The regional firms with global visions

Pratley guitars in the Australian newspaper

Martin Pratley - Owner of Pratley Guitars

Sweet Music

In South Queensland Martin Pratley is creating unique timbres from native timber.

At his four-person factory in Nerang, on the Gold Coast, they are using Bunya Pine, Queensland Maple Silk and Tasmanian Blackwood to shape their lovingly handcrafted acoustic guitars. They are also pioneering the use of Silver Quandong, a sustainable rainforest hardwood. “It’s similar to mahogany but doesn’t look anything like it – it’s a lovely white, cream white colour,” Pratley says. “It gives out warmer and more articulate tones.”

Guitar making has been a labour of love to Pratley for over 20 years. He spent his youth in the wood shop with his father, a carpenter, before going into industrial design at university. An avid surfer and camper, he pioneered a guitar that packs down by removing the neck and earned a degree of fame for his invention. 

He parlayed that into an electric guitar business supplying local rock bands and while on the circuit jamming with acts, stumbled upon another innovation. Favoured by blues musician and buskers, the stomp box allows the guitarist to replicate a drumbeat with a tap of a foot pedal, and Pratley’s version earned a cult following.


Pratley guitars and ash grunwald

(Blues man Ash Grunwald with his signature model Pratley Guitar)


He knows that because his Facebook and Instagram pages tell him.

“(Aria winner) Tash Sultana uses one, and I found out because someone tagged me in their video of her playing; a session musician in the US who plays for Ed Sheeran has posted himself using it; I’ve even been tagged in a post by a Uruguayan busker – God knows where he got one from!” Pratley says.

Pratley’s range of acoustic guitars are embedded in a music ecosystem that communicates via social media. Renowned Australian blues musician Ash Grunwald started using the guitars after his manager commented on a Pratley Guitar Instagram post, and seven-ARIA nominated act The Teskey Brothers are also fans on social media. “I’m hoping they’ll play my guitars at the awards,” Pratley says.

In a world where artists are influencers, it’s money-can’t-buy branding.

“These guitars are $3,000 each, so it’s a big decision for a potential buyer,” Pratley says. “Sometimes it takes a year or five years to get to know the product. You can be as good as you want at making a guitar but if you don’t have the artists its a hard slog. Seeing a post with an artist with it is an essential tool to get the brand out there.”

And as a small business owner with his hands mostly on the tools, Pratley finds the simplicity of social posts a particular time saver. Via his only Shopify e-commerce store, plugins for Facebook and Instagram allow him to send out marketing messages with directly linked to sales campaigns, while he communicates with customers all over the world via Facebook Messenger.

Pratley Guitars are among the nearly 60 per cent of Australian small businesses (SMB) who use Facebook to connect to customers, according to a report commissioned for Facebook by PWC. The report estimated that 8.2 million Australians purchased a product from a SMB after seeing content on the site. It also found that of the 35 per cent of SMBs who export to foreign markets in 2017, 80 per cent had a Facebook page.

There are direct regional benefits, according the report. In regional Australia in 2017, growing small to medium businesses hired 35,000 new employees generating an estimated $4 billion in additional economic value.

It’s good for business, but importantly for Martin Pratley it leaves more time for doing what he loves.

“When you build a guitar it comes to life,” he says. “It could be Ash Grunwald playing blues or some other amazing acoustic guitarist. It just puts the hairs up on the back of your neck.”


Martin Pratley of Pratley Guitars - Head Luthier



2019 Model Stomp Boxes

At Pratley we our proud to be one of the main inventors of the modern stomp box. We were there at the start.

Yes, there are a number of copies out on the market now but with our experience and depth of knowledge you cant go past our 2019 range of solid tone-wood stomp boxes. Used by many professional artists worldwide, including John Butler, Ash Grunwald and Tash Saltana. 


Pratley Stomp Boxes

Pratley Pro DLX Electric Guitar Review by Australian Guitar Magazine

Full review and independent analysis of the Pratley Pro DLX Guitar by Australian Guitar magazine.

Pratley Guitars-Electric gutiar-pro dlx guitar-Australian made guitars


Founded in 2004 by Martin Pratley and based on the Gold Coast, Pratley Guitars have now been producing top quality, hand-crafted guitars, stomp boxes and Cajons for over a decade. These days, Pratley products can be found onstage and in the studio with the likes of John Butler, Awaken I Am, Dead Letter Circus, and The Mission In Motion. Keep an eye out for their revolutionary new P-Link pickup system, too: a very cool concept that allows you to swap pickups in and out of guitars in a matter of minutes.


Looking at this guitar, it makes you wonder why more luthiers aren’t gravitating towards Australian timbers. The Tasmanian mountain ash used for the neck and body of the guitar is absolutely incredible, especially with the high gloss black burst finish highlighting the timber’s grain. The second you pick it up, it’s also immediately clear that the Pro DLX
is the result of meticulous standards and exacting attention to detail. Even just taking a moment to take in the body shape, you’re struck by how much thought has gone into every aspect of this instrument. While it’s certainly a unique and original design, it manages to achieve what so many non-traditional guitar designs fail to do in that it still looks refined and familiar, and is, most importantly, well balanced and very comfortable to play.


Read the full review here:




John Butler Plays Pratley Stomp Boxes

It's great to see John Butler back in Fremantle busking and celebrating 20 years since he began his career in this very spot.

Featured in John Butlers new video "Searching for Heritage" is our Compact stomp box (SB02-A).

Thanks John for using Pratley stomp boxes, we appreciate your support.



Pratley Artist - Ashley Jackson

Ash Jackson from the band Awaken I Am has been playing our guitars since 2011. He predominantly uses the LT300 and loves the practical aspects of the guitar like its light weight, thin body and super comfortable neck carve. These features combined with the amazing tone of the NG Rosewood and Seymour Duncan passive humbuckers makes for a very well rounded and slick guitar.

The connection you have with the guitar is important and to have it fit well and not weigh you down and cause fatigue is a big thing on stage. Although the Pratley LT300 is a beautiful piece of art it is a real worker of a guitar. It has proven it worth in the studio and on tour over many years.

The LT300 comes standard with the best hardware and components and is made in Australia to be a premium quality instrument.

(Ash Jackson visits the factory in May 2011 to pick up his new LT300)