Behind the scenes 04/07/20

I know, I’m sorry. This is a day late as well as being posted in the evening too. This one will take a bit longer to type and edit. It pretty much encapsulates the story of the last few months for me. Everything is delayed, for the obvious reasons. With this train of thought fresh in my mind I find it only right to give you an insight into “life under lockdown”.

Now, the following text is nothing more than the truth…. the reality if you will, of living in these odd times. Anyone who has spoken to me or knows me personally will probably be able to hear me say this out loud and they’ll know that I do not mean this to sound as it may read. I am not moaning, I am not letting go of any steam and I am not annoyed by the direction life has taken this year. There are people out there in far worse positions and I for one am grateful to have more customers than ever before with many coming back for more work to be done. So, we’ll need to pop back to March to begin…

I was attempting to catch up with outstanding orders in March and stay on track with new ones. But as you will have all seen (and maybe experienced) this didn’t really happen. While I was standing making dinner (whatever date in March it was) the “lockdown” was announced and I genuinely feared the worst. “That’s it”, I said to myself. “What will I do next?” echoed through my head. All that we (yes, you guys and me) have built up together is going to dwindle and fade away. Okay, so it might sound a little melodramatic but anyone who is self employed was likely having the same thoughts. I, the same as most of you watched the daily briefings at 5pm and saw the numerous financial packages getting announced…. yet somehow it all seemed pretty hollow. That money wasn’t going to replace a proper customer base which is why we kept clear of it altogether.

But as per usual, life goes on and I soon became immersed in my work again. Interestingly enough this is when it all went up a notch…. it got busy. VERY busy. With the furlough schemes announced many of you were wanting to start projects and the social media inboxes and website lit up like a Christmas tree. This is something I have never really recovered from. Even as I type this I feel guilty knowing that there are several unanswered emails from 48+ hours ago waiting to get replies. Perhaps I should be answering them first? Yes, I should. If you’re reading this and fall into the category of “waiting for a reply” then I apologise. I’ll definitely come back to you tomorrow or Monday. To be very honest, as anyone who is self employed will know, answering emails can easily consume a few hours at a time. And while I try to answer them within a day it sometimes doesn’t happen that easily. Every message basically means less time working on the guitars. But this part of the business and I really enjoy speaking to you all. My replies are sometimes very short and sweet but only because I genuinely do want to reply to all of you.

Since lockdown started and social distancing kicked in I have been unable to get any help with my prep work. So, this means my day starts between 5.30am and 6am. I’m typically in my workshop between 6am and 6.15am with a coffee in hand and a list of the days work written down in front of me. I’ll have tried to answer a few emails around this time as well. I’ll work through to 5pm with the occasional coffee break and then do a little more from 7pm-9pm. On the weekends I’ll work to early/mid afternoon from a 6am start and use the rest of the time to do my own thing. But this has been constant since lockdown was announced. I work 7 days a week and regrettably our lead time isn’t getting any shorter. I think anyone I have spoken to recently will have heard that I still have enthusiasm in my voice albeit my energy levels mean I’m talking an octave lower than usual. I never get up in the morning and wish I was doing anything else obviously… but I will be trying to get a few days off somewhere in the near future to spend some time with my children. Balance, it’s all about balance isn’t it?

I think i’m worried about disappointing anyone with my work and maintaining friendly working relationships with all of you at the same time. SC Relics isn’t a massive company with numerous employees. We are not a mass manufacturer with our cookie cutters at the ready. We are still technically a start up business but most importantly we are a small family run business. Every order is unique and this is something that I will always fight to maintain. With no end to this “unprecedented” situation in sight I am hoping that any of you with outstanding orders aren’t getting annoyed by the delays. What I can say is that everyone who has an order with us is definitely getting them and I can’t wait to see your projects coming together. I think it’s best that I wrap this portion up now and give you some nice pics of recent work and a new purchase that I treated myself to….

Lets start with some ash. It isn’t getting any cheaper but it’s also not getting any less popular! This body has been grain filled and awaits its sealer coats…

Sealer on, isn’t that a beauty?!

Yes, yes, yes… it HAS to be blonde, right?

I can’t say I’m unhappy with that. This one is off to Axecaster in a month. Just to clarify though… it’s already sold (sorry!).

An order that is leaving in a few days (and will be very much missed!) is this stunning 2 tone S body with lightly aged maple neck.

Both the body and neck are lightly aged which always seems fitting for a 54 build. No need to go crazy with the wear. Less is more for this sort of build. For the record, I’d quite happily keep this for myself. This particular body has really given me the urge to make my own 50s type S guitar. Another one heading out next week is something a little more niche…

Offsets are awesome. M’stangs are even more awesome. And sonic blue ones are even more awesome than that! Note how beautifully dark the rosewood is against that body. Absolutely delicious.

That brings me onto our next stock build which will be heading to Some Neck Guitars later this month.

This sneak preview shows you some of the vintage style loveliness that awaits a lucky buyer. I’m genuinely excited by this one…. I LOVE shell pink. The world needs more pink guitars. Maybe it’s time to rectify that?

I’ll sign off with a NAD courtesy of Peach Guitars . After selling the Marshall 2061x head I knew I wanted a Fender combo. Something that will match the guitars we make perfectly. For the record, I’m a Marshall fan boy. But there is something magical about a Fender clean sound with heaps of reverb.

What a stunning little amp. And I’m super impressed with Sean at Peach for getting this to me safely and promptly. 24 hour delivery to Northern Ireland is quite an amazing feat. I’m looking forward to returning to Peach in the future. John has certainly got a fantastic team around him and this has been a shining example of a well organised guitar store. Now time for a few pedals! Oh, and I might be treating myself to a proper NGD shortly too.