Friday, 28 December 2012

My 3 Minutes of fame....

I've finally got around to uploading the snippet featuring me on Fishlock's Wales back in April. The program was all about being left handed, the oppression in Victorian education, how the brain functions differently and how a left handed guitar is different. I think it was a happy coincidence that I am a leftie too!

If anyone is interested, the guitar I'm playing at the beginning is a European spruce and Mahogany Cilgerran and the tune I'm murdering is Jefferson airplane's 'Embryonic Journey'

Thanks to Bob for recording the show for me.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Ok, the two guitars are coming along together, the bodies are all but done and the binding is coming along on the cilgerran.

Binding on the Oxwich is figured maple with purfling around the edges and soundboard

The binding on the Cilgerran is Boxwood with purfling between it and the abalone and the abalone and the back, sides or soundboard... the mitre joints, oh the mitre joints!! Hundreds of them, all hand cut at different and varying angles, I'm starting to see double.

Necks next, as well as a couple of full body shots

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Lovely pair...

I've decided to build my next two guitars in tandem. Different body shapes, so each can spend time in its own mould but it'll be easier to make a batch of braces, do a lot of thicknessing etc, not to mention having less dust over a long period to clean up. That's the idea anyway.

 The first is a Cilgerran 12 fret. The soundboard is Carpathian spruce with back and sides of Cocobolo. For those of you who are interested, Carpathian spruce Picea Abies is the same as German, Italian, Swiss.... any European Spruce but it grows in the Carpathian mountains in Eastern Europe. It is typically quite slow growing, showing tight grain lines that we like although heavy logging by the Soviets means that often the rings are rather wide at the edges of the board. Not so with this piece, very nice grain with little runout, lots of cross silking and a lovely tap tone already. Not content with beautiful tonewoods, the future owner of this guitar has specified abalone trim galore; around the soundhole, around the edge of the soundboard, around the back, along the binding on the sides (top and bottom), around the heel of the guitar, around the end fillet and around the fingerboard extension over the soundboard, not to mention an ornate inlay on the headstock and fingerboard markers... I think that's everything. The end result will be my take on Martin's 45 range of guitars. It'll be a thing of beauty when finished!

Scraping down the marquetry backstrip

The first bit of pearl on the guitar

Braces all glued on, ready for voicing
 Next up is an Oxwich parlour in Walnut, I love the size and sound of parlour guitars and Walnut, particularly Claro Walnut is my favourite wood for back and sides, if nothing else, then for the lovely woody smell. The wood has a great tone as an added bonus, plus it looks great!

The soundboard is a really nice piece of Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata for those into their Romans) that I have had in stock for a little while waiting for the right opportunity

This month I was also fortunate enough to be a finalist in two categories in the Monmouthshire business awards in the young entrepreneur and best rural enterprise categories. Although I didn't win, Sammie and I had a very nice evening eating delicious food at the glitzy awards ceremony and dinner at the Angel hotel in Abergavenny. Its great to see so many businesses doing well in our (well, my) neck of the woods.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Ladies and gentleman- The Thumb buster!

Right, the harp guitar is all finished and at it's new home. Instead of putting up pictures of it outside my workshop, this time I can (hopefully) link to a video of it in action played by Paul Brett, who's idea and inspiration it was to get this thing up and running... again, the original harp guitar that this monster is based on dated from the 1890s and the concept hasn't been taken up since

It'll be on Paul's stand at the London Acoustic Guitar Show if you fancy giving it a try and I'll be hanging around too, so come and say hi!

Monday, 3 September 2012

well after a long journey in the back of at least 3 vans the Terz guitar eventually made it up to Lanarkshire so I can show it off for all to see here. As you might expect from such a small bodied guitar it responds very well to a light touch- no heavy strummers please. Its great for gentle fingerpicking whilst on the sofa watching TV its new owner assures me! I have another Terz in the pipeline for early next year.

...And so on to the next one. I've been working with guitarist Paul Brett to resurrect an idea for a harp guitar from the late 19th century. What makes it different from usual harp guitars (if there is such a thing!) is that the extra bass strings are played with the thumb of the left hand. Paul was keen to take inspiration from the original design and use environmentally sound materials so we settled on oak for the back and sides as per the original, Sitka spruce from a naturally fallen tree, sycamore for the neck and neck dowel, bog oak fingerboard, bridge and head veneer and English walnut binding. The body is based on my 12 fret Cilgerran model. Hopefully it'll be finished by the end of the week so I'll put up a couple of completed pics.

Monday, 13 August 2012

In between working on the terz and other guitars I've managed to find the time to finish a guitar I started late in 2010! I was building it to demonstrate methods and techniqes alongside Richard who was building his own. He finished his in 2011 (see a few blogs down) and I... didn't. The Rhossili got left behind whilst I worked on commissions and repairs but its all finished and sounds and plays lovely.

The soundboard is Sitka spruce,
Back and sides are Claro Walnut
Neck is Sapele
Fingerboard, bridge pins and headstock veneer are ebony
Bridge is Indian Rosewood
Binding is figured maple
Tuners are Grover sta tites

This Rhossili brings my total number of stock guitars to two and is also for sale at £1300. If you would like to come and give it and its stablemate (well, cupboardmate) a european spruce and mahogany Cilgerran a play you are most welcome.

The Terz is nearly done, body and neck are finished and buffed ready for assembly, bridge and setup

That's all for now, I'll post up some nice pictures of the lovely little Terz when its finished, and when I have decided on a fitting name for it! Also a little taster of a guitar I've been working on over the last few months, should be finished by then.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A little update to the Terz guitar; it's coming along very well, only the frets and logo to go on before lacquering (and a LOT of sanding). To avoid tearing the grain when routing the binding ledges I give the edges of the body a coat of shellac, it also stops glue sticking to the bits of wood where you don't want it.
binding and purfling ledges routed out

Using masking tape to hold purfling in place while the glue dries

Koa binding with a very thin strip of maple to stand it out from the mahogany sides

Ziricote headstock veneer, koa binding with maple and dyed maple purflings, tuners will be Waverleys, fancy!