Here is a record of all the guitars I have had the pleasure to know over the years...

1965 "Magic" guitar

Magic guitar.jpg

This is the only record I have of my first guitar.

My parents bought it for me for my 15th birthday.

Here I am (seated) with my best friend at the time, Peter Johnson (standing). Note the highly groovey and fashionable Esso tiger tails!

I fitted a cheap Dearmond pickup and used to play it through an old radio.

I sold this to Robin Clayton and would very much like to talk to him.... 

1966 Hofner Senator

My first quality guitar. It was a sunburst finish - Hofner called it "Brunette" (as opposed to the natural, or "Blonde" finish).

It had a single, factory fitted neck pickup.

1967 Hofner Colorama II

The guitar was purchased from Norman Hackett in Reading. It was originally red just like this one that I found recently on ebay.20070521_0071.jpgBecause Derek and Richard had white guitars I refinished mine in white. I look jolly pleased with my self too eh...Amen_68 colorama smile.jpg

1968 Harmony H75


1969 Baldwin Burns Baby Bison


1971 Gibson ES345 TDC


1971 Yamaki Folk

yamaki_frontal1.jpgI have had this guitar since the early '70s. I think I paid £70 for it in Hickies in Reading. Several recording engineers have commented on how well it records.

The only other one I've seen was in Vancouver, Canada.

I used this guitar on the Jimmie Owens "Come Together" tour of Britain with Pat Boone in the mid '70s, in “Yesterday, Today, Forever” and extensively before the Takamine came along.

The frets are now badly worn.

For a while it was strung in "Nashville tuning" - the E and B strings as normal with the rest being the high strings of a 12 string set. (Ernie Ball Custom Gauge .010 .012 .008 .014 .018p .028) This gave it an interesting voice particularly when played with other guitars. There is a considerable sacrifice in volume however.

A Barcus-Berry Junior piezo pickup is mounted under the bridge with no controls. This guitar is fitted with the machine heads from the Les Paul Standard which I used to own.

Michael John Simmons writes:

The complex story of Yamaki guitars is entwined with the histories of a number of other Japanese music companies. In the late 1940s, brothers Yasuyuki and Kazuyuki Teradaira started working for Tatsuno Mokko, an instrument-building firm that later split into two different companies, one of which was called Hayashi Gakki. In 1954 Hayashi Gakki was bought out by Zenon, a large music distributor. In 1962 Yasuyuki left Zenon to start an instrument distributor he called Daion, which means “big sound” in Japanese. In 1967 Kazuyuki left Zenon to produce classical guitars under the name Yamaki, an auspicious Japanese word meaning “happy trees on the mountain.” By the early 1970s, Kazuyuki expanded the Yamaki line to include a large number of steel-string guitars, many of which were based on C.F. Martin and Co.’s designs and were distributed exclusively through Daion. Along with Yamaki guitars, Daion sold instruments from Shinano, Mitsura Tamura, Chaki, and Hamox, some of which were built by Yamaki at various times, and Harptone guitars, which they imported from the US.

Sometime in the late 1960s, Daion began exporting Yamaki guitars to America, where they were well received. By the early 1980s, however, Daion felt that the Yamaki Martin-style guitars were getting lost among similar instruments from other Japanese builders like Takamine, Yasuma, and C.F. Mountain, so they redesigned the entire acoustic line and started building acoustic-electrics and solid-body electrics as well as oddities like double-neck acoustics. They dropped the Yamaki name and rebranded their instruments as Daion guitars. Daion began an extensive advertising campaign to introduce the new line around 1982, but this was a time when musicians were more interested in the new MIDI-equipped synthesizers than in guitars. In 1984 Daion stopped importing guitars to America and soon went out of business. Yamaki, on the other hand, survived the downturn of the 1980s and now makes parts for other Japanese guitar companies.

1972 Fender Stratocaster (early '60s)

1975 Gibson Les Paul standard

1985 Fender Stratocaster ('70s)

1987 Takamine EN10C


1989 Fender Stratocaster Plus

1996 Gibson Nighthawk

1996 Washburn SBS-20

1997 Gibson ES335 TDC

2000 Bailey Build-Your-Own (BYO) course #1

During late August, early September 2000 I attended Mark Bailey's Build Your Own guitar course as an important birthday present and this the result!

I designed and handcrafted this guitar from blocks of mahogony, maple and ebony in the space of 2 weekends.
I am astounded at what I've achieved with Mark's guidance given my lack of woodworking experience and the short time available. Attending the course was a very rewarding experience. The result plays like a professionally produced instrument and it is often my instrument of choice - it feels so "sorted" and it's simple yet versatile. The finish is hand-rubbed Danish Oil. The Seymour Duncan Custom P90s are a joy - my favorite pickup so far.
Please click here for lots more pictures of the construction and final guitar.

2001 Bailey Build-Your-Own (BYO) course #2

March to July 2001


Having attended Mark Bailey's Build Your Own guitar course in 2000 I just HAD to go back and attempt a set neck instrument.

The body is constructed from a block of selected mahogony with a book-matched maple cap - deeply carved.

The neck and head are also hewn from a single block of mahogony. An offcut from the maple cap was book-matched and glued to the face of the headstock.

The fingerboard is ebony.

I decided not to inlay marker dots on the face of the fingerboard. There are small position dots conventionally down the side of the neck. Wide fretwire was used for easy bending.

The nut is graphtec and the tuners are gold locking Spertzels (and very smart too). The instrument has a gold Wilkinson tremelo bridge.

I chose Seymour Duncan humbuckers; a Jazz at the neck and a JB for the bridge. There is one tone and one volume control. The pickups can both be tapped via a push-pull pot.

It took me four weekends to make the guitar plus an assembly / setting-up day. Mark kindly sprayed the instrument with nitro-cellulose.

Click here for more pictures of this instrument.

2003 Gibson SG Special Pete Townsend signature

2003 Gretsch Country Classic I


When Chet Atkins moved in the Gibson direction Gretsch lost the right to call the 6220S a "Country Gentlemen" - instead it was called a "Country Classic". The 'I' indicates a single cutaway. Double cuts are predictably suffixed by 'II".

I sold my 335 to enter the rockabilly realm of Gretsch. I've always loved Brian Setzer's playing and Richard leant me his White Falcon at a practice after the guitar I had bought along failed. I was smitten!

I can't make my mind up with this guitar whether I prefer the scratchplate on or off... Normally it's not an issue - I generally don't like scatchplate- period.

This guitar loves The Monkees songs, Pretty Woman and Sleepwalk.. plus anything rockabilly...


2004 Baldwin Burns Marvin 1966

Serial number 19240. Built in December 1966.

2005 Gibson Les Paul standard, custom shop '59 relic

Built in 1999 and tastefully aged. Purchased from Guitar World, Orlando.

2006 Fender Telecaster custom shop 1963 relic

2006 Ibanez GSR200 bass

2007 Danelectro Longhorn Baritone