The L.A. guitar shop that reinvented indie folk
In 2010, a photographer named Reuben Cox moved to Los Angeles to start Old Style Guitar Shop. In the years since, the instruments that he continues to repair and sell have come to define the sound of the LA indie folk scene among artists like Blake Mills, Andrew Bird, Madison Cunningham, Ethan Gruska and Phoebe Bridgers.
Reuben’s guitars are Frankenstein-esque creations, cobbled together from spare parts and neglected guitar bodies found in flea markets and estate sales. The sounds that these make, though, are as eccentric as their source: the strings are laid on top of Reuben’s signature, a rubber bridge.
This sound, and the mythos of the rubber bridge guitar, has turned Reuben into a local celebrity and put Old Style at the center of Los Angeles’s indie music scene. In this episode of Switched on Pop, host Charlie Harding explores that sound and the man behind it all.
Songs Discussed (playlist)
- Taylor Swift - champagne problems
- Olivia Rodrigo - hope ur ok
- boygenius - Emily I’m Sorry
- Jenny Owen Youngs - Vampire Weeknight
- Andrew Bird - The New Saint Jude
- Marcus Mumford - Only Child
- Perfume Genius - Slip Away
- Andrew Bird - Underlands
- Madison Cunningham - Anywhere
- Madison Cunningham - Life According to Raechel
- Phoebe Bridgers - Garden Song
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