Strumming a perfect tune

Ramsay Phillips, owner of boutique guitar manufacturing workshop, Ramsay Phillips Guitars, reveals why and how he started his business

While most of what we use in this day and age is the product of large-scale mass manufacturing, some things, like professional guitars, demand individualised and personalised attention at every step along the way.

Sure, thousands of guitars are mass produced in factories on a regular basis, but professional guitarists take pride in a personalised instrument and see no qualms in spending thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment that is quite literally music to their ears and that is the result of a dedicated professional’s time and effort.

The guitar’s charm comes from the fact that it is a physically intimate instrument – one naturally needs to embrace and hold it close in order to strum it.

Hence it is no wonder that guitarists appreciate the custom made process when it comes to manufacturing a guitar since it allows for a space to merge personal feelings and emotions with the final product.

Ramsay Phillips, who started his business Ramsay Phillip Guitars in 2008, knows all about the love required to create a guitar.

In the past five years the native South African has built a reputation as one of Dubai’s most sought-after guitar makers and repairers, manufacturing one guitar from scratch per month and repairing close to 35 in the same period.

Charging between AED5,000 to AED6,000 for a new guitar, Phillips’s one-man business makes about AED150,000 per year in profits. But as he says: “I am not doing this to make millions and millions of dollars. I am doing this because I love doing this.”

Before becoming a full time guitar manufacturer and repairs provider, Phillips worked in the finance department of an engineering consultancy.

However, when the 2008 recession hit, Phillips found himself with a need to supplement the income from his day job and took to putting an advertisement on website Dubizzle. The advertisement was for guitar manufacturing and repair services and to his surprise there was a thriving market for his services.

As orders kept growing, Phillips decided to pull the plug on his day job and instead dedicate all his time towards his passion.

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