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Late Renaissance lutes are my speciality and I have made a lot of them, but I also make guitars and other instruments. All my instruments are custom made and I am particularly pleased to collaborate with players who have special requirements, such as tone, decoration, amplification, playing technique or RSI.
I have restored many 19th century instruments. Guitars by Louis Panormo have become a speciality and I've done seventeen of them. Five 18th century English guittars (a type of cittern) have been through the workshop.
I repair instruments for local musicians. Many classical, steel string and electric guitars pass through the workshop. I enjoy meeting the local musicians and and often hear my repairs being played. Of course, I also repair lutes.
LUTE AMPLIFICATION: Recently, I have become involved in a project that will enable a lute to be successfully and sympathetically amplified. The first amplified lute (using an internal lavalier microphone) will be finished early in 2017.
CONSERVATION: I have always been aware that musical instrument makers use materials from rare and endangered species. I avoid these and have sought out local and ecological supplies wherever possible. My solutions to some of these problems are discussed on the website.
Lute fingerboards have always been an ethical problem, but now FSC approved African blackwood is available.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MAKING FOR NOVICES: I taught musical instrument making in adult education and university for 20 years,and I retain a strong interest in helping novice luthiers. I sell plans for guitars, lutes and other instruments. I can supply hide glue and gut fret. I am always available for questions about musical instrument making. Part of this website is devoted to novice lute makers.My workshop enjoys a splendid view over the Bristol Avon River valley.
A slide show of a lute being made here in my workshop. The music is played on lutes made by myself. The first piece is modern, 1998, and a portion 'Crux Catalyst' by Lamb and Keane is heard. Only one lute is playing, the sound has been considerably altered electronically. The latter two pieces are played on the lute constructed in this slide show. The former is 'The Right Honourable Ferdinando, Earl of Derby, His Galliard' by John Dowland followed by a duet 'The Flatt Pavanne' by John Johnson.