Image of Trevor Black at String 'em Up Guitar Repairs.'

About Trevor Black

Music fan. Musician. Repairman. Proprietor.

I am a music fan first, a musician, then repairman. I found music pretty young. I was six or seven years old when I started listening to the great 70s radio stations of the day.

My extended exposure to music came though television shows like The Midnight Special or Don Kirshner's Rock Concert and later MuchMusic videos. I actually roadied for a band, The Existers, in 1976 when I was 15 years old, before I learned to play guitar. It was my initiation into the world of guitars. Getting to hold one for first time was a dream come true. It felt like holding fire!

I was 17 before I owned my first guitar. My mom helped me buy a beat up old acoustic with skyscraper action from a neighbourhood kid. I can't remember what happen to that guitar. It was one of many that helped me learn to play.

Like many teenagers, I bounced around not knowing what I wanted it do after I was done with school. Fortunately, at the time, the government had a great program in place that helped young people find possible job placements. They would help you find a business that would take you on for 12 weeks as part of a work study program.

I found a company called Downtown Music. The guitar and luthier repairman, Mike Zimmerman, was a great teacher! His own experience was first rate. He was one of three guys that started The Twelfth Fret Guitarists’ Pro Shop, a premier guitar shop in Toronto. I was crazy interested in learning how guitars worked, so I trained with Mike for three years. During my time at Downtown Music I built two solid bodies from scratch and parts — a Stratocaster-style guitar and a custom p-style bass — both of which have served me well over the years playing live and recording.

After learning many things about guitar repairs and the music business, I ventured into the playing side of music. I joined a cover band in the mid 80s, and toured Ontario. I then tried my hand at playing in original bands for a while, learning to write music and songs on guitar. In the 90s I started bands of my own. Then in 1993 I joined a high-caliber original band called Dogpile for a tour through Europe. It was one of my favourite life experiences.

Moving into the 2000s I worked outside of my field but still in the industry doing lighting, sound and staging for companies that worked for Kool Haus, The Operahouse, SkyDome, Molson Amphitheatre and the Living Arts Centre, among others. All the while, I kept repairing guitars on the side for friends, or friends of friends. I also started a new band called Hellmarys.

In 2009 I decided to get serious about making guitar repairs my business. I built a good work bench in the warehouse space I work and live in. And I took a small business course at the Toronto Business Development Centre, which helped me focus more clearly on how I up the ante!

String’em Up is now on its feet and gaining momentum!