Bedwas guitar business a global success for ex-teachers
Business, News | | Published: 18:00, Sunday August 19th, 2018.
Two former teachers who began producing custom-made guitar parts two years ago have recently sold to their 600th customer.
Paul Dunn, 52, and Paul Best, 39, taught chemistry and Welsh respectively at Bedwas High School, before deciding to pursue their shared venture.
The pair’s love of music and guitars led them to start making guitar pickups in 2013. The establishment of their company, Radioshop Pickups, followed in 2016, and they now supply customers across the world.
A pickup is the component inside an electric guitar that acts as a microphone, transferring the sound made by the guitar’s strings to an amplifier.
Since first beginning their venture out of Mr Dunn’s shed, the pair have now built a business that produces custom made pickups for customers across the world.
Despite both sharing a love for music, neither have an engineering background, and their venture has been one of steep learning curves.
Mr Best said: “We kind of became disenfranchised with the bureaucracy of teaching. We both thoroughly enjoyed our careers, but we felt we needed a change. This allows us to be far more experimental and creative.”
Mr Dunn said: “It has been a process of experimentation. Our first piece of kit was a sewing machine we picked up from a charity shop and then we mounted the pickups on a disk.
“We are really fortunate that we have dealt with really nice helpful people, without whom we wouldn’t have learnt nearly as much.
“We are now selling our pickups across the world, with around half heading overseas. A guy in Sweden has just bought his forth set from us.”
The pair have developed a thriving presence on social media, which they say is vital to their success.
Mr Best said: “Social media has been important for us in establishing our brand both here in Wales, and overseas.
“We recently ran a blind-test on our YouTube channel, where we compared a £3,000 guitar and a £60 second hand one with one of our pickups on it. Our followers chose the £60 guitar when asked which one sounded the best. We feel that positive feedback from our online community says a lot about the quality of our product.”
Radioshop has also teamed up with guitarist Chris Buck, from Abercarn, who was named Best New Guitarist in the World by Total Guitar Magazine in January.
One of only eight pickup manufacturers in the UK, Radioshop have also recently begun working on making their own guitars, using sustainable and local materials, including Ash wood from Hay on Wye, and British Sycamore.