Thursday, 25 October 2018

Archtop Mandolin

2018 saw the introduction of Archtop (or carved top) mandolins to my range. My archtops are not intended to be replicas of classic American instruments. The objective is to build a mandolin that is true to my aesthetic values and constructional techniques, based on decades of designing and making, whilst offering an instrument that has different tonal qualities to my popular and much-loved flat-tops. Each archtop mandolin is carved entirely by my hands from carefully selected, solid tonewoods- no CNC machinery or out-sourced pre-shaped plates are used.
Below is the first and you can see how it was made in a series of YouTube videos

Here is the second and again you can see how it was built in its own series of YouTube videos.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Nava Standard Plus Mandolins

I introduced the Standard Plus in 2012. The mandolin has a higher level of ornamentation than the regular Standard and it acoustically, benefits from my handmade tailpiece.
Indian Rosewood with Wenge neck

English Walnut, European Spruce

English Walnut, Cedar, Pearl Rosette
You can see and hear Chris playing this mandolin on his YouTube Channel.

Indian Rosewood, Red Spruce

Left handed; English walnut and red spruce 

Pau Ferro & Red Spruce

Quilted Maple with Black Walnut neck
(this mandolin lives in Japan)

Pau Ferro & Sitka Spruce
Macassar Ebony and few custom details!
Indian Rosewood and Redwood

Friday, 30 March 2018

Early Classical Guitars

When I started at the London College of Furniture in the 1970s, I was quite surprised that we all had to start off by making a classical guitar. At that point in my life, I very much doubt that I had even heard any classical guitar music; my intention was to build solid bodies! However, in the first year I made a couple of Torres style classicals.
Then I made a couple of these ugly brutes- one I sold via The London Guitar Gallery.
The shape was used, pretty much, by all of the students at the LCF and we rather pretentiously referred to it as a “concert guitar”. The one above was knocking around in my workshop for years, Phil Hare took a shine to it so I gave to him; much better for it to be used than gather dust.
And here’s what Phil did with it!
Once I started doing repair work for a Spanish guitar shop in Fulham, I had the opportunity to see what a decent classical guitar was really like. So my classical shape changed to this:
My rosette design also became much more refined from this; using 1mm square mosaics…..
……to this; using 0.6mm mosaics.
 I built a number of these in my third year at the LCF and at least two were sold again via the London Guitar Gallery. The one above is made from Brazilian tulipwood and the photos were sent to me a couple for years ago by its current owner.

After leaving the London College of Furniture, I spent some time at the London Guitar Gallery, I made many more classical guitars. The original owner of this one sent me this photo a couple of years back too.
Whilst at LGG, classical guitarist Duncan James bought one of my guitars and a real high-light of this early part of my career was to see/hear my guitar played in concert at the Wigmore Hall.

Also somewhere around this time I built a couple of Flamenco guitars; one cypress with tuners and one rosewood with pegs- where are they? Your guess is as good as mine!
As you can see this early period hasn't been well documented by me, so it would be great to get hold of some more photos.