Known as a luthier of the world-renowned brand Upton Bass String Instrument Company, Gary Upton is reinventing himself to be more than that.
Today, besides a maker of strings, he is an inventor, musician and has worked in a wide range of fields, including music, manufacturing, real estate, politics, charity, health and fitness, jury consulting, public speaking, and conservation. Most of all, Gary has found his true talent in envisioning a better world based on the resources available in it.
Born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, England, Gary moved to America when he was young. He grew up playing double bass, spent most of his early years working in a music shop, and studied music at Western Connecticut State University before opening his own workshop in 1999 to refurbish and sell basses. He dedicated his life to a journey through music.
All of this was worth it when his workshop Upton Bass String Instrument Company, has grown to become a brand recognized for its original quality basses and beloved by Grammy-award-winning musicians and symphonies across the country. Fast forward to today, the company continues to thrive under his direction, with a growing list of elite clients and strict adherence to quality standards that reflect his lifelong love of the instrument. Upton Bass is the only manufacturer of double basses in the United States, with a past retail shop in Boston, a workshop in historic Mystic, Connecticut since 2004, and a new showroom that opened recently in New York City.
Because of his innate talent in designing and reinventing, he has also explored and spent his time designing new ways to bridge the gap between what exists and what could be. For him, his passion led him to look for ways to make the world a better place through what is in front of him. “I look at resources, needs, the local community and try to invent something that connects the resources,” Gary shares.
Since then, it has been his priority to invest in the local community. He has been the luthier chair for the International Society of Bassists, on the board for his local symphony. He now serves as the current chairman of East Line Inland Wetlands, an agency that protects local resources from potentially hazardous development. He has also given lectures on innovation and entrepreneurial vision at colleges, including the Rhode Island School of Design. He hopes to mentor a younger generation in navigating the local political landscape.
Gary is currently working on a book about the intersection of innovation and business. It is told through the story of one of his inventions – a double bass that can be disassembled to fit in a suitcase.
Despite the many things he has accomplished in life, his most meaningful contribution to the world is always music: the songs he writes as well as his dedication to building and restoring instruments. In the end, he sees music as the best way to connect the disparate pieces of life to move forward. And it’s through music that he has found his passion for making the world a better place.