old box repairs

A small departure from the norm, with this very nice victorian box in satinwood, inlaid with tunbridge ware stringing. I was asked if I could fit some new ebony pieces to the edges. Well why not.2015-04-13 09.46.09

Back to business.

Jimmy Crowley bouzouki repair works are now completed, this included a new sitka top and green fish eye inlay amongst other things. I’ll be adding some more info to the website in due course about the Irish bouzoukis with some sound clips.

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In the meantime heres Donal Lunny back in the early 90’s using a lefty zouk with Paul Brady;

Moving on to the Om guitar; I was pleased to meet up with Gareth Whittock in the workshop to discuss the project a couple of weeks ago; here’s the piece of reclaimed london plane that is being used. The design might break the world record for number of pickups we’ll be using if we can get round hum issues. Last count was eight.

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Amongst other Gibson repairs this month was this early 1970’s J40 which had a couple of sprung braces on the top causing a distorted top.

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march madness

It seems the last couple of months have shot past and now low and behold its March. As if to confirm the fact I nearly ran over a hare that shot out into the middle of a local lane. March madness. And its full steam ahead in the workshop as usual;

A reissue Les Paul recording;

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The last time I had to work on one of these was a long time ago. A Henri Selmer Gibson price list from 1974 that I picked in my first job (£17 pw) lists one of these at £399.

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This one is a more recent re-issue and seems to have much higher output pickups, if I remember correctly, the weighty original had really low impedance pickups and was fitted with a high/low impedance switch which bamboozled me.

Gibson have a nice article on Les Pauls recording model here;



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Om guitar

In the design stages is a new version of Gareth Whittocks Om guitar. An inspiring instrument played with deep musicality, great technique and control.

The new custom instrument will feature increased scale length for the drone strings.
Here is Gareth demonstrating the current Om guitar on Youtube

a new year, a new machine

A happy new year to one and all!

On the go, between regular repair and custom jobs are the restoration of a ES175 and the zouk, which I mentioned in an earlier post.

This pretty old ES175 had a badly split and damaged side. The option was to either glue, internal patch and make good or to replace the side. Normally a repair would be the way to go on this, however some heavy sanding after a ‘previous’ had seriously reduced the side thickness and compromised its integrity, it was therefore on balance judged that it might be better to replace the entire side. These few pictures document a few steps to removing the side but carefully leaving the fragile and cracked binding insitu;

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No going back now. Next step is to make up a new side and fit it. I’m glad I have a new machine in the workshop to help keep the adrenaline going when undertaking this kind of intense repair..


The zouk top is also being replaced; heres the old one which was badly distorted;

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the refret inspector

Refret using Jescar wire to this vintage SG;

1964 SG

1964 SG

3 SG’s through the workshop this month, two with damage to the area around the controls.

This nice 1964 SG had a previous repair where a large piece of mahogany had been replaced. Unfortunately the piece of wood chosen was not a good match so I replaced it with a more suitable piece. Unfortunately I couldn’t do much about the butt joint where the end grains meet which inevitably reveals the repair.

Here’s the before and after pics;




and the refret;

7 frets in...

7 frets in…

45100 jescar wire

jescar 45100 spec wire

the local refret inspector

the refret inspector calls


Another refret, this time an old Hoffner President;

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another 60’s SG;

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a 1959 strat in fiesta red;

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5 string mandolins

I have two nearly finished 5 string mandolins coming up for sale soon.

Pretty much everything on these instruments is made here in the workshop…the spec is;

Solid swamp ash lightweight body, string through body ferrules
Hard rock maple neck with adjustable truss rod
Nickel plated 4 bolt neck plate with serial no.
Indian rosewood fingerboard
Nickel medium vint. frets
Custom wound 5 string neck pickup with nickel cover
Custom wound 5 string bridge pickup
Custom bridge assembly with solid brass saddle
Side mounted vint. tele style jack
3 way selector , volume and tone control

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a pair of mandotels; capri orange and lake placid blue ish..

If you are interested and would like to try one out please drop me a line..

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return of the zouk

Here is a bouzouki I made back in 1993 for troubadour Jimmy Crowley in Cork, Ireland.

Jimmy’s been getting a fair amount of use out of it over the years and now its back in for a few ‘tweaks’ and a green fish eye inlay. It has a strongly defined sound and a type of sustain that only a bowl back can produce.

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The first one of these I made in the 80’s went to friend Pete Fyfe, said to have fingers “like crazed maggots” who kindly assessed the design, and said it was good. After seeing it and hearing it the second  was commissioned by Christy Moore for Donal Lunny. Donal later commissioned a further bouzouki which he described as a ‘blarge’ with a 17″ wide body. Jimmy’s is stock at 13 1/2″ wide with a slightly shorter scale at 25 1/2″..

a few recent repairs

a few photos of some jobs going through the workshop in august;

burns ampeg wiring

burns ampeg wiring

vintage fender strat body

vintage fender strat body

custom pickup installation

custom pickup installation

70's neck refret

70’s neck refret

new pickups, controls and rewire

new pickups, controls and rewire

truss rod fun and games

truss rod fun and games



thin twin K161

neck pickup rewind on an interesting ‘old kraftsman’ thin twin 161 guitar

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Jimmy Reed

 ‘big boss man’  jimmy reed with Kay 161 thin twin

takamine bridge



a recent repair involved lowering the bridge on a japanese made takamine, you can see here the exposed metal grounding strip in the saddle slot which sits on top of 6 hefty peizo elements that in turn sit in a cast aluminium housing retained by the two small domed head bolts.

bridge being lowered