Sharing the passion with Gladesville Guitar Factory

Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine


Sharing the passion with Gladesville Guitar Factory

Gladesville Guitar Factory
Words by Chris Hockey

Established in 1972, Gladesville Guitar Factory is Australia's longest running guitar store under the same ownership.

Specialising in acoustic, electric and classical guitars, as well as an expansive range of folk instruments such as banjos, mandolins and ukuleles, Gladesville Guitar Factory also has an incredible array of effects pedals and accessories, not to mention their stellar repair service and music tuition facility. 

Read more features, columns and interviews here.

For over half a century, this family owned business has maintained a legacy of creating a down-to-earth, pressure free environment, as well as a passionate commitment to excellent customer service. Providing Sydney with a home for niche instruments, hand made amps and boutique pedals, Gladesville Guitar Factory is a crucial part of the city’s retail landscape and their product knowledge is second to none. 

Gladesville Guitar Factory has a pretty incredible legacy, having been owned and run by your family since 1972. What does that history mean to you and how does it play into the way you run your business?

When we first started out we didn’t know that we would still be around in 50 years time. Longevity was never the objective. It was something we enjoyed doing at the time and were passionate about. On reflection it is the long term relationships you build with customers and the opportunity to share your passion with the people you work with.

As GGF transitions from father to son, how is your business evolving and what elements are important for you to keep the same?

The constant evolution is mostly technological and the need to share information clearly. We create as much original, in-house content as we can using photography and video. We also recently updated our website to create a simpler shopping experience and provide easy access to most things in-store. It’s valuable to see high quality images and details particularly for people shopping online and using social media. Our big strength is our team and sales team on the floor and it’s important to keep the customer facing side of the business as our heart and soul.

GGF has an impressive range of Bluegrass instruments. What can you tell us about your connection with Bluegrass and how important is it to the business?

We discovered in the early days that there was a dearth of folk instruments available in the Australian market so we decided to specialise in this area. This combined with the fact that we had built good relationships with many of the famous country, folk and bluegrass players from that era. We were the first music shop to exhibit at the Tamworth Country Music Festival at its inception back in the early ‘70s. It just built from there and we now are the agents for many leading brands including Gold Tone, Ome, National and more. 

For those of us not local to Sydney, you have a very expansive online store that has a great collection of gear. How have you gone about building trust with your online customers and how crucial has that been for GGF in recent years?

We are still predominantly a bricks and mortar store with an online presence which is growing. We are constantly looking to source new and unique products to expand our offerings. 

Your website states that you can fix just about anything your customers can break, tell us about who does the repairs at GGF and the well known attention to detail they put into their craft.

We are fortunate to have Isaac Ware running the repair shop. He is in such demand [that] his waiting list sometimes blows out to several months.We have a long history of repairing and servicing stringed instruments dating back to the late fifties under the original name of  De Kroo Bros Music. Isaac approaches a job from a unique perspective unlike most other repairers I have encountered. His knowledge, insight and dedication to achieving perfection is always a source of amazement to us.

GGF is also home to an excellent music tuition service, how important is giving the next generation of musicians a place to learn to GGF and how long has that been part of what you do?

The teaching studio has been run as a separate business for many years employing highly talented and qualified teachers most of whom are Conservatorium graduates. 

What is your vision for the future of GGF? Are there any elements of the business you’d like to expand upon or new ones you’d like to introduce as GGF expands and grows? 

We are continuously looking at expanding the range of unique products that we can offer our customers.

Maintaining a specialty bricks and mortar store is becoming more challenging. Whereas buying online is more convenient and sometimes cheaper, we believe there will always be a demand from customers who value old fashion service and the experience of visiting a store.

Keep reading and shop at Gladesville Guitar Factory here.