GAK: Helping you find your sound for 30 years…


The Brighton Institution that is GAK (Guitar, Amp and Keyboard Centre) will be celebrating its 30th birthday this year and, to mark the occasion, there are several new, exciting initiatives they’ll be delivering to the music loving community over the coming months….

You might know GAK from its iconic and striking red and yellow facade on North Road – well, that’s changing too, with a full rebrand of the emporium and website (website is live now, emporium to follow in the near future).

GAK MD, Max Mckellar, said “We’re very excited about celebrating 30 years of GAK and the opportunities that it brings to engage with the music loving community of the city. GAK exists to support and partner with the music lovers and learners community, bringing Brighton music culture to its customers and providing competitively priced, high quality instruments to beginners, seasoned players and professional musicians, in-store and online. Our 30th year in business means we can celebrate that with GAK customers both old and new.”

GAK started life in a market stall 30 years ago with Founder Gary Marshall selling mostly second hand guitars, amps and effects to budding local musicians. The interest built from there to a point where the company was formed and moved into its present site on North Road in the North Laines. It has expanded over the years, taking over two other sites next to its original store. Gary stepped back from the day to day running of the business in 2016 appointing Max McKellar and Ian Stephens as joint MDs. Following a management buy out in 2021, Gary stepped back further but remains a minority shareholder with Max as sole MD and Ian driving offline sales and education growth.

Max added “What Gary built up was truly phenomenal and we’re so grateful to him for providing the personality and character that still lives on at GAK today. We welcome everyone into the refreshed GAK emporium, from new players, bedroom producers, gigging bands and DJs to professionals and collectors – and everyone in between. We’re an inclusive brand that’s looking to branch out even more into our community to reach the next generation of musicians – wherever they may live.”

To celebrate their first 30 years, GAK are looking to launch a variety of events, including a new unsigned band night under the banner: ‘Loop, Bands Born in Brighton’ which aims to gives a voice and a stage to local unsigned bands across the city. There will also be industry talks in-store, ‘GAK Sessions’ studio and live events with bands from across the world, continuing to work closely with local music colleges Water Bear and BIMM and local community projects in the more marginalised areas of the city.

“We want to spread the musical love across Brighton and beyond and really celebrate our roots.Yes, we’re an international brand online, but we love living here and what it’s brought to the brand. Brighton is where GAK was born and we believe that our personality is perfectly aligned with the character of the city.

The ‘Loop: Bands Born in Brighton’ band nights are a perfect opportunity for young, local talent to showcase their musical ability. We want to support that energy and drive and to give people a platform to be heard. It’s really exciting. I started working with Gary just a few years after the first shop was set up so I’ve seen it all. Here’s to the next 30 years!” Max finished.


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