I like to think that I, Ted Groves, am a rare example of an 18 year-old lad who has it entirely ‘sewn up’. I spend my days servicing guitars, immersing myself in a sonic concoction of Led Zeppelin and Otis Redding (with a little Pat Thomas thrown in here and there) and gorging on staff discount.
All of this, not forgetting a healthy amount of ‘chocolate time’, is what makes my apprenticeship at Leigh Music Co. so wonderfully unique. You might be asking yourself, how did this come to be? And to be quite frank, I often ask myself the same question. So in true storytelling fashion, let me take you back to May 2016. *cue harp*
Picture the scene - it’s a beautiful summers day in Leigh On Sea. The sun is beaming upon the small town, the Broadway is brimming with tourists and a local bass player is opening his shop’s doors for the first time. Nowadays, news travels fast and so around midday, my phone becomes inundated with text messages, mostly reading:
“Omg Ted have you seen that new music shop???”
Obviously not wanting to miss out on any of the action, my dad and I made our way down to the shop – a mere 6 minute walk (on a good day) from our house.
We were greeted on arrival, much to our bewilderment, by our next door neighbours and were introduced to the shop owner, one of our neighbour’s brother - Ted (same name, spooky right?). Immediately, I am confronted with my own embarrassment as I rack my brains, thinking back to all the times where I have been shredding to my hearts content or caterwauling for hours on end; always definitely loud enough for the neighbours to hear. I try not to let this bashfulness show on my face as I make small talk with Ted, trying to appear like the coolest cat in town.
Naturally, from this moment on, I vowed to spend every breathing moment sat at the counter in Leigh Music Co. June of 2016 was enjoyed bending Ted’s ear about all of the happenings entailed in the life of an A Level student - which I am sure he thoroughly enjoyed. Before the month was out, I had managed to wangle myself a week’s work experience in this musical haven.
Little did I know the difference that Ted and his shop would make to my life, as it was in this week where a whole world of guitar repairing opened up to me. I learnt from a seasoned professional the tricks of the trade; I was enthused about guitars and repairing them more than ever before. To this day, my goal is to work as a professional luthier, restoring and rejuvenating guitars that are in desperate need of TLC.
As the week of work experience came to a close, I thought I would do the right thing and write Ted a thank you card for his accommodating attitude towards me. By thank you card however, what I really mean is I asked him for a job and left my phone number in the card - subtlety is not my forte. But sure enough, the following week, I received a text message (full circle, eh?) asking if I could work a few Saturday shifts. The rest, as they say, is history.
17 months, 4 guitars, 1 amp, a few pedals and a hell of a lot of strings later, I am now Ted Tom Davis’ apprentice, working 30 hours a week in Leigh Music Co. I really do feel proud to have watched it grow from a humble corner shop with a mere 30 guitars for sale, to the thriving community of musicians that it is now.
Our shop is a pocket-sized nirvana for all those musically inclined - beginner or expert, young or old, you’ll be made welcome here. I know I was.