Pratley is a design focused manufacturer of quality musical instruments based on the Gold Coast of Australia.
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.
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 also saw 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 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. In 2018 Long & McQuade started importing and selling Pratley products across all of Canada.
In 2019 Martin built the first “Sirens of The Sea” custom acoustic guitar for actor Ray Stevenson. This was a spectacular guitar with a Mother of Pearl Mermaid inlaid down the fretboard. Martin also did some repair work for actor Jason Mamoa. In Mid 2019 Pratley Guitars bought a new factory and moved in the June/July. In late 2019 Facebook contacted Martin to work on a small business marketing campaign for that Christmas. This was an unusual experience for Martin, getting flow to Sydney for filming and photos shoots at the famous fox studio’s and Canberra to attend an event at Parliament House.
2019 had been a great year and the growth of Pratley Guitars was amazing in this time. Finally to end 2019, Warner Bros asked Martin to make replica guitars for the new ELVIS movie by Baz Luhrmann.
The COVID-19 pandemic came, and Martin repurposed the factory to make medical equipment. The decision was made before anyone new what would happen. In the end it turned out that a lot of people bought guitars that year and the change was not necessary.
The new Pratley factory was converted back to a guitar factory and in Late January production of acoustic guitars started.
2021 was a great year with over 20 new dealers across Australia. New Artists including Josh Teskey (of the Teskey Brothers), Jack Carty and Steph Strings.
The expansion of the acoustic guitar line up, including the Josh Teskey Signature model. 2022 has brought more Australian dealers and negotiations start for distribution to NZ, USA and Canada.