Please note: due to changes in regulations and constant design developments, we sometimes need to change details such as binding and inlay materials.
I always like to have an impressive guitar picture to start off the newsletter, a bit like starting a thriller with a description of a gory murder - it grabs the reader and leads them on to the next item.
So here we are, it's not a murder but it is a radical departure from what we normally make. Richard and I had been discussing the idea for about two years. He wanted the "checker" purfling like a Rickenbacker and the guitar needed to be black, referring to some other iconic American guitars.
It's a long time since I "painted" a guitar, and it's not something I enjoy, inevitably it requires extra thickness of finish compared to what I am comfortable with, so the idea languished. Then after a while, Martin Simpson told me that Richard had fallen in love with his "Orleans" guitar and we started to put various options together. I made some experiments in staining Spruce and Rosewood rather than painting the wood and getting extra “body” into a transparent finish. The back and sides are Indian Rosewood and the soundboard is European Spruce. The neck is a laminate of Mahogany, Maple and Ebony, with just a little “mysterious” shading. The tuners are black Schallers, the strap pin is black, the neck is reinforced with carbon fibre, plus an adjustable truss rod, all working incredibly well. To complete the dark project, we fitted a Di Marzio Black Angel pickup which will match the impedance of Richard's Electric guitars on stage so he can use only one lead and not stress the sound engineer too much.
At one point, the guitar had my version of " Sharks Tooth" fingerboard inlays which all of us in the workshop thought were lovely, but the consensus from Hawley land was a little less enthusiastic. So, we changed the fingerboard. I still have the inlays if anybody is interested?
The checker purlings are Ebony and Maple, cut and thicknessed, stacked into blocks, glued and recut about ten times until I had enough to make the long lengths needed, then sandwiched between thin black and white veneers before being cut again into long thin flexible lines. The purfling round the headstock is a slightly different size but made in exactly the same way.
In order to stop the black stain "bleeding" onto the purfling, I sealed the chequered lines with superglue before carefully staining everything. After a thin coat of clear lacquer, I scraped the colour off the purflings, then built up the required finish with slightly tinted lacquer to enhance the depth of colour without covering the grain. I think it works really well, we can still see the grain of the Spruce and the red colour of the Rosewood, even though the overall impression is solid black.
We are all very pleased with this, one of those times when something I wouldn't normally contemplate just happened to appeal to me. It's not a murder, there was only a tiny bit of blood, but it doesn't show through the black stain so nobody will ever know.
We had a little fun with the name and the label inside – “Black Orleans” was the obvious one, but Richard fancied Hor'Leans, and we liked “Hawleans”. We still haven't decided.
So now we have “grabbed you”, let's move on to the next item, there is a lot to show this month.
What is it about Elliott and Storms? One of his best songs “The End of the World Blues”, was written about a massive storm in Ullapool, where his guitar case was blown along the seafront while we were all struggling together to close a door against the wind. I wonder what the future holds Eli?! I think the name “Stormbringer” is already taken.
I chose this video before we knew about the awful tragedy in the English Channel. I’ve decided to leave it in without comment, I don’t know what else to say.
One way or another, one part of the music world connects to all the other parts in a very small number of steps. I had a phone call from someone one step away from Sam, and one step away from me. As simple as that.
I shall be watching Sam's new video's
Made in 2004 and in excellent condition. There are two hairline cracks in the lacquer of the soundboard which we have fixed, but almost no other marks anywhere else, it's been very well looked after. The frets have a little wear and I'd be happy to refret it without charge before we send it out. Fitted with a Headway FEQ pickup, the Magician is unusual - it's a large guitar but lightly built and has a huge response available with very little effort.
For sale at £3,600 ono Inc. case. SOLD
This video was edited together from Super 8 footage donated by our mutual friend Brian K Saunders in the USA. Once again, there is no mistaking who is singing, and playing is there?
John is extending his "reach", laying out all these tempting morsels for budding players, and of course for his devoted fan base world-wide.
£10 gets you archive concerts, demos, live recordings and guitar/song videos… £100 gets you a one-on-one lesson each month.
Exclusive Music, Videos, Conversations, Live Streams & More- all explained here:
“Tristan has just launched a Patreon page dedicated to acoustic guitar enrichment, where he’ll be uploading interactive guitar lessons each month, plus hosting Zoom hangouts to chat all things guitar-related.
And if you want to see how it works, watch this. Link to video
The SSS are back!! Story Song Scientists, our good friends Findlay Napier and Megan Henwood.
They have a brand new CD available
Billy is back at college in London now, studying hard on the classical side of his music.
Over the past 12 months he has been working on a new album of instrumental arrangements of classic rock tracks.
"Some you will recognise, others perhaps not so mainstream but they are all there for a reason and we are all delighted with the way it has turned out - really a step up from his previous work both in playing and recording quality. The majority of the arrangements are Billy’s own, with a couple borrowed from fellow guitarists, and of course he played absolutely everything on all tracks. The Fylde is the main guitar on 90% of the tracks, as it’s really become his ‘go to’ recording guitar - it has a great natural sound and with the LR Baggs sounds fantastic without the need for a lot of electronic trickery after recording.
We are running a crowdfunding campaign to release the CD - we now have the first batch of 200 here and they will be sent out in good time for Christmas.",
I was contacted by a customer to say that he hadn't received the CD that he had ordered, I was able to reassure him that we had sent it out some time ago and I promised to look into it. This is only the second time when something has gone wrong in the post, and I was preparing to send a replacement, when he emailed back. His wife had intercepted the CD and hidden it, intending it to be a surprise Christmas present. He very nearly got two!
BUT - there is a lesson in there. Everybody should have the “Strings That Nimble Leap” double CD
It's available from here: BUY AT LEAST ONE - It's for Charity, and it's all explained here: Link to page
Heather lives quite close to our workshop and took delivery of this custom Falstaff about two years ago. I listened to her play while she was in the office here and could see she had a lot of talent.
Then a few days ago, Will Mc Nicol emailed me to tell me about a young lady student of his who was playing a Falstaff -
“I have a student up at the RCS in Glasgow called Heather Cartwright - she's fantastic - and a Fylde player.”
So here she is, I think we'll be seeing more of Heather.
Will is offering a Christmas discount for lots of things on his site- CDs, books, subscriptions and tutorials etc.
It won't be there for long so don't miss it.
Just make your selections and enter these discount codes at checkout.
GIFTMUSIC = 15% off everything
FREESHIP = free worldwide shipping
From Remi: “We have finally finished and started releasing our new album. It's called "On Track" and it's a gypsy jazz style album featuring a couple of my own tunes as well as some of my own arrangements of jazz standards. It features Tom Moore and Simon Smith on double bass and I played all of the guitars, as well as some electric bass on a couple of the tunes recorded in lockdown.
The CDs will be here within the next few days and are available to pre-order now with worldwide shipping. We'll be sending them out as soon as we have the delivery. We'll be releasing a couple of singles for streaming over the next few months and we'll be releasing the full album for streaming early next year."
Here's a link if you'd like to order a CD
"Another one of our lockdown projects was to make a guitar book. So, me and Dani filmed and recorded 100 gypsy jazz guitar licks and thanks to the amazing work by the team at Fundamental Changes we turned it all into a book with tab and sheet music for each lick as well as some explanations about each lick. I'm also honoured that Martin Taylor wrote the foreword for us too!
It's available worldwide in print, kindle and digital download and the audio for every lick is free to download with the book."
I've been holding off on showing this, in the hope of Jack posting the full version, but it hasn't happened yet, so here is the short version. I do hope he posts more, he's an excellent player.
I don't know if anybody else has noticed this, but there seem to have been a few players who have switched from playing right handed to playing left handed. It can't be easy to learn everything again from scratch and left handed guitars are more difficult to find than right handed ones, so I'm a little baffled.
The change does seem to coincide with the invention of YouTube, but I can't think what the connection would be.
Where do these videos hide in all the intervening years? It's annoying in one way, because I would love to have seen this before, but on the other hand, it's lovely to see it now. The date stated is 2015, but I think its earlier than that, Archie is playing his Orsino, and he's had a Falstaff since I think 2010
This nice little piece turned up on the "Fans of Fylde" Facebook page
This is a huge bargain for someone, it really is an exceptional guitar that needs to find its perfect home, probably with a professional player. Interestingly, Lindsay Straw, who is sales manager for The North American Guitar and demos the guitar in the video, is already a Fylde Customer and has various connections with other Fylde Players.
Andy dropped by recently to collect his new Signature Octavius bouzouki and was very very pleased.
Somebody recently asked me to explain how the Greek bouzouki came to be used so much in Irish Music. Part of the answer is in the video
I have Vin’s book. It has so many connections that I’m having to read it slowly. Anybody who knew Vin should buy it, you won’t regret it. (You can buy it from his website!)
The pictures are from 1979. John and I with an impressive display of guitars in New York, and John playing his Caliban in a very colourful publicity shot.
This week I received a call for help from a gentleman in the USA. He had bought John's Caliban from him in San Francisco in the 1980's and during a recent house move from SF to Dallas, the guitar "disappeared". “I feel as if I have lost not only a dear friend, but also part of me … the guitar is specifically written into my will to be bequeathed to my son”
There are only perhaps ten Calibans in the USA, this one should stand out if appears anywhere.
If anyone knows anything or hears of anything of this guitar, please get in touch with me. The guitar should be with the person that values it so much.
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