Shop Spotlight: Sound Affects Premier in Ormskirk

Based in Ormskirk, near Liverpool, Sound Affects Premier was first opened in 2008 and has since become a destination store for guitar players all across the UK. The shop features an array of Fenders, Paul Reed Smiths, Martins, Taylors, and other new and used electrics and acoustics, as well as handbuilt boutique instruments like the metal-topped creations of James Trussart.

With such a selection, Sound Affects Premier has grown steadily since its founding in 2008. We invited director Andy Wright to tell us about the origins of the shop and some of the coolest guitars that have graced their walls.

Keep reading below to hear straight from Wright. For more information about Sound Affects Premier, check out their website or their Reverb Shop.

Sound Affects was first opened by Managing Director Tim Lobley. Music and guitars have always been a huge part of Tim’s life, and the opportunity arose to take over then Music Mania in his hometown of Ormskirk, Lancashire in the UK. Gradually, his private collection of guitars eventually turned into a guitar shop. Since then, the shop has gone from strength-to-strength and has developed from a single room in the town centre to a multi-storey, multi-themed store for high-end electric and acoustic brands and quality pre-owned rare and vintage instruments by builders the world over.

We provide a wide offering of high-quality instruments for every stop of a player’s musical journey. Whether the customer is looking for a first electric guitar for their son or daughter, or is spec-ing up their very own PRS Private Stock, we dedicate time and attention to allow the individual to obtain gear that is just right for them—and we have a right laugh doing it, as well.

We have customers who have come to us for their first guitar one year, their "big upgrade" the following year, and then discovered their own sound, style, and personal taste for instruments and gear in the years that follow, and we believe that we’re able to be a one-stop store for them as they progress.

We have six rooms. The first room that you walk in to is what we call the "Main Room." This room stretches out to guitars covering each spotlighted wall and is complete with our main solid-wood trade counter, which made the long trip to us from an old plumber’s merchants store in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the centre of the Main Room lies our giant rug, and a red leather Chesterfield couch that has now played part to countless meetings with customers, sales reps, and general chitter-chatter with the non-guitarists of a family who is visiting our store.

Wandering down the hall, you then have on your left our Fender American Diner, complete with pink Fender Custom Shop Petrol Pump and full-to-busting with all manner of Fenders from Modern Players to Custom Shop models. On your right, you will walk in to our dedicated pedal room, where the walls are completely covered in metal boxes of all shapes and sizes in a whole spectrum of colours that will produce all sorts of sounds when plugged in.

You would expect the "Pedal Room" to be our most colourful room in-store, but it actually comes in second place next to the neighbouring space being our "PRS Room." Here, from wall-to-wall we have Custom 24s, Custom 22s, 408s, 509s, 594s, McCarties, Tremontis, Santanas, Angeles, and Private Stocks right across the PRS colour pallet. We have had a close relationship with PRS for years and have become one of the main stockists for these incredible guitars in the UK.

We’re situated about 20 minutes away from Liverpool City Centre, which immediately has a tie-in with The Beatles and other Merseybeat bands from the 1960s. To that end, we have a "Cavern Club" room, complete with a brickwork archway. This room houses our extensive selection of Rickenbackers, Gretches and Hofners—it’s a proper portal in to the '60s.

If electrics are not your bag, then fear not—we have a whole "Acoustic Guitar Wild West Saloon" for you to take a look at as well. We stock the full range of Martins and Taylors, as well as all kinds from the likes of Faith and PRS, in addition to all kinds of pre-owned gems.

[The standout of the shop is] three PRS Dragons, including a Double Neck, under one roof at the same time. We believe it was first time for that to ever happen, and Guitarist Magazine very kindly did a great piece on it in 2017. To see the intricacy of the inlays on these guitars in the flesh really is an experience, and we’re very appreciative that not every guitarist will get the chance to see one of these instruments in person—let alone three of them!

Other very cool guitars that we have had in the store includes a Gibson Artist Proof Billy Gibbons Pearly Gates Les Paul, the PRS Super Eagle I and II, and an original ’62 Fender Stratocaster, which had been refinished and refretted, but in Olympic White with Jumbo Stainless Steel frets—sacrilege to a hard-line collector but, honestly, it played like a dream, and sounded incredible as the pickups were the originals.

With a a shop full of guitars, amp and pedals from major manufacturers, it could be easy for boutique brands to be forgotten, but Sound Affects Premier also has a huge range of products from smaller companies available.

We always get so excited to see what Chase Bliss Audio are releasing. Chase Bliss have always been an important brand to us and we love how different and clever their pedals really are. We were the first dealer in the UK to hold their stock, and it’s great to see how popular their brand is becoming. We’re always poised for new releases by them.

On the guitar front, we’re currently going crazy for anything by James Trussart. The design of his guitars is exceptional, and they offer something very different for players who’d like something that's a bit unusual. Their design is incredibly functional as well—we signed for a Steelcaster Standard the other week that has a metal body, and when you strum it, the guitar just rings… and rings… and rings.

We deal with a lot of boutique pedal brands as well and have just had UK-based Origin Effects arrive in to our stock, and we were completely bowled over by their attention to detail before even plugging the pedals in. The pedals themselves are incredibly neatly put together down to the reassuringly heavy-brushed metal control dials on the top of the pedal. Whilst they don’t do as large an offering as some other brands who dabble in a bit of everything, from distortion to reverb to modulation to compression, Origin are truly exceptional at what they do produce. When I first heard a customer plugged in to the RevivalDRIVE Custom in-store, it sounded like he was playing during a sound check at an arena.

Being based between Liverpool and Manchester in the UK, we are not short of keen musicians, and some of the talent from guitarists who visits us can be truly surprising. Some of the best players we’ve heard are teachers or taxi drivers, which really shows how big music and guitar-playing is for some people.

I’ve noticed that a lot of players are moving over to the jazz fusion side of things and want to put this in their playing, regardless of their genre that they tend to play. I think that this has come from it being a prominent style from tutorial video services online and the prominence and popularity of fusion players like Guthrie Govan and Greg Howe. We’re also yet to run in to a customer who doesn’t like John Mayer’s playing, so he comes up in conversation a lot with customers as well.

In terms of gear, this keeps on changing as people’s interests change and their horizons expand, but these days we’re certainly not short for choice of great brands and gear and we will probably find that that choice keeps growing as time goes on.

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