Curvy Sounds is one of the leading independent music instrument shops in Newcastle. Although they specialise in guitars – both electric and acoustic – they offer a range of different new and pre-owned instruments and accessories as well as guitar repairs and customisation.
Co-owner of Curvy sounds, Jessie Mills, said: “When we found our little shop on Heaton Hall Road run down but up for rent, with its beautiful old-fashioned windows and Mr. Ben style atmosphere, we fell in love with it – and in September 2012 we moved in. Andrew scraped the Mushrooms oﬀ the ceiling and designed and made the booth for repairing guitars in the centre of the shop. We decorated and opened up on the 1st of December 2012”.
As a husband and wife team, they set out to challenge the elitist nature that they found in many music shops by creating a shop that was inclusive to everyone – regardless of their musical abilities. Jessie said they wanted: “A shop that would cater for all budgets and would encourage people to pick up an instrument and give it a try”.
The pair are both passionate about music and have been since a young age, with Andrew restoring guitars since his teens and being inspired by Kate Bush, and Jessie developing a love for Nina Simone.
When asked what the public can expect from the shop, Jessie noted: “expect the unexpected – we love the unusual, the rare and the quirky”. The pair: “love interesting vintage guitars and are obsessed with Japanese guitars from the 60s and 70s -Teiscos in particular”.
The shop’s pièce de résistance is their expansive string section. They sell traditional orchestral instruments and an array of new and second-hand guitars and basses in addition to ukuleles, banjos, and mandolins and all the accessories you could need to go with them. The team at Curvy Sounds also provide repair services for stringed instruments, encouraging people to bring in their damaged instruments to see what can be done, no matter how bad the wreckage.
Shop co-owner, Andrew Mills, once resurrected a friend’s guitar back to full health after it had been run over by a car which went on to inspire him to fix guitars professionally.
Jessie Mills encourages people to buy second-hand guitars. She says that: “it is a crime to let guitars go into land ﬁll; it is our personal mission to save and restore as many as we can”. She finds that: “a second-hand guitar is full of character” while “a lot of the big-name brands of guitar seem to be churning them out so fast they are thinking more of proﬁt than quality”.
Curvy Sounds also boasts a selection of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments as well as a range of unique Fairtrade instruments from around the world.
In the first few years of starting their business, Curvy Sounds held small gigs but, as their stock grew, they found that there was no more room to hold them. This March, however, Curvy Sounds are teaming up with the owners of Pole Star recording studio and practice rooms for (what they hope to be the first of many) a gig at The Cluny 2 to continue promoting the local talent of the North East as they did before. Jessie says they are still working on the lineup for the gig but feels privileged that her and Andrew get: “to meet so many musicians of such talent and in such a wide diversity of styles and approach”.
You can find Curvy Sounds at 31 Heaton Hall Drive in Heaton, Newcastle.They are open from 9:30am until 5:30pm from Tuesday to Saturday and are closed Sundays and Mondays.