Fylde Guitars came about from Roger Bucknall’s early immersion in music, technology and craftsmanship. His instruments were central to the acoustic music revival in the UK, and the constant theme of his work since then has been collaboration with professional musicians from all over the world. His client list is a who’s who of household names, including his own guitar heroes, and the list is constantly growing through new generations of artists. Alongside that, with the help of a small team he undertakes special commissions and makes the highest quality instruments for limited general sale.
Roger uses his deep technical background and fifty years experience to constantly refine his designs, while insisting on close personal control of every stage of manufacture. Even though he has gathered the finest workshop facilities and manufacturing techniques, he and his team still work by hand to maintain the character and individuality of every instrument rather than increasing the quantity of instruments made. He maintains very firm opinions on quality and value.
When does history start to form Roger’s outlook? Roger spent his formative years in Birmingham, heartland of British engineering excellence and the centre of the Industrial Revolution and close to Stratford-upon-Avon the home of William Shakespeare. His works have left a lifelong impression on Roger.
Guitar making started in his father’s garage at the age of nine. It continued through technical school and on through a degree in engineering at University in Nottingham ~ one of the UK’s foremost centres of excellence in technology and home of the legendary Robin Hood.
Roger’s first job was designing industrial tape recorders close to the New Forest of Southern England. The forest was Henry VIII’s hunting ground and source of timber for the many great ships of the Tudor age. Henry’s daughter Elizabeth was to become the sponsor for much of Shakespeare’s writing during ‘the Golden Age of Literature’.
Guitar making was a hobby until 1973 when Roger moved to the Fylde coast of Lancashire to set up full time manufacturing. The Fylde coast is reputed to be where Robin Hood escaped when the Sheriff of Nottingham got too close!
Roger’s early interest in Shakespeare re-emerged when he started looking for names for his instruments. The work of ‘the Bard’ is peppered with references to music and strings and the correlation between Shakespearean characters and the character of sound in musical instruments provided the obvious answer.
Some years later searching for new premises and a better lifestyle, Roger moved the business to the Lake District of Northern England in 1996. He found he had entered a new world of poetry and fascinating British history.
The Fylde workshops are in Penrith ~ once home to William Wordsworth ~ and Roger’s home is near the poet’s favourite lake. The Lake District is, of course, not only a source of inspiration for poets, writers and painters, it is also scene of bloody battles between Scots and English; it is close to that northern outpost of the Roman Empire ~ Hadrian’s Wall. Many local people claim ancestry among the feared Border Reivers whose family feuding, theft and murder tore apart the Borderlands for more than three centuries.
So there you have part of the story of Fylde Guitars. A story of development on a journey through technical excellence and cultural influence. Each stage has added a new dimension to the business. Add to this a continually changing musical landscape and you have a unique insight into the way Fylde Guitars has evolved and will continue to evolve in the years to come.