• Fan Fret Brazilian Rosewood Goodfellow
  • Second hand Bouzouki for sale
  • Martin Simpson. Skydancers
  • Vote for Martin Simpson's song Skydancers
  • John Smith. The Singing Gig List
  • Richard Hawley. Tour and Album
  • John Smith. Trick of the Light
  • Martin Simpson on UK and USA guitar makers
  • David Gray
  • David Knopfler
  • New Prices and Delivery times
  • Cartoon
  • Jochen Ross. Amazing days
  • African Blackwood and Swiss Pine Mandolin for sale
  • Lisa Hannigan. Ocean and a Rock
  • Some lovely Pictures
  • And Some More Pictures
  • Tristan Seume
  • Will McNicol, One day Workshop
  • And even more lovely pictures
  • Remi Harris. How I visualise the fingerboard
  • Innes Watson.  Dear Daisy
  • Jump Jump Jump
  • Pandora's Box and Other Stories
Fan Fret Brazilian Rosewood Goodfellow

A special order from a regular customer. Doesn't it look magnificent? Even "ordinary" wood often has strong colours, but the more unusual ones can be amazing.  Being able to select from "a lot of wood" is something I am rather proud of.

Top Quality Brazilian Rosewood back and sides,  Sinker Redwood soundboard, Ebony bindings and bevel, laminated neck, a very gentle set of fanned frets, and to complete the Dark Knight impression, black Gotoh Tuners.  I nearly misspelt that - black Goth Tuners.

I'm managing  to pass on more and more of the unusual details on this sort of order to Alex and Paul, and I'm delighted that it's going so well. I seem to be getting older , and they are superb craftsmen.

The discussions involved in a guitar like this can go on for a long time. It's important to get everything agreed and written down right at the start,  sometimes, a little detail can have unforeseen consequences. 

When I get time, I must write a few words about the implications of fan frets on the tone of a guitar. It's a lot more than you might imagine, and I think, all positive.

  • Fan Fret Brazilian Rosewood Goodfellow
  • Fan-Fret-Goodfellow-DSCF1839
  • Fan-Fret-Goodfellow-DSCF1847
  • Fan-Fret-Goodfellow-DSCF1855
  • Fan-Fret-Goodfellow-DSCF1849
  • Fan-Fret-Goodfellow-DSCF1854
  • Fan-Fret-Goodfellow-DSCF1851

Second hand Bouzouki for sale
  • Second hand Bouzouki for sale
  • Left-Hand-Bouzouki-DSCF1903
  • Left-Hand-Bouzouki-DSCF1911
  • Left-Hand-Bouzouki-DSCF1909
  • Left-Hand-Bouzouki-DSCF1906
  • Left-Hand-Bouzouki-DSCF1915

A Bouzouki with a history! It's been round the world more than once with its current owner , who is a Maritime Historian and author.

This is a long scale  Arch Top bouzouki, Mahogany and Cedar, made in 1998.

It started life as right-handed;  we converted it to left-handed many years ago and it seems the best idea to offer it that way, there must be somebody out there?

But we could easily change it back if asked, at no extra charge.

It comes complete with case. Unison stringing. We've done some minor work on it and it's in excellent condition.

For sale at £2700.00 - SOLD

It belongs to Steve Ragnall: "Wonderful memories will stay with me, having taken it round the world more than once when travelling as a guest speaker aboard cruise ships. It always attracted people – those who asked what it was (and couldn’t believe there was such a thing as an Irish Bouzouki), and those in the know who noted it was a Fylde. I don’t think I ever did it full justice as a player but it enthused and improved me".

I'll say more about that later on.

Martin Simpson. Skydancers

Martin's Album is now Number Two in the UK Folk Charts. With a  different interpretation of "Folk"  it would/should be Number One.   
It's an excellent package, two CD's and a booklet in a threefold case. Martin's usual masterful display of intricate guitar picking and clever, relevant song writing. Plus, some rather good banjo playing, which I had nothing to do with, nothing, no matter what anybody says.
Of course, Martin says some nice things, which is very kind of him. He's a very nice man. Should be number one, not number two.
Martin's Website

Vote for Martin Simpson's song Skydancers

Help Martin gain this extra award by "liking" as instructed in the "more" words below the video. The cut off time has been extended, but do not delay.
In case anybody is wondering what pFITE stands for, it's " Poetry & Folk in The Environment".  
It's a big project, check it out here

John Smith. The Singing Gig List

This is a new way of delivering the news. It might be the start of something.
John, of course, is also enjoying massive success in the relevant places at the moment .  It's lovely to see such talent and such good friends as Martin and John doing so well.

John's Website

Richard Hawley. Tour and Album

We have recently had three of Richard’s Fyldes in the workshop to fix a few love bites and fit matching pickups ready for his new tour, starting on 22nd of May. John Smith is supporting him on the first few gigs and is dropping by to report afterwards. More stories!

Richard also persuaded me to fix some damage to his beloved J200 and a very old Framus. That’s my quota of “foreign” guitar repairs used up for the next lifetime.

And then, on 31st of May, Richards new Album. ”In this City they call you Love” will be launched. 

On the album, Richard uses mostly three electric guitars, his father’s old Gretsch and two Telecasters, one bequeathed to him by the late Scott Walker, the other a gift from Duane Eddy. Wow.

It just shows you how far Richard has travelled, how many connections he has made, how many people he has worked with. Then he phones you up and says “Hello Love” as if he has known you for ever. He is a lovely, warm, humble person.

Stuart Maconie describes Richard’s music as ”Country and Northern”, which is rather good.

If you want to read more about Richard, see here.

Next month. I will have Richard’s complete contribution to the 50 year video to show you, and hopefully a report of the new album and tour.

Richard's Website

John Smith. Trick of the Light

Played on his Smithcaster/ Goldsmith/ Juliet, we haven't decided on a name yet. We are going to try and make one of these to take to Ullapool, get the crowds rocking!!
We'll be seeing him soon, and we are starting to prepare for Ullapool.  It’s always a challenge, but we enjoy it immensely. Everybody should go, but if they did, it would be crowded. 

Ullapool Website

Martin Simpson on UK and USA guitar makers

Sam English put this together from the time Martin spent with us making the 50 years video. It's a pretty good overview of the whole subject. There is no one better placed than Martin to tell this story, and it corresponds just about exactly with my own involvement. I would just add Dick Knight and Tony Zemaitis to the early UK makers list, before Martin or I were involved. In those days there was no communication between makers in the UK, no shared knowledge or supplies. It's a lot different now. Because I've taken a different path, starting from those bare roots, I find myself having more in common with the older individual makers in the USA and we have some fun conversations, but it's changing. Some younger makers actually speak to me nowadays.

David Gray

Towards the end of last year, David approached me having seen a picture of an inlaid guitar that we had made for Toby Hay. He also fondly remembered his time with John Smith. One thing leads to another.

I only had one guitar available, so off it went, and David has been enjoying it ever since. It's the Malaysian Blackwood and Yellow Cedar Alexander that we showed last year.

It only lacked one thing, a Curlew, inlaid in the fingerboard. It now has a Pearlew Curlew.

David tells me the collective noun for a group of Curlews is a Curfew, so if he orders any more he will have a Curfew of Pearlew Curlews. The Curlew need you - link!

I am sorry about my sense of humour. I do try.

David's Website

  • David Gray's Guitar
  • Malaysian-Blackwood-Alexander-7G9A1092
  • Malaysian-Blackwood-Alexander-7G9A1093
  • Malaysian-Blackwood-Alexander-7G9A1094
  • Malaysian-Blackwood-Alexander-7G9A1078
  • Malaysian-Blackwood-Alexander-7G9A1090
  • Malaysian-Blackwood-Alexander-7G9A1081
  • Malaysian-Blackwood-Alexander-7G9A1091

David Knopfler

You will know who David is of course. When I get mail from a well-known name, I have to stop and check before I reply and say something daft. I once got into a terrible tangle with the wrong Paul McKenna. The guy I was speaking to couldn't hypnotise me, no matter how hard he tried.

This time, all was well.  We bounced ideas around for a while then made this, a Signature Long Scale Bouzouki.  David is very pleased, and you can see what he thinks by checking out his Patreon site. 

I'm hoping for more news and pictures soon. 

David's Patreon Site

David's Website

New Prices and Delivery times

I'm afraid it’s that time again. Delivery times are getting a little stretched and I have to anticipate what the circumstances will be when I come to deliver the instrument rather than when I take the order. It's only some small changes, I really care about such things. I need to be able to supply the serious amateurs and the young up and comings, and not base everything on money. Blame somebody else, not me.

Over the years I have worked to a vague "system" to help me juggle priorities. Everything is a priority. 

Guitar making is very intense, and we relax by spacing it out with little batches of smaller, simpler instruments . Then there are the Personal Selection instruments which allow us to express our own thoughts.  

And of course, our work with professional artists, which is constantly stretching us and can be very demanding but gives us all a morale boost (and some free tickets). We all need "pats on the back" from time to time.  

But apart from all that, most of our time is spent on guitars for  "serious amateurs and aspiring musicians" where price is most important. Higher prices might compensate us a little more, but that isn't why we do this work. I talk about these things constantly with Alex and Paul, as obviously they are more and more involved as time goes on. So far, they agree with me.

I'm always thinking of new ideas for T shirts, so here's one - "Pat Here". 

Perhaps add below that. "No, Don't", or "Gently Please"


Jochen Ross. Amazing days

Jochen is playing his Single Malt Touchstone mandolin. I think it sounds amazing, and this tune is rather good.

The Bass and Guitar are rather fine as well.

Trio Popp.Roß.Dohrmann (Jens-Uwe Popp: Guitar, Jochen Roß: Mandolin, Florian Dohrmann: Double Bass). 


It's always a battle deciding what order to put the different items in the newsletter. This time it's easy, I want to sell a mandolin!

African Blackwood and Swiss Pine Mandolin for sale
  • African Blackwood and Swiss Pine Mandolin for sale
  • Mandolin-1-1000026547
  • Mandolin-2-1000026549
  • Mandolin-3-20240517_152325

I don't know what it is about trees, they just don’t grow in the right sizes for guitar making, and because of the way I like to buy wood, I have a lot of undersize or unusual pieces . The last time I bought African Blackwood, it was three whole logs, and there was a lot of undersize sets of top-quality material. Fortunately, we make smaller instruments as well.

Here we are, a delightful Mandolin with African Blackwood back and sides, a Master grade Swiss pine Bearclaw top. Curly Koa bindings. Abalone markers. The neck is laminated from Mahogany and Ebony. Quality everywhere. I have more sets of wood like this so I'm going to make a few variations very soon.

This one is for sale at £2,600.00

Lisa Hannigan. Ocean and a Rock

If I don't check everything, every day, I miss things like this, but I do get help from friendly contacts here and there. 

"Have you seen this Rog?"

So - a request, if any of you see things that you think I would like, do please send them to me.

Thank you.

Lisa's Website

Some lovely Pictures

This sends shivers down my spine - One of our customers from Hawaii sent me some amazing photographs. 

"A mama whale and her baby, with a male escort below them. - we had many encounters like these in Mo'orea, French Polynesia last year. I actually cried in my mask when the baby whale approached and looked at me with one of it's eyes. Chills running through my body; never experienced that feeling before - it was overwhelming."

Photos by Rachel Moore Shanke

And Some More Pictures

Late on Friday evening, after a few games of pool and each with a small whisky in hand. Tristan Seume and I had no idea this would be going on above our heads. There is no light pollution where we live, we were incredibly lucky to catch this in such an ideal spot. I don't think Tris has quite recovered yet and it’s going to be a long time before we see this again.

At one point, he was trying to make a little video - "don't talk to me" then "say something sensible"

Harsh. Make up your mind Tris, that's two impossible requests. 

Tristan Seume

I think it’s a mark of pure class when you can recognise a guitarist from the first notes they play, and if they are also a composer, when you hear a new tune for the first time, you know who wrote it.  That is Tris, nobody sounds quite like him.

He is also an excellent teacher, with  a velvet voice, which is why I asked him to narrate the Fifty Years of Fylde video. 

Tris is starting to play more solo gigs nowadays; we will be watching out for him.

And he runs various guitar workshops.

See here: Tristan Seume, Guitar Breaks

Will McNicol, One day Workshop

I always ask Will if he has anything new to report. I hope I'm not too late with this. 

Link to London Workshop.

And even more lovely pictures
  • Lead pellets (as in ''gun'') possibly a hundred years old
  • Wood1-DSCF1817
  • Wood3-DSCF1824
  • Wood4-DSCF1827
  • Wood5-DSCF1825

I love this stage of my job, cutting big boards into lots of slices. Sometimes it reveals new colours or fabulous grain, even pictures of faces. Long ago I found a perfect representation of a fox, I still have it somewhere.

This time, it's a bit less artistic. These are lead pellets (as in "gun") possibly a hundred years old, imbedded in the wood. I wonder what the story was? 

I bought the whole Walnut tree about fifteen years ago and I'm getting it sliced up in small batches whenever I get chance . It was taken from near Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria. 

Despite the intrigue revealed inside the wood, I admit that I get most pleasure from gazing at the big pile of slices when it's all stacked up. Next time I feel stressed, I'm going to take another plank to the sawmill, it's part of my therapy.

 Alex and Paul know very well that I like to arrange all these pieces in the correct order myself. I must make sure I'm not late into work that day, as they like to do it as well.

"Oh sorry Rog, I forgot". Yeah right.

Remi Harris. How I visualise the fingerboard

You can find 25 minutes for this surely?  Just don't mow the lawn. It will only grow again. 
Remi's Website

Innes Watson. Dear Daisy

I met Daisy in the back of Innes car on a cold day a few months ago. She makes a great hot water bottle.

Innes' Website

Jump Jump Jump

Some of you have known about this for a while.

Moira booked it for a special birthday before Covid and it's not been easy to fit it in.

The first thought on climbing into the cockpit was the original intention of this remarkable aircraft, the idea that we were sending young men high into the air, strapped into a ridiculously complex and expensive machine, in order to try and kill each other. The thoughts are still with me.

The engineering is amazing, the physical sensations, smells, vibration, noise. The feeling of floating on cotton wool, complete freedom to move in any direction at the tiniest touch on the controls. Yes, I did have a go at flying it myself - two goes in fact. I'm even wondering if I'm too old to join the RAF. 

Moira said she had never seen me smiling so much when they opened the cockpit. I thought about that for a while, then decided she was probably right. 

Keith and Moira were in a "Chaser plane" alongside for a while, taking pictures and waving at me. All of it quite astonishing, unforgettable and of course, Mike English made a book (and Sam English edited the video)!

Before the actual flight, I had to learn a number of safety procedures which involved lowering the seat, ejecting the canopy, opening a door (crowbar provided). Undoing one set of straps, being very careful NOT to undo another set of straps and , gulp, " Jump Jump Jump".  

Yes, there was a parachute.

I still have the smile. Can't wait for next major birthday.

Sam's Website.

Pandora's Box and Other Stories

Steve Ragnall is the owner of the bouzouki for sale at the top of this newsletter. He is a Maritime Historian and author with lots of connections with my favourite places. 

This book contains 24 well researched stories from around the maritime world, taken from talks and lectures that Steve has given aboard cruise ships, sometime accompanied by his bouzouki. There is something special about true adventure, it's far-fetched , but these things actually happened!  The first one is the true story of Captains Cook's death and what happened to his body. Beware!

I'm dipping into it when I have time and I'm really enjoying it.

© 2024 Fylde Guitars. All Rights Reserved