• Custom Walnut Mandolin in Switzerland.
  • My wood store.
  • Adam Palma. Clarinet Polka
  • Tristan Seume's Rio Falstaff for sale.
  • Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell. Nineties
  • I Hate Pickguards
  • A Trillion Trees by Fred Pearce
  • Will McNicol and Jule Malischke at Ullapool
  • Remi Harris and Tom Moore Promo
  • JP Cooper. Wait
  • Findlay Napier Crowdfunding
  • John Smith Eye to Eye
  • Eric Bibb with Liam Clancy at The Big Note in New York
  • Jackson Williams
  • Andy Irvine. Erin's Green Shore
  • Louis Bingham
  • John Breeze. Mrs Hemingway
  • Topette. "Oblique Jig / Miss Heidi Hendy"
  • Intriguing mechanism
Custom Walnut Mandolin in Switzerland.

I had almost free rein on this, the way I like it. I love searching for the ideal piece of wood for a particular instrument. I do have rather a lot, and it's so satisfying to be able to choose each piece to match, often without cutting into some of the sections that I save for bigger instruments. The smaller the instrument, the bigger the choice.

The back and sides are figured Claro Walnut from Oregon, as is the neck. The top is Sinker Redwood from Mendocino. The bindings are Snakewood from Surinam. That's particularly good use of the timber, as the Snakewood logs I get are usually too long for guitars, plus there can be a huge amount of waste, so being able to use short lengths is a massive advantage. The purfling choice was from Paul, we all have a decent understanding and agreement about what works and what doesn't. I left the fingerboard inlay choice to Alex, and we got Abalone Diamonds. Teamwork. The best team ever.

This instrument was meant to be "Bold”. The customer is happy. Box ticked.

  • Custom Walnut Mandolin
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My wood store

This is what I mean about wood!

I don't want to explain the story yet or it might spoil some future plans. Suffice it to say it was Moira's idea. Through our friends Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite, we made contact with Tony Husband, who draws Cartoons for Private Eye and The Times. We've had lots of chats, he is very much into music and has met everybody worth meeting (except me, so far anyway) I sent him lots of rough ideas for a series of cartoons, and left him to it. This is the first, I think it’s wonderful. I have a lot more!

Adam Palma. Clarinet Polka

I've a horrible suspicion that I've used this clip before. But I like it.

I do wonder if the orchestra had decided to challenge Adam on how fast he can play, they all seem to having such fun. Adam has four Fyldes, two of them almost identical, but one of which had one less fret on the big end of the fingerboard, so I made him an extra section, complete with fret and he had it installed in Poland. Easier than me flying over with my tool box I suppose.

When I was in New York in 1979, I flew over with a small toolbox and worked on Al Di Meola's guitar while he was in the CBS studios. Strangely enough, Al has a guitar identical to Adam's.

Adam's Site.

Tristan Seume's Rio Falstaff for sale - SOLD.
  • Tristan Seume's Falstaff For Sale
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This is Tristan's first Fylde, made for him in 2008. It's had plenty of use both live and in the studio and sounds rather lovely. The action is low, which of course will suit some people. (It suits Tristan very well indeed). We will refret it before we send it out and might tidy up some minor marks in the finish, but only if the new owner wants us to. I like it as it is.

By the way, the dog's name is Merlin!

Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, the grain patterns and colours being very much "old school" rather than the more exotic material often seen nowadays. It arrived with me via a well-known and trusted source and I still have some from the same log. The centre section of the back is Macassar Ebony. The soundboard is exceptional fine grained Englemann Spruce. The neck is 45mm wide at the nut, laminated with Mahogany and Rosewood lines and with a Brazilian Rosewood head veneer. It has a Headway FEQ pickup.

Tristan now plays his latest Fylde, the fan fret Goodfellow, exclusively and is downsizing his collection a little, plus he has plans!! Yes, a musician with plans. Whatever next?

Tristan is asking £5,800 ono - SOLD. It's a guitar with the right sort of history and "track" record, such things are usually kept forever so this is a very rare opportunity.

Tristan is due to come up for some pool tuition soon. I'm sure he'll plaster it all over FB if he wins, but I'm planning to play him straight after his massive bike ride, when he will be exhausted. All's fair etc.

Tristan's Website

Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell. Nineties

I've loved fiddle and guitar together ever since my teens, watching Dave Swarbrick in Birmingham, and then of course with Martin Carthy. That duo is largely responsible for "Where I am today". Where am I exactly? Anybody know?

In Louis’ playing, the first thing I hear is Martin Simpson's influence. A section of what I might call Shetland chordal guitar follows, then all of a sudden, a little bit of bluegrass flat picking?? In there at all times, of course, is Louis's unique take on all of it. And, at all times, it's spot on alongside Owen's fiddle playing.

Louis has recorded a duo EP with Sam Sweeney, “Bleep Bloop” due out next month; then working with Owen and touring in Korea with his Falstaff.

The guitar was specially built for him and has a particular "large" neck profile to suit what Louis had become accustomed to. Seems to work.

Louis' Website
Sam's Website
Owen's Website

I Hate Pickguards

That's not quite true. It's not the pickguards themselves that I hate, I just really don't like fitting them. I don't completely refuse, but I usually suggest one of three things:

One - play the guitar, and if you put marks in it, then I'll fit a pickguard over the marks. I will know exactly where to fit it and what shape it needs to be.
Two - scratch it all you like, and you'll know it's yours.
Three - Don’t scratch it.

I think that covers all possibilities.

The picture shows many of the templates we've made over the years. That's the only part I enjoy. To be absolutely fair, it wouldn't be me that did it anyway, those days are gone. My next T shirt might be “Talk to the team, the Boss ain't listening"

A Trillion Trees by Fred Pearce

What a splendid title.

The subtitle is “How We Can Reforest Our World" which very neatly explains the whole story. I'd need to read it several times and have a better memory if I was trying to talk about it in depth. I've folded the corners of pages to mark particular sections to mention here (the book police can investigate me if they want to).

Basically, mankind's attempts at reforestation by new planting haven't been massively successful and sometimes have actually done more harm than good. That was a shock to me, but much more reassuring was the massive extent in which Nature will do much, or even most of the work for us, just by being left alone. Even in fairly recent history, some of the logged areas of the Amazon have regrown and been logged again, and more than once!

The much-decried slash and burn farming we were told about at school is actually ecologically sound even in the fairly short term. In fact, local communities given rights to their own land are much better at protecting it than government or international agencies. Satellite imagery doesn't "see" small stands of trees, or the individual trees protected as communal assets, yet, counted together, the numbers are huge.

It had never occurred to me that the giant Seqouias of California, thousands of years old, were probably planted in sacred groves by the indigenous population on land they had cultivated for generations. Ancient forest, first growth forest, primeval, virgin, etc are words that are very misleading or plain untrue. Of course, we all do need to be very concerned, but this book does offer a ray of hope

Will McNicol and Jule Malischke at Ullapool

These lovely people are holding a one day workshop just before the Ullapool Festival in October It’s an obvious excuse to spend an extra day there. I'm hoping the new "Esplanade" at the harbour front will be finished by then, I spent a delightful hour watching the pile driving last year while Moira was buying essential supplies. I really enjoy watching people work.

Will's Website
Jule's Website

Remi Harris and Tom Moore Promo

You must get to see Remi's show. It really is one of the best guitar evenings around, such enthusiasm and class from both of them. They cover everything - jazz, blues, rock, classical.

And watch out for the Peter Green tour.

Remi's Website

JP Cooper. Wait

When I first heard that JP had a Fylde guitar I was delighted, and I try to watch out for his new videos. I think he should feature his guitar playing a lot more than he does, it's rather good. He could certainly turn the guitar up a bit in the mix.

What am I now? A record producer?

JP's Website

A point here if I may - I can't possibly keep track of every new video or recording which features a Fylde. I've had some wonderful links sent to me which I would never have known about otherwise, I think my favourite has to be Paul McCartney (see below).

Can I ask you to send me anything that catches your attention? Kylie Minogue playing a Fylde Mandolin would be nice. Don't worry, Moira won't read this.

Findlay Napier Crowdfunding

There is just about time to tell you about this. I hope I haven't missed the boat. Raising funds to make his new album, and the campaign finishes this week. He is nearly there! Link to crowdfunding page.

Even if you don't contribute to this project, you should look at Findlay's website and his music.

Findlay's Website

John Smith Eye to Eye

I'm not sure if John will thank me for using this, but I think it demonstrates his easy audience relationship remarkably well, and his newer, rather more gentle approach to singing, hopefully meaning we will still be listening to him in many many years time. I'm not leaving out Katherine's talent either, fellow Brummie that she is.

John is recently back from Australia, he was touring there at the same time as Eric Bibb and they made plans to meet up. But Australia is a big place, and it didn't work this time. They first met at "my party" and I'll cry if I want to.

John's Website

Eric Bibb with Liam Clancy at The Big Note in New York

Having mentioned Eric in the above, of course I had to search YouTube for anything that I hadn't seen before, and I found this!!!

It's a long video, and Eric doesn't appear until 20.00, it's well worth the wait. BUT- guess what? most of this video is Liam Clancy playing his Orsino.  I'd just about forgotten this, the connection came via Archie Fisher, and Liam's son now has his father's guitar. I wouldn't have been able to watch it on our old data limited internet, but we now have unlimited fibre optic broadband and we have entered a whole new world. 

One day I might tell you about the time I met Tom Paxton backstage. 

Eric's Website

This is another reference to what I mentioned earlier. There are a lot of Fylde instruments out there that I know nothing about because they were sold via shops with no direct contact with me. It's very different now, all our instruments are sold direct to the customer.  We make a lot less, but it's a lot more fulfilling.

Anyway, anything you do come across, please tell me. Thank you.

Jackson Williams

I know Jackson as "Skeet" Williams. I think he is trying to confuse me. I challenged him (in a friendly way) recently because I'd seen him playing another make of guitar, and he came right back “I'll always be a Fylde Man. I've got four of your instruments." 

I think this guitar is from the same era as Liam Clancy's in the previous video. When I had my huge band resaw, I cut a lot of my own timber from billets, and a lot of it had the dark streak that Cliff Richard described as his "G plan guitar".   That will test your memory.

Skeet's Facebook Page 

Andy Irvine. Erin's Green Shore

Andy recorded this for the Fylde Charity CD/ Book “Strings That Nimble Leap", and it's great to see it on video.

Andy's Website

And here is the link to that CD. It's for charity folks!!

Louis Bingham

Another lovely tune from Louis on his Cittern. I don't need to say anything else. Other than he has a lovely picture on his website:

Louis' Website

John Breeze. Mrs Hemingway

There is a reason for the Aluminium! The guitar has been played outside for three or four hours every day in all weathers since about 2014. The reflective foil makes it almost weather proof, and certainly reflects the heat of the sun. Place guitar in the oven at gas mark 5 for 2 hours, baste with beer every 30 minutes.

Topette. "Oblique Jig / Miss Heidi Hendy"

Aaah. Acoustic bass guitar, don’t you just love it!! The dancers aren't getting their heart rate up much though. Maybe it's slow motion.

Topette's Website

Intriguing mechanism

Isn't eBay wonderful?

I can't remember what I was searching for when I found this, that's part of the fun. The seller thought it was for testing antique radio sets in some way, but I'm very confident that it was part of a training set up for military aircraft of the Nimrod/Vulcan era. There is one long gear train within it, I estimate an overall ratio of at least 2,000 :1, plus an electric clutch, a motor, a servomotor/tachometer, and an encoder. The counter isn't exactly sequential, some of the wheels have repeated digits rather than 1 to 10. And it has a hand wheel, which is intriguing. It has entertained everybody both before and after visits to the pub. If I'm honest most of the entertainment came after the pub. At least we didn’t try and take it to bits.

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