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Hillsound basically began life as a repair workshop for woodwind and stringed instruments in a converted garage at the end of my garden in September 2001.
My repair career started back in the late 70's early 80's - I'd been playing bass in bands for a few years and doing repairs to band mates guitars and was pretty much learning on the job.
The first time I heard the sound of fretless bass I was blown away. Mostly on tracks played by the late Mick Carn of Japan and Pino Paladino (who sessions for just about any big name you can mention) - amazing! I just had to have a fretless bass but couldn't afford one – so the only option was to build one. Now there were no Youtube or online tutorials back then so I went to the local library and got a 'how to' book on guitar making. After a trip to to my local wood shop I built my first fretless bass The pick ups and other bits I had accumulated over the years and the truss rod was a round metal rod that my mates dad had been holding up his sweet peas with! - to be honest it was more a monstrosity than a bass but I learned enough through trial and error to make a pretty decent one on my second attempt - one that I used on many gigs and studio sessions around that time.
A surprise to some though I never really enjoyed making guitars - it was always repairs and restorations that inspired me most.
Around 1991 I started LA Guitars as a repair business and ran that alongside my music career until 1997. Having been a sax player since the mid 80's I wanted to add woodwind repairs to the business so I took a course in woodwind design and construction at London Guildhall University.
While at Uni and for some time afterwards I worked at Chas Footes in Picadilly until September 2001 when I started my workshop from home – also trading online on a well known auction site. After a few years things got so busy that working from home just became untenable and so we opened up a shop at 10 High Street, Hampton hill (now ‘The Old Violin Workshop)
Since then – in spite of economic recessions, pandemics and the constant squeeze from the internet big names and with the help, dedication and hard work of our small but talented staff team we have thrived and grown - a big thank you though also has to go to you, our customers – many of whom we have known from the start of our journey over 20 years ago.
Who knows what the next 20 will bring . . .