October 2020 Newsletter

  • Custom Falstaff for Sale
  • Adam Palma
  • Clive Carroll
  • Guitar Jigsaws for Charity
  • Strings that Nimble Leap
  • Billy Watman
  • Ullapool Guitar Festival
  • and God Created Midges
  • Tristan Seume DADGAD
  • Will McNicol
  • Musical Conservatory
  • Wood Sweat and Tears Extended -- again
  • Workshop Videos
      Old Tools, New Tools
      Sanding Lacquer
  • John Smith and Lisa Hannigan
  • John Smith in Fretboard Journal
  • Martin Simpson at Home in Towersey
  • The Magpie Arc
  • George Sansome
  • Elliott Morris
  • Bassic Pink Panther
Custom Falstaff for sale
  • Custom Falstaff
  • LC1A8422
  • LC1A8426
  • LC1A8416
  • LC1A8430
  • LC1A8434

I'm not going to even try to tell you how this guitar came into being. Maybe when you have bought it and come to collect it, you could buy me a (very) long lunch and I might just manage to explain.

It's a lovely thing, custom built with a 44mm neck, and of course a cutaway. It has an exceptionally fine grained Englemann Spruce top, with a few interesting little whirls in the grain.


Adam Palma

I'm so impressed with the comeback that Adam has made since being ill. It's all very well playing a fast run, but to actually hear each note rather than a series of muted strings is something else. He is making fans all over the world with his astonishing playing.
Adam's guitar is very similar to the one that is for sale, other than being shallower and with a Sitka Spruce soundboard.

Adam's website

Clive Carroll. All this time.

This is the "simple" youtube version to advertise Clive’s Guitar Workshop Library- series 1. So, series 2 and 3 to come- wow!! See Clive's site to get all the details

The idea is to give you as much help as possible in playing each piece, so you have absolutely no excuse now.

Clive: "This ballad is in drop D tuning, capo 2, and is played mostly with a pick. The film session includes a detailed breakdown of “All This Time”, as well as technique exercises for creating a strong groove, and melody/backing ideas which are beneficial for your plectrum work in general, plus an in-depth breakdown of the piece in sections, with chat and other useful tips mentioned along the way!

Timings that correspond with the film footage are included in the PDF scores so that you can easily jump to different points within the film."

Clive jokes that his Fylde Ken Nicol doesn't stay in tune in the rain! Well, don't play it in the rain then! He does have another track played on the Fylde, nearly ready for YouTube. I just hope it's not raining.

Find all the lessons here:


Some of you who know me well have received clear instructions, ''don't let me start any new projects".

You obviously were not listening, as here we have: ---- a new project. In fact, I think it's three projects.

I love jigsaws, but I resent the time involved in doing them. (Gemini). I had a clear idea of a picture of a very fancy guitar, turned into a wonderful jigsaw, ideal for idling away all that lockdown time.

Of course, it wasn't that easy. A jigsaw requires certain things: colour, detail, interest, background. Mike English took some new shots with all those things in mind, but neither of us were happy, so Mike went through thousands of historical shots. He picked one that stood out, Keith Beardmore's "Shakespeare's Mirror" pic, that I used for a brochure in 1993. Even this one isn't the usual jigsaw style though, so we picked two others to give us a choice. We still couldn't decide, so we are going with all three! The jigsaw maker is being very helpful, and we will donate all proceeds to our chosen three charities, MIND, Help Musicians UK., and The Woodland Trust.

Single Malt Puzzle

The "Single Malt" puzzle is closest to a conventional jigsaw, with lots of detail to help find the right pieces, the guitar is unusual and there are lots of tools and templates vaguely in focus to tease you a little bit. I think this is the "easiest" puzzle of the three.

Custom Ariel Puzzle

Keith's picture is the "Custom Ariel". It actually is a photograph, of a special guitar in a mirror, the mirror was specially made to that weird shape and in fact I still have it. The floor and scenery are painted in perspective, and the floor is physically sloping as well. You might spend a bit of time studying various reflections and features to see how Keith did all this. Not the easiest puzzle, but maybe not the hardest either.

Rio Leonardo Puzzle

The " Rio Leonardo" is a very fancy guitar that we made for Henry Olsen, which his family call "Old Fruity". The lower part of the picture, the guitar body, is made more fun by Mike's manipulation of the various shots he took, but the upper half of the jigsaw will be a challenge, as there is so much dark space. I love that sort of thing, as I like to do jigsaws by shape as much as by picture detail.

Definitely the hardest puzzle of the three.

They are not beginners’ puzzles, each puzzle has 1,000 pieces, and measures 48cm by 69cm. 19 inches by 27 inches. Complete with box and reference picture of course, cost £17.50 each plus £3.50 UK pp.

I'm asking for pre orders for the UK only to start with, which will help us order the correct numbers of puzzles in advance. I'm anticipating that we will be able to start sending them out in early November, so perhaps you should order one for lockdown, and one for Christmas. Then one for the first 2021 lockdown, then another ...

We can send them abroad but postage will be high, £10.00 for Europe, and £15 for "Rest of World", email me and we will find a solution.

Also, if you want multiple puzzles, email me.

When we know how popular (or not), this is going to be, we'll try and streamline the process a little.

Strings That Nimble Leap

There have been a lot of new subscribers to the newsletter recently so you may not have heard about this project.

In brief: you won't find a better set of guitar recordings, in such a range of styles, from so many top line artists, anywhere else. Plus, it's for charity.

We still have good stocks, but they won't last forever. Buy it now.  Buy it here!

Billy Watman

Billy's long planned Queen EP is available for pre order. Due to obvious disruptions this year, Billy is financing it by "pre releasing" 250 white label CDs in simple packaging, the intention is that everyone buying one of those will get a 50% discount code for the final release, which will have a digipak sleeve, and an 8 page booklet, all ready for Christmas.

Here is one of the tracks. The booklet will feature a page on each song, telling the story and also explaining which guitar and gear is used on each of the six tracks

CD Available from here

Ullapool Guitar Festival

We made these four lovely instruments to show at this year's festival, but we now know that it will not happen this year, so we offered them for sale, and sold them all within 2 days.

The good news is it is booked to take place next year, 1st 2nd and 3rd October 2021

Ullapool Guitar

Fylde will be making a guitar to raise funds for the festival, both years. I haven't decided yet what this year's guitar will be, but it will happen, and I will tell you all about it as soon as I can.

Richard Lindsay is planning an extravaganza of video clips from all the artists to watch over the "lost weekend", so keep your eyes on the Festival website this coming weekend, 2nd and 3rd and 4th October 2020

Link to website

And God Created Midges

One other thing that never changes in Scotland, the midges!

Tristan Seume Beyond DADGAD

Yet another Fylde player who is an endorsee of Elixir strings, which works well, as they can combine music, tuition, and string sales all in one video.

Plus of course, it's always good to see Tristan play.

Tristan's website

Will McNicol

A lot of tuition this month!

This is Will's update to his "pure genius" partnership with the London College of Music Examinations (LCME). Amongst many other things, featuring his Fylde Ariel.

Will has generously offered a discount to all you lucky newsletter readers- just enter FYLDE15 to get 15% off everything on his online shop, and remember to buy all your Christmas presents there. (Apart from your charity jigsaws and CDs from us of course)

Link to college website

Musical Conservatory.

Or should that be conservatoire? I did try to work out a tune, I even hammered some of the pegs in a bit further to tweak the notes a little, but this was the best I could do. If any of you manage to play something recognisable using those notes, do tell.

Then this happened

Carpal Tunnel operation last week, other hand soon. Facelift eventually. An inch should be enough.

My hands have been damaged many times over the years and all that hammering pegs in and cutting Mortice and Tenon joints by hand wasn't the best idea. The operation has been on the cards for about six months, I asked the surgeon "Will I be able to play the violin?" and he said, "do you play the violin?", and I said "No". He laughed, so there is hope for the world. Actually, I do play the violin, or I did. Don't tell anyone will you? Oops, I've done it again.

Wood Sweat and Tears Extended, again!

The last print of "the book" was in 2016, and so much has happened since then. It is now over 400 pages, with about 800 photographs, complete with an index. A reprint of a new larger book was going to be a challenge, but fortunately, technology has moved along, and we hope to offer it as an e-book, readable on your kindle, iPad etc. at a very modest price. So, it's a Yorkshire book-- an eeeeeee-book. Sorry.

Not quite ready yet, won't be long now.

More Workshop Videos

Old tools, New Tools

None of these videos have used a "script", which is a bit obvious at times, but they are fun to do. In this one I realised that I have missed various things out, and we should have planned the shots a bit more in advance. Let's call it a learning curve. There is so much I could say about different approaches and the advantages or disadvantages of certain methods; I will try to say more in future Bucknall Blockbusters. I'll do better next time, perhaps I'll see if Benedict Cumberbatch is available. Then perhaps he could play me in the story of my life.

Sanding Lacquer

Sanding is a massive part of guitar making, particularly when you work by hand. It isn't just "smoothing" wood, a lot of the shaping processes are done with sand paper, not cutting tools. Lacquering and polishing involve masses of sanding, by far the biggest part of guitar making in terms of hours, but also huge in terms of physical effort and skill. Any number of tiny mistakes can ruin weeks of work.  This video shows only a tiny part of all that effort.

Many makers farm this job out to other companies, which I hate to see: if you don't do your own finishing, then you aren't really making the guitar at all.


If this part of the guitar isn't right, all the rest is wasted. A lot of the precision required comes from previous stages, but from there onwards, a myriad of hand skills will make or break the guitar. There are shortcuts - filing off the fret ends at a very low angle avoids nearly all the work of finishing them properly and results in "narrow" string spacing, and it's easy to shape the fret ends nearer to the vertical, with a spherical end shape, and that does get extra fret length, but leaves them square and uncomfortable. Finding that perfect fit at the interface between guitar and player isn't easy but makes all the difference to a professional guitarist.

John Smith and Lisa Hannigan

One of the worlds nicest musical pairings. This was recorded before lockdown, but John and Lisa have each continued "pushing" throughout, writing, playing, recording. Just generally creating music in new ways and places. It's the way it has to be at the moment. Take notice of the third Fylde in between them.

John's website

Lisa's website

John Smith in Fretboard Journal

Photo by Fretboard Journal

John is featured in the latest edition of Fretboard Journal, with some nice comments about his guitars. I wrote that bit, so it should be accurate, and guess which guitar is on the front page?

Link to Fretboard Journal

Martin Simpson at Home made Towersey

Martin likes to phone me while he's out walking the dog and watching birds. I tell him about the foxes and red squirrels and pheasants that we have all around us at home. We sometimes talk about guitars.

Martin's Website

The Magpie Arc

Martin announced this on Facebook, at last! I've been really looking forward to this, and even more to when they are able to play live.


George Sansome

George has it all, a great voice, all the best bits of "UK" guitar playing styles, really enjoyable stuff, and excellent videos. And a new album!

Link to George's website

Elliott Morris

A very timely contribution from Elliott, at least I think it's Elliott, can't quite see! Link to video

If you search Facebook a little, you'll find him playing a Fylde Electric guitar with his band -. "Dancing Lotus"

And he has an impressive new website

BASSIC Pink Panther

Isn't music wonderful? If you just listen to this, without the pictures, it's easy to believe it's mostly played on "horns". I always loved double bass, although watching this, I think some of the players are going to have very bad backs in a few years’ time.

Adam Palma started as a bass player, not a lot of people know that.

Link to website

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