From Hollywood To Devon, Guitar Maker To The Stars Sets Up In The South West
A master builder of hand-built custom guitars, who has worked with Gilby Clarke, Billy Gibbons, Bruno Mars, Keith Richards amongst others, has relocated from Los Angeles to Brixham – and says he is “living the dream”.
William Raynaud, along with his actress wife and two young daughters, relocated in 2018 after spending 15 years living in Pasadena, CA, a posh suburb of the glamorous American city.
He has now swapped his detached house and Hollywood lifestyle, for a traditional cottage on the South Coast – and thinks the area has far more to offer.
His company, WR Guitars Ltd., has been making around 20 guitars a year, starting at £1,999.
As well as handmaking high-end electric guitars, he also offers professional repair services on various string instruments.
“Los Angeles is incredibly exciting and full-on 24/7, but we wanted something better for us and the children – and chose beautiful Devon because of its picturesque landscapes in between the sea, the moors and the small quaint yet attractive villages. While traveling and looking for the right place, we visited Brixham and fell in love with the town. Everything is on hand and the people are incredibly welcoming. There is a sense of community here in the bay, and that is one of the things we also were looking for. Our home in Los Angeles had great views, a big yard, a swimming pool… But we’d swap that any day for Brixham. The coastline here has lots of coves for exploring – we’re always kayaking!”
39 year old William re-launched his business here in September this year, and feels there is a strong demand in the UK (and the rest of the world) for his work.
He is already talking with dealers for distribution of his unique guitars around the country.
Along with handcrafting guitars using traditional woods, William is now focusing on his Crate- O-Caster model built around Vintage wooden shipping crates – giving the guitars environmental credentials, as well as his Drift-O-Caster which is a worn out style without the crate top.
“In an era of re-cycling and up-cycling, I wanted to contribute in a way specific to me and I ended up making the first one in 2014, since then I’ve built a fair number and have been able to refine it and found the best ways to make the Crate-O-Caster one of the best guitars you’ll get to play. There are many important different factors I look into when sourcing the crates and it shows on the finished instruments.
I even up-cycle old damaged acoustic/classical guitars and turn them into wine racks, shelves… perfect for the guitar lovers or the man’s cave!”
William has been in the industry over 15 years, having been a master builder with prestigious guitar makers (luthiers).
He has also worked with guitarists for Guns N’ Roses, Pink and Ariana Grande to name but a few.
For further info visit: www.wrguitars.com
Photos by Andrew Barnes