• African Blackwood Mandolin for sale
  • Will McNicol and Heather Cartwright
  • John Smith at Marty Music
  • John James’ 9 string
  • Martin Simpson
  • Biréli Lagrène
  • Mark Neal. Cool Waters
  • Chris Herring. After the Storm
  • Bert Jansch’s Guitar
  • Jule Malischke and Joscho Stephan. Free your mind
  • Ullapool Guitar Festival
  • Tristan Seume. You Should Probably Leave
  • Bog Oak Falstaff
  • Ken Nicol. The Glass Chronicles
  • Ken Nicol. W.R.
  • Jon Wilks. My Lover's Eyes
  • Clive Carroll Live in the USA West Coast
  • Remi Harris at Orton
  • Simon Trowbridge Books
  • Luke Edwards. Songs of Wales for Fingerstyle Guitar
  • What is this?
African Blackwood Mandolin for sale

I offered this mandolin last month, but I only had low grade pictures which didn't really show all the lovely colours, so I sent it to  Mike to have it done properly. Now you can see the quality of the timbers as well.  African Blackwood back and sides, Bear Claw Swiss Pine top, Curly Koa bindings, Abalone inlays etc. A strong, balanced, clear tone, Really, really nice. Very special in fact.

For sale at £2,600 plus case etc. SOLD

  • African Blackwood and Swiss Pine Mandolin for sale
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Will McNicol and Heather Cartwright

What a nice surprise to see. Will and Heather have spent a lot of time on this piece:-

Will -
Here's a duet featuring the wonderful guitarist and composer, Heather Cartwright. I first met Heather whilst she was studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. She's since graduated and doing utterly fabulous work. Heather created this just brilliant guitar two part over my tune, The Musketeer's Approach. Some mean flat pickin' and strummin' here that I could never dream of playing - an absolute delight!

Heather -
“I really enjoyed writing a duet part for this piece as I’ve loved it ever since I learnt Will’s fantastic part a couple of years ago (it definitely pushed me to my limits!) The creative process was very fun and I love having the freedom switch between chords and melody. We played this for the first time live at the Ullapool guitar festival last year and it was a joy to share the stage with my teacher and someone whose playing I hugely admire. I’m in the process of planning a guitar duet album so there’s definitely more of this to come!”

Will's Website

Heather's Website

John Smith at Marty Music

I do wonder if I should be paying John a salary, he does so enjoy talking about his latest Fylde whenever he gets the chance.

Recently he has been singing the praises of "The Smithcaster" wherever he goes, although we are still considering the best name for it.

That does of course, assume that we will be making more of them, I’m not sure yet. I've had a lot of enquiries and we've been discussing all the possible options. As part of that, we have started to make "Version 2" which will hopefully be on display at Ullapool in October. Then we will decide.

John visited recently on his travels between gigs with Richard Hawley, which he enjoyed immensely, working with some of his favourite people and introducing his music to a whole new audience. 

He took a few pictures at home and in the pub. One is of a crusty old thing with unusual features. The other is a tree.

John, Richard, and Martin Simpson are all members of a very exclusive club. They each have a Fylde guitar made from the same extraordinary billet of Brazilian Rosewood, provided by our dearly missed friend Mike Waterson. Apart from Mike’s widow, there is one other such guitar, which might, just might, be available for sale quite soon. Watch this space.

John is on a roll at the moment, and is touring again in the summer, see the dates on his website.

John's Website

John James’ 9 string

This is still for sale. Why?

Every visitor has enjoyed playing it, particularly professional players, but nobody has expressed any interest in actually buying it. I have even been considering the possibility of rebuilding it as a 12 string, or even a Guitar Bouzouki or Cittern. Some options would be quite easy, and I’m happy to discuss it.

See pictures here.

It's for sale in its current form at £4,500

Martin Simpson

I've decided that videos like this need to be available to a wider audience than Vimeo offers, so here it is on YouTube. If you have already watched it, well watch it again.
Martin's new album "Sky Dancers" is "doing rather well". Actually, I think all Fylde Friends are "doing rather well", there must be a reason for that.

Martin's Website

Biréli Lagrène

I don't know how many of you stop to think of this - a touring musician's guitar has to do its job, night after night wherever it may be, no matter what the temperature or humidity, or how many times it has been thrown around by the airline, taken to pieces by customs or dropped in the car park and repaired in a panic backstage.

One hundred percent playability and reliability - nothing else will do. This video was shot in Israel, Biréli has taken the guitar all over the world and played it in every situation imaginable. It's reliable.

There are many views on guitar making.  We've been doing this for fifty years and learnt one thing in particular.

The guitar must "turn up" on the night. 

Mark Neal. Cool Waters

Some nice shots of the guitar here Marc, thank you very much. Very nice music as well.

Mark's Website

Chris Herring. After the Storm

Another display of just one of Chris's talents.  He's a superb guitarist, composer,  guitar maker and painter.

Chris does like to play John Renbourn’s music, but this time, his own composition has "obvious Bert Jansch influence", played on Chris's Father's vintage Falstaff.

Chris' Website

Bert Jansch’s Guitar

That is a suitable link to Bert's Fylde Guitar. John James was intrigued by it on a recent visit.

I've found the perfect home for it, and you will no doubt be hearing about all that from other sources very soon. I'll be adding my own observations over the next few months. 
We (mostly Alex) have spent a lot of time getting this iconic guitar into the best possible playing condition, and I think it's going on a new journey, with a whole new lease of life.

Watch this space.

Jule Malischke and Joscho Stephan. Free your mind

Jule is hugely admired by everybody that sees her play and it shows in the number of different top-level duos she is involved with. Joscho is a long-term friend of the Ullapool Festival, and this year Jule will be there with Don Ross, that will be something rather special.

It’s getting closer!

Jule's Website

Joscho's Website

Ullapool Guitar Festival

I haven't decided exactly what it will be yet, but "The Ullapool Guitar" is somewhere in this picture, along with a few surprises.

Ullapool Festival Website

Tristan Seume. You Should Probably Leave

Tris will be teaching this tune at his "Guitar Breaks" on July 6th, so you have about three weeks to learn it, book your place, and surprise him.

Or - just book your place, and get Tris's help?

Tris' Website

Bog Oak Falstaff
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I think most of the Bog Oak Guitars we have made have been " Personal Selection" instruments where the timbers are entirely my own choice. It's a really special timber and I have to guard it quite carefully; I don't think the supply will last much longer.

I don't remember what bribery was offered to persuade me to make this, but I'm glad we did, it’s beautiful. Such strong colours and details. Very intense Sinker Redwood from my carefully guarded stock, personally selected by myself and Moira on site In California many years ago. Snakewood bindings, not just binding pieces from a dealer, but specially cut from one of several complete logs I've bought over the years. Many makers will not use this material as it is so hard to work with. Well done, Paul.

I’m hoping to have something similar at Ullapool.

Ken Nicol. The Glass Chronicles

I do like to include some things that aren't guitar related. Ken is one of the best guitarists I know, and he is a friend going back forty years or more. My one and only encounter with a Ouija board was along with Ken and Carol, and I shall not forget that in a hurry. I’ll say no more!

Ken Nicol. W.R.

Just to prove Ken is as good as I say he is.

Ken does like to keep a bit of mystery going, I've no idea what W.R. stands for and he won't tell me.

He did record one called R.B. I think I know what that was.

Ken's Website

Jon Wilks. My Lover's Eyes

It’s been really good to see Jon supporting Martin Carthy so much recently,  and to see him taking to his new guitar so nicely

“I've started recording my next album, all with Gwendolyn (the lovely guitar you built for me) at the centre of it. It's sounding so robust and lovely. I'm so in love with that instrument"

Jon's Website

Clive Carroll Live in the USA West Coast

I wonder if Clive needs a driver for this tour. I can't imagine anything better than driving down the Pacific Coast Highway for 12 days. I know at least four wonderful timber suppliers on that route. Might need to take a van.

Clive's Website

Remi Harris at Orton

Remi is on tour a lot at the moment, and we had planned to catch up at Orton Village Hall. Orton is a lovely little village not far from us, nice pub, nice cafe, lovely hall etc. And a really good moorland road to drive on. As long as it isn't closed.

The moorland road had a barrier across, and a diversion sign. Once upon a time I would have ignored such terrible restrictions on my liberty and driven round the sign assuming it wouldn't "really" be closed. My success rate in such adventures has plummeted in recent years and I'm slightly more of a scaredy cat. Nowadays, the road people seem to actually mean it when they say "road closed". In my youth it seemed to be more "advisory", or for everybody else, not me.

Anyway, we had plenty of time, so we did as we were told and followed the diversion signs. Except that there weren't any. And Mr Garmin didn't know where we were either. An hour later we were still nowhere near Orton and had said hello to a good proportion of the cows in the Eden Valley. Some of them twice. Have you ever seen that look on a cow’s face that says "not you again"

When we finally did arrive, we had missed the entire first set. The second half was fantastic of course.

So, Remi, when it came to encore time, if you heard someone shout out "play the first half" , that might have been me.

Remi's Website

Simon Trowbridge Books

I have a lot of interesting people among my customers, and recently I’ve been sent several books written by Fylde Players

The French baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau is probably a bit deep for me, but the book seems to be amazingly well researched. Bruce Springsteen is rather more  up my street, (John Smith watched him from the wings at a recent awards show). It's in my ever-increasing pile of things to read as soon as ….

Simon has also written another book with an intriguing title "Cease to Weep" - a slim volume of short stories. The Title comes from Shakespeare (Henry VI Part 2).

That's going in my pile as well, and he has just told me that he has written another - a book on the Aix-en-Provence Festival of Music. I admit I’ve no idea what that is but I will be finding out soon.

Luke Edwards. Songs of Wales for Fingerstyle Guitar

Clive Carroll put me in touch with Luke. That's a high recommendation. Luke has a guitar on order, so I'm keeping him "onside" by helping to publicise this book for him. 

"In this unique solo fingerstyle guitar collection, Luke Edwards presents 17 melodies from the Celtic nation of Wales, The Land of Song, sheep and dragons and birthplace of Merlin the wizard. With arrangements derived from ancient to more modern traditional tunes, this book provides a glimpse into a fascinating musical culture. Often overlooked in comparison to neighbouring Scotland and Ireland, the music of Wales is rich and multifaceted. This book covers a variety of traditional Welsh genres including hymns, lullabies, hornpipes, fiddle tunes, and even a selection from The Robert Ap Huw Manuscript of 1340, the oldest known example of harp music in the world. As all the arrangements were made in guitar-friendly keys in either standard or drop-D tuning, they can be readily combined into sets for performance. Written in both standard notation and tablature, historical notes and complete right and left-hand fingerings are provided throughout. Recommended for the intermediate to advanced guitarist, the collection includes access to online audio.

All available  from the usual outlets

What is this?

Obviously, it’s a bird’s nest. It’s about 300 mm across and I'm telling everybody it's a Golden Eagle’s, but I am known for my slight exaggerations.

It might be a Jackdaw or a Barn Owl, the "evidence" nearby suggests a murderous animal with a complicated digestive system.

Any other thoughts welcome. I put these questions right at the end of a newsletter just to see how many of you get this far.

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