01 May An Empty Room, A Big Dream

My First Time in Tone Tailors

John and I were gifted a lovely date to Maison as a Christmas gift from his parents.  While that was, indeed, my first time dining there– I ate friggin’ BONE MARROW and it was fabulous, not to mention the rabbit-Parmesan-pasta-whatever incredible delicacy I had as my main dish– but that’s not the ‘first time’ I’m talking about in this story.  On the way home from our date, wine-drunk and satisfied, John asked if I wanted to head to 213 W King St, which was the first time I would set foot in what would be his first business, Tone Tailors.

It was around 10 o’clock and John unlocked the door with a certain amount of drama, in true-LeClair fashion. He went in and turned on all the lights, revealing a massive space, high ceiling and a vast emptiness that seemed to swallow us whole.  The potential. The possibilities. He showed me the front room, where he intended to build his workbench, the ultimate workbench, after having to occupy not nearly enough space at his last guitar-tech gig. He and his good buddy Stevie B, a master craftsman, would eventually build the most incredible bench, out of the least likely materials, to complete the industrial but classic design throughout the store. Despite sloped floors and many splinters, they nailed it (pun intended, heh heh) and the bench alone is worth a gander for the appreciation of the skilled hands that created it.

We walked into the back room and imagined new paint colors, guitars lining the empty walls, and the sounds from the players that would come for the love of tone. These players would come to appease their obsession with gear and guitars and the perfect combination of pedals, tubes and speakers (all the things I know very little about,) but John and his partner, JohnPaul Painton, both have encyclopediatic knowledge of. They had three months to fix up and outfit the store to make it happen, and the pressure was on but the optimism was high.  In fact, knowing John for the three years we have been together, I have never seen him possess a more relaxed or positive outlook, even with the extraordinary risk we all were taking.

And so, that night, we celebrated the future of Tone Tailors, the bliss and risks of the journey we were on, and the daydreams of what John and JP were imagining and would manifest as their ultimate reality; bringing an independent music store to a city which valued music, creating a space to welcome musicians into a fold of deep respect for carefully crafting tone, and envisioning the ripple effect their contribution to revitalizing King Street could have for the city at-large.

Have you been there, yet? Cuz it’s gonna blow you away. Ok, so that was a pun if you are a saxophone player and they do not carry saxophones. Nonetheless. You still could drop by and celebrate the evolution of the musical culture in our beloved Lancaster City, support local business and find something to make the world sound a little bit more beautiful.



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