I arrived in Russia in September, and I got the gear off the ship which was no small task. I met the pastor whom I had been corresponding with via email. He introduced me to the missionary, Mr. Crosby, who started the St. Petersburg church. I discovered that Mr. Crosby was holding a conference in St. Petersburg on October 4th for many little churches throughout Russia. I remember the date because it is my birthday. I was able to attend the conference and found out that some of the churches had written letters to Mr. Crosby in previous years expressing a need for guitars and accessories. I ended up giving half of the guitar equipment to the St. Petersburg church and half to the little churches that had been fervently praying for years that God would provide them with musical gear. Before I left Russia, I had a talk with Mr. Crosby, and I told him I was suppose to start a guitar company. He asked me if I had ever built a guitar, and I said no. He laughed, but while in St. Petersburg, I felt that my guitar word from God was not over yet. I knew this like my own name. I still felt like giving guitars away but not guitars associated with alcohol and drug addiction, darkness, and death. I ain't no angel and at this time, I was struggling with my own alcoholism and many other issues. While my Russian mission was over, my new guitar passion was just beginning.
Goldfish Guitars Founder and CEO, Timothy Harrington
How Goldfish Guitars Began
The Russia Story
In May 2001, I was working as an engineer on a ship stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. One day after eating lunch, I had a very strong impression or word in my mind as I was returning to my room on the ship. I heard the word "guitars," and it permeated my whole being. The impression nearly threw me across the passageway. I did not know what to do with this experience, but I knew I had to do something. So I went to the local Guitar Center which was having a blowout sale and purchased approximately 15 guitars. I stored these guitars in my room and figured that the guitars were supposed to go to a Russian church I once attended. I had been to St. Petersburg in 1999 on a ship and attended a Sunday church service there. The church's musical instruments were junk, and I was angered by this at the time. When this Russian church came to mind after buying the guitars, I called several churches I knew to help me find the Russian church as I had forgotten its name and exact location. I also asked for help in delivering the guitars. No church would help me or even give me the time of day. Then, I called my mother in Maine and told her about my impressions. Somehow, my mom knew someone in Maine who knew someone in Oklahoma who knew about the St. Petersburg church. I was able to communicate with the Russian church and purchased more musical gear for them. I tried to make plans to transport the instruments to Russia, but nothing worked out.
In June, my ship sailed from Norfolk to New Orleans where it was to be stationed for awhile. I had plans to stay on this ship in New Orleans where I owned a home, but I got into a rather nasty argument with the crazy chief engineer, and I quit late in July. Now, what was I going to do? First, I had a roomful of musical gear; second, I had to move it all off the ship; and third, how was I going to get it to Russia? I am in a maritime union so the first thing I did was go to the New Orleans union hall to register my union shipping card. When I arrived, there were no jobs posted on the job board. I left to do some more union business, and when I got back, there was one job listed on the board- a second engineer's job out of New Orleans to St. Petersburg, Russia. I about flipped! Needless to say, I took the job in awe of God for providing free transportation for the guitars and paying me to get them there.
Goldfish Guitars, a Texas corporation in 2002
In the final months of 2001, I began doodling guitar designs in preparation for beginning my guitar company. Thinking about real fish and the Christian fish symbol found on the backs of cars, I refined my designs. Along with my sketching, I taught myself Autocad, Photoshop, and Illustrator over many months and bought a milling machine for prototypes. I also learned how to trademark and patent my logos and designs. During this process, I met a computer genius who built the first Goldfish website for me. Finally, late in 2002, I incorporated, and Goldfish Guitars was born.
Since then, I have continued to design and have focused my attention on my kids guitars. The guitar business is highly competitive, but unique quality kids guitars are scarce. I feel I have found my niche for now. I focus on quality and playability in each instrument I design.
I have had many ups and downs with Goldfish Guitars, but I keep the faith. My company is my passion. I hope you enjoy your Goldfish Guitar! Click here for a Pirate Story. Click here for another amazing Fish story.