We do all guitar repair, restoration, refinishing and setup work as well as pick up rewinds and amp and pedal electronics repairs. If it's broken or not playing like it should, we'll fix it.
The retail shop stocks and sells a full range of hardware, leads, strings etc and we have exclusive dealerships so check out the pricelists for the best prices around.

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March 25, 2010

A "not so short" history of Tym guitars

Here at Tym guitars I try and run and honest business for people who care about what they buy and where they buy it. Most "business people" I know laugh at the sort of profit margins I run this place on. They can't believe I even do it. I set up this business to cater to working musicians who wanted quality gear at affordable prices. I never aimed my market at "collectors" or investors, although I do have them as part of my customer base and let me tell you, working musicians never have any money.

I'm a big believer in keeping things local, where possible. I buy my shoes from my local family owned shoe shop, even though I can get them cheaper online. I support other local independent shops wherever possible because I know what it's like to run one. I also believe in making gear locally using as much local material and labour as possible. We had great amp and speaker manufacturers in Australia in the 60's and early 70's until parallel importing shut the industry down almost over night. Independent business in any country should be supported vehemently. Once everything is owned and run by big corporate or overseas companies, you will have no choice what you buy, where you buy it from and how much you pay for it.

Tym guitars started as a guitar building business in 1997 after I had built several Mosrite inspired guitars for myself and friends. I quickly got calls from people down south who had seen my friends touring with these guitars. I then started to get enquiries from overseas. One of my first "big" customers was Nicke Royale from the Hellacopters in Sweden. I thought it was a friend playing a joke on me. His first Tym guitar is around serial number 15 or so and he owns 4 of them all up. Between '97 and 2002 I was mainly making guitars and doing repairs part time and working part time to pay the bills. At some point around here I started importing guitars and fixing them up to sell. Repair work took over as the money was better and I eventually quit my other job and just concentrated on repairing and selling guitars around 2006. As of 2010 I have made over 100 guitars completely from scratch. I don't have machinery for this. I do ALL my guitar building by hand. I shape my own bodies and necks by bandsaw, router, files and sandpaper. I make some of my own pick ups, I get my vibrato units sand cast by a local foundry and polished by a local metal polisher. I buy my timber from a local timber yard. I do all of this myself.

I started making effects pedals around 1999 as a "hobby" with the help of a friend who was a "retired" electronics engineer and found I really enjoyed the assembly side as I was still using my hands but it was more ........... straight forward than carving timber. The first line of pedals were crude but I quickly moved onto my now infamous "doghead" series using locally cast aluminium enclosures designed by me. These proved to be way too time intensive to manufacture and I dropped them for the standard Hammond boxes again. Then in 2009 I started using hand made enclosures again with printed aluminium plates on the front for a more distinct look.

Around mid 2008 with the splitting of the business into 2 distinct sections of retail at the Valley shop and manufacturing and repair under the banner of TMI (Tym Musical Instruments) at the Gabba workshop I decided to once again start building amps. I had built some amps in the early 2000's based on Champs and Voxes but was never completely happy with them. With the help of some VERY talented (don't tell them I said that) amp designer and amp builder friends I dove headfirst back into amps again.

From these melding of minds came the Supertone 40 (and soon the ST20) and the Lemon 120 (and soon 80) with more to follow. While the prototypes had imported transformers to get "in the ballpark" we used mostly locally sourced parts for the rest of the amps. The chassis are handmade by the local independent metal fabricator who makes my pedal boxes, the sleeves are made by the local business that helps with my speaker cabs, the faceplates are printed by a local printing businesses and they're completely hand assembled at the Gabba workshop. This is a very expensive and time consuming process as anyone who has hand wired electronics will tell you. To me, it's the only way to do it properly and there will be more amp designs coming.

I had made speaker cabs back in 2003 but again, was never really happy with the results. They sounded good, but the tolexing left a little to be desired. There's probably about 15 or so of these boxes out there somewhere ? With the release of the amps I decided it was time to offer speaker cabs again as I needed quality head shells for my amps anyway. This time I enlisted the help of a friend who had the right machinery to make "boxes" here in Brisbane. We started with the 2x12 and 4x10, then the 1x12 and 6x10 bass cabs. More designs will be offered in the near future.

The retail shop was set up in 2008 with aim of stocking quality gear with price points between $400 to $4000. I try not to stock gear from countries where people are exploited so you can buy it cheap. I don't deal in Mexican or most Asian made gear with the exception of Japan or Korea. This is of course not a hard and fast rule, more of a guide line as it would make my already difficult job of stocking an independent shop even harder to follow this rule to the T, but where possible it is followed. I do however stock a lot of second hand guitars, amps and speaker cabs as well as a huge range of new and second hand effects pedals. We also stock speakers, valves, strings and hardware as well as some locally handmade gear that deserves to be put out there in world of retail like the Valvetone and Amwatts amps.

So by 2010 we have a manufacturing and repair shop making guitars, pedals, speaker cabs and amps as well as handling most guitar and electronics repairs and a retail shop that stocks over 100 second hand guitars, 50 amps and LOTS of effects pedals, all at VERY reasonable prices. I believe we are unique in being the only guitar shop I can think of that not only offers a great range of new and second hand gear in a friendly and accomodating retail atmosphere, but also has a manufacturing facility making locally made quality gear and working with guitarists from all over the world to design and make beter gear for the right price.

Keeping the shop stocked is a full time job in itself as I only try to find quality second hand gear from the US or Japan at prices good enough to add shipping, customs and GST onto the purchase price and still sell at a small profit to keep it ticking over. Add to this finding and ordering new pedals, hardware, leads etc and keeping up with what's available and "cool" and this is a lot of work. I also do guitar repairs, build pedals and amps and keep this monster going. None of this would be possible without my wife who puts up with my long hours, caffeine deprived rants and atroutious paperwork.

I'd like to thank anyone who has supported Tym guitars over the years with either financial input and/or moral and artistic support. It would be impossible to do this without you. You know who you are ............

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