August 2020 Newsletter

  • Bog Oak in lockdown
  • Ullapool
  • Myrtle Ariel
  • Findlay Napier
  • Small Hours: The Long Night of John Martyn
  • New Website for Vin Garbutt
  • More workshop videos
  • Bracing
  • Cynthia the CNC
  • Fret Slotting Machine
  • John Smith and Sarah Jarosz
  • Remi Harris
  • Roy Harper's guitar
  • Harry Pearce
  • Nick Harper
  • Fretless Sir Toby Bass for sale
  • Leeroy Staggers
  • RIP Peter Green
  • Adam Palma
  • Liz and Dave Walmisley
  • Davey Graham and Bert Jansch
  • What did you do during Lockdown Daddy?
  • There is no "H" in Keyboard
Bog Oak in lockdown

We made these four instruments as a "set" and I wanted to include a mandolin to make it look like a family. I knew they would make a wonderful picture. Was I right?
Yes, I was, thank you.
Bog Oak back and sides, Sinker Redwood soundboards, Snakewood bindings with red borders. Ebony fingerboards with Abalone diamond inlays.
Gotoh 510 tuners. All of the necks are made from one board of very old Brazilian Mahogany with centre sections from another similar board and red and black lines to match and complement the bodies.
 The mandolin was made from the "offcuts" of the three guitars. Each side is two tapered sections, and the back is four sections, all divided by thin red lines. A child with three parents.

Stunning instruments. Once again Mike English cursed the dark woods (well, he cursed me really) but produced wonderful pictures anyway.

The idea was to display them at the Ullapool Guitar Festival in October, along with a number of other specially built instruments, but now that the festival has been postponed, I am free to sell them straightaway.

For sale:

Falstaff £7,200 - SOLD
Long Scale Alexander £6,900 - SOLD
Ariel £4,900 - SOLD
Mandolln £2,200 - SOLD

I can provide more details on request.

Wouldn't it be nice if they were sold as a set?

Dear Mr. Bucknall. Would there be a discount if I bought them all?
Dear Mr Jones, probably not.

  • Bog Oak Instruments
  • FALSTAFF-1OF4-LC0A4742
  • AREIL-1OF4-LC0A4729
  • AREIL-BACK-1OF4-LC0A4737
  • MANDOLIN-1OF4-LC0A4781


As mentioned above, the uncertainty over so many things means that Richard has cancelled this year, but is holding many of the same artist bookings for next year. See you then!

Ullapool Website

Will McNicol

This is Will's "Acacia" Ariel, sounding very grand for such a small guitar, and no string noise which is either due to the guitar, or Will's talent. Possibly both? Lots of players, not just beginners, use Will's videos as tutorials.
They should really sign up to his College and pay him some money!

The College at Will's website

Myrtle Ariel

I received an enquiry from a customer in the USA who had seen Will play that same guitar. I didn't have any more Acacia wood. (must do something about that), so we settled on figured Myrtle which Moira and I bought in Oregon a few years ago. The customer is very pleased and describes the sound as "pretty", which is not how I would describe the tone that Will achieves, just goes to show how different players can achieve different tones, as the guitars are very similar in every respect.

  • Myrtle Ariel
  • ARIEL-LC0A4709
  • AREIL-LC0A4716
  • AREIL-LC0A4723
  • ARIEL-LC0A4712
  • AREIL-LC0A4719

Findlay Napier

Findlay recorded this to help promote a book about John Martyn, so I bought the book.

Nice guitar Findlay. Findlay's website

Small Hours: The Long Night of John Martyn

Probably the best Biography I have read. It's all there, the good and the bad. History of recordings and record companies, managers, friends, families and fights. Countless details from all those who knew him from cradle to grave, with enough to explain what formed the music and the man.
I have my own John Martyn stories, and lots of Fylde players are referenced in this book.
Written by Graeme Thomson, who has also written about Kate Bush, George Harrison, Elvis Costello, Nelson, Johnny Cash and Phil Lynott.  I think I have a lot of reading to do.

Published this month and available from here and here.
Graeme's site

New Website for Vin Garbutt

We'll never forget him, will we?
I think there are still little bits of audio and video from Vin's music popping up here and there and a lot of his back catalogue is still available from the new website, although stocks of some CDs are running short. The website has a full discography, a new gallery, and a shop!
Wonderful memories of a wonderful human being and dear friend.

Vin's website

More Workshop Videos


There is so much more I could say about all this, and I'm not sure if I've managed to get the message across in this video. I do tap and listen to the wood while I'm working on it, but I do not wish to “tune” the soundboard. I see this from my engineering point of view, aiming for smooth even stress distribution, and strength in the right places. Every guitar that we make feeds some information into the next guitar that we make. It's a cumulative process, small incremental improvements over a long period of time which, when added together, make a significant improvement. In industry and sport, it's called “the theory of marginal gains”. In my case, it's over fifty years and nearly 10,000 instruments, with the results judged by the music and the players, not just my ears.

Cynthia the CNC

It was sort of a dream, a way of getting extra, high quality, production and reduce the personal stress. Also of course, I do love clever machines, but I like to design and make them myself.  Why would I want one big super clever machine that did everything and left me twiddling my thumbs, when I could spend the rest of my life making lots of little devices and keeping a big cheeky grin on my face?  

Fret Slotting Machine

And here is one such device, it's the latest of probably ten different fret slotters that I've made over the years, and by far the most sophisticated. A factory would use a CNC machine to do exactly this job, and every maker has their own solution. It's an interesting situation for me, as there’s a constant argument about what constitutes “handmade". In reality, every maker does use machines, probably a minimum of circular saw, bandsaw and drill plus almost certainly a router and several sanders. Professional quality work isn't feasible without them. Hand work carries on the process from there, and we spend something like 90% or more of our time "at the bench".
I've been making little bits and pieces, and bigger bits and pieces, ever since I started making guitars sixty years ago, and I don't throw them away, so I have a lot. Everyone improves our efficiency and quality.  I design them myself, and I make them myself. By hand.

John Smith and Sarah Jarosz

All is not lost. Excellent music is still being made. It's just that the microphone leads are now hundreds, or even thousands of miles long. Link to video

John's website

Remi Harris

It's all getting very clever isn't it?  A few months ago, we didn't imagine this sort of thing could work.

Remi's website

Roy Harper's guitar

A Falstaff with a Cedar top made in 1997 and more or less the twin of the one I made for Barbara Dickson. This style became the "Ken Nicol" signature model a few years later.

Roy used it for "Dream Society" in 1998 and probably others.

Roy was quite an important part of my musical upbringing, the first two albums I ever bought were "The Shadows Greatest Hits" (of course), and Roy's "Come out fighting Genghis Smith" in 1967, and I learnt to play quite a lot of both.

The guitar is now owned by Harry Pearce who designs Roy's album covers. (And many others). He tells me that Steve Hackett used it on his album "Beyond the Shrouded Horizon"

Roy's website

Steve writes: For 'Til These Eyes' Harry Pearce lent me his six-string steel which once belonged to the brilliant Roy Harper. A fabulous guitar accompanied by a beautiful orchestral arrangement by Roger King featuring the heavily tracked string section of Dick Driver on double bass, Richard Stewart on cello, Christine Townsend on violin and viola and Rob Townsend on soprano sax (impersonating an oboe).

Steve Hackett Songs

Harry Pearce

"I first heard Roy play, with Andy Roberts, at Knebworth 78, and then by contrast at a poetry evening in Hammersmith Church later that year. In the early 80’s I was at Canterbury College of Art studying design and I met Roy in the street there and we got into a long conversation. That evening I went to a small acoustic gig at the University where he played for so long and so late, they turned the electricity off. Roy simply carried on and the audience sat around him on the stage. After the gig we carried on our conversation and he played Old Cricketer for me, just the two of us. We have been firm friends ever since and for the most part I have been designing his record covers. I often stay in Ireland with him and he is with me in London. A creative friendship stretching back nearly 40 years.

About 15yrs ago he lined up a few acoustic guitars in his studio and as a gift he asked me to choose one. I tried them all and fell instantly in love with the Falstaff. It's been a wonderful companion ever since. The Falstaff was used extensively on Roy's Dream Society and in part I believe on the Garden of Uranium recordings.

Another music friend is Steve Hackett, who was often in my home and would play Roy’s Falstaff. He borrowed it to record a beautiful song ‘Til These Eyes’ from his 2011 record The Shrouded Horizon. It just so happens I’ve also designed a good number of Steve’s record covers too".

About me:
I'm a graphic designer, artist, and photographer. I'm part of the Pentagram design co-operative, working on a variety of cultural projects. See the link below. I’ve also created covers for Pink Floyd, and a logo for the band itself. Others include, Chester Thompson, Ian Mc Donald, Nick Harper, and over 25yrs working with Peter Gabriel on his Human Rights charity Witness.

About Harry Pearce

Nick Harper

After talking about Roy, I found a YouTube clip of Nick Harper playing the fan fret guitar we made for him, so I emailed him:
"Yes, I do love playing Fanny - I used her exclusively for 'A Wiltshire Tale’ which was a project I loved doing ".

That's good to hear. Apart from the fan frets, the guitar is unusual in other ways, it is fitted with six banjo "Keith Pattern" tuners, which can accurately change tuning mid flow, something that Nick seems to have built his performance around. He's a brilliant guitarist and performer.

Nick's website

Fretless Sir Toby Bass for sale
  • St Toby Bass For Sale
  • Unknown-1
  • Unknown-2
  • Unknown

Steve Montana in Oregon is selling his fretless Sir Toby acoustic bass. Steve came across it in a music shop in Ashland where it was being played by David Friesen (Stan Getz, Dizzie Gillespie, Chick Corea). I originally shipped it to my agent in New York in 1978, but we have lost track of how it came to be in Ashland with David.

Steve says, Hindu proverb: These three take crooked ways, Carts, boats and musicians.

And the instruments they play!

If anyone is interested, contact me and I'll put you in touch with Steve.

Leeroy Staggers

A little bit further north, in Canada, Ry Moranz is playing a Fylde Signature mandolin in Leeroy's band. It's great to hear things like this, the mandolins are gaining a lot of respect over the pond, probably because they are "different".

It's all good stuff, but you might need to scroll through to catch the mandolin. 
I've just noticed Leeroy's bare feet and earthing strap/ guitar balancing device.

RIP Peter Green

I have no connection with Peter, other than his social worker who helped me dig a trench for a gas pipe in my garden. and I was given tickets to Peter's come back opening night show in Frankfurt around 1996. To my everlasting regret, I didn't go.

Adam Palma

Adam is largely recovered from his brush with Covid and 47 days on a ventilater. He sent me this video, played on the brand-new guitar that was waiting for him when he came out of hospital. Well done Adam, welcome back, lovely playing.

Adam's website

Liz and Dave Walmisley

Good friends who played at my party. The guitar isn't actually a Parlour, it isn't that small. I originally made it as a "high strung" but it seems to have changed a bit, sounds good.

Davey Graham and Bert Jansch

Davey playing his Orsino, not long before he died. He wasn't at all well, but there were some lovely moments.

What did you do during Lockdown Daddy?

Well, mostly I did myself considerable damage building this.

It's a conservatory, made from Green oak. That is oak straight from the tree, not dried at all, and an absolute joy to work with, as long as the job doesn't take you twelve months so that the oak is no longer "green". Which of course, is exactly what has happened here, but it's still a lovely change from tiny little precision wood work, this is big chisels and big hammers, each piece is about the limit of what you might want to lift and it probably wasn't the wisest thing I've ever done.
No doubt there will be more pics when it's finished.

There is no "H" in Keyboard

I wear gloves a lot at work, and I'm always running back into the office when I think of something I should have done.  It's not a good idea to have superglue on your gloves when you are using a keyboard. I know that now!

So I do apologise to the gentleman who received a mail from me that began "ello  enry" and ended  "tanks, Roger"
My dad used to have a little elocution rhyme.

O arry ain't it orrid when you're ot and in a urry and you ave to old your at on with your and.
Go on, put some h's in and give it a try.

© 2024 Fylde Guitars. All Rights Reserved