think reputation is more important because people love their instruments like it’s their baby, some people anyway, they don’t want to hand it over to anybody. To have a recommendation or word of mouth, someone says that they did a good job. That’s important,” he says.
The pandemic was a difficult time for Mr Leach and his colleagues in the music industry.
In fact, he describes it as quite a shock, but he says in another way it afforded him time to improve his repairing and building skills.
He believes that people are looking to purchase more items that are created locally and he feels there will be more local craftspeople and makers producing goods in the future.
‘’I think there is the start of a move back to, you know, admiring things that are well made and having locally produced things. So I think there’ll be more local makers in the future,” he says.