He’s the Environmental Scientist turned guitar maker who turned his passion into a business and in the last few years Aaron Fenech has created a life he absolutely adores right here on the Gold Coast.
We sat down for a chat with him about making guitars for Amy Shark and exactly what goes into making a great guitar.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Around 20 years – I first moved to the Gold Coast from Cairns in 1997. I did move to WA for eight years when I went to University but returned in 2009.
What do you love most about living in our beachside city?
The Gold Coast is such a culturally diverse place with a broad range of fun things to do. For me, it would have to be the proximity to so many world-class surf breaks.
Tell us how Fenech Guitars came about…
I’d been repairing and making guitars out of my shed for a few years before I decided to let my full time job go as an Environmental Scientist and kick start Fenech Guitars. It was pretty scary at first not knowing how I would pay the bills but it’s been well worth it.
How did your passions combine to create the life you’re living now?
I’d always been attracted to making things from a young age and would have a go at making anything, particular things that I was passionate about like surfing, music and art. I tried my hands at a few surfboards, skateboards and even spear guns but when I tried making a guitar for the first time I knew instantly it would be an obsession.
What goes into creating a guitar and what makes a good guitar?
Lots of aspects go into making a great guitar. The timbers or tonewoods the maker selects, a steady hand, a whole bunch of mathematical and physics equations, a keen eye for detail and a creative vision to bring the whole package together. Of course what defines a ‘great’ guitar will always be subjective but these disciplines are a must.
What does a day in the life of Aaron Fenech look like?
It generally starts with a surf out the front of Nobbys where I live, a coffee from The Yard and then open the workshop and start doing what I love; making guitars!
Why do you think it’s important to do something you’re passionate about for work?
It’s pretty simple really; if you manage to find that thing you simply stop referring to it as work or a job. That doesn’t mean you won’t put in tonnes of hours and energy to perfect what you’re doing but it’s never work. It’s an obsession.
Have you made guitars for anyone we might know?
I’ve made guitars now for loads of people on the Gold Coast, across Australia and we even export overseas but I guess Amy Shark and Cate Blanchett would be a noteworthy couple.
What advice do you have for someone looking to turn their passion into a business?
Just go for it. It’s not the easiest path but it’s way more interesting taking the road less traveled.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Coffee spot: The Yard and Forreal Kitchen
Cafe for breakfast: Forreal Kitchen
Restaurant for dinner: Etsu
How does your weekend usually look: Surfing, playing music and hanging out with my family