Standard Specification

All instruments are handmade by myself, using woods I have personally selected. Left handed instruments follow the same specification and come at no extra cost. I build all of my instruments to my idea of what they should be and as such my "standard" instruments have many features that are "options" with other builders - for instance I use European spruce tops, bound fingerboards, solid wood bindings with top/back and side purflings and Gold EVO fretwire. My "options" are largely for different wood choice for backs and sides, cutaways, custom rosettes, laminated necks, pickups and upgrades of tuners and cases. The following description of my building techniques is written with guitars largely in mind - there will be subtle differences for instruments like harp guitars or acoustic lap slides.

 

Woods: It is getting harder and harder to talk of "standard woods" as traditional tonewoods become more scarce and new tonewoods are being introduced. The best approach is to contact me so that we can discuss what woods suit your style of playing and aesthetic needs and are available for the standard price

 

Glues: Where possible I use hot-hide glue and fish glue in the construction of my instruments. These natural glues have a long tradition in instrument making, give the best acoustic sound transmission, are resistant to cold creep and are resistant to heat exposure and are optimum for future repairs when necessary. I do use more modern glues where the situation merits.

 

Body: The top is is domed - more than most makers - to provide strength and projection and braced with spruce using my own pattern with the braces shaped to voice each top individually. My aim is to produce a balance of tone combined with volume, projection and sustain. I include a soundhole reinforcement piece, an A frame that interlocks with the neck block, and carbon-fibre "flying butress" braces from the sides into the back of the neck-block to stop the string pressure from flattening the back's arch through time and allows for lighter bracing in the upper bout as the neck and fingerboard are "free floating". The back is braced with spruce using a hybrid X/ladder bracing system, and the centre join reinforcement strip is the same wood as the back. I use reverse kerfed linings and side braces are inlet into these to give the rim stiffness and protection against side cracks. The end graft strip matches the body binding. The bridge is pinned and slotted with solid 5 degree tapered bridge-pins and has a split bone saddle for optimum intonation. The top/back braces and bridge are glued using hot hide glue which I believe gives the best acoustic coupling.

 

Rosette: My standard rosette is a thin strip of the back and sides woods flanked by the same purfling used with the binding.

 

Neck: Scarf jointed headstock and the heel stacked. This gives maximum strength and stability and best use of scarce wood. The neck extends to all but the last couple of frets and gives solid support to the fingerboard and a straight playing surface.The neck is bolt on, and is built with a two-way adjustable truss rod and twin carbon fibre strengthening rods. These not only provide extra structural stability but also add tonally to the guitar helping to eliminate dead spots. The headstock has a solid wood veneer on the front and back. The fingerboard is ebony, bound with ebony, together with black/white/black side purfling, has a 20' radius and there are 2mm white side marker dots. The nut and saddles are bone with split saddles for better intonation. I use Jescar Gold Evo fretwire as my standard offering. Tuners on solid peghead instruments are gold Gotoh SG301's with ebony buttons and on slotted-peghead instruments, Gotoh SEP700 tuners with black buttons are used. The heel-cap is solid wood with veneer to match the binding side purfling. The neck depth and profile, fingerboard radius, nut width and string spacing can be specified (within reason) by you at no extra charge. Gold strap-pins are mounted in the endblock and neck heel.

 

Side Sound Port I offer the option of a sound port in the bass side top upper bout at no extra charge. These are not to everyones taste, but I am a convert as they act as a "personal monitor" allowing the player to hear a lot more of the sound that people hear out front of the guitar. To my ears they enhance the bass and mids sound that the player hears and there is no impact on the projected sound of the instrument. Plus it's really cool to get an inside view of the guitar and it's bracing.

 

Finish: Finishing is a major dilemma for a handmade guitar and I have developed a technique that uses the minimum possible finish to preserve tone but still makes a beautiful guitar where the wood shines through rather than sits like Snow White in a highly polished lacquer coffin. I use thin coats of pre-catalysed lacquer hand rubbed back to give a deep lustre. The neck is finished the same way

 

Other:The instrument is set up to your specified action, and comes with D'Addario phosphor bronze strings, with the gauges specified in the Owner's Manual. Instruments depending on model, come with either a Hiscox liteflight case or flightcase with foam insert, and a microfibre cloth for cleaning the body. In addition I take photographs of the whole building process that appear on your own special page on the website as the instrument is being made so that you can keep track with progress. This webpage is copied into a Microsoft Word document and this together with the photographs are copied onto CD for you to keep when the instrument is delivered. If required the De Faoite label in the guitar can contain "Made for . . . ".

 

The instrument comes with a warranty to the original owner as long as he/she owns it in my lifetime, covering problems due to defective workmanship by me. Any remedial work required will be decided and carried out by myself and the original owner is responsible for any shipping costs. This warranty does not cover any damage caused by climatic/heat/humidity changes or damage/neglect caused by the owner of the instrument.