A history of my background in guitars, amps and guitar products:
In 1973 I bought my first guitar when I was at high school. This was a cheap Stratocaster copy guitar and was bought from my schoolfriend Earl Montague for $45.00
After I left high school and started working at my first full time job, I worked with Peter Rochfort who was an experienced amateur guitarist and also played bass. Peter had the largest record collection of anyone I had ever met and encouraged me to play more guitar. In 1977 we formed a band which played cover versions of songs. We practiced relentlessly and had a great time with this band which featured Les Waterhouse on lead vocals.
Sydney had a vibrant live music scene in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, and all of us in the band regularly visited many of the great rock venues around Sydney at that time such as The Bondi Lifesaver, Selinas Coogee Bay Hotel, Stagedoor Tavern and many more. We became regulars watching the many great bands around Sydney and hoped to get our chance playing in those venues.
In around 1978 I began playing guitar semi-professionally in other rock bands in the Sydney area. At that time I also began experimenting with guitar repair/making and with making treble boosters after instruction in those areas from my friend Nick Thurn who was experienced in electronics and a very good professional guitarist.
In 1980 I started working with the well known guitar repairer/maker Romney Godden at Brookvale on Sydney’s northern beaches. Romney was Sydney’s best guitar repairer at the time, and was also very knowledgable about guitar amplifiers. Romney taught me a great deal about guitars and amps, was a master craftsman and was a very talented and generous person.
In December 1982 Romney Godden closed his guitar workshop at Brookvale in Sydney and moved to Kempsey which is a town situated on the mid north coast of New South Wales 345km north of Sydney.
In May 1983 I was asked by Farrells Music at Brookvale to set up a guitar repair workshop in the same building where Romney previously had his workshop. Farrells Music was one of the best music stores in Sydney at that time.
From the mid 1980s I started to become known throughout Australia for my guitar work for local and international touring acts such as Midnight Oil, INXS, Cold Chisel, Pink Floyd and others.
It was in the mid 1980s that I began to think about having my own unique guitar ‘brand’, and in 1988 I developed my ‘Fryer’ logo which is a stylised graphic image based on my signature.
The development of the Fryer ‘brand’ happened in small steps over several years – beginning with my guitar and pickup making in the 1980s and 1990s, and then developing into the other areas of pedal and amplifier making after my return in August 1998 from working for Brian May in England.
In 1987 I began doing guitar repairs and modification work for legendary Australian guitarist Ian Moss from the band ‘Cold Chisel’. This led to me building custom handmade guitars for Ian in 1989 and 1995-96.
In 1996-97 I made 3 replica guitars for Brian May of his priceless Red Special guitar, and in November 1997 Brian asked me to undertake a major restoration of his priceless Red Special. I worked for Brian at his London Allerton Hill studio on the Red Special restoration and on several other of his projects from December 1997 to August 1998.
When I returned to Australia in August 1998 I intended to continue making many guitars however unforeseen events changed the course of the work that I then pursued, and I began to make treble boosters and other guitar pedals from mid 1999. In late 1999 I began further Deacy Amp research and development.
In 2003 Brian May and the Australian ‘We Will Rock You’ theatrical production asked me to develop a solution for the bad reliability problems the production was encountering with their Vox AC30 amps.
The guitarists in the WWRY show were running their AC30s at full volume (like Brian May does with his Vox AC30s in his Queen guitar rig) in order to achieve the authentic Brian May/Queen sound. However running the amps like this greatly increases the risk of amp failure due to the overstressing of EL84 power valves and other components. After the Melbourne Australia WWRY show began in mid 2003, the production began to suffer a great many amp failures.
I was asked by Brian to develop ways of achieving his full volume ‘Queen’ guitar amp sound for the WWRY productions – but at lower amplifier volumes which helps their FOH mixing desk and the singers and stage performers – and most importantly Brian asked me to look at ways of improving reliability of the AC30s under the demanding night after night playing conditions of the WWRY productions.
This meant that I drew up a simplified layout of the Vox AC30 amplifier circuitry, with the emphasis on over-rated components and drawing heat away from sensitive components and areas of the amp. I also designed a system of safety fuses for the EL84 power valves which often suffer from being overstressed and failing with the way that Brian May uses his AC30s which are run at full volume.
For the We Will Rock You show guitar setups I also designed 3 new guitar effect pedals to suit the dual amp AC30/Deacy Amp WWRY requirement.
This WWRY guitar template proved to be successful in 2003 and from 2004 many WWRY productions throughout the world began to use my handbuilt Vox AC30 amps and guitar pedals.
In 2003 I invited UK based Nigel Knight to be part of my Brian May Deacy Amp replica development project.
In 2004 I contacted specialist UK pickup maker Adrian Turner (Adeson pickups) and we began working on developing an authentic sounding and looking Burns Trisonic pickup set for the Brian May Red Special guitars.
In 2005 I handmade 3 Vox AC30s for Brian May.
In March 2007 I visited Brian May and arranged a meeting at his Allerton Hill studio to showcase my ‘mid priced’ Red Special guitar concept, which later became the Brian May ‘Super’ guitar. At the meeting were several people who had never met before including some people who were business rivals.
The people were: Brian May, myself, Pete Malandrone, Barry Gibson (Burns UK), Adrian Turner (Adeson pickups UK), and Barry Moorhouse (BMG guitars/House Music UK). I brought with me a Kz Guitar Works produced ‘Kz Junior’ guitar to show Brian and the people at the meeting the quality Red Special guitars that Kazutaka Ijuin was producing in Japan.
At the meeting it was decided that the ‘Brian May Super’ mid priced Red Special guitar project would go ahead and would be made in Japan by Kz Guitar Works, and that all parties would work together to produce a new Brian May endorsed quality Red Special guitar.
In 2007-08 Nigel Knight and I formed a UK based company called Fryer Sound Ltd with the objective to manufacture in UK my Brian May/Fryer treble boosters and other pedals, plus the Brian May Deacy Amp replica that Nigel and I had been developing.
The company started well but unfortunately as time progressed Nigel Knight and I did not see eye to eye on many issues. This disharmony resulted in me resigning from my company in October 2010. From 2011 until 2014 I took a break from the guitar business and worked in another industry.
In 2014 I returned to producing guitar pedals with my newly developed Treble Booster Super and an improved version of the Treble Booster Deluxe pedal.
In 2015 I developed the Mayday overdrive/distortion pedal which was designed to give the full volume Brian May Vox AC30 sound at lower amp volume levels when driven by a treble booster.
In 2018 the blue colour Treble Booster Special pedal was released, as well as new Australian made coloured box versions of the Treble Booster Touring, Treble Booster Super and Treble Booster Deluxe pedals. These products were all handmade by myself.
January 2020 marked the 40th year of my being in the guitar business.
In April 2020 Japanese luthier Kazutaka Ijuin and I formed a joint venture project to co-produce some of the Fryer guitar pedals.
I am continuing to design and hand build guitar effect pedals, and no longer build guitars, amps or do guitar repair work.
All the best,
Suite 10/505 Pittwater Road
Brookvale NSW 2100
Tel: +61 (0)2 9938 3379