• Cuban Mahogany 50th Anniversary Ariel for sale
  • Figured Mahogany 50th Anniversary Ariel for sale
  • Fifty Years of Fylde Guitars Video
  • Fifty years is not enough
  • Will McNicol and Innotet
  • Fylde Longscale Bouzouki tuned down to FCGC
  • Soenke Meinen. Silver lining
  • Mandolin for Cirque Du Soleil
  • David Buckingham
  • New Guitar for Jon Wilks
  • Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. I haven’t told her.
  • Charlotte Carrivick. Chinquapin Hunting
  • Biréli Lagrène in Guitar Player
  • Graham McGirk. Is it Real
  • Gerry O 'Beirne and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
  • Help Musician video
  • Early Stages of an interesting Guitar for Someone Important
Cuban Mahogany 50th Anniversary Ariel for sale.

Here we are, the last two 50th Anniversary Guitars that we made for Ullapool.  Everyone is unique, using particular pieces of wood from our fifty years accumulation of nature’s finest material. Much of our stock of  timber has been reclaimed so we are giving it new life. 

The first has reclaimed Cuban Mahogany with a fair amount of figure for the back and sides. It came from an old furniture panel that was given to me some years ago, this is the biggest section I could recover from this very rare timber, so wood that was being thrown away is now being used to make music. The soundboard is Sinker Redwood, a piece that I had put to one side because of the two "beauty spots" in the grain.  On this small guitar I think they look rather nice. 

Again, this is timber that had been forgotten about until it was recovered from Big River in Mendocino. 

The neck is a one off as well, three sections of Cuban Mahogany, with Rosewood lines to match the Rosewood bindings  on the body.

Ebony fingerboard and bridge, from the newly "aware" sawmills of Cameroon. The neck is the classic Ariel size, 46mm at the nut for "proper" guitar playing!

There will never be another one like this, for sale at £4300. SOLD

  • Cuban Mahogany 50th Anniversary Ariel for sale
  • Cuban-Ariel-7G9A1036
  • Cuban-Ariel-7G9A1050
  • Cuban-Ariel-7G9A1039
  • Cuban-Ariel-7G9A1045

Figured Mahogany 50th Anniversary Ariel for sale
  • Figured Mahogany 50th Anniversary Ariel for sale
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  • Figured-Mahogany-Ariel-7G9A2092
  • Figured-Mahogany-ARiel-7G9A2082
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At Ullapool, we displayed  the biggest variety of timber and designs that we could manage in the limited time we had, choosing unique  pieces of wood for each of the  anniversary celebration guitars. The Ariel design does give us a lot more choice of timber because of its small size, this time we used "Fiddle Back" heavily figured Brazilian Mahogany, quite common in Maple and Sycamore, but very rare in Mahogany. The back and sides are from the same piece of wood, which again, is rather unusual.

The top is Western Red Cedar, with fine, even grain. The neck is mahogany, laminated with red lines to match the inlays and lines on the body. 45.5 mm neck.

For sale at £4600 - SOLD. 

Fifty Years of Fylde Guitars Video
  • New Category
  • Roger
  • Gordon-and-Roger
  • John-Smith-7G9A0960
  • John-Smith-7G9A0932

It's nearly done. We will be announcing it next week, just in time for Christmas. Just check Radio Times and see when the latest repeat of “ Where Eagles Dare” is showing, and watch this instead, it’s nearly as long!  

Seven months’ work, nearly thirty contributors from dozens of venues, and about twenty hours of video, all edited and mixed into one two-hour epic. Sam English has worked wonders.  (“This is an early edit, and an early Christmas Present to all our readers … but it will change. We’ll let you know when that happens.  Also, we will be releasing videos of each artist that took part to include longer edits of their comments and musical contributions.)

I hope it gives a pretty good impression of what this has all been about, a lifetimes work I suppose. The music, friendships, history, bits in the workshop.  Fifty years has not been enough.

Fifty years is not enough

There’s a thought!

That sounds a bit like a James Bond movie - "Fifty Years is not Enough". 

Daniel Craig playing me? Julia Roberts as Moira?  The theme might be the intrepid English Guitar Makers battling against an international band of Assassins  known as “The Luthiers”.  Q would have  great time. Concealed chisels?  Poisoned fingerboards? Exploding  CD cases? Of course, there would have to be a dramatic game of pool with the survival of the whole world at stake and both sides cheating. 

Just an idea.

Will McNicol and Innotet

Another picture  of good looking people.

Will is finalising a new Album with  “Innotet”.

I’ll keep you up to date, but Im sure you can follow it on Will’s site.

Will's website

Fylde Longscale Bouzouki tuned down to FCGC

I was looking for a video with any sort of link to other items in this newsletter, and suddenly noticed that this was posted exactly ten years ago. Good enough for me.

It also touches on something I mentioned in a recent newsletter, about how the size of the soundhole affects the tone of the instrument. We’ve made a wide variety of bouzoukis, this one might be the Touchstone Long Scale, I can’t be sure from the pictures, but it does have the large soundhole of that model, and I can hear the “breathiness”  in the tone, with rather less of the lower overtones which would come from a smaller soundhole. It’s still a lovely sound. If I had another fifty years, we might be able to please everybody, all the time.

Soenke Meinen. Silver lining

Soenke has recorded his first video with his new guitar, the first of many, I hope. It's quite unusual for us to see one of our babies played in "that position".

Works though, doesn't it?

I do most of my thinking about guitar design while I'm watching and listening to top players, I get the best ideas about everything that way, response, intonation, sustain, balance. If you see me in an audience with that intense, concentrating look, that's what I'm doing.

It also helps to hear the guitar through every media: live, studio recording, sound files, mics and pickups, YouTube etc, as each situation is a little different and "says" different things.

Soenke is very pleased so far:

"It is such a joy to properly get to know the new guitar! It is such a beautiful instrument. Yesterday I filmed a little tune with it ("Silver Lining“ from my 2022 solo album Spark) - a simple home recording with just two mics in front of the guitar and no pickup."

And I'm very pleased as well.

Soenke's Website

Mandolin for Cirque Du Soleil

What a wonderful thing to be asked to do.

We are great fans of Cirque Du Soleil, we've seen perhaps five of their different shows, including one that was a little "explicit" shall we say? We had our children with us, and really should not have chosen front row seats. I'm usually "up for it" to be invited on stage, but not that time. I tried to hide.

This is a mandolin for our friend David Buckingham, who has joined the group as a guitarist /mandolinist and they wanted the mandolin painted to fit in!! David had a lovely lady fly in specially to do the painting, and we've ferried it back and forth as required.

I'm hoping we will get free tickets, but I'm not sitting in the front row again and I'm no good on a trampoline.

  • Mandolin for Cirque Du Soleil
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David Buckingham

Here’s a reminder of what David is better known for, there’s an explanation in the comments and notes. David is the one in the hat.

New Guitar for Jon Wilks

Martin Simpson put Jon and myself together for this, Jon hails from my hometown of Birmingham so we had a lot to talk about. Also, Jon is now touring with Martin Cathy in support of Martin's "In conversation with" and my friend Sam English has videoed one of the evenings so that might  be available before long.

Martin (S) and I both like fairly shallow bodied guitars, as does Martin (C) so that's what this is: a Falstaff, but less deep than usual, about 10mm less, all around.  The idea is to keep the tone a little "dryer", more in keeping with what has become  the "English" sound of acoustic guitar.

The top is Adirondack Spruce, recommended by Martin who knows Jon's music well. In my experience, Adirondack is usually favoured by Bluegrass players, so there is a little experimenting going on here, it's going to be interesting to see how it matures in Jon's hands.
I’m really pleased with the visuals and "feel" of the guitar, just picking it up gives an immediate impression of confidence . This is going to work!

Jon's Website

Martin Sinpson's Website

Martin has new projects in progress, I will tell you as soon as I can. 

Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. I haven’t told her.  Just an excuse to include an iconic recording from way back. Martin playing in standard tuning! Swarb singing! Wonderful 

  • New Guitar For Jon Wilks
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  • John-Wilks-Guitar-DSCF1325

Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. I haven’t told her.

Just an excuse to include an iconic recording from way back. Martin playing in standard tuning! Swarb singing! Wonderful 

Charlotte Carrivick. Chinquapin Hunting

Charlotte sent me this straight after I wrote about Jon Wilks’ guitar, including my comments on Bluegrass music. Talk about good timing. She is playing the only other Fylde guitar to have an Adirondack Spruce soundboard. We made this twelve years ago, and I can see that the Spruce is changing colour rather nicely. Sounds nice as well. Really good to see Charlotte playing it.

Charlotte's Website

Biréli Lagrène in Guitar Player

Last month I mentioned Biréli saying this was his favourite guitar, and I’ve now seen the whole article:

"What’s the workhorse guitar on Solo Suites?

"I play a Fylde steel-string acoustic the whole time. It has an onboard pickup, so I just ran it through the Boss Super Octave for “Blue Blues”. I’m not exactly sure of the Fylde model, but it’s a production guitar with a Florentine cutaway. It has incredible playability that’s like butter, on a very thin neck, and it sounds great. I’d been using it on almost every gig for about five years leading up to Solo Suites. It’s on the back burner now as I’ve been touring with an archtop."

Obviously, I’m really pleased to hear things like that. It isn’t a "production guitar" though, it’s one of only four ever made. So far.

Graham McGirk. Is it Real

There’s a lot of Bert's music around at the moment. Graham doe’s a good job using his Orsino.

Gerry O 'Beirne and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

Recommended to me by some friends from the Emerald Isle. 

Help Musicians video

We received our regular flyer from Help Musicians charity last week and saw one of our customers telling his story.  

So, I contacted him, and he sent me this video! It’s a Fylde!!

The instrument Sid is playing is a one off we made some years ago, our version of a "Nordic Mandola", ten strings arranged over three scale lengths, with movable pinpoint capos. 
Massive fun to make (for me anyway, not so much for Paul and Alex who had to polish it!) 

Sid tells me he is still learning how to deal with all those features, and we are probably going to be discuss another version soon.

The Fundraiser link is here

  • Nordic Mandola
  • L1000586
  • L1000592
  • L1000608
  • L1000613
  • L1000627
  • L1000638
  • L1000671

Early Stages of an interesting Guitar for Someone Important

I suppose some of you will be able to work out what this is, or will be, and for whom we are making it. I'll not tell you just yet, because I like a bit of tension. I'm sure to be saying more when I can.

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