News Archive 2013
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Here are the latest four Brooks for Project Music in
Exeter - front to back -
a rosewood Taw,a cedar and mahogany
Torridge, a rosewood OM
and a walnut Tamar.
This might be a good opportunity to remind you of our
take on the OM model
for the American guitar enthusiasts out there, this one has rosewood
back and sides
with a sitka top along with the standard belly bridge and the traditional
640 mm scale.
This figured mahogany, sunburst topped Taw
went up to Steve in Manchester.
We asked for a photo of course -
By the way - we're not far off completing three guitars
for Forsythe's in Manchester.
Good to see our bog oak Taw
made it into the top 20 guitars over £1000 in 'Acoustic'!
We were also featured in a couple of books this year,
the latest was
'365 Guitars, Amps and Effects You Must Try' by Dave Hunter which featured
We've just completed this Ian
Anderson model for a customer in Italy.
We reset the neck, made a new bridge and repaired splits
on this Fairbanks
made in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 1800s.
Another Les Paul headstock repair completed, this one
was tricky as someone had previously had a go at it
John, our American distributor at 'Shoreline', put
up a couple of reviews of our guitars
We'll end the year in traditional style with these two carols beautifully
arranged and played by Robbie.
Little Town of Bethlehem
We'd like to wish all of you who check out our news
every month a very happy
Christmas, winter solstice or whatever you celebrate the end of the
old year by.
We'll see you in the New Year with the latest Brook news.
It's November and getting colder again out here hidden
away in the wilds of the Westcountry.
It's been a busy month with some interesting guitars to show for it.
Here's another of Jack's fine inlays of a Kestrel for
Iain came down from Hampshire to pick it up earlier
in the month.
This black beauty was ordered by Louise Loft,
As you can see by the fingerboard inlay.
Jack's inlay of a tiger takes care of the Tamar
Louise is a singer songwriter from New Zealand living
We took Louise up on Dartmoor one misty Saturday afternoon
a couple of
weekends ago to take a few photos with the new guitar.
Thanks to Melissa for the photos Melissa
A couple of years ago we made a nylon strung Lyn
for Rosa Rebecka,
she used it on her last album 'Mrs Beautiful's Guitar'.
The title track is about her great grandmother's guitar which has been
passed down through the family. The guitar is one of the very first
parlour guitars built in 1902. It had suffered from wear and tear through
We had to rebuild it, re-set the neck, re-fret it and make up a new
Here's a photo of the inside after some of the repair
Rosa Rebecka recently presented a concert at the Cygnet
Theatre in Exeter introducing
the newly restored Levin and guested on local radio to talking about
and playing the guitar.
You can get a free download of the title track of her
John here came down from the Yorkshire Dales to collect
When he originally came down to place the order he was inspired by the
snowdrops in the orchard for the theme of the inlays.
Here's a close up of the headstock
And a top to tail shot of the guitar showing the fingerboard
He picked out this great set of figured Indian rosewood
for the back and sides.
We shipped this short scale Torridge
out to Marc in Australia.
It has very nice figured walnut back and sides
To help keep the average age of our customers on our
newspages down a little
Marc sent us this photo of his son Claude in their backyard with the
Who's this scruffy so and so picking his new guitar?
Oh - it me, with our new Weaver
The Weaver fits
a small parlour size case,
it has a standard 630 mm scale length and sits between the Creedy
and the Clyst in size.
Oh - unfortunately that's bought the average age back up again!
Now for an extremely well executed project by Andy:
We've have some strange requests over the years but this is one of the
more unusual ones -
Rich Hamer, a fine young guitarist from South Devon, was having shoulder
to the depth his seven string Eastman jazz guitar. He asked us if we
could make it narrower.
Here's a compilation of some of the photos we took of the job and the
A quick round up of some of the Brooks seen out and
about this month,
clockwise from top left -
Robbie, Colin Shaddick, Martin Bell and John Hegley with Colin.
Well I have to apologise for the length of this month's
news, there was rather a lot to fit in!
To round it all off -
Here's a late afternoon Autumn photo taken a couple of days ago
of the view of Nymph Woods from the window of our workshop.
See you next month.
You may remember the black Tavy
we recently completed.
Ben Maggs already has a standard Tavy
but was particularly interested in one
with a cutaway,
We tweaked it for his favourite open tuning and he took it away with
Here's Ben with his new guitar recording at Rockfield
check Ben's site for news on release dates, we'll let you know as soon
as we hear.
Julie Watson from Baltimore flew over to visit her
mother in Wales
and came down to the workshop to see where her Torridge
She was so taken by the yew Taw
we had for sale that we had to send it out to her!
This is the latest instrument for Mike Selley. As Mike's
it's getting more difficult and painful for him to play standard guitars
so he asked us to build him a nylon strung tenor guitar.
We adapted Mike's original ideas and came out with
this Art Deco inspired instrument.
Keeping to a black and white theme, we built the entire
instrument with ebony,
maple and European spruce and decorated it with a suitable fingerboard
Mike came down to pick it up and got in touch the other
day to tell us how much he's
enjoying playing it, he's had a great response from everyone who's seen
We'll go into more depth about the building of this and other instruments
we've made for Mike's collection in the next Babbling
Paul and his wife run the beautiful Wensleydale Farmhouse
as a B&B in North Yorkshire.
Paul has named all the rooms after his favourite guitars,
he told us he'd reserved Brook for the best room!
Here's Paul with his Taw
in front of the 'Brook' room. Thanks
Colin sent us these photos of the latest two guitars
we sent up to Intersound.
Songwriter Paul Rogers came down from Wiltshire for
a set-up on his Tamar.
We sent this mahogany Torridge
out to Shoreline in the States.
Here's TV's latest offering -
a live studio recording of some of his best songs with just his Taw
It's available through his website, at live gigs
or you can listen and download it through Bandcamp
Sessions Volume 1
Now for a couple of videos:
Here's Donald Simone in Dubai showing that his
Lyn can cope with the high temperatures
Time I See You
And Symon Paul with his tale of the Wheal Eliza Mine
showing his Clyst can cope with
some inclement Exmoor weather!
Phil Taylor is a regular YouTube contributor with his
he came down from Oldham to pick up his new Lyn,
Phil went for a cutaway this time with a sound-port,
we found a particularly fine set of figured mahogany with snakewood
A tasteful simple abalone inlay on the 12th fret
And snakewood Waverly tuners to set off the slotted
Carol came down from the Midlands for her new Little
Silver, she wanted a small guitar
she could travel with and sent us this photo from the Cornish coast!
Here's the stunning English walnut back.
Next this month we have three guitars that have just
gone out to
Urs' shop in Switzerland. Urs asks us to construct the guitars with
non-tropical woods so first off to him was this yew Creedy,
With this beautiful yew back with grain which follows
the body contour.
The next two to go were the Clyst
and the Lyn,
Kew walnut with a walnut neck and yew with a maple
The three guitars had bog oak fingerboards, bridges
and head veneers
and were equipped with the exclusive Robson tuners.
Urs sent us these photos when they arrived,
From the rolling hills of Dartmoor to the dramatic
backdrop of the Alps!
Tony was up from Bridport to pick up his cherry Torridge,
A little personal touch - his name inlaid on the 12th
And this Hipshot D-Tuner.
Now for some YouTube videos -
John James and Pete Berryman got together forty years
on to recreate
on video tracks from their groundbreaking album 'Sky in My Pie',
Pete's playing his custom Tamar,
Here are three excellent new recordings
We recently refretted Shaun Reeder's Ibanez Les Paul Recording
he sent us the link to his own composition here using the guitar
To round of this batch of videos, I've just come across
this really nice version
of Dylan's 'Buckets of Rain' arranged by Dave Thorpe playing his Clyst.
"My biggest fear is when I die my wife will sell my guitars for
what I told her I paid for them"
Ring any bells boys!
For the first time in several years we've been enjoying
a sunny August,
It's brought down a steady stream of visitors to the workshop.
Andrew came down from Gloucestershire to pick up this fine Tamar,
Here his is enjoying a moment with his new guitar accompanied by his
We kept the decoration on this instrument quite understated.
With Rio back and sides and the same for the rosette, binding and purfling,
Topping it off with a bound Rio head veneer, sporting
Al runs a bespoke carpentry firm and came to us to
make him his first 12 string,
A rosewood and sitka spruce Tavy,
He asked Jack to inlay this skull and crossbones on
This beautiful bubinga Torridge
had a red theme throughout;
We used a mixture of red and black purfling
Along with bubinga for the rosette and the top border.
Colin works in a music shop so he knows his guitars,
He came down a while back and ordered this rosewood and sitka Taw.
Julian came over from the Isle of Wight for a set-up
on his Taw and Bovey.
Jim turned up with the very first Manson
Traveller we made many years ago,
We were pleased to see it was in immaculate condition and was still
extremely comfortable to play.
Keith and Richard here can be seen gigging in North
with their Teign and Tamar
Don Brooklyn was so pleased with the guitar we made
for him he took his
stage name from his Brook Lyn! He
sent us three of his latest songs
'This is my Life', 'Come on Home in a While' and 'Craigbuie Hill'. Very
good they are too!
Mike Wilkins plays this Martin Simpson tune on his
A little Summer madness with Ryan Hamilton playing his Taw
with our favourites,
Bert Miller and the Animal Folk
Eat Your Friends
See you next month with the latest about Mike Selley's
unique angular tenor guitar
which has just come out of the spray room!
With the hottest spell for many years it's certainly
been warm here in the workshop.
Steve picked up his mahogany Little Silver;
it puts Steve's collection of Brooks into double figures!
Richard is only on his first - this bubinga Taw
with a maple neck,
but he's already expressed interest in another!
Mike bought his Lyn
he came down with it to collect the Gibson and Bell-Tone we'd repaired.
Earl also got his Taw
from Oasis and came down to have a pick-guard fitted,
we were happy to make one up for him.
Dave came over for a set up on this Manson we'd made
many years ago,
it was one we'd built in the first couple of years of starting Brook
I'm glad to say after a good set up it was playing beautifully,
Here's Dave showing off the Magpie's rather spectacular
I've previously mentioned Mike Selley's latest instrument,
here's a batch of photos of the latest progress!
Ian Anderson uses the guitar we made for him in huge
auditoriums all over the world.
Surely just as worthy of a photo though is Pat here with his replica
of Ian's guitar accompanied
by his son Brandon on percussion when he was asked to play in a Las
Vegas furnishing store!
Here's James in the last stages of building his guitar
he chose to build a Lyn with a sequoia
top, a solid headstock and a pyramid bridge.
James came to us with the benefit of having very good
joinery experience and has produced a superb instrument.
He's also a very fine guitarist - we hate him!!
We fitted a Benedetto pickup with discrete tone and
and jack socket to this unusual Roger arch-top,
It was quite a tricky job to get all this in neatly
and sit correctly but it worked very well indeed.
Paul Downing got in touch to tell us he's put up a
short video of his fretless Otter
bass in action
Robbie recorded this Scottish piece on his 12 fret
Mhaili Beag Og
Robbie has offered to tab this out for the next of our issues of Babbling
On a sadder note here's a stunning composition written
as a tribute to Eric, a friend of his, who died recently.
We've a few guitars recently completed awaiting collection,
hopefully we'll be able to include the new owners in next month's news!
Here's the latest instrument for our old friend Steve
Steve's had about ten guitars made by us over the years!
He wanted a vintage look to this all mahogany Little
we used 'Golden Age' tuners on the slotted headstock.
This bubinga Taw
with a maple laminated neck is waiting for Richard from South Wales.
Here's an interesting monochrome cherry Tavy,
Dove inlays on the fingerboard
And ebony tuner buttons.
Next we thought we'd give you an idea of the variety
other things we've been working on recently:
As I mentioned last month - we were replacing the injection moulded
with appropriate ebony and rosewood replacements we'd made up - Here
they are -
We've also had this rather worse for wear Gibson 160E
in for a bridge repair.
These three photos are of a Japanese 'Foto-Flame' Fender
the finish had started to detach from the body and was split in a number
it's being prepared for a solid black gloss finish.
We carried out some essential repair-work on this Bell-Tone
and it's now playing really sweetly again.
Here's an interesting commission from another of our
friends, Mike Selley,
This design is a combination of Mike's original ideas
for a nylon strung
tenor guitar and our own. We're using maple and ebony to create a
strong contrast for this unique asymmetrical, angular instrument.
From plan to inception!
Here's the first showing of a new addition to our range,
another parlour guitar.
It fills the small gap between the Clyst
and the Creedy, It'll have a 12
630mm scale length and will come with a perfectly fitting small parlour
Thanks to Bernard and Dale for their photos with their
recently acquired Brooks
to add the this month's news.
Rich and his Ian Anderson guitar continue touring the
cities of North America with
The Madow Brothers, here he is with Dave outside the PNC Arena in Raleigh,
We've featured Ewan D.Rodgers before with his Lyn,
Here's a video of him playing 'East Virginia Blues'
from his last album
'Tomorrow Might Be Monday'
Well - one or two days at last to remind us of summer
Alan came down from Derbyshire to pick up this little Creedy
With a pyramid bridge and 623mm scale length
And this pretty yew for the back and sides.
This rather special Torridge
went up to Lizzie in Hampshire,
lots of custom work on this one,
Pearl and ebony rosette, custom bridge,
English walnut back and sides, walnut laminated neck
And custom headstock shape with pearl inlay.
Simon from North Devon
bought this Torridge we had in stock
and is finding it ideal for his gigs.
Our mate Roger came down to pick up his Martin we'd
been repairing and brought
one of the first 12 strings we ever made down for a set up.
Here are some of the other repairs we've been working
We reshaped the neck on this Brian May guitar, reset the neck on a 1929
re-fixed a broken headstock on a Gibson Flying V,
refinished this Harmony Stratotone in the original colour - and -
whatever were they thinking of when they came up with this plastic bridge
for their '60's B25?? perhaps not Gibson's brightest idea!
We're making up a replacement ebony bridge for it.
I'd like to introduce to you a new release I've very
much enjoyed playing recently
by Marcus Corbett, an extraordinary guitarist who's recorded
in India with two of India's finest tabla players.
Here's one of the many reviews:
' with his deep affinity with Indian classical music and his expertise
in soulfully conveying its essence on the humble acoustic guitar.
where other guitar maestros have dipped their toes
. he's taken
the integration a stage further and his collaboration with tabla virtuosos
Nitin Gaikwad and Sharanappa Guttaragi on this disc is both fiery and
We made his Tamar
from rosewood he brought back
from one of his many visits to the country.
Checkout video of Marcus here
Listen or buy on Bandcamp here
Here's a photo of Ben Maggs performing with his Tavy
at the Stroud Fringe Festival
And check out this video from a show he headlined recently
in The Moon
Lastly - a sad farewell to the
master guitarist and ethnomusicologist Bob Brozman
He always was and always will
be an inspiration.
We're really pleased to present our latest issue of
This issue has twenty pages and includes in-depth articles
on the art of inlaying,
Interviews with two superb guitarists - Steve Yates and Phil Bird.
We also give advice on how to keep your
as well as when it left the workshop!
We'd like to thank Martin Bell and Robbie for all the
time and effort they put
into getting Issue 2 together.
You can download it here or on our homepage
Brook Issue 2
And now for the rest of the April news.......
Richard, one of earliest customers, came down to pick
up his latest order,
this time a trio of instruments with matching woods.
The three had finely figured mahogany back and sides,
With Adirondack spruce tops
And Jack cut these Celtic knot inlays for the two cutaway
Rob came to see us to have a Fishman Infinity fitted
in his cutaway Lyn,
here he is in the orchard with his two daughters Gwen and Jess.
David from South Wales picked up his cherry Tamar.
Trevor, a local singer with the Wren Trust, came over
for his new baritone Tamar,
Coincidentally Rebecca, who also works with the Trust,
popped over with her nylon strung Torridge.
class="RofMill">We compared Rebecca and Trevor's hand sizes in this
photo and I guess
it helps explain why 'off the shelf' guitars aren't always
the best choice for individual musicians!
We built this Tamar
for Paul Keeton back in 2001,
here he is playing at the Victoria Club in Mexborough. He wrote to us
"This guitar has to be one of the best things I have ever bought,
12 years of pure enjoyment. Many thanks for your craftsmanship and dedication
to making fine guitars".
Thank you for your kind comments Paul!
We repaired Steve Tyler's cittern. Steve's band Woodwose
play a mixture of
medieval and original music using a range of traditional instruments.
See you next month!
More floods brought the level of our little brook up
We're looking forward to the real start of Spring.
Here's Jack's latest inlay of a Harris hawk on the
headstock of a Taw,
It has a nicely figured Indian rosewood back
Along with a fine grained sitka top, the guitar is
going for £2450,
if anyone is tempted just get in touch!
James bought a Rosewood Teign
He's also spending some time in the workshop learning
some guitar making skills.
Steve Broom traded his Gibson J45 for this walnut Lyn.
Bob came came over to collect his Okement
which we made for him
some years ago, he fancied giving it a face-lift and asked us to re-spray
the top a dark aubergine colour.
Here are Chris and Matt Miles in Thunderbird Park in
with their collection of Brooks.
Matt put together the short film on our home page when
he was in college
and has since gone on to make a name for himself in the music world
Canada and the States as a film maker!
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery,
We were informed that
there are these counterfeit Brooks being made in China.
Just a warning -
although the name's the same and the logo and website address are similar
a quick glance should tell that these guitars are nothing whatsoever
to do with us.
Melissa and I had another great weekend at the RMMGA
annual meeting in
Chewton Mendip, here are just a few of her photos of the occasion:
A small display of authentic Brooks!
A wide range of guitars and playing styles,
Michael Watts playing my old Radiotone uke,
Adrian Lucas, John Buckley and Tom Doughty
warming things up on a cold Sunday morning,
The inevitable raffle.....
I even found a quiet moment to have a play on my vintage
Gretsch tenor guitar.
Keep up the playing and see you next month!
The majority of this month's guitars have gone to our
These three - a Taw, Torridge
and Tamar are now at Ivor Mairants,
A rosewood Teign
and cherry Little Silver were delivered
to Guitar Classics,
Freddie from Oasis came down with Dave Smith to take
another batch back up to the shop.
A mahogany Torridge
went up to Manchester as our first order from Forsyths,
And this mahogany Teign
and a red gum Tamar went to Intersound,
Here's a close up of the rather spectacular red gum!
Robbie's back on the same tree as in his previous photos
when he was collecting his yew baritone Tavy
and the cherry Tamar!
This time he's here for his new 12 fret, long scale Tavy.
This beauty was built around a particularly fine set
of figured bubinga back and sides,
we also used bubinga for the purfling and rosette.
Robbie commissioned this one largely for DADGAD tuning.
Don't get us wrong -
We're not subscribers to the old banjo jokes but six banjo repairs in
Too much for the sanest of us and we love the things!
We've also worked on two vintage Gibsons, a couple of old Martins, an
Antoria jazz guitar
and this sweet little Manson Traveller
we made many years ago.
If anyone was tempted to buy a rather expensive magazine
called 'The Acoustic Guitar Bible' recently you may have come across
a very old article on our friend Roger's guitar collection, two of Roger's
Brooks were included but his Lyn
and Little Silver weren't.
If you weren't aware of Davey Graham, Bert Jansch and John Martyn you
might get the impression from the 'Bible' interviews that the three
of them are still touring and recording,
I fear I have to break the bad news - all three have unfortunately passed
On a more positive note we had a good review of the
first guitar we've made with
bog oak back and sides in this month's 'Acoustic'.
We sent this Taw out to Urs, our
distributor in Switzerland,
it sold within three minutes of arriving at the shop!
Out and about - here's Colin Shaddick playing his
Lyn with the excellent John Hegley.
Bye for now!
Well so far this year we've had floods, snow and ice,
Hopefully that's the worst of the bad weather over with now!
Andrew Mountain Pike is the concert and artist technician
for Steinway so knows
fine quality when he comes across it; here he is admiring his new Taw,
A few nice features on this one - ebony purfling and
a pearl and ebony rosette
With another fine set of English yew.
John went to Ivor Mairants recently to buy a jazz guitar
but came away instead
with this beautiful walnut and cedar Torridge
which took his fancy!
Mike from Texas bought a Taw
and a Torridge from Shoreline, our
distributor in the States.
Mike plays a lot of English folk guitar so he's delighted to use two
Here he is playing a medley of Irish tunes
of the County Down/Carolan's Medley
Some of our repair work this month included a comprehensive
of Dave's vintage archtop,
Sorting out the loose braces and a making up a new
bridge on this
rather worse for wear Gibson
And reshaping the back of the neck on this
And now we'd like to introduce you to the weird and
wonderful world of
Bert Miller and the Animal Folk,
We first met Ryan a couple of years when he bought a Taw
to use with the band.
The debut album is now out - check it out on here
Miller and the Animal Folk
We love these guys, if you get a chance go and see
them play live,
Last but not least - check out Ryan's very fine solo
We'd like to thank John Ackroyd across the globe in
Oz for these
black and white shots of his custom Okement.
John said he was cringing about the beer bottle photo
I reassured him that for most of us beer is a helpful part of the music
See you next month!