18 February 2023

After years of fretting, guitar man plucks up the courage to go solo

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Guitars on a wall

Steve’s guitar store in Fyshwick. Photo: Steve Smith.

They say that if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. Maybe that’s why Steve Smith has opened GuitarSmith – a second-hand guitar shop in Fyshwick – selling all things guitar, from electric to bass to acoustic, to loop pedals, amplifiers and guitar strings.

The 40-year-old first launched GuitarSmith as an online store in December and soon decided to open up a physical store earlier this month to create a home for his guitars and accessories, as well as lessons.

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“I have been buying and selling guitars for about 20 years, and I’ve always enjoyed it,” Steve said.

“After living overseas back and forth for the last 15 years, I decided to come home for good and start the business as I’d been thinking about it for a long time.

“I originally started out of my home selling guitars online but thought it would be great to have an actual commercial showroom that people could visit.

“Currently, I offer a lot of Japanese gear from the 80s, but the magic of the shop is that you just don’t know what kind of interesting or rare piece of gear somebody is going to bring in to sell.”

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Steve said the idea of opening GuitarSmith came about when he was just a teenager.

“When I was younger, there used to be plenty of small, second-hand guitar shops around when I first began learning how to play the guitar,” he said.

“I thought they seemed to have a sense of magic to them as each old guitar has its own story – some have been played a lot, some have been kept under a bed for 20 years. The wonder of those things seemed pretty magical to me.

“After undertaking work experience in year 10 at a small shop in Manly at Neil’s Guitars N Amps, I discovered my dream of opening my own store.

“Being surrounded by guitars all day was great, and having musicians come in and hearing their stories was always interesting. Each week people would visit, there’d be something different that’s come in, or you’d hear that Lenny Kravitz or some other rock star came in last week.”

Steve said he learnt how to restring and set up guitars while completing his work experience at Neil’s Guitars and Amps.

GuitarSmith officially opened on 2 February 2023.

The GuitarSmith owner said as well as running his own store, he is passionate about teaching music at his home studio.

“I started playing guitar when I was 15 and never stopped,” Steve said.

“I love that there’s always more to learn. I think every style of music has something different to offer as a listener, so I love finding new styles to explore.

“As part of carrying on my love for playing guitar, I have started enrolling students for afternoon guitar lessons from 3:30 pm to 8 pm, catering to all age groups – nobody is too young or too old.”

Steve said the one-on-one guitar lessons run throughout the school year, with 10 lessons per term.

They cost $37 per lesson, and people can start at any time.

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Steve said it felt great to make his dream come true.

“The scary part is over now, thankfully,” he said.

“My goal now is to get more teachers and students onboard and develop a reputation as a great place to connect buyers with sellers.”

The GuitarSmith owner said he encourages people passionate about music to chase their dreams.

“Do what excites you and focus on what makes you unique,” Steve said.

“You’ve also got to be realistic, evaluate the risks, ask for advice and do your research. Going out on your own is always scary, and sometimes you’ll get things wrong, but just pivot to another direction and you’ll succeed.”

GuitarSmith is open Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 3 pm. It is located at 5/59 Tennant Street in Fyshwick.

To find out more, visit the store’s GuitarSmith.

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