Me] [Music] [
Guitar Stuff] [My Tunes]
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There's a lot of information on this page, since it's currently how I
spend most of my time. At the top you can read about my guitars. Lower down are
links to many guitar resources, including builders (both UK and elsewhere),
accessories, music and guitar related software, some recording information and
finally links to interesting guitar related places (including several pages
about RMMGA). Right at the bottom are links to some tunes I've written.
If you have a listen, please drop me a line and let me know what you think :-)
If you're looking for something in particular, please type it into the box and you should go straight there :-) If there's a link to an interesting builder or resource that I've missed, please let me know and I'll include it.
I bought a nice Taylor 610 in February 1998, but soon decided that it
was too big for me. So I looked into British luthiers, and decided to ask Alan
Marshall of Northworthy
Musical Instruments in Derbyshire to make me a new guitar. He did, and it's
utterly excellent! Beautiful to look at, and wonderful tone. People who want to
know all the juicy details can look here
for further information :-) How can you buy a hand-made British Guitar?
A couple of years ago I decided I'd like an electric guitar, so I sold Che to a
friend, Julian, from the acoustic guitar newsgroup. I was very sorry to see it go,
but I know it's in good hands with Julian. Meanwhile, I have a pretty cool electric.
Meanwhile, and back in 1998, collecting the first Northworthy guitar
had led to a massive GAS attack, so I began to wonder whether I could sell my
Taylor and buy another Northworthy... Since no-one seemed to want to buy my
nice Taylor, I traded it in for a second Northworthy guitar. This is the
prettiest guitar I've ever seen, and sounds fantastic. Further details are
available here :-)
In about 2001 I decided to buy a Larrivee Parlour guitar for travelling. I'd read loads
of great things about them on RMMGA, and also about Tony Rairden of FQMS in America,
so I decided to ask Tony to choose a good one for me. Larrivee Parlour guitars were very thin
on the ground in the UK at that time - they still are, really - and it's difficult to get
anything other than the mahogany models here, but Tony recommended the Koa version and so
that's what I got. It was a really lovely little guitar with a very cute little case, but
in 2003 I succumbed to GAS again and decided to buy a different travel guitar: this time a
Bovey from Brook Guitars in Devon. I therefore decided to sell the Larrivee, as it seems
wrong to have lovely guitars sitting around in cases unplayed when that's not what they were
The Brook guitar is an absolute joy. I drove down to Devon and spent a couple of days there,
having fun and choosing my guitar. I was lucky enough to have met Simon at UK4 and UK5, so
I felt very much at home.
Brook guitars are based in an idyllic setting in the middle of
deep countryside near Exeter, in buildings that I think used to be the base for Andy Manson,
with whom Simon and Andy learned to make guitars. The guitar I chose is maple and spruce, so it both
looks and sounds fantastic.
I've not taken a photo yet, but in the meantime here's a link to
a picture of me with Michael Dunnigan's green Brook Bovey, which is what caused me to begin to
want one in the first place...
Anyone in the
UK thinking of buying a fine guitar may well be thinking about buying an import.
If so, *stop there* and think about getting a British luthier to make one for
you instead. It's a bit of a wait, but on the other hand you get to choose the
sound, the woods, the decoration and just about everything else. And you'll
almost certainly end up paying significantly less than you would for that
If you don't want to wait then think about contacting the British makers to see what
they might have ready to go. It's usually difficult to find their stuff in the shops, other
than locally or at a few places in London, but all the guitar makers I've come across are very
happy for potential customers to go over and have a look at what's available, and even
happier when someone buys something and takes it home with them :-)
If you'd like to contact Northworthy then you can do
so via email by clicking here.
There's also a web
site, and snail mail is at Northworthy Musical Instruments, Main Road,
Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. The telephone number is 01335 370806 (or +44 (0)1335
370806 if you're outside the UK): ask for Alan Marshall.
If you'd like to contact Brook Guitars then their email address is here,
direct to the workshop. Snail mail
is Easterbrook, Nr Hittisleigh, Exeter, Devon, EX6 6LR, and their telephone number is
01647 24139 (which is +44 (0)1647 24139 for those outside the UK). Ask for Simon or Andy. The
website is here.
|Some UK builders/Fixers
||I've bought two, so that tells you what I think about them. Anyone
in Britain looking for a great hand made guitar should check them out. Ring
them on 01335 370806 and speak to Alan or Zena.
||I first played these English guitars at a guitar festival at
the NEC in Birmingham, and could not have been more impressed. They gave me
almost the only GAS attack I've had since buying my Northworthys! I then got the
chance to play more of them when Simon Smidmore brought a van full to UK4
in March 2001, and I fell completely in love with the silky low actions and
fantastic sound. As mentioned above, I now have a Bovey of my own.
Brook now have a great web page, written and maintained
by Michael Dunnigan (owner of 3 gorgeous green Brooks!). If you're in London, go and
play some at Ivor Mairants, just off Oxford Street.
||Bill Puplett makes exciting and beautiful guitars, including Adrian Legg's current stage guitar, but he's also just about the most knowledgeable and sought after fixer of guitars and guitar related problems - both electric and acoustic - in the UK. He doesn't have a website, but if you search for him in Google you'll find contact details. If you have a problem with your guitar, Bill can fix it: ring him...
||Fylde have been making beautiful guitars for many years now. I particularly like the cedar/walnut Alchemist, which is a relatively new design based on its big brother, the Magician. These guitars are available direct from Fylde, and also at shops throughout the UK and some discerning guitar shops in the US.
||Lowden Guitars are built in Northern Ireland. They're just
beautiful! George Lowden made many people happy by travelling over especially
to speak to us at the UK2 RMMGA
Gathering in Chipping Norton last October. Many thanks, George :-) (Anyone who
would like to read about George's visit, and the 25th Anniversary model, can do
so on David Kilpatrick's web pages.)
|North American builders
||I've been lucky enough to play quite a few Kinscherff guitars now, having first met Jamie Kinscherff when he travelled to Derbyshire from Texas for UK4 in March 2001. Jamie's guitars sound wonderful and are an absolute dream to play. The workmanship is immaculate. As if that weren't enough, Jamie is also one of the sweetest and coolest people I've ever met :-) I reckon there's quite a lot of Jamie in each of his guitars, which is why they come out the way they do. A number of very discerning players on the acoustic guitar NG are lucky enough to own Jamie's guitars. If you ever get the chance to play one, don't pass it up :-)
||I played a couple of Mark's beautiful guitars at the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in August 2001, and they were really lovely. People were getting quite excited about them there :-)
||Alan makes gorgeous guitars. I played one at Healdsburg and saw several, and I'm still drooling over memories of a small bodied guitar in walnut...
||I was lucky enough to play a Gevers at UK5. They're
made in Okanagan valley, B.C. Canada, by Walter Gevers, and it was
absolutely beautiful. Those Canadians make some gorgeous guitars.
||Another U.S. builder. I've played two, and they were both
||Larrivee are based in Canada, and make some pretty great guitars. The travel guitar most often recommended on the acoustic guitar NG is currently the Larrivee Parlour guitar, and I bought one of these via FQMS (see below) earlier this year. It's a great little guitar in its own right, but particularly good if you want to take a guitar when you have to travel but don't want to take a full size case. If you're in the UK, I'd suggest that you don't buy one here unless you're prepared to pay silly prices - instead, look into importing one via FQMS, as I did.
||Harvey makes great and gorgeous guitars, and contributes to RMMGA. I played one at Healdsburg, and it was just as nice as everything I'd read had suggested it would be.
||Martin make fine U.S. guitars too.
||I've read great things about Hank's guitars on RMMGA. I played Daniel Nestlerode's when I went to Healdsburg this year, and I thought it felt and sounded wonderful. A real fingerpicker's guitar.
||I've read lots of great stuff about Roy's guitars. I saw several at Healdsburg, and they looked quite outstanding. I've not played one yet, but those who have say they sound just as good as they look.
||Yet more great handmade guitars from the U.S.! I played a couple of Lance's guitars at Healdsburg, and they were superb.
||Many discerning people play Olson guitars, including James
Taylor who has several. I've never been lucky enough to touch one, but there's
an Olson parlour guitar right at the top of my wish list.
||I've never seen a Ryan guitar either, but I've read all about
them on the acoustic guitar NG. It's clear from what I've read that they're
outstanding - I'd like one of these too :-)
||Tacoma make great guitars, and have lots of admirers on the
acoustic guitar NG.
||Taylor make fine U.S. guitars.
||My other guitar's a Yamaha, and it's pretty good for a
|Guild of American
||There are too many great American luthiers for me to attempt to
list them, so this is a good place to start. Many of them hang out on RMMGA, if
you'd like to contact them.
||These are just fantastic acoustic guitar amps that I first read
about on the guitar NG, RMMGA. I'd just bought an AER amp, but these sounded so
good that I wanted to try them out. I had one sent over from the States, and I
have to say that I think it sounds even more natural than my AER. If you're
interested in achieving as natural a sound as possible for your acoustic
guitar, you should really check these out!
||I buy my Gore Elixir strings mail order from Strings Direct in
the UK. I'm very impressed - I ring up and order them (or you can do it
online), and almost without exception they arrive in the post the following
morning. You can get strings there that are very difficult to find in UK shops.
Highly recommended! Ring them on 01702 290001, or order from their web
||FQMS is a great US store for all sorts of guitar related stuff.
They also do mail order to the UK. It's often cheaper to buy from them than to
pay rip-off import prices over here. I put this into practise when I bought a Koa Larrivee Parlour guitar from FQMS by mail order earlier this year. Tony Rairden got it here incredibly quickly and in perfect condition, and it cost much less than it would have cost from any UK source I've come across. Check them out!
Ridge Instruments Ltd
||This is the home of John Pearse's great strings, and lots of
other great guitar related kit and gadgets. Many people on RMMGA are very
impressed with the John Pearse Armrest. It attaches to the edge of the
soundboard and prevents your arm from deadening the top. It's easy to apply,
and can be safely removed (if you take a little care). I have one on one of my
guitars, and I'm thinking about getting a second.
||These are great, bomb-proof cases. I have one for each of my
Northworthy guitars. They're expensive, but if you need peace of mind then
these are the ones to look at first.
||People seem to either love or hate these strings from Gore. I
love them, and have been using them on both of my guitars for about 10 months
now. They're more expensive than other strings, but the bottom four strings
have a polyweb coating that makes them last much longer and vastly reduces
string squeak. I also find them very comfortable to play. Check them out :-)
(And if you *do* check them out, make sure you leave them on the guitar for at
least 24 hours before deciding you don't like them - the experience of many
people on RMMGA is that they sound much better a day after you've first put
||These strings are hand made in Derbyshire. I recently tried
them, and liked them very much. You can get them direct from Malcolm Newton, or
you can buy them mail order from Strings Direct (see above).
||If you want to make or fix a guitar, here's a good place to
||This is a great newsgroup for those interested in acoustic
guitars. It's full of friendly and helpful enthusiasts, both amateur and
professional. There's a real sense of community there, and a number of us (in
England and in the U.S.) have got together from time to time to spend the
weekend playing guitars, eating, drinking and generally having a blast. Some of
us have also contributed to RMMGA CDs - CD1 came out at the beginning of the
year, and CD2 is in the pipeline. Click here to read
more about the gatherings and the CDs, and also to find links to several web
pages connected with RMMGA.
||This is an excellent site, with all sorts of helpful
information presented in a witty and interesting form.
|Dan's Guitar & Mando Links
||Daniel Nestlerode's page is the most comprehensive list of link to guitar related matters that I have ever seen - it really is impressive, and lots of fun. Check it out :-)
||This is a fantastic site to browse. There are all sorts of high
end acoustic guitars here - it's one of my favourite places to kill an hour or
||This is another place I frequently read great things about on
RMMGA - it's clear from what people say that the service and selection there
are second to none.
||A great resource for all sorts of guitar related
|Dansm's Acoustic Guitar Pages
||These pages are written by Dan Smith, and they're a mine of
information about learning the guitar. They're also beautifully constructed -
I'm green with envy! Well worth checking out. See the site index on Dan's home
page and follow the links.
|Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine
||As the name suggests, this is the web page for Fingerstyle
Grossman's Guitar Workshop
||If you're looking for instructional materials (CDs, Videos,
Books), check out this site. There's loads of stuff here. The link is to the
European Office (for PAL format videos), but the US Office can be found
|Music Related Software
||This is a popular Freeware MP3 player.
||This is another great MP3 player. You can rip all your CDs to MP3s and then put them away. MusicMatch will organise them all for you, and you can make play-lists and have a great time :-)
||This is where to go to download the Real Audio player. It's
something you should definitely get hold of to hear all those streaming sounds
now available on the internet. You can hear some of my own streaming
sounds if you go to the bottom of this page :)
||This is the best Tab Editor I've found, and I've tried out
quite a few. You can download an evaluation version, but I found that the
registered version was loads better. It's only $55 US, and you can display and
print your music in tab and in standard notation. It will play the tab you
enter as a midi file. In fact, it does tons of stuff - nip across to the web
page and take a look.
||Probably the best music notation software in the world. At
£595 UK it's pretty expensive, so I don't have a copy, but it's there on
my wish list. For a professional musician, though, or an accomplished amateur,
it represents great value. You can download an evaluation copy from the web
site and drool...
||This is a great programme for slowing down sound files in order
to tab them out. I do this often with CDs - it's fun, and a good way to develop
a good ear. SlowGold ($49.95 US) slows down the file without changing the
pitch, and the sound quality is very good indeed. There's also SlowBlast
||This is a digital audio software package. I started with the
evaluation version, but now I'm using the registered version
with the Studio Plugin. It's now possible to order it online. Cool Edit 2000
costs $69 US.
||This program "grabs" digital audio from CDs, producing perfect
copies in WAV or MP3 format. It's Shareware, and great!
|Alternate Guitar Tuning Applet
||This is a great little program for help with alternate
|Chord Diagram Maker
||Over on RMMGA recently, someone commented that it would be very
useful to have a little program to make clear chord diagrams. So David Moss
just wrote one! Thanks very much indeed, David :-) It's available on David's
Website. (Download chords.exe, notes.ini, ctones.ini and readme.txt, and start
by reading the readme file.)
|The Recording FAQ
||This is the FAQ posted weekly to the NG rec.audio.pro. It's
packed with information about home recording.
||A newsgroup devoted to recording issues.
||Another newsgroup with help for home recorders.
||There's a page of guitar tunes that I've written and/or recorded right here, as well as a number of MIDI tunes I've written and/or arranged.
Me] [Music] [
Guitar Stuff] [My Tunes]
Running] [Nice Places] [Software]