Since 2010, South Austin Guitar Repair has served the greater Austin metropolitan area and beyond. Serving weekend warriors to gigging professionals, little old ladies to youngins just getting their fret hand callouses. Who is South Austin Guitar Repair you ask? The one and only, Andrew!
I began my career in luthiery right after high school. I was playing in a band at the time, hoping to “make it,” whatever that is anymore, and stayed home to tour while everyone I knew went off to college. When it was clear the project was going nowhere, I left and found myself with a few months between that band, when I could re-apply for the fall semester and get my act together. Prior to touring, I quit my job of 4 years at the local hardware store. I was too ashamed to ask for my old job back, so I took to the streets with a very limited resume. As fate would have it, one of the kookiest guitar shops, whom I did business with in the past, had an opening. Fat Dog, of Subway Guitars, took me under his wing and opened my eyes up to the wonderful world of luthiery.
Fat Dog, to put it mildly, is a legend. He came up in the 60’s hippy revolution of the San Francisco/Berkeley area. Countless famous musicians of the era passed through his shop. He worked on their guitars and he knew every guitar made in the 20th century. Especially the weird imports of the era out of Japan, Europe and the former Soviet Union. His original shop shared a space with Guitar Resurrection, yes, the very same Guitar Rez now here in Austin. He would buy out inventories from factories that went under – Mosrite, Danelectro and parts from Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory and his Santa Rosa neighbors at Alembic. He’d sometimes use these to piece vintage instruments back together, but more interestingly, create Frankenstein guitars from the various parts, which he has sold, all over the world.
In addition to guitar building, Subway was also a long time repair shop, taking in thousands of repairs annually. That is where I cut my teeth in the industry. In my few short months, working along side several repairmen, I submerged myself in the craft. Memorizing wiring diagrams, rules of thumb for set up, how to carve nuts, fix complex wood breaks… and of course, piecing together these funky cool instruments from a sea of parts and possibilities.
I worked an additional summer at Subway and returned back to college, this time, with the ambition of building my own line of instruments. I befriended the only luthier in the town, cleaned up/re-arranged his shop in exchange to use his band saw and drill press to work on my own stuff. I built and sold a handful of instruments in his shop and eventually in the garage of a house I rented the next few years.
Fast forward a few more years to 2010, I was graduating and looking for my next adventure. Having worked the last few years at my university as a talent buyer/show promoter, I was looking for cities which I could continue the profession. Deciding between a a handful, I set my eyes to Austin, TX. Once here and having sent out more resumes than I can count, I was able to get a job in a completely unrelated field to pay the rent. As an entry level office job, it was just enough to get by. I put an ad up in the musicians section of Craigslist for guitar set up and repair. Living on Barton Skyway at the time, I decided a straight forward name to operate under, South Austin Guitar Repair.
There were only a handful of luthiers in Austin at the time, much fewer than today. To my amazement, the demand for guitar repair in this town was huge! I operated out of the breakfast nook of my one bed apartment on my old college desk. It got me by just fine. So began my dual life, as a marketing office guy by day, and a guitar repairman by night.
Here we are 10 years later. 2500ish guitar projects later, I’ve gigged just about every stage in town, married a Texan, had a baby, built my dream shop in my backyard and serve between 200-300 clients a year. I moved north exactly one year after establishing and have moved even more north since. I often get asked by prospective customers: “You’re…north? Your website and business says south?” I don’t really have any good reason why I didn’t bite the bullet and re-establish the biz name. At this point, I think it’s my contribution to keeping Austin weird – going north, for South Austin Guitar Repair.
So, if you’ve made it this far into the story, thanks for your interest. I hope this gives you a little back story on who I am. A guy who enjoys tinkering on guitars. And I hope to earn the opportunity to work on yours.
Call Andrew at South Austin Guitar Repair