About Us, The Showroom Experience & A Jog Down "Memory Lane" at the End!
Whether you are thinking of buying a guitar from the other side of the planet - or from our showroom in Stratford - You will want to know a little more about WHO you are dealing with, and I hope this page can go some way to put your mind at rest that you are dealing with someone you can not only trust but has your long term interests at heart and will be here to support you in the future should you need us to.
I (Richard) have specialized in guitar sales for 28 years - since the age of 23 (evidence of which can be seen in the pictures my mum compiled for a scrap book many years ago - which I have included for you at the bottom of the page!)
I won't bore you with every twist and turn here but needless to say whilst my excitement and passion for what I do has never dwindled - I did find many aspects of the industry truly depressing.
In my first 14 years I made some truly wonderful "finds" such as Gordon Smith & Furch guitars. I found the manufacturer who was responsible for producing nearly all the mainstream brands I was selling (Cort). I was however being completely bogged down with enquiries for brands that meant very little to me other than there was a high demand for no other reason than they were extremely well marketed or sold on their Heritage rather than quality.
My business grew exponentially year-on-year and was soon turning over 2 Million pounds a year and 10 guitars sold every day of the week.
At the time, I referred to myself as "the most unsuccessful successful person alive"
"Sales" didn't make me happy at all - As I felt every sale of an instrument I didn't believe in was a step away from being true to the knowledge and experiences I was gathering.
I realised the only way to be happy doing what I do - was to sell only guitars that I truly believe in - guitars I would recommend to my best friend.
14 years ago I made that decision and became "Richards Guitars"
I like to believe that my sales now are generated through honest advice, direction, information, education and 28 years of genuine experience with most guitar brands in the market.
NO marketing - NO hype - NO BS
Rule of thumb: Easy to find? Its not going to be the best you can find
Guitars you Wished you knew about before you bought your last one
I have written blogs and presented youtube videos trying to highlight the basic principle that once a guitar is available in every shop in every town in every country around the World - you are buying a guitar that has been made in a mass-produced capacity.
Of course this is essential when spending under 1000 pounds but what about when you spend above this? Mainstream brands are mass-produced in in massive batches yet command many many thousands of pounds? I can show you the most wonderful World of hand made custom shop guitars from Europe that cost you no more - often less & yet provide you a purchasing and playing experience you will remember and appreciate for a lifetime.
To me/us - You are not just another customer. I am deeply grateful for every person who ever visits and no matter how many guitars we have "sold" or made happy historically - we all know that when its your turn to visit - It is YOUR experience that we will be judged on - not that of customers who visited before you.
Every Guitar Sold Goes Past This Man!
Guitar Tech of 20 years!
No matter whether you bring in a guitar privately for a professional setup or we sell you a guitar - EVERY guitar passes Chris's hands and is set up to a professional standard.
Chris has worked with me for 2 decades! In that time I believe he has acquired more hands-on hours experience than any other tech in the industry.
If you buy a guitar and it turns up the next day? You didnt buy it from us!
When was the last time you bought a guitar and were asked how you want the guitar to play or what gauge of string you use - or were asked what your playing style is or whether you use a capo?
Possibly when you last bought it from us :)
Nobody Knows Our Guitars Better
We are the Uks largest specialist in all the main brands I promote. This is born from long term commitment to only getting behind guitars that are genuine personal recommendations.
I sell hand made electric guitars from Italy by Luigi - World class acoustics from Erika in Slovakia and beautiful electric guitars by Doug here in England. Of course, they all have brand names - but to me its about the people - the skills - the workmanship - the tone - the quality -the story..... not to mention the wonderful relationships that unfold not only between us and the builders but us and our customers too.
Having been so personally involved with the brands I sell for so many years, you can be assured nobody knows the ranges better or could ever be better placed to help support you long term post sale.
"Red carpet" treatment assured
Your Experience is Our Priority
Visiting in store? If we have all communicated properly about your visit - when you arrive you will be greeted not only by one of us but the guitars that you have shown an interest in will be waiting for you too! All ready for you to relax and enjoy finding out which one you are going to bond with best :)
Buying online? I try my hardest to make buying online as close to the in store experience as it possibly can be. I have already mentioned my blogs and videos - I also connect any video content I can find for product pages and I am online most hours of the day in some form to provide one to one advice around the clock as possible.
With every instrument a brand I personally stand by and every guitar set up to perfecction - to your personal requirements - I hope you will agree our online service is amongst the most personable you will find anywhere online.
My Manager & Right Hand Man
Meet my hero!
Jon is the calm, cool headed and totally unflappable "man in charge". Whilst we share all the same values and passion for the business - Metaphorically, he is like all the pieces that I lost in the jigsaw puzzle of birth!!
Should you spend 5 minutes reading our reviews, his name (along with Jakes) will be mentioned time and time again. Known for his extensive knowledge, patience, and calming demeanour (an attribute I benefit from on a daily basis!)
Not only does Jon possess a deep understanding of every brand we sell but he also completely understands WHY these guitars are so special and can help you understand which brands or models are best suited to your playing style and personal preferences.
Jon is a singer, songwriter and of course guitarist at heart and you will find him playing literally across the driveway at our neighbours who run a live music venue & Cafe should you be interested in joining him!
Jons Right Hand Man!
Jake is to Jon - What Jon is to me - Someone without whom our business would not be complete.
From your perspective, let me try and build you a picture....
Imagine a guitar shop where you only have the best of the best instruments - set up to perfection in a workshop - and to help you along the way there was a "Jake" whose role was to look after you from beginning to end. To make sure you know what guitars are available to you - to provide you advice on instruments - to make sure you have a lovely time if you visit in person.
Well thats Jake! Often your first contact in daytime hours - or it will be Jon or me.
Jon & Jake also play test every guitar that leaves - pack every guitar, ensuring the beautifully setup instrument gets to you in a perfect condition.
Both Jake & Jon are truly lovely people who embody all the characteristics I would wish to experience if I was a customer.
You will most often find me lurking on the chat at the weirdest times! Any moment possible I try and make sure our online chat is available. I provide all the website content and photography - youtube, blogs, Facebook, Instagram and email marketing. My days are often focused on co-ordinating / planning build schedules with our suppliers to make sure we have a constant supply of your favorite guitars.
pics from our 3 private showrooms
( From My mums scrap book she compiled when I first started)
How It all Began 28 Years Ago (1995)
I began selling guitars 28 years ago at the age of 22 - Inspired by local guitar hero "Tom Crocket" (who remains one of my most valued friends) who taught me for several years. I continued to have lessons privately in London with Shaun Baxter from the Guitar Institute who was also the most incredible inspiration.
At the age of 19 I underwent radiotherapy and Chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Disease. Blessed with a second chance at life - I felt now was the time not to dream but to live the dream.
An inheritance of £8000 from my grandfather financed my humble beginnings.
I had a genuine passion to provide a unique approach to guitar buyers (and my pupils) - as many of my pupils guitars seemed to play so poorly - I wanted to make sure every guitar we sold was set up beautifully - as I knew this would make so much difference to the people I was teaching!
My mother (bless her - Thank you mum! x) documented my earlier years and created a scrap book - Here are some pages from it which I thought you may find funny to see -and for any long term customers - a blast from the past!
You will see my now wife (Teresa) in the pictures - who has supported me throughout our lives. When we met she was 16 and I was 18. 4 years later - she had supported me through my illness and then we were in business together! She has been working with me to this day