Guitar shops the world over are filled with a sense of mystique and occasional snobbery that can leave even the keenest of your muso mates intimidated about talking shop or popping into their local. Jordan Reynolds and his team at The Sound Garage are set to break down those walls and foster a creative space of total inclusivity for creatives, craftsman and music fans alike.
"Number one thing for me is openness; I really want people to feel welcome to hang out — I know that sometimes people don't feel that in music stores. People feel a little bit pressured," Jordan said of his goals for The Sound Garage's new Hindley Street location, set to open this Saturday.
"There used to be this vibe twenty, thirty years ago where it was just teenagers hanging out in music stores and checking out guitars and getting super fuckin' excited, just kids in candy stores — I want that vibe again, I want people to feel really excited, and to be able to walk in and go, 'wow that's fuckin' cool',
"I'm really big on artist collaboration. Now that I've started my own business, I've all of a sudden become really aware of people being good at what they do,
"I'm really good at building guitars so I'm gonna keep doing that. There's people that are really good artists, and they should keep doing that, and we'll combine 'em," Jordan says.
Last year, Jordan collaborated with local artist and tattooist Josh Darkly for a custom bass guitar designed and crafted by Jordan, with unique artwork illustrated by Josh.
Now that he has a more central CBD space to call his own for the purposes of The Sound Garage, Jordan is keen to take that collaborative work ethic and combine it in any facet of the venue possible, such as the walls currently being painted by fellow Wolf & Wren tattoo artists, even on the day of the launch.
"I want artists to be able to wander in and be like 'hey, can I draw on your walls', or 'hey, can I draw on a guitar',
"[Launch day will be] a big open party, and just to let people come in and vibe out and enjoy," Jordan says of this Saturday.
"Even if it's not about just the guitars and it's just the place, hence why we're throwing all the artwork in and having it all open. I just really want people to vibe well and feel good, that's what's important to me," he says.
Jordan hopes to be able to take collaborative projects like the custom bass series with Josh and expand on it with more in-depth exhibitions style collections and showcases in the future.
The new location of The Sound Garage is right in the heart of the Adelaide west-end music scene, situated snuggly between live music venues Jive and Enigma Bar, with multiple others only a minute's walk away. Jordan hopes this will allow him to take his involvement as a guitar technician to an unprecedented level of service for musicians and bands — like the RAA of guitars.
"As far as the music scene, I want people to have a place they can have to go to: A) have their guitars worked on, repaired and modified, and B) be able to call at any time. People call me at midnight — now something can happen at that stage [pointing to the adjacent Enigma Bar and Jive], and if shit hits the fan, I can take something from downstairs to the workshop and fix it before the song ends,
"If the sign's out the front and the door's open, dudes can just run in with a guitar and go 'Ahhhh! Help me!',
"They should feel like there's someone they can call and trust, and I think being smack-bang in the middle of it really helps with that," he says.
Ultimately, it's about taking advantage of Adelaide's emergent youth culture, and breaking down some of the mystique surrounding the work that goes on in stores like Jordan's.
"The industry's starting to have a bit of a change; everyone used to be like 'gotta take it to the old guy who's been doing it for twenty years, he knows — anyone else knows nothing',
"I'm the youngest around by like a decade and a half — but it used to be you had to be fifty before anyone respected you," he says.
Following a six year apprenticeship in guitar-making ("Just a furniture maker on steroids, that's what I tell people,"), Jordan took hold of the work-bench and branched out on his own, leaving his old store to open the first iteration of The Sound Garage.
"More and more people were coming in and asking for me to do paint jobs and just in general for me specifically to do stuff, which was really cool,
"[The customer following] helped boost my ego, and helped me think I could do it, but it was more just boredom to be honest. I wanted a challenge — I wanted to build cool guitars, I got into the industry to build cool guitars, and I wasn't doing that enough where I was,
"You don't need to do anything but be good at your job, and people will come to you," he says.
"There's a bit of smoke and mirrors that goes on in our industry, like the magic of working on guitars, but there's a bit of a change these days where a lot of luthiers are just talking about how they do what they do, and that's really cool, I think,
"I really want people to see what's going on and feel like they're apart of it, people are intrigued by that kind of thing," he says.
Down the track, The Sound Garage's new home could very well see anything from exhibitions, live art and drawing, live music, and even potentially room for someone to pick up the tools and start their own guitar making course or apprenticeship.
"I'm not gonna rule anything out. It's about getting on to locals and taking advantage of Adelaide as it’s starting to wake up — it's like a teenager going through puberty and starting to find itself, and we're about getting on board with that," Jordan says.
The Sound Garage's new home opens this Saturday the 13th from midday at 1/179 Hindley Street until late. Pop-in for music, beverages, live art, and an inside look at the craftsmanship and work that goes on. You can keep up to date with the evolution of The Sound Garage on Facebook.