Reuben Cox, the LA luthier and owner of “America’s second best guitar shop” Old Style, is the subject of a new documentary, Really Good Rejects.
The film is directed by Alice Gu and premiered at Austin’s SXSW festival on Sunday (March 13). It tells the story of how Cox got his start making guitars from old furniture, through to the development of the distinctive rubber bridge instruments that made his name and the establishing of his Old Style guitar store in Silverlake.
Alongside Cox and his wife Miwa Okumura, there are interviews with an extensive list of musicians, which run the gamut from Jackson Browne to Jim James, Aaron Dessner, Phoebe Bridgers, Carrie Brownstein and Jeff Tweedy.
As mentioned, Cox is renowned among musicians for the unique sound of his builds, which – as Orla Gartland explained to us last year – are often based on retro-fitting once-maligned vintage models from the likes of Kay and Silvertone with rubber bridges and piezo outputs.
The resulting tone is uniquely thick and yet still resonant. His sought-after builds have appeared all over the recordings of indie’s great and good and featured heavily on Taylor Swift’s Folklore record.
As Deadline’s Anna Smith observed in her recent write-up of Really Good Rejects: “The double meaning of the title becomes clear: not only does Cox make guitars out of vintage flea market instruments; but those who play them often felt like outsiders – talented folks who didn’t fit a conventional mold.”