I really enjoy the fine woodworking process and it has been a part of my life since childhood. My approach to guitar making is ‘hands on’ and organic. I limit the use of machines because I enjoy using hand tools and find that this makes the instruments more personal. I use traditional glue for many of the significant joints and the guitars are finished only in natural shellac.
It has always been my aim to produce guitars that have clarity, sustain and good separation of notes. What I love to hear are guitars that sing.
My guitars are pure and sweet in tone and also have volume. As a player myself I realise how important it is that the instrument is expressive and allows you to explore an expansive tonal palate. It is vital that it ‘feels right’ with a neck shape and action that is not restrictive and is comfortable. It must feel satisfying to play.
I believe that a guitar should sound good and lively from the start and as such gives a hint of its potential. There is still a long way to go during the playing in period for the guitar to continue improving and, given good attention, will do so for years to come.
My 30 years plus as a luthier (over 350 guitars) has given me a lot of experience in the selection of wood. Most is rejected in favour of the few pieces that really ‘fire me up’ enough to use for the fine guitar I am aiming for. All of my wood is correctly seasoned and I work in a humidity-controlled environment of 40 to 45%, which is essential for the durability of an instrument.
I greatly enjoy the French polishing process. You can’t beat it for looks in my opinion, with its deep shine. From a technical point of view I believe it to be the best finish, as being thin and fairly soft it does not interfere with the tone. This also makes the wood warmer to the touch than with lacquered guitars and in the neck area the thumb slides effortlessly on its smooth surface. Although it is more easily marked than lacquer, it is a much smaller matter to repair.
When I work on commissions I like to send out pictures during the build and consult at regular intervals in an aim to involve the buyer as much as possible in the exciting process of making a personalised guitar.