PAUL BRETT- Author of Finding Fretless
In his final year at school, Paul aged 15 wrote to the music press seeking an interview as part of his sociology paper on “Pop Music and its impact today” using the Paul McCartney quote "Pop music is the classical music of now” as part of his studies. An interview was secured with Record Mirror editor Alf Martin and a young journalist called Paula Yates who had a column called “Natural Blonde” joining shortly after posing for Penthouse Magazine, slightly intimidating for a fresh faced teenager, especially when Paula invited Paul out that evening to a Gary Numan gig! It was the release of Gary’s first solo chart topping album ‘The Pleasure Principle’.
Joining the Royal Navy a year later, as a Radio Operator in 1980, Paul served on a number of ships, notably HMS Naiad, a Leander class anti submarine frigate that Paul served on during the Falkland Island conflict, although he didn’t see active service during the conflict as the ship was sent to the Mediterranean on NATO duties, he subsequently spent six months down the South Atlantic shortly after the Islands were liberated by British forces. He spent a number of years bouncing around the wild North Sea with the fishery protection squadron, on HMS Alderney, protecting Britain's costal waters and off shore installations. Taking home freshly filleted fish to his local pub, paid for his beer when on leave!
Paul had a chance meeting with the subject of his school project when Beatle Sir Paul McCartney came to ICC Studios in Eastbourne. McCartney was being interviewed over a satellite link that Paul had provided to the USA for a radio phone-in with students. The Paul’s had a brief chat before McCartney left for a pint at a pub called ‘The Bitter End’.
In 2012 Paul, now a seasoned British Telecom project manager, was recognised by the BT Chairman, Sir Michael Rake for his fundraising concept, ‘StarCards’ in aid of London’s iconic Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Over two decades of fundraising and supported by seven British Prime Ministers, one American President (Gerald Ford) and hundreds of Musicians, (including, Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Brian May, Madonna, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, George Benson, Kylie Minogue) Sports legends, Film Stars and Celebrities from around the world have helped Paul raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the charity. There were a few glitzy fundraising parties at the BT Tower, onboard HMS CORNWALL with the Royal Navy and with Richard Branson at the Kensington Roof Gardens along the way.
In 2019 Paul approached Ray Russell to sign for his charity and a friendship was bonded over charity work and a mutual appreciation for music. After Ray posted a photo of the Bartell Fretless guitar on facebook as a birthday memorial for his friend and colleague George Harrison, curiosity over the history of the guitar intrigued Paul, who after a period of intensive research uncovered the incredible history of an amazing guitar, a forgotten company and links to the origins of the electric guitar. With support and encouragement from Ray, he began unveiling the Bartell mystery.
Organologist, Researcher and Music History Writer
In March 2020 Paul was invited to join his friend Ray Russell on the BBC Antique Roadshow and later in December 2020 was interviewed by Fiona Bruce on the BBC 1 Antique Roadshow What Happened Next.
He also appeared on BBC South East Today as a researcher after the global news response to the Antiques Road Show appraisal.
Paul was delighted to sign a publishing deal with respected publishers 'This Day In Music Books' Finding Fretless will now reveal his research so far, into the Bartell company and the mysteries of their Fretless model and much more.