Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The Jazzmando website has just put up a nice piece about my work and I’m very grateful to Ted Eschliman for doing this. Cheers Ted!

I’m particularly pleased, as I know that this is a website frequented by quite a few of my clients.

Click here for the article

I’ve just added Mandolin Cafe and Jazzmando.com to the side bar for those of you who want to take a look.

Alessi tuners

I’ve also added a link to Alessi tuners for those who like that sort of thing. I’ve just got a brass and ebony set of A style tuners for Alan’ new mandolin. They are real gems.

John’s koa guitar

Here’s a couple of photos of John’s guitar now that the body is together. I’ve started giving all of my instruments a coat of shellac at this stage, to help keep them clean whilst gluing on the purflings and bindings and also it stops the tape used in that process from pulling up the grain....now that’s tomorrow’s job;)

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Friday, February 17, 2012

John's Guitar

With the two mandolins safely with their new owners, I’ve been concentrating mainly on John’s koa guitar.Here’s the back fully braced; you can now see the beautiful figure of the flamed koa.

One thing that seems to take an inordinate amount of time is the linings; using double thickness solid linings means 8 pieces of cedar to prepare, bend, fit and glue in place.

To compound things I like to use cedar braces around the sides at right-angles to the grain.

The purpose of these side braces is to stop any crack, due to an impact, propagating around the sides. The way that the strings load the guitar, means the sides are under tension so there is always the possibility of a split travelling around the instrument. Most makers will insert the brace between the two linings, however, that doesn’t stop the possibility of a crack running between the lining and the brace! Hence my method of running the side braces the full width of the side and then gluing the second layer of linings on top.

The purpose of all of this fussing around is to build a light, but strong guitar. As I’ve said before the strength should come from design rather than bulk.

This grey thingy-me-jig is great! It allows me to attach the tube of my vacuum to anything that I’m working on. It quickly wraps around whatever and remains in place, without clips or knots etc. Two for a quid! Can't be bad.

Here’s the head of John’s guitar, once I completed the end of the truss rod slot with a Dremel (hence the vacuum). The head overlay is some really nice Brazilian rosewood. The overlay is just over 2mm thick to show that this is solid wood and not a veneer! The guitar will also have a Brazilian rosewood bridge.

Baritone Uke

And the little fella? Well, the body is together and it has been bound. It’s on the back burner at the moment and I’ll work on it when I can’t progress with John’s. I’m also debating whether to do a cocobolo or ebony finger-board. Decisions, decisions!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Brendan and his mandolin

Well Brendan’s mandolin arrived safely in Ireland (thanks Mr DHL).
And here is the man himself playing it.

What can I say! Other than sincere thanks to Brendan, Fil and Tom for this video. I love it J

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mandolins completed

By heck, it’s cold in the east!

Well, this week has been mainly about completing Brendan’s mandolin and also Standard III, taking their photos and making videos.

Here are a few choice pictures of Brendan’s along with the video.

To say that I’m pleased with the outcome is a bit of an understatement. It looks like it could have been made in the 19th century, which is an aesthetic that I have tried to achieve with my twin-points. I love the Alessi tuners: they work so well, also the combination of the tuners and the Cuban mahogany neck have the feel of an antique hand made shot gun (if that makes sense!)

Anyway, you can judge for yourself.

Standard III has also been completed and I’m equally pleased with it, as much as I like my twin-pointers, I also love the simplicity of the standard model. This one has wide fret wire and the combination of the frets, cambered fingerboard and low action make it a joy to play.

Now, I should be offering this up for sale but I was approached, last week, by John and he snapped it up.

Here is the finished instrument.

And the video.............

I’ve created a new web page with photos of various twin-points; for those of you who are interested it can be found here.


As you may have guessed, I’ve enjoyed being huddled over a warm computer this week!

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Koa Rosette

I’ve just completed the rosette for John’s guitar; this one uses koa (to match the back and sides) with rope purfling rings.

I’ve described the process a number of times, so here are just a few pictures of the sequence of events.

Hope you like it;)

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