Recent Projects

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.

Sam's guitar
Sam's guitar
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Sam's guitar
The mahogany back
The K&K Trinity pickup system
A pinless bridge
Happy customer
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I play the guitar every day, I honestly do, and it’s been my writing and performing companion since I took ownership. The guitar has a depth of tone frequently remarked on when I play publicly, and it’s such a comfortable design it feels ‘right’ all the time. I simply would never be without it. You know when you’ve found ‘the one’

- Stuart Dainty, Hull

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.

Bernie's electric ukulele
Bernie's electric ukulele
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Bernie's electric ukulele
Bernie's logo as a truss rod cover
Straight through neck
Copper lined electronics
Flamed maple body
Bernie takes delivery
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Needed a small repair to my Ovation - Glen Campbell signature guitar, but was concerned as to who to trust with my pride & joy I've had for nearly 40 yrs. I was instantly put at ease when I met Steve and saw the build quality of his bespoke guitars and his care and attention to detail. I was very pleased with the sympathetic repair to the guitar's battery holder terminals and to the re fixing of internal wiring, maintaining the period of the model. Steve even re strung the guitar, and all for a vey reasonable charge. I would have no hesitation in recommending Steve to anyone needing repair work - your guitar would be in safe hands.

- Paul Giddings, Hull

Cocobolo

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.

The beautiful cocobolo back
The beautiful cocobolo back
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The beautiful cocobolo back
Some really tricky wood bending
Lattice bracing
Oval soundhole: cut by hand
Not your average guitar
Diagonal back bracing
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Steve made me a fan-fretted baritone guitar that I have used both live and in the studio. I play mainly finger-style and it responds to the lightest of touches, producing a wonderful tone that is maturing nicely as the wood ages. The guitar was quite experimental for both of us and I’m very pleased with the result.

It was a pleasure working with Steve, his interactive style was helpful in clarifying my initially vague brief and he was more than happy to source and incorporate the specific components that I wanted. As a result, I have a truly unique instrument that I love playing. Thank you, Steve.

- Andy Whittaker

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.

12 string guitar
12 string guitar
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12 string guitar
Flamed maple neck
Hand carved oval soundhole
Custom soundhole cover
Custom soundhole cover
Gotoh machine heads
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Having recently moved house, I needed a place to display my two ukuleles and banjolele but was struggling to find anything I liked online. Having spoken with Steve about my requirements, I was able to purchase the perfect bespoke stand, housing all 3 instruments perfectly to display in my living room. Every single visitor I've had has complimented it since! If you want something truly unique I would highly recommend.

- Ellie Moody, Hull

Baritone guitars

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).

Baritone with florentine cutaway
Baritone with florentine cutaway
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Baritone with florentine cutaway
Big oval sound hole for big sound
Dramatic ziricote back and sides
Dragonfly logo
Florentine cutaway in Kingswood
Bracing for those lower notes
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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 weird! I continue the top bracing into the foot of the guitar using carbon fibre struts, which gives it a powerful clarity of tone.

This is a fanfret baritone
This is a fanfret baritone
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This is a fanfret baritone
The bridge is greatly skewed
The beautiful ebony back
Marking out the bridge pin positions
The frets look really wierd
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Ziricote guitars

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.

Ziricote sides
Ziricote sides
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Ziricote sides
The ziricote back
Abalone rosette
Another dragonfly
Gotoh machine heads
Ziricote sides
Ziricote back of a baritone
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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.

A wedding present for ....
A wedding present for ....
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A wedding present for ....
Inlaid stone rosette
Cedar soundboard
Walnut back and sides
The whole guitar
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