Welcome to the Tuning Fork
My journey into music and repair started in the summer of 67', in Calgary Alta. I just turned 13 that summer, and had been saving my lawn cutting money to buy a guitar and amp, and with a little help from my folks it came to be.
That same summer my best friend got a Fender Jaguar, and Vox amp, this was way over the top in
those days for a teenager!
It was my friend who got me into guitar, and showed me how to play The Creams, Sunshine of your Love, from the Wheels of Fire album. From that point on I was hooked!!
My early wood working skills came from my interest in R/C, and rocketry, and I had a basic collection of tools to work with, as well as a new Dremel Moto Tool, this was an expensive item in those days!!
In 68' the school that I was going to, was the first in Canada to offer a full course in woodworking, machine shop, plumbing, and ceramics. I learned a lot that would help me with my future in guitar repair.
My first repair came from my friend with the red Jaguar, he dinged it, and wanted the damage fixed up, as this guitar was mint, and he knew I was good at woodwork, and painting. It just so happened that I had the exact color red to match up the finish perfectly!, needles to say he was super happy with my work. From that point on I got into doing repair for all his, and my music school buddies, I learned a lot!
We moved to Montreal in the summer of 70',I was 16yrs old. I started attending a new school, and made new friends, who were into the same music scene as I was, i t was at that time I formed my first serious band. I also started to get more involved in basic repairs, as I had no money to put out to get my guitar setup, and started to do work for my musician buddies, at no cost just to gain experience.
In 71' I dropped out, and started my first job at a light manufacturer, assembling swag lamps, but that only lasted till I found a job with Williams music inst. import co. doing basic setups and repairs on cheap guitars. I got a much better paying gig with SNC's Lavalin's model shop. I learned how to work in scale, as well as with all types of plastics, and adhesives. The job lasted till the company's project, which we were building the models for got put on hold.
I took a job doing part time repairs for Richards Music, and I also got to do repair for Steve's Music too. The repair work I did for Steve's eventually carried over to Toronto, but not right away. I told Steve that he needed to open a shop in Toronto, and bring in his discount prices, he listened ,and opened his second store in around 77'
When I moved to Toronto in Oct 75',I found work in a print and sign shop for a while, till I found a local guitar builder by the name of Joe Lado (Kovacic) in 77',and started to work for him, as a setup and fret dress guy till he moved me to the actual wood working part of the shop, and I was teamed with an Ecuadorian guitar builder Olivo Chiliquinga, who I became good friends with, and taught me a lot on sanding, shaping, filing ,he would be instrumental in my guitar and Violin building education later on when I was working for Steve's. The job only lasted about 8 months, as Joe was unable to get me on to a Gov. work grant, as he had one other person on it already.
About a year or so later, a friend of mine told me that Steve's had an opening for a guitar tech, so I went down, and met with Jeff Sazant, who I knew from the Montreal store, and got the job, t his was the summer of 78'. I stayed there till 83',when I decided that I wanted to setup my own repair shop, and started to look for a building in the area. In looking for a space, I came across a building for rent on King St. ,but it had a drum shop in it, it was Toronto Percussion Center, but they were planning to move up to Queen St, and had a building which was down the road from Steve's, well we came to an arrangement, and I sub-leased from them the third floor for my shop.
Everything was going well till the recession hit, and TPC decided to close up shop, and as I sub-leased the space, I had to leave as well, and had no time to find another place in the area. I packed up and moved my shop into the house I was living in and worked from there, and in around fall of 86' I got a call from a guitar repair guy I knew, Mike Zimermann who I had met and worked for the 12th Fret and was looking for experienced people for his new guitar and electric Violin manufacturing shop. He wanted my expertise in jig and mold making, as well as purchasing tools for the shop, I worked with them till they ran into financial difficulty and had to close, t his was late 88'.
I went back to doing repairs at home till I got a call from Cosmo Music to come and do repairs there. That lasted till they also ran into financial difficulties, and had to cut my hours back. I finally decided to quit, as it did not make financial sense to have to travel to Thorn Hill for little pay. I kept my shop going at home, and over time I looked for a place to set up, and that is where I am now on the Queensway in Etobicoke.