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About Us

Pratley is a design focused manufacturer of quality musical instruments based on the Gold Coast of Australia.

Our aim is to produce world class instruments with unique design and character while maintaining a classic appeal that will endure.
Martin Pratley started designing original acoustic guitars at the age of 19. With a wealth of knowledge in fine woodworking passed on from his father, he moved to the city of Brisbane Australia (1999) where he undertook a 4 year Bachelor Degree in Industrial Design and Technology Education. This time was spent studying, designing and playing as much guitar as possible.
Once his degree was completed (2002) Martin moved back to the southern Gold Coast of Australia to be close to the beaches and surf where he grew up. Two long years followed with Teaching in the day and manual labour at night just to raise the capital to begin.
2004 was the official start of Pratley Guitars. There had already been years of custom Stomp Boxes and Guitars but this was now the step forward into manufacturing and sales through dealers.
(Guitar Set-up benches)
2005 brought about the design and production of the first Pratley Cajon’s. The proprietary On/Off snare design has proven its brilliant simplicity to this day. Pratley Cajon’s have made their place as one of the leaders worldwide.
 
(A corner of the Pratley factory - 2011 | Martin Pratley & Nathan Durrant)
 
By 2008 Pratley Stomp Boxes and Cajon’s were taken on by Billy Hyde Music, the largest retail chain in Australia at the time.
In the years from 2009 to 2014 Pratley products became common place in the Australian music scene. Pratley instruments were being supplied to around 50 stores across Australia at this time.

A meeting with the Allan’s Billy Hyde purchasing team at their Melbourne headquarters in 2011 was supposed to be the beginning of national sales for Pratley electric guitars. A large amount of capital was spent on guitar manufacturing infrastructure to meet the demand. In mid 2012, with the first 50 high-end electric guitars 2 weeks from delivery a news report on the radio delivered the devastating news that Allan’s Billy Hyde was bankrupt and in receivership. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) had finally taken its toll.

 

(Martin & Nathan Pratley Sanding Guitars - 2012)
At this point, employees were let go and the nearly 200sq/M factory was replaced with a 1-man workshop. Martin had just finished building his first house and had to take on two extra jobs (nights and weekends) to protect his young family.

 

Over the next few years Martin would enter into negotiations with Guitar Center (USA), H.P. Wilfer of Warwick/Framus (Germany) and Japanese distributors. The financial climate was still not good, and most companies were reducing their stock lines. Even though these almost deals did not pan out it was the support of Australia’s John Butler that helped keep the hope alive. John was using the Pratley Compact Stomp Box and featured it in one of his video’s.

 By 2016 Martin thought about releasing one of his many inventions using crowdfunding. The P-LINK (Pickup Link) pickup ring was launched with an unexpectedly amazing response. Every major guitar magazine and Website reported on it and the promo video did nearly 500,000 views in the first 3 weeks. All this exposure however would not convert into enough crowdfunding sales and the project was put back on the shelf.

In 2017 after the amazing response to the Pratley P-LINK, Martin leased a new factory and began working like a mad man to regain the market share that the Pratley brand had enjoyed before the Global Financial Crisis. This new phase was helped along considerably with the inclusion of Martins long-time friend Bill Sawden. Bill’s pragmatic approach and solid work ethic really complimented Martin. Within 6 months Pratley instruments were back to volume production with a rejuvenated national presence.

 

To start 2018 with a bang, ‘The Australian Guitar Magazine’ requested a Pratley Pro DLX electric guitar to feature on the cover of the January edition.

2018 has also seen new developments in Pratley stomp pickup technology. This placed Pratley back in prime position as one of the original inventers of the modern stomp box.

The Pratley company has also welcomed Ash Gunwald to the family.

Martin has always followed Ash’s carrier. This collaboration is a great fit with Music and Surf at the centre.

2018 keeps getting better and better now, with one of the biggest deals yet.

 

Long & McQuade

will be importing and selling Pratley products across all of Canada.

More news for the rest of North America coming soon.