Jim Fleeting gave up the security of a steady IT job, the dream of a London house and new car,instead throwing his energy – and his savings – into a new career making bespoke guitars.


Most of us just dream about giving up the day job to pursue our passion – but Jim Fleeting actually did it. “I’d been working in IT for seven years, eight hours a day and thought I couldn’t spend the rest of my life doing something I had begun to find tedious,” says Jim, who is now a luthier (a maker or repairer of string instruments).

 “So at 28 I jacked in my job – got my wife to quit hers too – and we left Stoke Newington and jetted off to America where we explored and toured and I studied at the prestigious Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Arizona.

“We’d been saving like mad to buy a property in London but still couldn’t afford one and used that cash to keep us going. When we returned, we still had enough to put down on a property in Yorkshire…That’s how expensive London houses are.”

So what inspired him to make guitars?. “My first ambition was to be a rock star: I played bass when I was younger, touring all over London and playing in clubs like the 100 Club and Ronnie Scott’s. But when I enrolled on a guitar making course at Merton College I knew from my first lesson that this is was it – what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

“I suppose I could have continued with my career in IT, made money and ended up with a nice car and the house and the holidays. But instead, I decided to do something that really made me happy and when I am working the hours just fly by.

“I never wanted to make the same guitars that everyone else makes – so everything is to order, although no job is too small. I also restring and recondition old violins.

“But making a bespoke guitar is something really special and nothing can beat being in an auditorium with a guy on stage rocking away on a guitar you’ve built. That’s just an amazing feeling.”