Brian Cleary


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Job Title
Managing Director / Owner
Company Name
Barnes & Mullins

Brian Cleary, managing director and owner of the renowned music company Barnes & Mullins, embarked on his musical journey as a self-taught guitarist. His expertise expanded while assisting a violin maker, honing his craft in instrument making. By night, he graced pub stages with his guitar skills, while by day, he meticulously crafted chin rests for violins— immersing himself in the business of instrument craftsmanship. In 2002, he seized an opportunity to create his own guitar line while working on budget-friendly acoustic guitars for Barnes & Mullins’ Brunswick brand. This endeavor marked the genesis of Faith Guitars, which has since flourished under his guidance. Collaborating with renowned luthier Patrick James Eggle in 2005 propelled Faith Guitars to new heights, culminating in a diverse portfolio of instruments acclaimed for their sound quality. During his NAMM interview, Brian shared the story of the founders of Barnes & Mullins and a recent discovery in the ruins of a shipwreck that shed new light on the company’s early years.