12 Guitars – It’s a Harmony Thing

Posted: 28 March 2022, in News

After two and a half fabulous years based in a London bus at the Glasgow Caring City Warehouse on Govan Road – making guitar playing accessible to young people and adults in the community – 12 Guitars moved a short distance in November to new premises at the Govan Workspace at 6 Harmony Row. 

We started our journey in Govan in 2019 and it was important to us to remain part of this fabulous community where social enterprises and charities work closely with local groups and people. There is a very collaborative spirit in Govan which sits comfortably with our ethos.

It was fitting that we recently learned that the legendary Jack Bruce of Cream made an album in 1971 entitled Harmony Row, which was inspired by the street which was the largest unbroken house row in Europe at the time, stretching for over a mile. It seems appropriate to be continuing a guitar-based musical legacy on the same street 50 years later.

Our community-based programmes continue to expand with new groups underway in Stirling and Falkirk and two more starting this Spring in Haddington and Hamilton.

We are supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust and their ambitions for providing music therapy as a core activity to their young patients. The UK music charity ‘Music for All’ kindly donated a number of very high-quality guitars to 12 Guitars for us to distribute to worthy causes. Our programme started with donations of guitars to the Beatson in Glasgow, followed with guitars provided to units in Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness. These will be closely followed by donations of guitars to units in England and Wales.

Like everyone else, we learned a lot during Lockdown, including the need to provide our services remotely. We wanted to be able to give a rich, engaging, learning experience regardless of location that went beyond a Zoom session. We researched the market globally and with the help of an Adapt and Thrive Grant, we have put in place our own Online Learning Platform that hits the mark. Steve and Liam and have been busy in recent months populating the platform with content. 

This is a huge development for us and enables us to deliver tuition using live sessions with no Latency, High Sound Quality and a Musical Whiteboard and it broadens our geographic reach. Groups and Individuals can have their own private area and our tutors can engage regularly and monitor progress in addition to delivering live classes. 16 young people at St Francis Xavier’s Primary School in Falkirk are helping us road-test the platform before the full launch.

Re-cycling guitars is at the core of what we do. We were therefore delighted when we launched a partnership with WEEE Solutions Ltd last year to put discarded guitars they collect to good use in the community. WEEE rescue guitars that are discarded in the waste collection process and give them to us. We then repair and refurbish these guitars and put them to use in the community. This programme has given us the opportunity to give a young apprentice guitar technician the chance to learn guitar repair and maintenance skills under the guidance of our Technical Director Ken Morton who has been building and repairing guitars for 40 years.

Spring has arrived and so has our Spring Programme. This kicks off on Tuesday March 29th with the re-start of our Waterfront Nights programme of FREE Guitar Tuition and Playing at Harmony Row. This season we have separate sessions for absolute beginners and Intermediate / Experienced Players.

It’s time once again to make some noise.

Steve Plummer, Co-Founder, 12 Guitars