I first picked up a guitar when I was a teenager and was immediately hooked. All my spare time was spent practising and reading about the guitar, and stardom was inevitable, had I not got drawn into the mysterious world of guitar making. I’d found a book on guitar making in my local library, with grainy black and white pictures of parts of guitars, unlikely looking bits of wood, tools and clamps, and I knew I wanted to make a guitar for myself.
My first guitar was an electric guitar; the body was made from a plank of timber washed up on Brighton beach. The Whiteman Driftwood as it was known, actually worked rather well and I knew I had to make more. On leaving school I was offered a place on the guitar making course at the London College of Furniture and, for the next three years, immersed myself in learning the craft of guitar making and repair.
When I left, I set up my first workshop in Brighton making classical guitars and have been involved in guitar making and teaching ever since. I’ve made guitars for a range of amateur and professional players such as Richard Chapman, author of the classic guitar book, ‘The Ultimate Guitarist’, American classical guitarists Duo 220 and Queen guitarist Brian May. A recent project was a 21 string harp guitar for founder member of Genesis, Anthony Phillips.
I’ve also repaired and restored many exceptional guitars. A personal highlight would be the complete rebuilding of one of the earliest examples of a CF Martin guitar, built in the mid-1830’s.
Teaching the craft of guitar making and repair has always been an important part of what I do. In 1993 I was invited to teach at my old college in its new guise as London Metropolitan University and was head of the guitar making course there for 8 years. For the past 16 years, I have taught from my own workshop in Shoreham-by-Sea, and have had the great satisfaction of helping many to realise their dream of making their own guitar… or two.