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The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar.... Now, that's my idea of a good time.
-- Frank Zappa


Featured Expert Martin Edwards, Amateur Luthier

Me with a Walnut Sitka Dread, Now in Oklahoma with JS member Saintal

Soundclicks of my instruments

My building blog

Christian songs I’ve written


Who indeed!!

I started building stringed instruments because after 25 years of playing guitar & bass, I knew that I would never be able to justify spending the money on a Lowden Acoustic.  I'm not a good enough player, and I have a wife, four kids and a mortgage to think about!!

My first build was a fretless bass.  It had... issues.... Though it is playable, I don't play it much.

Knowing I would never buy a Lowden I thought I'd do the next best thing & I joined an evening class at a local college hosted by  Sam Irwin, who was one of George Lowden's original Luthiers who went on to be production manager at Avalon.

I learned LOADS from Sam and owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

While I was on that course I was building other things in the background.  Well, I say background, I'm a technology teacher so I have access to most of the necessary tools at work, so my workshop in school is coming down with part built instruments.

I'd always fancied a mandolin, but my big farmer's fingers wouldn't fit on a standard mando fretboard, so I built one for myself.  Mish saw the pics on JS and lo and behold, I had my first commission!!

A pair of carved top mandolins.  The lefty one now lives with JS mod Mishmannah

The mandonaught concept came along next.

Maple & Sitka Mandonaught.

I reckoned that carving the top of a mando was waaaayy too much hard work, so I decided to make a flat top, and as it was cheaper to make my own model than buy someone else's plans I came up with a guitar shape.  Mando (lin dread) naught gettit?  I've made a bunch of these now, some with cutaways, some in other woods, but I keep coming back to walnut for the back & sides.  It's beautiful, sounds good and the sides bend like butter.  What more could a luthier ask for?  Next step in the mandonaughts evolution was to move the bridge more centrally on the soundboard.  I shortened the body by 2" and though I loose a bit of the guitar shape, the  volume and bass response are both increased.

The latest incarnation of the mandonaught.  The shortened body puts the bridge more in the centre of the soundboard.

I've built two doubleneck acoustics, a Les Paul, a guitar shaped bouzouki, an acoustic bass.... And a few flutes.

24 fret Les Paul for a friend's son's 18th birthday.  Come to think of it, he's a JSer too, Robin Irvine.

One of two doubleneck acoustics I've built.  This one's in Co Cork, Ireland.

Altogether at the time of typing I've built 25 stringed instruments, and to misquote someone a lot smarter than me, the more I learn, the more I realise I don't know.


The "pay it forward" guitar, now also residing in Co Cork!!

If I can help you with anything to do with the building or setting up of guitars/mandos etc I'll do all I can.


One that DIDN'T get away!!! A leopardwood cedar 00 that I kept and play daily.
The other "keeper" East Indian Rosewood, cedar Jumbo built at Sam Irwin's evening class.

Where possible I like to do my little bit to save the world.  I have a contact in a major shopfitter's company who lets me rummage in their scrap box and use wood that would otherwise be chipped and fed into their boiler.  Most of the walnut & mahogany I use comes from there.


If you want me to build you something, then PM me and I'll see what we can agree on.  I don't charge Pro rates as this is a hobby, in fact for a few of my builds, the single most expensive part of the deal has been the postal charges!!

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