A guitar for percussive guitarist Sam Arkut
Sam is a great percussive guitarist and wanted a guitar which would sound at least as good as his old Martin and also stand up to being played as a drum. I made him a mahogany and sitka spruce model with some helpful advice from luthiers Nick Benjamin and Richard Osborne. I fitted a K&K Trinity system to allow him to pick up both the notes of the strings and the percussive beats. You can listen to this guitar being played by Sam at the Briggstock Festival in the video below.
An Electric Ukulele for Bernie Hollywood OBE
Bernie is a great charity organiser and has formed the world’s first visually impaired ukulele orchestra. He wanted a bright electric ukulele with his own logo. I made this bright yellow model for him with Dimarzio protrack and tone zone magnetic pickups and Hipshot solo string bridges and machine heads. It’s really a small guitar with 4 strings. It even has a truss rod. Check out Bernie's home page from the links section.
Cocobolo is a beautiful decorative tonewood and has many uses other than for guitars. One hazard for the luthier is the oil in the wood, which is highly irritant. Whilst making this somewhat unusual 12 frets to the body, oval soundholed, venetian cutaway, cocobolo guitar I had to remember to wear my mask at all times.
12 strings: Better than 6?
Here's my latest 12 string. Another yellow cedar top and ebony back and sides. This time a hand carved oval soundhole with a mother of pearl oval rosette. Really powerful sound. Beautifully balanced with a very low action to aid playing with 12 strings.
Baritone guitars are uncommon but have been used in all musical genres when the musician wants to emphasise the lower register (play your own bass lines). Here are a couple I have made in recent years with scale length of aound 700 mm so they can tune down to B. The one with the cutaway is sold but the one with the dramatic ziricote back is for sale at Hobgoblin music in Leeds (see stockists).
Fan fret guitars
Fan-fret guitars are rare. They are made with the base strings longer than the treble strings - like a harp or a piano. Hence the bass strings are tighter and the treble strings are looser and it feels balanced and gentle to play, despite the fact that the frets are all at different angles and it looks really wierd! I continue the top bracing into the foot of the guitar using carbon fibre struts, which gives it a powerful clarity of tone.
Ziricote is a fabulously patterned hardwood but is not the easiest to work with, which is one of the reasons why it's so rare. I've made a couple of ziricote guitars and love their bright resonant tone. Feel free to contact me if you want to try one.
A wedding present for Jenny and Al
Alastair Lyle has just married Jenny, the singer in his group, The Hot Coals. One of their bridesmaids wanted to give a serious wedding present to two great musicians so she commissioned this walnut and cedar cutaway acoustic guitar. The fretboard is maple and the rosette, fret markers and bridge pins are inlayed with reconstituted stone. The headstock inlay is mother of pearl. The cedar top gives the guitar a deep mellow tone.