A new start after 60: I quit drinking and learned to make guitars | Craft

When Paul Edwards left school at 15, he headed to the careers office in Salford, Greater Manchester, to speak to the man behind the glass hatch. The careers officer riffled through his little box of cards, and pulled out two. One card advertised a vacancy for a violin-maker’s apprentice; the other for a precision grinder, which is paid twice as much. Edwards’ mother told him there was no choice. He became a precision grinder.

He must have thought about this fork in the road many times since, because two years ago, at 62, he built a guitar. “And the first thing I thought was: Why didn’t I do this when I left school?”

Instead, he hopped from place to place, following work or girlfriends. “I never really had a career path,” he says. He had worked from the age of 12, painting ships alongside his father in the docks at Old Trafford. “You grow up fast when you’re the oldest of six boys.”

Edwards’ childhood home was full of music. “My mum was singing all the time. I can still hear her now. ‘One day my prince will come … ‘ The radio was always on. We had records.” At 13, Edwards saved his wages and bought a £50 bass on hire-purchase. “It was red, shiny and beautiful.”

He had always been good with his hands, so when the precision grinding didn’t work out, he got a job as a stagehand at the Davenport theater in Stockport – his

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