I made my first guitars when I was a student over 40 years ago. I really began to learn about lutherie – the art of stringed instrument making – sometime in the ’70s by taking classes at The College of Furniture (now part of Guildhall University) taught by Tony Smith. At about this time I also met Stephen Delft, then living in London, who was very helpful to a beginner luthier. I built a lute at a Morley College class run by Stephen Barber. After moving to Ditchling I built a classical guitar in the Lewes workshop of Pablo Requena and learnt more about steel strung guitar construction with Nick Benjamin. I recently completed an archtop mandolin under the expert eye of Richard Osborne.
I do not believe in “mastery” – learning never stops.
As well as guitars and the lute I have made several mandolins including one for Will Fly (a match for his tenor guitar, hear mandolin and tenor guitar here) and Celtic Bouzoukis one of which is owned by Richard Durrant. I mainly make steel strung instruments but have also made nylon strung guitars inspired by a late 19th century Martin 0-28 guitar. These have a quite different feel to a modern classical guitar, what they lack in power they make up for in sweetness and clarity. I have made two baritone citterns with 5 pairs of strings tuned in the same register as a mandocello.
Although I mostly make acoustic instruments I have also made solid electric instruments, including an electric mandolin and a Telecaster / Variax hybrid. Since in a previous life I was an electronics engineer working in the Film and TV industry I am well qualified for projects involving electronics.