News Archive 2011
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So far, unlike the last couple of years, we've escaped
Martin made his way down from Staffordshire for his long scale Okement.
He wanted to use home grown woods as far as possible
so yew, bog oak, cherry,
walnut and sycamore were all included along with a European spruce top.
We used a mixture of English woods for the rosette
and fitted a Fishman Rare Earth pickup,
Some beautiful yew on the back, you can also see the
laminated neck here,
Let's zoom in on that,
This may look like ebony but we've used bog oak again
head veneer, truss rod cover and fingerboard.
And a bog oak veneer on the back of the headstock,
Mike brought down his Taw
and Tamar 015's for us to make up
a couple of pickguards
and he picked out some wood for an 015 Tavy.
Tony Hazzard brought us up a copy of his latest CD,
he played all the instruments
and used his Taw and one of our
Tony's written songs for everyone from the Yardbirds
to Andy Williams
and this is a collection of his latest.
You can can find out more and buy the album here
Dev from India sent us this photo of himself with the
Torridge he bought from Ivor Mairants.
We made this Ash
for Keith a while back,
He got in touch again recently to thank us. He wrote:
"There's a magic in the instrument, when played it sings and comes
People who hear it are amazed and enchanted and it certainly has the
Now for a bunch of repairs: A replacement end on the
cittern headstock we mentioned last month, a set up on this little green
Bovey, a Martin refret and a pickup
fitting on this reso.
The most common repair we have in - another broken
Some repair work and an overhaul to Dave Davies' old
This is the oldest instrument we've had in for a refret
for a while -
a harp guitar from the 1820's!
Another interesting one here - a tricky side repair
on a John Bailey guitar
made for Robert Plant in 1970!
Lastly this year we'd like to leave you with another
beautiful rendition from Robbie playing
Have a good Christmas and see you next year.
It's getting colder here at the workshop now but we
still managed to find the
occasional sunny day to take a picture or two of our latest customers
Russell came down for this little Clyst
And Stephen for his reclaimed mahogany 015 Taw.
Here's a close up of the top
And one of the 015 headstock with the gold Gotoh tuners.
Graham came down for the Tavy
The custom features included a shallower body, one
of our alternative bridge shapes, an abalone rosette and a light sunburst
on the top,
This yin and yang inlay in bone and ebony on the heel
And a rosewood fingerboard and head veneer with Waverly
Three guitars went out to Oasis with another to follow
this week, you can see why we prefer not to have our photos taken!
Following the adventures of TV Smith's well travelled
Taw, here it is in Japan played
Eddie Legend - a great player who seems to be enjoying it!
Eddie was in TV's backing band 'The Japanese Adverts'
for a short tour over there.
Alan Stevenson came over to discuss guitar making,
Alan makes some fine instruments with interesting design features.
We're working on quite a few repairs at the moment,
the most interesting is this Manson cittern. The scroll headstock was
and disappeared after a gig so we're making up a copy from a photo,
Hopefully we'll be able to show you the finished repair
We'll end this month's news with Richard Clough
and his Tamar and Lucky
We've spent the first part of this month sourcing some
interesting timber, cutting it and finding places in the workshop to
store it. We picked up some very nice large planks of bubinga and sucupira,
they were too large for our own bandsaw so we took them into our friends
at National Bee Supplies to re-saw it for us.
Here are some new sides ready for storage
And some freshly waxed backs tucked away for further
Rob Garner brought along some boards from a chestnut
tree that had been in his garden
with the intention of us using it for his second Brook, here's Andy
And some potential necks, backs and sides.
These two interesting English walnut boards took my
There were lots of splits and shakes to negotiate but
we ended up with
three great looking sets!
This Little Silver
and a Lyn went up to Guitar Classics.
Roger came down for a larger pickguard on his 12 string
We love to see pictures of our guitars in action -
Ken sent us this one of himself onstage
at The Village Pump Folk Club in Trowbridge.
Lesli, from Stockholm, bought his baritone Tavy
from Ivor Mairants last year,
He was kind enough to send us this link to a video
of him playing this instrumental
I think we'll use the rest of the October news to put
up some of the new YouTube clips,
we're intending to update to site soon and have a section devoted to
Check out Marcus Corbett and Nitin Gaikwad playing live in Delmenhorst
Here are a couple of clips of Ian Anderson using the
guitar we made for him
is a Long Song & Wondering
And one of Florian Ophale playing the little Creedy
we made for Ian about fifteen years ago!
Some fine singing and playing by Paul R Rogers on Waters
Andy Lale has put up the first video now he's getting
to grips with the 8 string,
nylon strung Taw we made for him
earlier in the year,
unfortunately the volume is a little low on God
Bless the Child
Thanks again to Robbie for this one - it includes photos
we took while we were building his baritone Tavy
of the County Down
Lastly Robbie's beautiful arrangement of Brigg
Keep an eye out for next month's news - there are some
rather nice guitars we've just completed we'd like to show you.
We'd like to introduce an interesting new model in
our range -
it's an 'f' hole flat top based on the Taw,
We cross braced it with some additional fan braces,
here's a shot before it went together
We thought a traditional sunburst suited it and also
mounted a fingerboard mounted Kent Armstrong pickup, we're really pleased
with the results - what do you think of it?
Earlier in the month we met up with a lot of old friends
when we displayed on the Ivor Mairants stand at the Acoustic Guitar
Show at Olympia, we'd just sent up these guitars for them,
Here's Mak, Andy and myself in front of the stand.
Later in the month we exhibited the guitars at the
Bristol Guitar Show, with the help of Melissa, Robbie and Dave Smith
along with a few of their guitars and ukes we were able to summon up
a healthy display of just over twenty instruments!
Me and Andy again, in front of the stand before the show kicked off,
Dave King, Pete Beer, Robbie and Andy talking guitars
Stuart Ryan enjoying the Little
Silver we've just made,
Jim Moray turned up and seemed quite struck with Robbie's
Another shot of the guitars on offer! If anyone likes
the look of anything just get in touch,
you're welcome to come down and try them.
I'll lump all this month's repairs together as there
are quite a lot of them -
An unknown, rather well made European folk guitar, a Hofner Congress
for a neck reset,
a refret on a very nice Gilchrist mandolin,
a horrible Martin composite thing that had fallen apart, an impressive
Tokai Cat's Eyes
and somebody's pride and joy this 'snakeskin' Jackson!
Duncan, from the local college, came in earlier in
the year to discuss his plans for a small travel guitar he was making
for his course work, he'd thought it out well and did a really professional
job, he's just sent us this picture of the finished instrument.
What do you need to while away the time on a romantic
beach resort with your new wife on your honeymoon - well Richard thought
it was his little Bovey.....hmmm....
Look out for some new YouTube videos we have lined
up for next month's news!
We'll start the August News with Nick in sunny Yorkshire
playing his new baritone Tavy in
front of his Buddleia,
Here's the European Spruce top.
Next up we have Jake with his fan fretted Tavy,
the first we've made so it was an interesting challenge for us!
A nice veneer of burl walnut for the head veneer
And the rosette along with a small inlay on the twelfth.
We sorted out a bent neck and some other issues on
this 1935 National Electro Spanish
Looks like Bob's taken that prize for the fanciest
chord on the site from Laurie!
TV's Taw was back
in for some more repair work to the finish and a re-fret,
Let this picture be a warning to anyone with a belt
We always ask Brook owners to send in their photos
and singer/songwriter Paul Rogers
sent us these taken at a garden party in Wiltshire -
Here's Jacqui Sharp also playing Paul's Tamar
This is a shot of the display earlier in the month
before we sent the latest
batch of guitars out to Ivor Mairants and TAMCO.
We'll leave you with two more YouTube videos from Rob
Beg Si Mor and Sleeping
First off the mark for July is Rob Jessep's Tavy
Rob went for a native woods theme and apart from the European spruce
the Schertler tuners and the Elixir strings all the other materials
are sourced from the UK,
The yew back and sides came from North Devon, we cut
and dried these ourselves,
the neck's a laminate of sycamore, cherry and walnut,
The fingerboard and bridge were ancient bog oak,
As was the head veneer and the truss rod cover, the
final product is a
rather beautiful guitar built for a low C tuning.
Next up is a renovation of a 1950 National Californian
Bob's always wanted one of the very rare Memphis Minnie models so he
asked us to
refurbish his Californian in the style of the older guitar,
We double bound the body and sunburst it, added a couple
of Pete Biltoft's 'Vintage Vibe' Charlie Christian style pickups, an
authentic pickguard and tone controls,
Bound the headstock and added the logo for a stunning
recreation of that
famous Memphis Minnie guitar.
Mark here sourced the wood for the back and sides of
his new Tamar,
It's a rather spectacular set of bocote, Mark went
for a cutaway and a soundport,
A European spruce top with a walnut burl rosette
And a bocote veneer on the back of the headstock with
A couple of pictures now from across the pond - Here's
James with his new Taw in his garden
over in Michigan,
And one of Tom with his Creedy
at Taughannock Falls,
the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, Trumansburg, NY.
It's good to see the Brooks finding their way around the world!
To end the July news here are three of the latest YouTube
Here's a video of Rob getting to grips
with his new Tavy baritone! Jock
And two tunes from Chris Whitfield on his new Lyn
Orphan and Dr
If you are holidaying down in the Westcountry this
summer and would like
to visit the workshop just get in touch.
Firstly this month we'd like to show you a rather special
Taw which has just been
sent over to James in Michigan, lots of custom features on this one
Here's a close up of the cedar top with the unusual rosette and the
coral position markers,
The back is made up of a bookmatched centre section
of Tasmanian blackwood surrounded by Vietnamese rosewood for the outer
wings and the sides,
Finally a photo of the headstock with a dragon inlay,
a Tasmanian blackwood truss rod cover and Gotoh 510's with ebony buttons.
Gary, who couldn't make it down to the workshop to
collect the Clyst
we featured last month, sent us this photo. He wrote to us:
"It's my dream guitar & has exceeded all my expectations"
Richard, from Bristol, picked up his walnut Tamar
This shows the fine European spruce top he picked out
earlier in the year
And some highly flamed walnut for the back and sides.
We've just sent two more guitars, a Lyn
and a Taw, up to 'Celtic Chords'
Pete sent us these shots, if anyone would like to try
the guitars out in the intimate surroundings of this well stocked shop
please pay them a visit!
Chris ordered this Kit
last year, we're always happy to see photos with the guitars with unusual
backdrops and Chris has chosen to show off his Kit
in front of the rather spectacular Brighton Pavilions.
Michael, who set up our website, was on a photo and
video shoot on Primrose Hill with Louise Loft, see a short video here
Mike, who picked up his Okement
last month, has wasted no time getting
his first clip using it on Youtube - Carolan's
Jordan Humber has recorded a fine video to show the
wide range of possibilities and differences between his Torridge
and his Teign, see it here.
We'd be delighted to hear of any other videos featuring
We'll start this month with Dave who picked up his
new 12 fret Tamar. Dave supplied
the cocobolo and Adirondack spruce for his sixth Brook!
Here's the cocobolo three-piece back.
With the long scale, the 12 fret body and this great
quality Adirondack top this guitar sounded stunning from the moment
we strung it up.
This beautiful Clyst
had a flamed mahogany top, back and sides,
it went up to Gary in the West Midlands,
The headstock had squared off slots to match Gary's
Mike's another collector of Brooks and Mansons,
this cutaway Okement though is the
first he's custom ordered.
It's in sitka spruce with local cherry back and sides
and an oval soundport.
Mike has a great site with plenty of O'Carolan tabs amongst other things
I came in one weekend this month to show Corinne and
Thierry our guitars,
Thierry couldn't resist this Tasmanian blackwoodTamar
and they took it back to London with them!
Steve from Intersound picked up this pretty little
mahogany Clyst for the shop.
We made this Ian Anderson
model for Rich in Baltimore last year,
he just emailed to tell us how well he's getting on with it and sent
us this picture.
Lastly - a quick shot of three of the many repairs we've been working
Let's see what our customers bring in for us next month!
This should be an April fool item but it isn't -
Gentlemen, do you really need this latest Gucci
Messenger bag which will probably be out of fashion in six month's time?
Or do you need this handmade Brook
Guitar for considerably less which will last you a lifetime?
Hopefully no competition!
Several people this month didn't go for the Gucci option
- Gavin popped over for his new Taw
With this nice set of Kew walnut on the back and sides.
We made this 12 fret Taw
with a longer scale for Laurie, he bought this fine sinker redwood top
for us to use. The guitar was fairly heavily customised with our alternative
A side sound-port in this stunning set of Rio,
And a plain headstock with Shertler tuners along with
a black bone nut and saddle.
Here's Laurie going for the 'Fanciest Chord on the
Here's Tulley in Montana with the left-handed
Ash we've recently sent out to him. He wrote -
" Hands down the easiest and most well balanced
guitar I've ever owned right from the start. Very precise action. Subtle
... nuanced ... detailed ... perfect!"
Tulley wanted a photo of the four of us with the Ash
before we sent it to the States
We didn't mean to look quite so surly, come on lads
- It's Spring!
One of the first visitors this month was luthier John
Buckam from Australia, he was in the area and dropped in to have a chat
and show us a couple of his guitars.
We've had a couple of unusual commissions recently,
the first was for Andy Lale - it's an eight string nylon strung instrument
on a cutaway Taw body,
We used the new Schertler tuners on the headstock,
The back was reclaimed Rio rosewood,
Andy tuned the eighth string way down to an A; the
guitar also had individual brass midi pickups.
Kevin Aram is probably the UK's most highly regarded
classical guitar maker, he's made guitars for Julian Bream, Carlos Bonell
and many other high profile players. He asked us to build him this Torridge,
The inlay work is loosely based on the 1930's Regal
'La Domino'. We made up a full set of bone dominos and inlaid the majority
in the rosette,
The remainder were used as the appropriate position
markers, the numbers adding up to the fret positions!
Arlen bought his Taw
in for a set-up; this was the one using largely home grown timbers including
the Kew walnut and the bog oak for the fingerboard, bridge and head
Graham was down from Bristol for this 015 Torridge,
his third Brook, also with Kew walnut back and sides. Graham's also
an amateur luthier himself, adding to our substantial list of makers
who've been impressed enough with our instruments to order one!
Rob Jessep has become a regular in the News recently;
he came down with Catherine to pick out this yew for a baritone Tavy.
Here's Rob's latest video The
Road to Easterbrook
And the tab here
for anyone who might like a crack at it!
Hopefully these snowdrops in the orchard herald the
first days of Spring!
It's still looking a little bleak outside but it didn't
deter our customers:
Ken came down for his new Tamar,
His wife designed this tree which Jack inlaid in the
Here's the claro walnut back.
Andy popped over from South Devon for his second Brook
- a shallow body baritone Tavy in
cherry and European spruce.
And Richard, who's on his third Brook, came up from
St Ives, for his latest - a beautiful understated Lyn,
Richard wanted a custom neck and fingerboard and visited
when I carved the neck to see he got what he wanted! I'm roughing out
the neck on the band-saw in this shot,
And in the early stages of shaping the neck here, thanks
for the photos Richard!
And thanks to the Acoustic magazine for including us
in their '50 Favourite Guitars' feature,
We were in the '20 Dream Guitars' section with a fine
write-up, we would like to point out though that we've been here since
1993 now rather than 2001!
We'll finish up for February with a couple of shots
of the rack with the guitars that have just come out of the spray-shop,
If you're interested in seeing quite a few of these
again keep an eye out for next month's news!
Here's Rob Jessop's latest composition inspired by
Me For What I Am
Firstly we'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year
and we'll start with a snapshot of the workshop when we eventually got
back after the snow.
Adrian made the short trip from Exeter for this Creedy
we had in stock.
Freddie made the longer trek up from Ringwood to pick
up these three guitars for Oasis.
Just after Christmas we sent this Ian
Anderson model out to Paul in Canada, he's sent us a snowy recreation
of the Steven Stills album cover taken in his garden!
Richard's an old friend of ours, here he is in an unusually
coy pose with his new Clyst!
He wanted a similar cat on the fingerboard to the one
we'd previously inlaid on his Lyn.
Here's a shot of the figured mahogany sides
And one of the back.
Now - a sad goodbye to Jake from the Honeytones (in
the middle here). Everyone was shocked to hear the news of his sudden
death. Jake and his deep baritone will be sadly missed and irreplaceable
in the band.
Rob bought a cherry Tamar
from Oasis and came down in November for us to fit a K&K for him.
Here's a YouTube video of him playing his own composition.