Introducing Chris Graham
Chris is the man behind Angus Guitars and has been in the business of building and repairing guitars for about 10 years. Through his love of the guitar and a desire to challenge himself, Chris has mastered the art of guitar making. From a young age Chris was determined to overcome obstacles to pursue his dreams.
“I have played the guitar since I was 15. From the day I heard the Shadows play Apache, I wanted to learn how to play that instrument. In a family where money was scarce, I managed to get myself an early morning milk run, earning $6 a week. I saved my hard earned cash and bought my first guitar. I had it for a couple of years before my mum gave it away, saying I was pretty useless and was never going to learn how to play it. I wasn’t fast at learning, I have to admit. Tuning your guitar to the radio so you can learn a new song takes time and that was the only way I could learn. However I have discovered I have one great asset – I don’t give up easily. After finding my prize guitar was gone, I just went out and bought another. Little by little, I began to get the hang of my favourite instrument. Little by little, song by song, I began to excel. Now I’m not great, but I can hold my own.”
The Guitar Making Journey
Through the process of becoming a guitarist, Chris learned an invaluable lesson – never, never, never give up on your passions. If you love it, stick with it and you will grow.
“At the age of 45, I decided I wanted to do something difficult, something that would take me years to master, something I wouldn’t easily get bored with. After considerable thought, I came upon the idea of building a guitar. The more I researched the idea, the more I realised how difficult the task would be. I needed to build many of the tools required as they are not available in NZ and I would need to get access to the right kind of timbers. The learning curve was definitely long and slow. From the time I started to build my first guitar until the day it was tuned up and ready to play it was two full years.”
Honing The Craft
After building that first guitar, Chris knew he had found something he could keep at for a long time. Not only was he hooked on building guitars, but also enjoyed the process of solving the many problems it posed.
“From that point on I began the process of improvement, which involved listening to the opinions of those who really knew their stuff, and setting my standards way higher. I love working out better ways of crafting the various parts and I truly love the satisfaction I gain from building an instrument that someone has always wanted to own. I love the day I am able to put it into their hands and see the satisfaction in their eyes as they run their hands over the finished product and as they pluck out their first tune”