Switched On Pop | The L.A. guitar shop that reinvented indie folk
A podcast breaking down the music of pop hits.
Switched On Pop
Published 07 February 2023
Reuben Cox / Old Style Guitar Shop

Pop music surrounds us, but how often do we really listen to what we’re hearing? Switched on Pop is the podcast that pulls back the curtain on pop music. Each episode, join musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding as they reveal the secret formulas that make pop songs so infectious. By figuring out how pop hits work their magic, you’ll fall in love with songs you didn’t even know you liked.

In 2010, a photographer named Reuben Cox moved to Los Angeles to start Old Style Guitar Shop. In the years since, the instruments that he continues to repair and sell have come to define the sound of the LA indie folk scene among artists like Blake Mills, Andrew Bird, Madison Cunningham, Ethan Gruska and Phoebe Bridgers.

Reuben’s guitars are Frankenstein-esque creations, cobbled together from spare parts and neglected guitar bodies found in flea markets and estate sales. The sounds that these make, though, are as eccentric as their source: the strings are laid on top of Reuben’s signature, a rubber bridge.

This sound, and the mythos of the rubber bridge guitar, has turned Reuben into a local celebrity and put Old Style at the center of Los Angeles’s indie music scene. In this episode of Switched On Pop, host Charlie Harding explores that sound and the man behind it all.

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