I am an an enthusiastic amateur musician who enjoys both composition and playing music. I play classical guitar for my own pleasure and also the cello where I have the honour of leading a fabulous section in the Stratford Symphony orchestra.
I have always enjoyed working with wood and was lucky enough to acquire a lathe in my early forties and have experimented a lot with bowls of all shapes and sizes as well as building various bits of furniture and a full size rocking horse for my children.
Then in 2012 I started building my own classical guitars in order to cure myself of GAS – Guitar Acquisition Syndrome! ……..well it worked, I no longer spend hours each day drooling over internet sites looking and listening to guitars made by other people that I could not possibly afford!
I found the courage to start making them after finding a wonderful book and DVD set by the American Luthier John Bogdanovich which made the whole process extremely clear and which I can thoroughly recommend.
- Work started in Sept 2011 with converting my single garage into a luthier’s workshop which is humidity controlled, nicely insulated, and probably the warmest room in the house!
- I then spent several months building jigs and fixtures before starting in earnest on my first guitar in March 2012. This took about 6 months to complete but with surprisingly good results. I showed this first guitar to Christopher Dean who was very generous with his time and gave me some really helpful advice.
- I have now made 5 guitars including designs with sound ports in the sides and the latest being one entirely of my own design based on a 650mm scale and drawing heavily from the approach of Romanillos.
More recently I have also started making cellos. I finished the process of building my first cello (named “Anna”) in December 2015 (again I drew up my own plans) which turned out to be a lovely instrument – even an improvement on the rather good Mirecourt instrument I had before – and I now play it in the Stratford Symphony orchestra and in chamber groups. I have just finished my first cello commission which has also turned out to be a most sonorous and responsive instrument. She has been named “Beryl” by her new owner and interestingly plays alongside “Anna” in the Stratford Symphony Orchestra!
Most recently I have undertaken both violin commissions (for a member of our orchestra) and a viola commission (Guadagnini copy). Step by step records of my experience of making can be found here for the violin and viola.