I'll update this page every couple of months and will keep you informed of the latest developments in the world of my workshop!
Currently in Stock
Damselfly in Sitka Spruce and Indian Rosewood.
New awabi shell fingerboard inlay
Radial back bracing
Gotoh 510 tuners with ebony buttons
Stunning open fingerstyle sound. Big bass and clear sustaining trebles. Great harmonic content. This guitar really stands out!
More photos shortly!
Am now reluctantly putting this one up for sale! Built as a prototype earlier this year I was going to keep it for myself. Had time to settle and mellow. Beautiful clarity with great harmonic content. A good dollop of trad Gibson bark but with a sweetness, warmth and subtlety too. A very musical mando.
Hand stained flame Maple, Sitka Spruce top, bound head and fingerboard, gotoh tuners and custom Osborne tailpiece with ebony cover.
Here's a video from th Peanut Albinos featuring an early Osborne flat top mandolin!
Am building a guitar in the next batch for Ewan Wallace, guitarist with well known dance act, Bonobo. I'll be building a new version of my Damselfly in cedar and Rosewood to be finished for a tour of Asia in March.
Here's Sam Carter picking up his new guitar in July - a cedar and Indian Rosewood, Dragonfly J Cutaway with LR Baggs Anthem Pickup. He's already gigged with it all over the summer including Sidmouth Folk Fest. I went see him play in Burgess Hill yesterday and the on stage sound was magnificent and much applauded by the sound tech! Sounds great without the gubbins of course! Built to work well down at D and sometimes C it has a lovely even string balance, rich tone, yet lively response.
Sam is a fantastic guitarist and great songster/performer too who one best newcomer in the 2010 BBC Radio2 folk awards. It is a great pleasure to have him playing one of my guitars.
August Guitar Making course finished and a great success.
All done! Unfortunately my third student had a wedding on the final day so no pic of all of us.
A chance to appreciate the quality acheived on the course!
Well earned I'd say
Just been fitting an LR Baggs Anthem to Callum MacColl's Guitar. He came to my workshop a couple of months ago and was impressed with the tone when I played him one in a guitar of mine. He's off on tour with Sinead O'Connor so it'll get a good old road test. Also talking possible custom guitar for C/C sharp. Watch this space.
Am currently making Sam Carters new guitar. Should be finished next month for a good round of summer gigging on the folk circuit. Also making a carved top version of a Spanish Laud. This should be a real orchestra when finished with twelve strings - E's tuned up to A (fifth fret).
Have recently been working on Benji Kirkpatrick's (Bellowhead/Seth Lakeman) much gigged Lowden. Did a saddle re-rout to take the new LR Baggs Anthem pickup. Sounded fantastic with very close to the true cedar/Lowden tone coming through due to the feedback resistant mic taking the top end frequencies.
Have just taught an intensive one-month guitar making course during April. Check out the courses page for details and photos.
New carved bouzouki
This bouzouki gives a monster tone! So much power clarity in the trebles and depth in the bass. It has great driving rhythm potential and yet has such presence in the trebles that you get an orchestra from four courses. Responds to heavy strumming but also a light touch. With a teardrop body it still sounds like a bouzouki too with that characteristic midrange and twang.
Some beautiful new(ish) mandos. Look at the flame on those!
New order news
Amongst other things I am looking forward to making a guitar for up and coming folk artist, Sam Carter. Going to be making a Cedar and Rosewood Dragonfly J Cutaway as dropped tuning stage (and recording I hope!) workhorse. He's a great musician and fab to hear someone use the guitar so flamboyantly as a vocal accompaniment tool. Check out his website here.
Batch 'o' mandolins
Currently making two carved mandolins, one soundhole and one f hole both to be finished with a hand stained back and sides. Also making a carved bouzouki. Gonna be stunners. One of the mandos has a super flame back and sides and the bouzouki will look sleek with Indian rosewod back and sides with ebony binding and bound soundhole.
Carved Bouzouki top near completion. Just the bound soundhole to do.
Stefan Galt, a fine young player from Dublin came over to pick up his Lacewing in Rosewood and Spruce. Look forward to some better sound quality videos soon! Check out his website here.
Lou Glandfield finishes his Weissenborn in my evening class with amazing snakewood bridge, fingerboard and head veneer. Also my first. Maybe I might just make another! Well done Lou and looking forward to more of your fine pickin'.
This late 60's Hummingbird turned up in my workshop in November and turned out to be the exact same guitar as featured in the 'Encyclopaedia of Acoustic Guitars'. You could tell by the bridge re-make and crazing patterns in the lacquer. The customer had bought it recently so had little idea of history except it once belonged to a collecter in the chanel Islands which I'm sure is why it features in the book.
New LR Baggs Anthem pickups
These fantastic pickups are now on the UK market and despite a tech hitch with manufacture which is now cured, they are proving to work extremely well. You get quack free sparkling highs with great microphonic detail and clarity with a fat and stable low end. It is reasurring to find at last a pickup utilising a mic that is very resistant to feedback and has a plug and play quality by which I mean you don't need to spend hours EQ-ing the thing with off-board preamps. I got John Smith and Clive Carrol to test it briefly on the Ullapool Stage. The sound tech said it was the best thing he'd heard all weekend (must have been the guitar not the pickup!!) In this system, the mic which is placed on the bridge-plate provides all the top end with no boomy low freqencies whilst an element undersaddle provides the bottom end. The soundhole mounted preamp has a volume, blend (although the undersaddle always takes some of the bottom end), mic gain and phase reversal. Check them out here and call me if you're interested. Prices ££ here.
Ulapool Guitar Festival
Enjoyed a wonderful six day trip up to the north west of Scotland. A good thirteen hour drive but was well worth it for the music and atmosphere. Was in the company of seven other makers and the likes of Gordon Giltrap, Clive Caroll, John Smith, Eric Mongrain to name but a few. Also sold a guitar to Stephan Galt, a great young guitarist from Dublin. Looking forward to posting some recordings in the future!
Above, Ullapool Harbour, my stand with Lee Westwood plucking a few tunes and Stefan Galt just after a smokin' jam on the Headway pickup stand with fingerstyle master, Richard Smith.
New intensive course. Currently organising two dates for 2011
Check out some video of one of my guitars. A You Tube debut!
New Headway EDB1 preamps. These new preamps are fantastic sounding. Best in the pricerange. Whilst I would say they could be a little complex to understand for the average punter due to the amount of facility, they do nonetheless have a comprehensive 5 band eq and notch filter (effectively three mid controls -very useful). They are low noise, warm and fat sounding and have two channels utilising the same EQ. Shall be heartily recommending these.
Finished new duo of mandolins - one carved top/flat back in beautiful yew with sapwood line and alpine spruce and one fully carved in maple and sitka spruce with honey sunburst. (photo to follow). Also trio of guitars to be ready over next two weeks. I'll be taking some of these instruments up to the London Music Show. Hope to see you there.
Finished a beautiful quilted maple and spruce dragonfly. My first all maple guitar with stunning sound and feel. Maple has a reputation for being a little bland in tone but not so with here! Produced a very even guitar with deep bass and open clear, bell like treblewith sparkly harmonics. Great all rounder. Click here for more photos. Already sold I'm afraid!
Lee has finished his new album and is already recording a new solo one. Hear his guitar here on myspace. Since writing the news below, Lee has bought a second instrument in Wesern Red Cedar and Indian Rosewood. I fitted an L.R. Baggs Ibeam with an M1 for this using an Imix preamp.
Solo player and composer, Lee Westwood picking up his Dragonfly C with Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. He is pictured running the pickup gear through its paces. The pickup is a L.R Baggs M1 magnetic plugged into a Baggs Dual source on-board blender with back mounted microphone. This then goes out to a Highlander PAMDI blending pre-amp and a Lexicon reverb unit. A high end setup but the plugged in sound is absolutely awesome!
This is the cites Brazilian back. Stunning with oranges and greens. Comes from beams in old farm buildings.
FSC Forestry Stewardship Council sustainable mahogany. I picked this up a few months ago from John Boddy Timber. It has a full chain of custody and it is shipped direct from central America. The stuff I have got is for necks and is light but very stiff. I'm looking forward to using it in the future and to hopefully purchasing more from this certified sustainable source. Spanish guitar pickups. Have recently been fitting the L.R Baggs element for nylon string as a standard undersaddle option. These are EQ'd just right and coupled with a mic and offbaord blender sound great - especially for those wanting to play a more percussive style. - think Rodrigo y Gabriella etc.Calling all Gypsy Jazzers. Problems with plugged in sound? Can't get the dynamics you need? Have fitted a Baggs Dual source blending pre amp to an Aylward Selmer style guitar, mixing the already fitted Bigtone bridge pickup in with a foam encased electret mic. Great results with better Bigtone sound coupled with the natural treble clarity of the mic. You have the choice of onboard or offboard blending. This system sounds fantasic in flat tops too with an element undersaddle. Powered P.A speakers in my workshop!! I now have two Mackie 450's to test pickups through. This is Ideal as many of you out there will be playing through something very similar in small venues.
repairs including an early 30's Gibson L30 archtop
I am currently available for some repairs and set-ups. I will consider some resoration jobs and some refinishing work but generally pass on large restorations as I don't have time to do them! I also don't do neck resets - sorry! I now run a wait list for repairs.
Strings, accessories and pickups.
I am not set up as an accessories retailer but always have a stock of strings for guitars and mandolins - D'addario, Elixir (phos and bronze) for steel string, Slinky's for electric, Savarez Corum Cristal for Spanish and D'addario, Newtone and Dogal (for bowl back) for mandolins. I also have a small selection for other instruments e.g mandola, bouzouki etc.Cases. I can order a variety of cases from gig bags to flight cases like Hiscox to Calton.Pickups and stuff. I sometimes carry the odd item in stock such as Baggs Para D.I but as most systems require luthier fitting, I order on request. See price page for details. For other accessories, I can get hold of pretty much anything on request but with small items, I'll only order them in with other goods so there may be a wait.
Mail Order. I can send stuff out at an extra cost for p+p. I don't take credit cards so you'll need to send a cheque or make a bank transfer. Sorry!