Richard Hawley; Lisa Hannigan; A New Trio! Ritchie Blackmore; More Deep Purple; and more - Gina Leishman; Rio Rosewood Mandola; Black Leonardo; Will McNicol; Seth Lakeman; Josh Dyer; For Sale an Unusual Lucetta and my wild card "Salut Salon".
Richard Hawley's new guitar.
Mike Waterson inspired many people. Richard Hawley was a friend and a huge fan, and last year he toured with Bright Phoebus Revisited, singing Mike and Lal's songs. John Smith was on the tour as well, and of course Martin Carthy, so one way or another, Richard came into contact with various Fylde guitars. One of those guitars was the lovely little Ariel that I made for Anne Waterson, using very old timber that Mike had discovered. That is how it all started, and this is how it finished.
Richards new guitar and its little sister
The top of Richard's guitar is Swiss Pine with nice features of bear claw figure. I didn't know they still had bears in Switzerland, just shows how old the wood must be. Nearly everything else is from "Mike's wood". The back and sides are Rio Rosewood from a part log he found in the floor of a joiners workshop. The neck came from a small plank of dirty brown wood that I couldn't quite identify. I’m going to call it "Mike's Suspicious Mahogany". The bindings are, I think, Burr Yew, which I've used a few times, but only on guitars like this one, that I really wanted to make, because this is "Mike's Really Difficult Wood". At Martin Simpson's suggestion, I also made the tuner buttons from Dalbergia Difficultis Watersonis.
The finished guitar is a gem, sweet sounding, perfectly even and smooth across the whole range, and again at Martin's suggestion I've fitted a Highlander pickup, and a McIntyre Feather on a stereo output. Richard loves the guitar and, and is playing it everyday, so hopefully we will see it on YouTube before too long. (see more photographs here)
When Mr. and Mrs. Hawley came to collect it, they brought along their little Collie dog named Fred, who, I discovered, is scared of bubble wrap, poor thing. When I first typed that, it came out as bubble rap, which is the music to a new soap commercial. Sorry Fred. (Richard's website)
Lisa has supported Richard Hawley several times, and here she is on one of his tours, accompanied invisibly by John Smith. Maybe one day we will see a trio of Fyldes. (link to video)
John has a new guitar on order and is about to go on tour with David Gray. Everything is so exciting! Lisa's siteJohn's site
A new Trio!
Talking about trios of Fylde, three or four years ago we made three instruments from matching timbers for one customer, who then very quickly ordered three more. I wasn't quite so quick to get them made, but here they are. I used the same Rosewood as the first set, although the Lucetta mandolin looks rather darker than I expected.. All fitted with Headway pickups. (See more photographs here)
One day I hope to get all six in one place for a group hug. Mike will need to get a bigger lens.
Ritchie needed a mandola in New York, urgently, for an upcoming US tour. Luckily I had one here, so after fitting the pickup and my usual interpretation of Ritchie's need for a volume control, off it went via Fedex, who did a good job, two days door to door including customs. I've lost count of how many instruments Ritchie has from me now. I think it’s nine. Bad number, ten is much better.
Two of them are in this video, mostly an interview with Ritchie and Candice.(Link to video) Fascinating interview, just the way I feel about a lot of things.
I do hope he tours over here again soon.
And more Deep Purple
Couldn't resist that. This is a fan fret Baritone guitar made from Purpleheart for Jack Hartley. The bindings are Claro Walnut, and the neck is laminated with Purpleheart. Jack is very concerned to avoid any form of animal products in his instruments, so I've used Tufnol for the nut and saddle, and wooden fingerboard inlays instead of Pearl. The ebony dust has stained the Maple shapes a little bit, but I think it adds to the appearance. (See more photographs here)
As soon as Jack records with this I will let you know. Knowing him, it will be wild, furious and fun, or maybe a little more earthy, like this one ... (Link to video)
Is everybody's life full of coincidence? Within a few days of sending Ritchie’s mandola to New York, Gina Leishman came to collect her mandola. It was made alongside Ritchie’s, the two instruments have consecutive serial numbers, but were ordered several months apart. Guess where Gina lives? - New York. I have a theory about coincidence. Basically, the more times you toss a coin, the more times it will come down Heads. Or Tails. Or in my case, on its edge.
When Gina got in touch, she explained that she had an upcoming project that needed a mandola. The project is a unique performance of Monteverdis Opera "Orfeo” in Italy, for which Gina is writing the score, so I'm hoping for some interesting pictures from that. She has already sent me a picture taken at Cotherstone Village Hall last week
Moira and I have got into the habit of Googling any new contacts, and I found a lot about Gina. Have you heard of the Flying Karamazov Brothers? or Kamikaze Ground Crew?
Don’t take my word for it, her website is a revelation, she even recorded a whole album "with a nod to William Shakespeare", and is currently very interested in playing "glass". Gina's website
And another Mandola
Keeping the tenuous links going, recently we finished another Octave Mandola, made from spectacular Rio Rosewood and figured Sinker Redwood. I get paid to do this; do I have the best job in the world? As long as I have people like Alex and Paul, and Moira alongside, yes, I think I do. (see more photographs here)
I received this link just a few minutes before sending the newsletter out, and I thought it was so appropriate that I asked Mike English to add it at the last minute. He loves it when I do that. So pleased in fact, that he sometime invents new words of appreciation. He loves me really. (Link to video)
I suppose that's another tenuous link. Ritchie Blackmore? Black guitar?
I no longer supply shops very often, so it is particularly nice when the owner of a specialist outlet still wants to buy a guitar from me for his personal use. This was a custom order for Rudi at TFOA - The Fellowship of Acoustics in the Netherlands. (Link to TFOA's Website)
Macassar Ebony back and sides, Sitka Spruce top, Koa bindings. I think it's stunning, and I am going to make another very similar one as soon as I can, so that I can show it to more people this time. (See more photographs here)
He just gets better and better. The little smiles and peeps at the camera just make it more human. I think the smile when he bends the neck of the guitar is intended just for me, he's probably imagining the expression of dismay on my face. (Link to video)
Somehow the airline handlers managed to actually drive a wagon right over Seth’s Bouzouki, just a few days before his Australian tour. To be fair, they were very good, and paid up without a fuss, and I was lucky enough to be able to find another Bouzouki for Seth to play, so panic over. Still a shock though, and I'll no doubt have another story to tell when I get the old bouzouki back here for repair.(Seth's website)
I know nothing about Josh, I even wonder if its his real name, you'll understand that if you Google him, but I do like this video, and I'm going to be watching out for him. My first advice will be that he should play in warmer places, and get a better strap. (Link to video)
Unusual Lucetta for sale.
It's so odd - I don’t make a particular model for ages, then I get several similar orders all at once. The Rosewood Lucetta pictured above was one, and a customer in the USA ordered a custom model with Walnut body and Redwood top. It was such a treat for me to be able to keep away from Rosewood for a while, that I made two! This one has a cedar top, and it is for sale. £1700. (See more photographs here)
My wild card
While music is in the hands of such people as this - we do not need to worry. (Link to video)
I can't wait to write the next newsletter - I have so many things to tell you, and Moira and I are off on our travels again!