September 2021

  • Walnut Leonardo - new model
  • Before we go any further
  • Antonio Forcione
  • Farewell Michael Chapman 
  • John Smith
  • John James - Glandulas (a Lament)
  • Arlen Roth. Pancho and Lefty
  • Arlen Roth 
  • Adam Palma. Angel Eyes
  • Ken Nicol. Roger's Rag
  • Rio Alexander for Sale
  • Walnut Mandolin for sale (SOLD)
  • Charity CD, “Strings That Nimble Leap"
  • Wood Sweat and Tears
  • Ben Robertson
  • Findlay Napier.  It is what it is
  • Granny's Attic.  
  • Ben Walker and Kirsty Merryn. Life and the Land
  • Single Malt Bouzouki
  • Bill Neale. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
  • Eric Mather. Moon River
  • Udo Dolz
  • Nanci Griffith with Frank Christian 
  • Remi Harris
  • Gareth Evans. Mr Brightside
  • The best acoustic guitarists in the world right now
  • All the very best. Vin Garbutt's story in his own words
Walnut Leonardo - new model

The Leonardo model is becoming rather popular, even though it's never been advertised, featured in magazines or sold in shops.

This is yet another custom version for a lucky customer. Claro Walnut back and sides, Cedar soundboard, Mahogany and Walnut laminated neck, red lines and marquetry purfling, Pearl Diamond fingerboard inlays.

It's such a lovely thing and It's a long time since we launched a new "Standard Model". Also, it's such a good opportunity to add a different timber, Claro Walnut, to the other timbers we have available, so watch out on the website. The Walnut Leonardo. Available to order soon, estimated price £5,900.

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Before we go any further

There is a definite change in music now that Covid restrictions have been lifted, not only are artists back on stage in front of real people, but albums are being released, and videos being made. Some of these must have been held back for quite a while, and others have clearly benefited from all that extra down time, it's getting rather busy and I have lots to write about.

It's always been hard to decide what to use in the newsletter and what to leave out, it's getting even more difficult now, and not helped when I leave it a little too long. Obviously I like to show the professional artists and the fancy guitars, but I also enjoy showing clips from amateurs and lesser known players. Some items are very time sensitive, and have to be used straight away, others get put in my "reserve" list to use at a later date and sometimes that just never happens.

This month will be a big newsletter with lots of new, wonderful music and quite a bit of older, wonderful music. Some sad parts as well, can't be helped. I think it's one of the "strongest" newsletters I've been able to write, all thanks to the huge range of Fylde players out there. Thank you, I wish I had time to write more


Antonio Forcione

A bit of theatre, a little dance, lots of fun and some great guitar playing. Antonio obviously left his bass player at home, so he plays that part as well. You might remember that this guitar has some technical tweaks to allow those bass notes and tuning to work

It's a long way off, but Antonio is booked to play at the Ullapool Festival in 2022, along with our lovely friend Jule Malishke, we can't wait. Jule is an excellent pool player, I wonder if Antonio plays pool? It's a very special weekend: music, friends, beer, whisky, curry, scenery, seabreeze, boats, fish, pool, golf, walking, climbing. Oh, and some guitars.

Antonio's Website

Jule's Website

Ullapool Website


Farewell Michael Chapman

It's not easy to write about someone you've known when they have passed away. Now that I've come to put it "on paper" it's become even more difficult because I've realised that I have a lot to write.

The video is from 1975, this might have been the first time I saw one of my guitars on television, and on " Whistle Test" no less. I was on cloud ten. I think the camera man was a guitar fan - some great shots here.

Michael was put in touch by Gordon Giltrap around 1974. He asked me to make a black guitar with an inlaid vine in the fingerboard. I had absolutely no idea how to go about either, and there wasn't any reference or guidance at all. I made an "Olivia" from Mahogany and Spruce, painted it black with "rattle cans", scraped away the colour from the white inlays, and sprayed a different clear lacquer on top, asking for all sorts of trouble, but it worked out. I remember trying to engrave the inlay lines in the ebony using a sand blaster, it didn't even leave a mark let alone a nice neat groove and eventually I cut the long inlay channels using a sharpened screwdriver. I've no idea where the guitar is now, Mike did tell me once. A few years later I had to make a similar guitar for someone else, but all white. Someone should start a Fylde Museum.

This was me with that black guitar in the basement workshop in St Anne’s, probably 1974. What do you think about the hair? My good friend Bill was somewhere nearby, completely entranced by Mike's girlfriend Andru.

Mike found his home in the far north via some friends who at the time lived in the house that we now live in, which was a bit creepy when we all realised. A few years ago, I was on holiday, at home, and I received a phone call from the Penrith Police. Someone had called in from my workshop to say they had arrived for a visit and found it unlocked but unoccupied. I drove like to mad back to work, to find it was Mike Chapman, with his road crew, who had dropped in for a cup of tea, found the workshop unlocked, and waited for me until I arrived. Thank you, Michael.

Michael's website


John Smith

We were due to see John in London this weekend, but circumstances have conspired against us, so we will have to catch him later in the tour, by which time hundreds of people will have told us, at length, how wonderful it was, how much we missed and that we really should have been there. I'm sure we will be very grateful for that.

John's website


John James - Glandulas (A lament)

I said right at the beginning that I have a lot to show this month.  John has written some new music and unwrapped his video camera again, as usual he shares some of his thoughts and knowledge of music and guitars in particular.  This time he shows a different side, the "melodic" John rather than the "Rhythmic". I always get a bit excited when I see he has posted something new; he is such a great player. I do need to persuade him to use heavier strings again though.

John's Website


Arlen Roth. Pancho and Lefty

Arlen is getting used to his new guitar that we showed in the last newsletter, I really like the special "laid back” guitar player's chair, more or less moulded around instrument and player. I can imagine that you simply fall backwards holding onto the guitar, then perhaps call for help when you need to stand up again.
Watch out for a lovely little run at 2 minutes 30 seconds

The tune has quite a history in the guitar playing world and is worth looking at on Google or YouTube when you have the time.   

Arlen's website


Arlen Roth

Arlen drove from the New York storms to Nashville with his new guitar for company "visiting The Grand Ole Opry!  Also playing at the Country Music Hall of Fame and on TV and radio, so we will be sending you photos that hopefully are "Fylde full!" Been playing it acoustically on the radio, and during some other interviews.... every single person asks about it, and raves about the sound.... makes me very proud to play it! "

One of those photos has an impressive backdrop of hundreds of guitars piled up, I should try and find out exactly how they did that. 


Adam Palma. Angel Eyes

Adam has emerged from writing, rehearsal, recording and moving house! I think he has an Album due early next year. I will of course be posting any news about it here.
Angel eyes? That's what Moira calls me; how did Adam know? And how did Frank Sinatra know?

Adam's Website


Ken Nicol. Roger's Rag

This is the video I promised in the previous newsletter, the "faster" tune that Ken specially recorded (and I think wrote specially as well) to help show off the Personal Selection Falstaff that was for sale.  Ken called this “Roger's Rag" as a working title, I don’t know if he's changed it.  I'll ask him.

Ken's Website


Rio Alexander for Sale

A rare opportunity to obtain a very special guitar. Made in 2014, the owner is selling it in order to finance another special Fylde guitar.

I think I would regard it as a Custom Alexander, but it could equally be described as a Custom Alchemist.

Brazilian Rosewood back and sides (with CITES documents). Sinker Redwood soundboard. Neck laminated from Mahogany and Rosewood, 45mm Ebony fingerboard, 629mm scale, with Pearl diamond inlays. Rosewood bindings with marquetry purflings. Black chrome hardware.

It’s not "flash" in anyway, just quality and sounds lovely. I think I can say it is in perfect condition, we have set it up afresh and given it a little polish so it's all ready to go. It comes with a fitted Green Carlton case, which by itself would cost £1,000. The owner might consider selling the guitar and case separately.

For sale, with case at £6900 ono.

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Walnut Mandolin for sale

It's not often that I have a finished mandolin for sale, we try hard to anticipate future orders by making a start while other work is hardening or drying, then progressing them bit by bit as time permits. Usually, this means they are all sold before they are finished, and I would rarely have one "available".

But it was pointed out to me recently that some details and pictures of the mandolins on the website were out of date, so we tried hard to make new instruments just to get new pictures. All except this one were sold before the photographs were taken, just this one is left you lucky person, whoever you are.

For sale £1350 plus case. (SOLD)

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Charity CD, “Strings That Nimble Leap"

It's been a while since I mentioned the Charity CD. It's still available, still the best selection of acoustic music you'll find anywhere, with music you will not find anywhere else. 52 artists on two CD's and a 128-page booklet, with all proceeds going to appropriate charities.

You can order "Strings That Nimble Leap" here


Wood Sweat and Tears

The book is still available in printed and e book versions "My path is sometimes different to other makers and for the first time this book begins to explain the way we work here at Fylde, with rather more information about the tools and techniques involved than I’ve ever explained before."

Over 400 pages and 800 photographs, history, stories, artists …

You can order "Wood Sweat and Tears" e-book here

You can order "Wood Sweat and Tears" print edition here


Ben Robertson

I have a mental list of artists to check regularly in case they have posted something on YouTube, then sometimes a new video pops up on Facebook which sort of catches me out. This is one.

"It was such an unplanned and very poorly recorded thing (literally just using my iPhone) that I didn't think it worthy of sending over really! Doesn't feature my best playing either."

Stop being so modest Ben, we know it’s not a "produced" recording, which makes it all the more interesting. I can hear the new strings; you get a great tone.

Ben's Website


Findlay Napier. It is what it is

Findlay is sitting on the latest high-tech device in our office - a sofa! He dropped by to have the pickup replaced on his guitar. It's only a few weeks since he had a "family accident" with the guitar and we had to fit a new headstock, what next? He has a new album available at Findlay's website.

And he starts a new tour soon with Megan Henwood as “Story Song Scientists". Megan's website


Granny's Attic

Moira and I were in the audience when these three were in the first stages of the BBC Young Folk Awards, in 2009, I think.

They seem to have spent the intervening years polishing and practicing everything they do, I'm very impressed.

The music reminds me a lot of the iconic Chris Woods and Andy Cutting recordings from about twenty-five years ago. I tend to drive "in time" to whatever music is playing in my car and at that time, my car was a Nissan 200SX. To cut a long story short - I ended up with my front wheels in Loch Ness. True.

I have several Loch Ness stories; one concerns a group of tourists who pointed at me and said, "There it is". Don't bother thinking about that for long, it's not worth the effort.

Sorry, I digress, George Sansome is the guitarist with the band. "I used the Orsino on everything and it was an absolute joy, as ever. We recorded all the tracks live in the room together/no overdubs"

I can hear a lot of influences, but the sound to me, with all its various inputs, feels quite "English", which I regard as a good thing, it's such a shame that more young people don't get involved in music in the same way that they might do in Scotland, Wales or Ireland for instance. There, I've said it.

You can get t he album here


Ben Walker and Kirsty Merryn. Life and the Land

 

Ben now has three guitars from here, this is the first one he bought, before I knew him, nice to see it getting a day out.

And they have an EP available:


Single Malt Bouzouki

Here's one I made earlier, 2002 in fact. Twenty years ago and it seems like yesterday. I'm fairly sure this is the only bouzouki we have made using these "original" timbers, I never did have large sizes and I was always a little fearful about the "hygroscopic" nature of oak in larger instruments. This is as big as we went, and I've run out of the colourful “washback" Columbian pine now anyway. I don't think I'll be able to get any more, at least until Talisker replaces its washbacks again in another forty years. I'll email them. 

The bouzouki is now owned by Jane Wyer, who takes musical time away from her proper job of paper conservator. I'm fascinated by the people I come into contact with.

Here is their website.

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Bill Neale. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Another lovely demonstration of tone from Bill. I love the way each note develops, with a good guitar there's always a lot more to come after the initial sound starts. Sometimes the note swells and moves for quite a while, and of course for that to work, you need sustain and plenty of "content" in the note to start with. Some of that is the guitar, some is the player. Discuss - 3,000 words.

More, Bill please


Eric Mather. Moon River

I've put this next to Bill Neale's piece because it has a similar feel, and because it comes from the same source - the new "Fans of Fylde" Facebook pages!
A different guitar, and a different sound, but a similar technique - patient and measured.

I don't think I know Eric, but he has an interesting story about the guitar:

I can't actually remember how long I've had my Fylde Ariel, but I recall it was like a shady deal going down as I met the guy at the Snake Pass Inn (on the Snake Pass would you believe!) where we did an exchange of instruments - I had a Breedlove guitar which I wanted to 'move on' and he had the Fylde Ariel which he wanted to exchange - so after checking the guitars out very quickly (it was a pretty horrible drizzly day) the instruments moved quickly into our respective vehicles and I sped off back into Derbyshire - quickly before he could change his mind.

More Music Eric Please!!

I've put this next to Bill Neale's piece because it has a similar feel, and because it comes from the same source - the new "Fans of Fylde" Facebook pages!
A different guitar, and a different sound, but a similar technique - patient and measured.

I don't think I know Eric, but he has an interesting story about the guitar:

I can't actually remember how long I've had my Fylde Ariel, but I recall it was like a shady deal going down as I met the guy at the Snake Pass Inn (on the Snake Pass would you believe!) where we did an exchange of instruments - I had a Breedlove guitar which I wanted to 'move on' and he had the Fylde Ariel which he wanted to exchange - so after checking the guitars out very quickly (it was a pretty horrible drizzly day) the instruments moved quickly into our respective vehicles and I sped off back into Derbyshire - quickly before he could change his mind.

More Music Eric Please!!


Udo Dolz

Udo has recently posted a whole host of music on YouTube. I think he has at least three Fyldes and obviously takes his music very seriously.


Nanci Griffith with Frank Christian

Nanci's death is another loss to the music world,  Frank died a few years ago, and there's something about the low quality of the sound and vision of this video that really appeals to me, almost ghostly. 

Frank had two Fyldes, using his Ariel for this one, he phoned me at the time to tell me he had made this recording.  It's one of the earliest YouTube clips of a Fylde guitar that I saw.


Remi Harris

Just a quick promo reel for Remi's music - he is touring soon! Go to see him, it's a superb night. Remi's website.


The best acoustic guitarists in the world right now

John Smith, Clive Carroll and Will McNicol are amongst them. It is very pleasing to see our friends mentioned here. I suppose there will always be some players we feel should have been included, but I'm not going to argue about those that were included!

I'm not quite sure why an acoustic guitar list should show a video of John Smith playing electric guitar, but, nevertheless - well done everybody!

Link to Total Guitar's feature


All the very best. Vin Garbutt's story in his own words

It has been five years since Vin's death, five years without the laughter and the tears, but the memories are huge. Vin had spent a lot of time getting all his memories into place, and I'm sure he was planning to finish it by himself which of course didn't happen. It's taken Vin's family a long time to edit all his words and put it all together. I've seen some parts of it, contributed little bits, and I know it will shed a strong light on Vin's life and even more on his music. I'm really looking forward to getting my copy, I suspect it will be a little emotional.

Vin's website


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