• Guitar Department

    March 11, 2017

    A Short History Of Eastman Guitars

    A few weeks ago we shared news that Forsyths are once again stockists of these fabulous instruments, and with the arrival of new stock we thought it might be worth giving them a fuller introduction.

    Eastman Strings was founded in 1992 by Qian Ni, a student at Boston College of Music who initially set up Eastman as an importer of Chinese made violins, violas and cellos into the US. Whilst China was well established as a source of cheap instruments, Ni believed that for China to have a long term future in musical instrument making it would have to demonstrate an ability to make high quality instruments that were comparable to those being produced in the US and Europe: from the start Ni looked for violin makers who were Western trained in making professional grade instruments.

    By 1994 Ni’s business was doing well enough to provide full time employment to a team of experienced makers and to set up a workshop based in Beijing dedicated to making Eastman violins. Critical to the success of the brand was Ni’s determination to produce instruments using traditional violin making techniques rather than relying on modern technology, and Eastman violins were made on workbenches using knives, chisels, gouges and rasps rather than routers and machine tools: to this day band-saws are the only modern devices to be used extensively within the workshops. By the end of the decade Eastman had expanded to include a bow making shop and a case factory in addition to ever increasing violin production.

    With Eastman making waves in the classical world, Ni turned his attention to his passion for classic jazz guitar designers such as John Monteleone, Bob Bennedetto, John D’Angelico, James D’Aquisto and Claudio Pagelli. Having a team of luthiers experienced in carved top instruments and considerable buying power with timber suppliers with access to the high quality Spruce and Maple required for high end string instruments, Ni realised his company was ideally placed to produce a range of high quality yet affordable carved top jazz instruments and in 2002 Eastman showed a pair of unlabelled prototype arch top guitars in amongst the violins at that year’s NAMM show. Encouraged by the feedback they began to work on the project in earnest, studying a series of vintage arch-tops and enlisting US guitar makers Mark Lacey and Otto D’Ambrosio (the latter of whom initially licensed the design of the El Rey series of Eastman guitars and currently bears the title of master luthier for the Eastman custom division) to collaborate on the designs In 2004 the first production runs of Eastman guitars were produced and were an instant success.

    Following a first wave of traditional arch tops, Eastman also released a range of mandolins based on the early 20th Century Gibson oval and f hole designs and using the same high quality and hand carved tone woods as the arch-tops, and a range of flat top acoustics based on pre-WWII Martin and Gibson construction techniques and with exceptional quality Sitka and Adirondack tops. The arch top range was also expanded to include a series of laminated construction electric guitars based on the popular Gibson ES-175 and ES-335.

    By the 10th anniversary of Eastman guitars in 2014 the company had expanded to include a workforce of 250 people split between two workshops producing guitars, mandolins and violin family instruments. Whilst this represents a huge increase on the original set up, Eastman continues to operate on a strictly traditional basis with mostly hand tools used in production of all instruments: Contrary to common beliefs about Chinese manufacture Eastman also operate with employment conditions in line with Europe and the US. Its workforce is split evenly between men and women and employees are able to choose the hours they work. Also in keeping with US practices, each employee is trained to be specifically skilled in a particular job within the production process, ensuring that at each stage of the process each guitar receives the highest attention to detail from the person best equipped for that specific job. The only elements of Eastman guitars not handled in-house are the Gotoh hardware and the pickups, which are either from Kent Armstrong or Seymour Duncan depending on the model.

    Although most Eastman models are finished in a traditional nitrocellulose lacquer, in 2016 Eastman introduced a unique new finish option on four of their models based on the antique varnish process specially adapted for the guitars by varnish shop manager Li Hua Rong: this process involves a traditional technique of hand varnishing the instrument in first a golden ground colour, then a further coat with a red dye that gives a beautiful three dimensional depth to the varnish and finally a shellac top coat that can be rubbed to a soft gloss finish. In addition to this the top coat is gently distressed to  these instruments to create an aged patina that should mature gracefully as the guitar ages – a very sophisticated and elegant take on the popular relic fashion.


    Eastman’s current range of electric guitars consists of the AR series of traditional carved and laminated top jazz guitars, the T series based on the Gibson ES-335 family of centre-blocked arch-tops, a more esoteric range of designer arch-tops such as the El Rey and Pisano, a Gretsch style arch-top named the T58, and the SB series of solid body Les Paul style guitars.

    You can view our stock of Eastman guitars here and mandolins here.

    Eastman guitars factory photos

    Eastman guitars factory photos

    Eastman guitars factory photos

    Eastman guitars factory photos

    Eastman guitars factory photos

    Eastman guitars factory photos


  • Guitar Department

    September 16, 2016

    Workshop Diary: How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar

    If there’s one thing every guitarist should know how to do, it’s changing strings! It’s one of those jobs that is easy once you have the knack, but if you haven’t restrung a guitar before it can be an intimidating proposition. In our next few blogs we’re going to show you how to go about it. We’ll start with a steel string acoustic.







    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 01

    1. First of all we need to take off the old strings. You can change strings one at a time or all at once on a steel string - it really doesn't matter. We tend to do all at once so we can give the guitar a quick clean whilst the strings are off.

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 02

    2. If you're lucky the bridge pins will easily lift out of the bridge as soon as the string tension is reduced. Often though they can be quite a tight fit, so in this photo we're using the pin remover part of a string winder to pull them out. If they're really firmly in place you can push them out from underneath - just reach into the soundhole whilst you have the strings loosened and use something with a hard, flat surface to push up on the bottom of the pin. Pulling too hard from the top to loosen a stuck pin can result in snapping off the head on the pin, so be careful!

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 03

    3. Since the strings are out of the way it's a good idea to get rid of all that dust and grime that accumulates behind them!

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 04

    4. Ok, we're ready for the new strings. This is a quick look at how the ball end of the string is going to fit into the peg. Note that the string curves through the slot in the peg and out again: when the string is tightened the ball will push against the side of the peg and lock it in place. the slot needs to be facing in the direction of the string. Some older guitars have solid pegs with a slot in the bridge itself but the principal is the same.

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 05

    5. Here's the string going into the peg slot. I'm pulling up on the string whilst pushing gently on the peg to help it lock into place. Remember the last photo? That ball needs to be resting against the side of the peg: if it gets caught underneath the peg will just pop out as you tighten the string, so quick tug with a finger over the top helps prevent that.

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 06

    6. Now the headstock end. There are a few ways to do this and there isn't really one way that's better than the others, but this is how we do it. The string end goes through the hole in the tuner and we're going to keep some slack in it to feed onto the post.

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 07

    7. Now we're going to feed the string onto the post. The first wind goes over the top of the loose end of the string, and subsequent ones will go under - and you want the string to turn into the inside of the headstock. I'm keeping tension on the string by trapping it between middle finger and thumb - it will stack onto the post far easier under a little tension.

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 08

    8. A string winder helps a lot in getting the string up to pitch quickly but it's not essential. Again, if you look at my left hand I'm keeping the string under tension whilst winding it up to pitch with my left hand

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 09

    9. Finished! The string is held in place by being trapped between the coils. Too many coils underneath looks untidy but can also cause tuning instability, so I usually aim for one turn over the top and two underneath for the low E, three underneath for the others.

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 10

    10. We'll just take a moment to cut those string ends short - don't be that guy that leaves them jiggling about ready to take someone's eye out at the next open mic! Wire cutters from Maplin or any hardware store will do the job, and be careful when using them to avoid touching the headstock as it's very easy to dent the edge if you press into it.

    How to restring a steel string acoustic guitar step 11

    11. I think we're done... just needs tuning up (note the cheeky product placement of our ever handy Snark tuner - we are a shop after all!)






  • Guitar Department

    August 20, 2016

    A guide to L R Baggs pickups

    The acoustic pickup market is a crowded and rather confusing place to be dipping your toe into but for this blog we thought it might be helpful to take a closer look at our best selling pickup brand, LR Baggs. Baggs have really come into their own in the last few years, appearing on numerous high end brands of acoustic guitars as well as being a very popular after market option for amplifying a favourite acoustic guitar.

    There are a number of models of Baggs pickups including microphones, transducers that fit under the saddle or to the bridge plate, magnetic pickups and systems that blend sounds from more than one source. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ones.

    Lyric

    The Lyric is a microphone that sits on the bridge plate (a hardwood reinforcement of the soundboard that sits directly under the bridge) of the guitar. Internal microphones have an advantage over simply miking up a guitar in the conventional sense in that the mic is sheltered from extraneous sounds by the body of the guitar so they are a lot less feedback prone. However the drawback of this is that they tend to pick up a lot of harmonic content that never makes it to the outside of the guitar, giving a cluttered and rather boomy sound  that doesn’t really reflect the tonal characteristics of the guitar as you hear it when you play. The Lyric counters this problem with a very clever preamp design that clears up the output of the mic, giving a much more natural and pleasing tone.

    The Lyric is probably the best choice for giving an honest representation of the actual guitar it is installed into. Although much less feedback prone than a condenser mic on a stand in front of the guitar, it still suffers from feedback problems in loud environments, so it works best in environments where the pickup is reinforcing the natural volume of the guitar rather than helping the guitarist compete with a loud rhythm section.

    We really like the Lyric when paired with a good acoustic amp with a DI output, giving a fair amount of flexibility in terms of volume to the front of house without having too much level and therefore feedback issues on stage.

    I-Beam

    The I-Beam is a compromise option that falls between the Lyric and the more conventional under-saddle transducer pickups. Like the Lyric it mounts to the bridge plate inside the guitar but, whilst the Lyric is a microphone picking up sound waves inside the guitar, the I-Beam is a transducer picking up vibrations from the top. Like the Lyric, it has the benefit of reading a little more of the tone of the individual guitar than the more common under saddle transducers do, so it’s more natural and honest to the guitar than other pickup systems. Tonally it’s quite close to the Lyric and it is a little less feedback prone, although it’s still one of the more sensitive options when it comes to feedback.

    The I-Beam works well if you want something that has most of the tonal benefits of the Lyric but want a little more feedback resistance without the expense of the Anthem.

    We find the I-Beam very sensitive to location inside the guitar and have encountered problems with it on instruments where space is tight and we can’t get it located exactly where we want it. If you’re considering an I-Beam definitely run it past our tech first, who will be able to advise as to how well it will be likely to work in your guitar.

    Element

    The Element is the classic under saddle transducer that sits inside the bridge of the guitar. It works by reading vibrations largely from the saddle, the advantages of which are that it gets lots of signal to work and is better insulated against sounds that can cause feedback, but because a large percentage of the vibrations are coming directly from the saddle rather than the guitar body it’s less true to the sound of the particular guitar.

    The Element can be ordered with either a single volume or with a tone control that allows you to tame the high frequencies. We prefer the volume and tone version but we appreciate that not everyone likes an array of dials to contend with, so we carry both in stock!

    The Element is great for people playing in a band context with lots of loud instruments to compete with and for open mic type scenarios where you never quite know what sort of a PA you might be faced with. It’s a little more generic sounding than the Lyric and I-Beam but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in some contexts.

    Anthem

    The Anthem is a system that blends a Lyric Microphone with an Element under saddle transducer. It’s really the best of both worlds, with the Lyric providing realism and fidelity and the Element topping up the level and allowing the guitar to be used at far higher volumes without feedback than the Lyric would be capable of on its own. The Element also adds a little crispness to the tone so it sounds better as well as being more versatile than either pickup on its own.

    The Anthem is not a cheap pickup but it is an exceptionally good one. It’s definitely our favourite system, and its popularity with makers such as Lowden, Patrick James Eggle and Furch is testament that we’re not the only ones who are fans.

    M-1

    The M-1 takes a different approach to the other systems. It’s main source of sound is a magnetic pickup that reads the strings themselves in the same way and electric guitar pickup works, then feeds the signal through an EQ that shapes it to give a pleasing acoustic sounding tone. It also has a small transducer that read vibrations from the soundboard, allowing a little bit of flavour from the guitar itself and making it a little less generic sounding than many magnetic acoustic pickups.

    The M-1 shares similar benefits to the Element in that it’s very resistant to feedback and easy to work with where other loud instruments are involved. It has a significantly different sound to the Element with a smoother response and warmer bass, so although it doesn’t quite have the character of the Lyric it’s a great choice for those who find under saddle transducers a little on the harsh side.

    It’s all very well reading my wittering and what you really need is to hear them! Fortunately we’re one step ahead of you there: we have a test guitar set up with the three most popular - the Lyric, the Element and the M-1 - so you can try them for yourself in the shop. We also usually have guitars fitted with Anthems should you want to try that one, and our tech is happy to discuss any technical questions. So come in and see us!

    L R Baggs acoustic pickup demo guitar

    L R Baggs acoustic pickup demo guitar


  • Guitar Department

    August 9, 2016

    Workshop diary: resetting a guitar neck part one

    We do a lot of set ups on acoustic guitars, and a common task that we do as part of a set up is reducing the saddle height to lower the action of the guitar. The saddle might need lowering for a number of reasons: perhaps the soundboard has expanded slightly due to an increase in humidity in the ambient conditions the guitar has been stored in, or perhaps it was simply left too high at the factory to begin with. In addition to that however, as guitars age the components can start to move in relation to each other causing the neck pitch (ie the angle the neck sits in relation to the body) to be shallower than it originally was. Eventually this becomes so significant that there is no longer any room to lower the saddle further, so more drastic measures are necessary to lower the action.

    In the old days, the obvious solution was to get out the plane and start shaving: either the bridge was thinned in height or the fingerboard was planed at the nut end to add an extra degree or two of angle. The problem with this is shaving the bridge can impact the tone and structural integrity of the guitar and shaving will also change the feel of the neck as well as the other two issues, so neither solution is very good. As the vintage market began to gather pace in the 1970s and the value of older Martin and Gibson acoustics started to creep up, more sophisticated repair techniques were developed and gradually the process of resetting the neck became established as the preferred approach. In this process the neck is removed from it’s mortice in the neck block and the angle can then be adjusted and the neck refitted at an appropriate angle. Unlike shaving and other solutions, it’s a process of restoring a guitar to its original state rather than modifying it to compensate for a problem, and it’s the only one we’re happy with on a high quality guitar.

    In this blog we’re going to look at a neck reset on a 1976 Fylde Goodfellow. Later Fyldes are designed with a bolt on system but the early ones have a traditional dovetail joint as you might find on a vintage US guitar, so it’s a good example of the process.

    Resetting a Fylde guitar neck

    Step one: First we need to release the fingerboard extension from the soundboard. We're going to do that by applying heat to the fingerboard then as the glue softens we'll use palette knives to gently prise open the joint.

    Step 2 resetting the neck on a Fylde guitar

    Our method of applying heat may look pretty basic but it does the job very effectively. The iron is heating a metal bar which radiates heat over the fingerboard extension. It's a relatively slow process but much better than applying the iron directly and heating too much too quickly. We can check how warm things are getting by feeling the underside of the soundboard through the soundhole.

    Step 3 resetting the neck on a Fylde guitar

    Once the glue is softened we use a couple of palette knives to gently separate the fingerboard from the top of the guitar. If the palette knife doesn't go in easily then the glue isn't soft enough yet.

    Step 4 resetting the neck on a Fylde guitar

    Now that the fingerboard is detached we need to get at the glue that holds in the neck itself. To do this we need to drill a hole somewhere that won't be visible once the guitar is reassembled and the best location for that is to use one of the fret slots, so one of those frets is going to come out.

    Step 5 resetting the neck on a Fylde guitar

    With the fret removed we can drill down into the neck pocket - we're aiming to get into the void between the back of the dovetail and the neck block itself so that the steam will have lots of access to the sides of the dovetail where we need to soften the glue. On a Martin guitar we would expect to find the pocket directly below the fifteenth fret, but the Fylde has a smaller dovetail so we're angling our bit forward.

    Step 6 resetting the neck of a Fylde guitar

    We're almost ready to start working on the joint now - these clamps are going to allow us to put a little controlled pressure on the joint.

    Step 7 resetting the neck on a Fylde guitar

    Now for the steam. The rubber tube you can see in the picture has a needle on the end that goes into the neck pocket via the hole we drilled through the 15th fret. Depending on how the block is constructed there is the potential for steam to go everywhere which is not exactly great for a delicately built acoustic, so we do this stage with one person working on the neck and the other armed with a lot of paper towels blocking off escaping steam and absorbing moisture. We're looking to keep a close eye on both steam and temperature around the neck area whilst we work on loosening the joint. Since I'm on towel duty for this reset, time to put the camera down and concentrate!

    Step 8 resetting the neck on a Fylde guitar

    With the steam going in the right direction, it's only a matter of time before things start to move. Pretty soon we hear the telltale click of the joint seperating under the gentle pressure of the cam clamps, then a quick tighten of the cranks and the neck join slides smoothly apart.

    Step 9 resetting the neck on a Fylde guitar

    Let's see what we're left with: the neck has come out cleanly and there's lots of old glue to take care of. We'll start carefully cleaning up all of this residue next, then we'll be ready to have a look at the new neck angle.

    Step 10 resetting the neck on a Fylde guitar

    Here we can see the joint in the body. Again, there's lots of clean up to do to get rid of all that old glue before we work on the joint. If you look closely at the unvarnished part of the top that was previously under the fingerboard and around the mahogany block, you can see it's quite damp and swollen looking, so it's important we wait for any moisture from the steaming process to dry out before we work on it - if we fit it now the joint could change as it dries out. Unfortunately, that means a break in the blog as well, but we'll be back!


  • Guitar Department

    May 3, 2016

    Danelectro Reissues: how do they compare to the originals?

    Regular readers of our blog will no doubt be aware that we’re big fans of the modern Danelectro brand: what we haven’t touched on is that we also love the originals, and we thought it might be interesting to do a comparison. The most popular model in the current range is the DC59 based on Jimmy Page’s legendary 3021 model Danelectro, and I’ve been doing some restoration work this month on an original ’59 Danelectro – it seems like a good opportunity to get them up on the bench and see how they compare.

    A bit of background

    Danelectro was founded in 1955 by Nat Daniels in Neptune, New Jersey, and they were always something of an oddity in the guitar world. There was no shortage of companies producing high quality guitars in the US in the mid 50s: indeed, this was the start of the golden era of the solid body electric guitar. Likewise, many companies saw the commercial potential of producing cheap solid body guitars that could be marketed to amateurs who aspired to playing Gibsons and Fenders but were restricted to more modest budgets – but these instruments were typically designed with profit rather than playability in mind, and were not the most pleasant instruments to play.

    Daniels had something rather noble in mind: understanding that sky high actions and clubby baseball bat necks were hardly the best way to encourage a beginner to persevere with their instrument, he set out to design an instrument that would be cheap to manufacture yet would offer the same playability and comfort expected of much more expensive instruments.

    The first Danelectros were odd affairs, the necks being built around a thick aluminium tube and having a peculiar box like profile. By1956 however this had been refined into a rather better design with aluminium rods providing the reinforcement to a comfortable, Fender like neck profile and the first of the classic Dano designs, the U2 was born. The double cutaway model nicknamed the Short Horn and favoured by Jimmy Page followed in 1959 along with a series of other designs that are now represented in the current range of reissues. With impeccable timing, Daniels sold the company in the late 60s just before the onslaught of Japanese budget guitars began to demolish the popularity of US made budget instruments, and the company closed its doors in 1969.

    In the 1990s the Danelectro brand resurfaced with a range of reissue U style guitars made in Korea, rapidly expanding to cover the majority of the most popular original designs. The original Korean line possibly expanded a little too quickly and the line briefly disappeared again to be replaced by cheaper Chinese made products – this move has recently been reversed and the guitars are again being sourced from Korea. This most recent version of the company has been bowling us over with some really great, affordable instruments.

    Our subjects

    Representing the current line is a DC-59 in a rather vivid Black Sparkle. This model is based on the 3021 with twin lipstick pickups and the stylish ‘seal’ shaped pick guard. In the vintage corner is a 6027 Deluxe that has been through the wars but which has recently been brought back to its original glory. The 60 series Danelectros were similar to the original Short Horns with surface mounted controls rather than the large guard, and they featured binding and a wonderfully cheesy kitchen cabinet style wood finish – we have another old Danelectro with a more conventional finish on hand for when we talk about lacquer.

    Body

    Although original Danelectros were usually painted inside and out, due to the ‘prefinished’ nature of the Deluxe the internal wood is left unfinished, so we can easily see the construction. Danelectros are typically hollow bodied designs comprising a wooden frame a bit like a tennis racket sandwiched between Masonite sheets for the top and back. The frame on the original is made mainly from pieces of Pine glued and stapled together, with a block of Poplar being substituted in the neck pocket area to offer better support for the neck screws. The wood is pieced together pretty haphazardly and band-sawed into shape with little concern for aesthetics. There is a tongue that extends from the neck pocket to the bridge, contacting the back but not the top, and a Pine block underneath the bridge that contacts both.

    The reissue is a little neater internally and the frame is made from plywood. The edges are still rough but they have been routed into shape and follow the outline somewhat more faithfully. The tongue and bridge block are also plywood and it looks as though it is all one piece. The tongue on the reissue contacts both the top and the back. It feels significantly heavier than the original and the plywood is probably the cause of this.

    The top and back of the original are made of Masonite. This is a US trade name for a product similar to hardboard in the UK and is made from steam cooked, pressure moulded wood fibres. It’s a little less unpleasant to work with than MDF type materials in that there are no resin products used in the manufacture. The original has a slightly rough feel to the inside. The spec sheet for the reissue also specifies Masonite but it’s a smooth material and, looking at the pick guard which is made from the same material and unpainted on the inside, looks a little more like MDF. The back and top are a little thicker than the original as well.

    In terms of finish, the original is a little unusual in using a Melamine type finish with a Walnut wood effect. The original 30 series Short Horns were finished in black or copper nitrocellulose and we have a 1961 Danelectro made Silvertone 1419 on hand to get a look at the finish. Compared to the nitro finishes used by Gibson and Fender in the same era the finish is a little rough looking – it’s hard to believe this was ever buffed to a high gloss to the level that a Gibson finish would have been. Still, the ’61 has aged extremely well and looks very good for its age. The reissue is finished in a thick coat of polyurethane and buffed to a high gloss. It doesn’t look as attractive as the thin coat on the ’61 but it is nicely applied and should be a good durable finish.

    Bridge

    The original Danelectro bridge was a simple affair comprising a metal plate mounted onto three screws with a Rosewood saddle that was adjustable for overall intonation. These saddles tend to wear over the years and ours has recently been re-profiled remove grooves caused by years of strings dragging across it. However, the biggest problem with the Rosewood saddle is that it offers no individual control over intonation so originals don’t intonate properly, and many owners swapped the bridges for alternative devices.

    Amongst those who swapped out their Rosewood bridges was Mr Page who had his guitar modified with a Badass bridge unit, and the reissue goes for a replica of the Badass as its bridge of choice. It’s a decent piece of hardware and certainly allows for correct intonation, but unfortunately it’s countersunk into the top which makes string changes a bit fiddly – this isn’t a guitar you’d want to change a string mid set. The other Danelectros in the range use a bridge modelled on the original but with Fender style saddles to allow them to be intonated properly.

    Neck

    Another big structural difference between the original and reissue Short Horns is that the original has a non adjustable reinforcement to keep it straight and the reissue has a conventional modern two way truss rod. The reinforcement on the original is easy to see at the heel and comprises two aluminium rods that run from under the nut to the heel. Although you don’t have the option of setting the relief on this type of system, the neck of this nearly 60 year old guitar is straight as a die – it’s as rare to find original Danelectros with neck problems as it is to find pretty much any other 50s budget brand guitar without them! The adjustable rod in the reissue works well and it’s an obvious practical advantage to be able to adjust the guitar to suit the string type and player: no minus points for not copying the original. There is a small, neat looking truss rod cover at the headstock end.

    The neck profiles on both guitars are a slim, modern feeling C shape – there’s perhaps a little more shoulder to the original but the reissue is a surprisingly close copy. Both have a metal nut slotted onto the end of the fingerboard. And both have slightly cheap looking plastic dot inlays for the position markers. The tuners on the original are single line Klusons, as the guitar most likely left the factory with although these ones are modern relics. The reissue has unbranded copies of the same tuners and they work well.

    The actual neck join is considerably different on the original to the reissue. On the original the heel is narrow so that the bottom of the neck is visible on either side. There are three inline screws holding it to the body. The reissue has a conventional Fender type pocket with four screws. My guess would be that the original was limited to an inline setup due to the two reinforcement rods that run into the area a neck screw want to go into. Although this set up would likely be frowned upon today the join feels perfectly nice and tight on the original with just the three screws.

    Electronics

    The pickups in original Danelectros were famously built using tubes bought from a lipstick manufacturer and both guitars have the instantly recognisable lipstick tube pickups. The original pickups were slightly unusual affairs inside and out with the windings wrapped directly around an Alnico 6 magnet as opposed to around a bobbin and pole pieces. We can’t find accurate specs for the reissues although we believe they’re made using a bobbin to make winding easier. If anyone knows, give us a shout! The pickups on both guitars are adjustable via screws through the back of the guitar with a block of foam rubber pushing the pickup upwards against the pull of the screws.

    Another distinctive feature of Danelectros was the dual concentric pots that allow volume and tone to be adjusted from the same pot, and the reissue also replicates this. Unfortunately our ’59 no longer has its original wiring loom and we’ve yet to source a set of original pots for it, so we’ll have to pass on examining the old one. Original Danos were very heavily screened to prevent electrical interference, and our original should heve had the electronics housed in an aluminium box – sadly that’s gone too. The pots in the reissue are a little limited, the tone control in particular essentially going from fully on to fully off very quickly with out much variation inbetween. Still, it’s all part of the character.

    Sound

    So, how does all this affect the sound of the guitars?

    Unplugged the two guitars sound quite different to each other. The Reissue has a fairly familiar unplugged solid body tone with plenty of sustain and lots of zing on the wound strings. The ’59 is much darker and more acoustic like, still quite quiet but fuller and softer in attack. It’s a more pleasant guitar to play unplugged.

    Plugged into a Fender valve amp set clean, the neck pickup on the ’59 has a very sweet, warm tone. The attack of the note is unusual and almost acoustic like, possibly as a result of the wooden saddle and a reflection of the unplugged sound. The neck pickup of the Reissue sounds more compressed and the sustain is better. It’s a little pokier than the ’59 and has a harder edge without as much warmth as the ’59.

    Switching to the bridge pickup, the ’59 is very harsh and nasal, a real ice pick of a tone. It has its uses but I wouldn’t say it’s a versatile sound – possibly the very close location of the pickup to the bridge contributes to this. The Reissue’s bridge pickup pickup is significantly fuller in sound and has a pleasing Rickenbackerish quality to it.

    In the middle position, the ’59 sounds lovely with a hollow, percussive edge that reminds us of a good vintage Strat in the neck / middle position. The warmth of the neck pickup really comes through and it’s a huge strength of the ’59, a great voice that really brings the guitar to life. The Reissue sounds quite big in the middle position with less hollowness – we tried comparing it to a Strat with Texas Specials and there was some similarity with the Strat on neck / middle. It’s a very usable sound but doesn’t have the magic of the ’59.

    Cranking up the gain, the ’59 on the neck pickup has a very garage rock feel to it, very loose and indistinct. It’s quite sensitive to changes to the amp settings and with some careful tweaking we were able to get some nice indie guitar rhythm sounds out of it. Switch to the bridge pickup and it has real bite to it, again not a particularly versatile sound but it would really cut through a busy mix. It’s very raw and abrasive which is not necessarily a criticism, although if you’re looking for Claptonesque woman tone you might be best moving on. With both pickups the ’59 keeps much of the character of the neck pickup but the slightly percussive act the sound has a little more definition.

    The reissue sounds much tighter than the ‘59 through the same gain settings and the extra sustain helps to give the guitar a more modern sound. The bridge pickup in particular has a lot more body than the ’59, and the middle position sounds huge on the Reissue.

    In conclusion, we didn’t feel it was a straight win for either guitar. The ’59 has bags of character where the Reissue feels a little more generic, however the Reissue felt more versatile and would certainly lend itself to a wider range of applications, and for classic overdrive territory it came close to the sort of tones you might associate with a Rickenbacker 330 or a Telecaster whilst not completely losing the character of the original. The Reissue feels like a lot of guitar for the money, where as a good condition original double cut Danelectro with two pickups is – although cheap for a vintage guitar – still going to set you back a similar amount to a modern Rickenbacker or US Tele. We had a lot of pleasure playing both!

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue

    Our two subjects: on the left our DC-59 resplendent in black sparkle, and on the right the original 1959 6027 Deluxe in its rather kitch Walnut finish

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue headstock shot

    Close up of the headstocks. They're pretty similar but the reissue has a truss rod adjustable from the headstock end. Note also the aluminium nut on both guitars.

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue headstock reverse

    Tuners are single line Klusons on the original and copies on the reissue

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue binding

    The vinyl tape binding makes these two instantly recognisable as Danelectros. The original has a simple crosshatch whilst the reissue has a rather natty ostrich skin pattern. And no, that strap pin shouldn't be there on the original!

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue heels

    Here's an obvious difference: the reissue has a typical Fender style heel with four bolts, whereas the slender original has three in a line.

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue neck pockets

    And here are the neck pockets from the inside. If you look closely at the original you can see the Poplar centre strip and Pine wings, and also notice the gap between the centre block and the top. The reissue is plywood and contacts the top and bottom.

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue pickups

    Pickup cavities. The two guitars are pretty similar in this respect.

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue internal

    Internally the original is very messy with lots of glue runs and only roughtly cut to shape. The reissue is much neater and clearly routed rather than cut on a band saw. Both guitars have a solid block to support the block which you can clearly see in the photo of the reissue.

    Danelectro 6027 compared to DC-59 reissue
    Putting the 6027 through its paces. Lots of fun to be had demoing these two guitars!

  • Guitar Department

    April 23, 2016

    Workshop diary: straightening a guitar neck with a heat press

    One of the problems we occasionally face when working on older guitars is that occasionally we encounter an instrument with too much relief in the neck and no adjustable truss rod with which to correct it. Today’s patient is a really special guitar: a beautiful Fylde Falstaff from the 1980s. These earlier Fyldes were built with an aluminium bar inside the neck and generally they don’t develop issues with the necks bowing - unfortunately for this owner, this one is a rare exception so we need to do something to correct the neck relief.

    There are three common solutions to this problem. The fingerboard can be planed to straighten it but this means removing the frets and refretting so it’s a big job and it also has a disadvantage in that by removing material from either end of the fingerboard the board will no longer be of uniform thickness, the neck may feel different as it is fractionally thinner than it started out and it’s definately not something you would want to do more than once. A better solution is to do a compression refret, where frets of wider tangs than the original are used to very slightly expand the board and push out the bow: this method is popular with old Martins that were built with thick bar frets and it’s a great solution in that the relief can be to a large extent calculable. But there’s a third method that is our go-to approach for this sort of problem and that is to straighten the neck with heat.

    The heat press is a large metal element that can be clamped so that it is suspended a few millimetres over the fingerboard and heated up. By heating up the wood fibres and the glue join between the fingerboard and neck we can gently alter the shape of the neck. We have an array of clamps and cauls that allow us to decrease or increase the neck relief by pushing or pulling the neck into the shape we want.

    The heat press has a couple of disadvantages. Although we can roughly calculate the change in relief it will produce in advance, some necks respond better than others to the process so occasionally it takes more than one attempt to get enough relief taken out. It’s also hard to know whether the neck will retain its shape in the long term and occasionally the relief will creep back in. However, it’s a very non invasive process that often produces excellent results and we greatly prefer it as a first approach to correct a neck with too much relief.

    In this case, the press worked perfectly and the Fylde now plays beautifully with a low action - and it sounds gorgeous!

    If you have a guitar without an adjustable trussrod that needs relief taking out, best thing to do is call in and have a chat with James or Glen in the guitar department - we’ll be happy to have a look at the guitar and advise accordingly.

    Step 1: checking the relief on this Fylde shows that the neck has a noticable bow, making it uncomfortable to play

    Step 1: checking the relief on this Fylde shows that the neck has a noticeable bow, making it uncomfortable to play.

    Step 2: Taping the strings out of the way to clear the way for the heat press

    Step 2: Taping the strings out of the way to clear the way for the heat press.

    Step 3: unboxing the beast... the element itself is a large, rigid metal bar with a heating element. We will be using a series of clamps and cauls to position the bar so that it hovers over but doesn't touch the fingerboard itself

    Step 3: unboxing the beast... the element itself is a large, rigid metal bar with a heating element. We will be using a series of clamps and cauls to position the bar so that it hovers over but doesn't touch the fingerboard itself.

    Step 4: preparing the cauls to suspent the element over the finger board. We will be clamping the element firmly to the area where the fingerboard joins the body so that we have a straight line from the part of the fingerboard over the body extending out away from the body.

    Step 4: preparing the cauls to suspent the element over the finger board. We will be clamping the element firmly to the area where the fingerboard joins the body so that we have a straight line from the part of the fingerboard over the body extending out away from the body.

    Step 5: Now we're measuring up shims to push the neck away from the heating element towards the headstock end. This will coax the neck into a very slight back bow under the tension of the clamps, and should give us a nice straight neck once the clamps are removed.

    Step 5: Now we're measuring up shims to push the neck away from the heating element towards the headstock end. This will coax the neck into a very slight back bow under the tension of the clamps, and should give us a nice straight neck once the clamps are removed.

    Step 6: on go the clamps.

    Step 6: on go the clamps.

    Step 7: and now we're cooking. Ok, bad choice of expression: now we're gently applying heat to the neck in a controlled manner. We will keep the element at full heat for about 40 minutes, then allow it to cool down and leave the apparatus clamped up overnight.

    Step 7: and now we're cooking. Ok, bad choice of expression: now we're gently applying heat to the neck in a controlled manner. We will keep the element at full heat for about 40 minutes, then allow it to cool down and leave the apparatus clamped up overnight.

    Step 8: now we'll string the guitar and bring it up to tension so we can measure the results. This time round everything went perfectly and the guitar is ready to go back to the customer. Sometimes we might consider a second press if the neck has moved less than we expected - it's far better to go in baby steps than risk pushing the neck into a backbow. We'll finish off the set up and double check the frets following the heat treatment as well at this point to make sure everything is level. After that the guitar is ready to go!
    Step 8: now we’ll string the guitar and bring it up to tension so we can measure the results. This time round everything went perfectly and the guitar is ready to go back to the customer. Sometimes we might consider a second press if the neck has moved less than we expected - it’s far better to go in baby steps than risk pushing the neck into a backbow. We’ll finish off the set up and double check the frets following the heat treatment as well at this point to make sure everything is level. After that the guitar is ready to go!

  • Guitar Department

    March 26, 2016

    Exploring the White Rice guitar with Alister Atkin

    Exploring The White Rice guitar

    This guitar, we’re sure you will agree, looks like a guitar with a story to tell.

    That story starts with the legendary country picker Clarence White and a very worn, battered 1935 D-28 the young White found in a music store in desperate need of attention. The guitar was in a terrible state of repair, was missing a fret board and had undergone a series of modifications. The top had been sanded thin and the neck shaved. The owner previous to Clarence had played the guitar sufficiently hard to wear away patches of wood around the sound hole, and attempted to improve the appearance of the guitar by enlarging the sound hole so that the damaged wood was removed. Still, it was a D28 at a price Clarence could afford, and he purchased the guitar and entrusted it to a repairer who fitted a Gretsch fret board and attended to various cracks. White was advised not to fit heavy gauge strings to it due to the sanded top being too thin to support them, advice that was swiftly ignored and the guitar was soon back for more repairs to the soundboard. For the early part of the 60s Clarence played the D28, until frustrations with its declining playability led to it largely being replaced by a newer D18. The guitar certainly continued to live a colourful life in Clarence’s hands, including getting shot with a BB gun and narrowly surviving a run in with a truck, before eventually being used as collateral on a loan in 1965 and never reclaimed.

    Tony Rice first encountered the legend’s D28 as a 9 year old backstage at a Clarence White concert, where White kindly allowed the child a chance to play his old guitar. As Rice began to build a reputation of his own, he began to take an interest in acquiring the instrument and in 1975 tracked down its current owner, who was happy for Rice to purchase it. Once again, the guitar required considerable work to make it playable, with several cracks to repair, a very worn bridge plate and a much needed neck reset, but the resultant guitar has remained Rice’s number one to the present day.

    In 1993 Rice’s Florida home was destroyed by tropical storm and, when a rescue party was sent in to recover the guitar it was discovered floating in Tony’s ruined lounge the sodden instrument was lovingly nursed back into playing condition by master luthier Harry Sparks. It remains in playable if fragile condition today.

    A number of recreations of the legendary guitar have been made, with Santa Cruz working closely with Rice to produce a signature model, and Martin also offering official and inspired by copies of the guitar. Most recently English luthier Alister Atkin has been involved on a quest to recreate the guitar, and Alister was kind enough to spend some time with us discussing the guitar

    Alister, what appealed to you about the White Rice guitar particularly?

    When I was working on the Buddy Holly series of guitars I had an accident with one of them and rather than waste the instrument decided it would be interesting to try relicing it. Then, once I’d done one I got interested in the idea and, having always been a fan of Clarence White and Tony Rice and knew the story of that guitar, thought it might be a good project so I made one that sold quickly and I made another that did likewise. At that point I received a letter from Michelle White who is Clarence White’s daughter, who was worried about someone using her father’s name and we had a chat and I suggested a collaboration with her. I also decided I wanted to get closer to the original ’30s spec Martins and spent time studying a series of wartime d28s, taking measurements and listening to how they sound.

    How many have you made of the White Rice now?

    About 10-15. It’s been a slow burner being a bit of a niche guitar, particularly in the UK where we don’t have the big bluegrass scene there is in the US but for people who are into it they’re very into the idea and there’s a lot of goodwill for the project.


    What changes have you made from your Retro D28 design? Did you copy features such as the unusual scale length of the original or did you think that was a step too far?

    Essentially the differences are it has the bigger sound hole and extra frets in a longer board but it’s otherwise similar in lots of ways to the Retro. I looked into scale length and have though about copying it but there are actually lots of different guesses as to what it actually is so without getting a measurement from the guitar itself I don’t have a definite scale length to reproduce.

    How you you feel the large sound hole effects the tone?

    There’s quite an argument that a larger sound hole works well on most guitars – it really throws the sound out. I’m a fan of that guitar and I like the combination of a dreadnought with a big sound hole. I like a lot of different guitar designs and I’m quite traditional in that I don’t like messing about too much with the originals but I’ve tried the big sound hole on other guitars such as OMs and liked it.

    Tony Rice always said he didn’t think it made a difference!

    Well, it’s all subjective!

    How have you found working with Michelle White? What has her input brought to the project?

    At the point she got in touch Martin had stopped production of their model and she was interested in continuing the legacy. She’s done a lot to helped publicice them and given me some great contacts. She’s working on an event to help Tony, who’s not currently able to play, and I’m building a guitar to auction auction to support that.

    Do you think the original was a special instrument or was it more the fact that two extraordinary guitarists played it?

    There are  so many different opinions as to how the original sounds. I met with Herb Peterson who used to play with Clarence White and he passed on lots of information about the guitar including some comments about the original and the early replicas. On the one hand I’ve always believed the hands of the player are really what makes music special, but then if you put a great guitar in the right hands then the combination is certainly going to sound great!


    Can you tell us a little about the relic process? What challenges are there to relicing an acoustic compared to an electric guitar? Presumably you’re a fan of relic guitars?

    We use a specific lacquer where we’ve basically tried to take out all the things we’ve been adding to lacquer for years to to make it behave better and less likely to crack! The recipe we have works very well in that it cracks very easily. The process is similar - we can still use temperature to check the finish but we have to be a little more careful and give it time to settle.

    You have to try to get your head around the concept of relics and understand why its done and see it as a bit of fun. There is a bit of a tonal benefit - the finish is thinner which is a good thing so there’s good reason to do it if you’re trying to make a great guitar and it also just feels right in the hands. There’s an illusion going on but they sound different and feel differ and if it makes you approach them differently in how you play them it’s all to the good.


    Are there other historic guitars that you’d be interested in making a recreation of?

    Not at the moment, no. I think there’s still places to go with the White Rice, particularly if we get to see the original which is something I’d like to do there will still be things to learn on it, so the White Rice project isn’t completed just yet.

    You can try the White Rice for yourself in our Manchester show room. If you’re interested in reading more about the guitar there’s an excellent chapter in this E-book published by the Fretboard Journal.

    You can hear Tony playing the original White Rice in this amazing clip on Youtube


  • Guitar Department

    February 18, 2016

    Highlights from this weeks new guitar arrivals - and a roundup for January

    Ok, so regular callers have probably spotted we’re a bit behind in our new arrivals updates! Truth be told, January is always geared towards the sale and new stock is a little thin on the ground - so we haven’t had much to report. Still, February is upon us now and the new arrivals are coming in thick and fast!

    First up this month are Gretsch, who have a whole new range hot off the press. Made in Indonesia rather than Korea, these new Streamliner models are hollow and semi hollow designs that take their inspiration from classic Gretsch models whilst adding their own twist. The 2420 is a deep hollow bodied design inspired by the tradition Brian Setzer styled Gretsch models, with newly designed Gretsch humbuckers and small, Gibson-esque F holes. The 2622 pitches its tent somewhere between the popular Electromatic 5422 and a Gibson 335 with a centre block to reduce feedback and increase sustain. Unlike a 335 it’s made of Spruce so it’s not as heavy as you might imagine, and you get a choice of stop tailpiece or Bigsby B70. The 2655 is inspired by the Falcon Junior, a Japanese made model that scaled down a White Falcon to 3/4 size. It’s more or less the same size as Pro Jet but hollow with a centre block. We have a 2420T in Flagstaff Sunset with a Bigsby, a 2622 in Walnut with a stop bar, a 2622T in Torino Green with a Bigsby and a 2655T in Black with a Bigsby - all in stock now.

    Fender’s run of 2015 limited editions must be lagging behind a bit because January brought us a rather cool US Mustang Shortboard with P90s and a lovely natural finish Ash body with a Walnut competition stripe. It’s really very pretty.

    Blog readers will probably have read lots of posts on Gordon Smith recently but we do love them and the shop is full of them, so forgive us if we can’t shut up about them! In stock as of last week are a GS1.60 in Black, a left handed GS1 also in black, a Graf Deluxe in red, a GS2 Deluxe also in red, A Tele Graf and a set of gorgeous custom GS1s in official Morris Minor colours. We have a lot more on order so get in touch if you’re interested in a particular one.

    On the acoustic front there’s a new Faith model in the Naked series, a very attractive Venus electro. The Venus range is doing particularly well at the moment and this seems like a very sensible addition.

    We sold a lot of Auden guitars over the Christmas period so we have a few new arrivals to tell you about. In the Neo range we have a Marlow, a 14 fret guitar that recalls the Gibson L00 in proportions, Cheaper than the standard series, the Neo has a satin finish and comes with a gig bag rather than a case, but it is avery bit as good in sound to the Standard Marlow - in fact, as fans of the Mahogany sound we’s even go as far as saying it could be a little better… but we’ll let your ears be the judge. At the other end of the scale we have a Grace jumbo, a big bodied Spruce and Maple instrument will all the rumble and boom you might expect, a very Cute Emily Rose parlour in all-Mahogany, and the Chester and Julia are back in stock.

    Lastly for this week, I always have to remind myself that we sell guitars at every price point and I shouldn’t just go on about the pricey stuff: and these next two little sparklers are anything but. A very cool new design by Aria, The FET-F1 is an electro acoustic with laminated flame Maple tops and F holes instead of the usual round hole. There’s a sunburst and a natural finish and they’re £225 each.

    That’s all for now… more next week!


  • Guitar Department

    February 15, 2016

    Exclusive to Forsyths: Gordon Smith Morris Minor Custom guitars!

    We have a new, Forsyth exclusive Gordon Smith to tell you about!
    The first in a series of collaborative projects between ourselves and the luthiers at Gordon Smith these guitars are a great example of how these lovely designs can be customised.
    Our first edition is a play on the custom car colours used by Fender in the 50s and 60s but, since Gordon Smith are a very British brand of guitar, we felt it appropriate to look to Britain for our custom colours. In this series you will find six classic Morris Minor finishes, the lacquer supplied by official Morris sources: Clipper BlueRacing GreenBurgundyHighway YellowSage Green and Trafalgar Blue. We’ve also added a custom pickguard (designed by Forsyth’s very own James) in a cream plastic that perfectly matches the finish, and the elegant Gotoh bridge and chromed control knobs both help to continue the car theme.
    The pickup has a great Manchester pedigree, made in Chorlton by Jaime at The Creamery and designed by Jaime and New Order / Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner.
    We have one of each of these guitars ready to go and once those sell out we can take orders with a 12 week lead time. As these instruments have been designed by us they can only be ordered through Forsyths so if you like the look of them drop us a line! To view the individual colours just click the colours above and it will take you to the product page.
    Gordon Smith Morris Minor Custom GS1 Clipper Blue
    Gordon Smith Morris Minor Custom GS1 full set

  • Guitar Department

    January 22, 2016

    Gordon Smith workshop visit part 1

    One of the nice things about working with John and Linda at the original Gordon Smith workshop in Manchester was that, being just down the road, the opportunity to drop in for a cup of tea and a nosy about what guitars were currently on the bench was always available. When the chaps at Auden took over production of Gordon Smith last year they were quick to extend the same offer and we finally made it down to Northampton to check out the new facilities.

    A quick look through the workshop door and we could immediately see that several of the extremely ingenious self designed jigs and machines that John built to facilitate the build process are still being used. Aside from these jigs the guitars are very much bench made instruments with band saws, thickness and spindle sanders, hand routers and pillar drills being used for most of the build stages. It’s a little more labour intensive than letting a CNC machine do the work but it’s a relief to see that the traditional hand building techniques are still at the heart of Gordon Smith.

    Although the build process is much the same as in Manchester, many of the templates used for the Manchester built guitars had worn considerably over years of use, so one project that has already been completed has been to renew the old templates, ensuring that the guitars are closer to how John originally envisaged them in terms of outline. We were impressed with the level of consistency of the builds that were in various stages of completion as we progressed through the production line.

    There were 30 or so guitars in various stages of production but very few finished instruments - the new team are working at full pelt fulfilling orders and every finished guitar ships within a few days of final assembly and QC. Just being finished when we were in the shop was a beautiful double cut Graduate in a black burst finish, which we were able to try out. Our immediate feeling picking it up was one of familiarity: this guitar felt and sounded exactly as we would expect a Manchester made Gordon Smith to perform. The neck profile we were expecting to be perfect as we’d already spied John’s neck carving machine in the workshop, and we expected a good set up based on the quality of Auden guitars, Gordon Smith’s sister brand that are set up by the same people. But they have also captured the Gordon Smith sound - in particular they have a snappier bass response than the Gibson models that inspired them. We were also very impressed by the fit and finish on these new instruments: clearly the workshop are making every effort to get these new instruments perfect in terms of quality control.

    There’s much more to tell: we also shot some video and spent some time working on our upcoming Morris Minor GS guitars that are nearing completion and needed some last minute spec adjustments and decision making. In the meantime though we’d like to share a quick photo guide to the new workshop:

    A selection of timber air drying at the Gordon Smith workshop

    A selection of timber air drying at the Gordon Smith workshop. Gordon Smith mainly carry Spanish Cedar, Mahogany, Spruce and Maple for the majority of models

    Mahogany neck blanks ready to be shaped. Gordon Smith are now using one piece necks on their guitars.

    Mahogany neck blanks ready to be shaped. Gordon Smith are now using one piece necks on their guitars. The stacked boards to the left are for an upcoming Auden project.

    John Smith's old neck shaping jig, now in a nice (and health and safety approved!) new cabinet. The standard width Gordon Smith necks are rough cut on this machine and then hand finished

    John Smith's old neck shaping jig, now in a nice (and health and safety approved!) new cabinet. The standard width Gordon Smith necks are rough cut on this machine and then hand finished

    A pile of Gordon Smith bodies with back routes completed ready for sanding and edge rounding

    A pile of Gordon Smith bodies with back routes completed ready for sanding and edge rounding

    A completed Gordon Smith GS body ready for the neck to be installed.

    A completed Gordon Smith GS body ready for the neck to be installed.

    Completed bodies and necks waiting for orders. In order to keep waiting times on new orders down Gordon Smith made these components in batches so that the first stages are already done and ready for pickup routes and assembly.

    Completed bodies and necks waiting for orders. In order to keep waiting times on new orders down Gordon Smith made these components in batches so that the first stages are already done and ready for pickup routes and assembly.

    A pair of Grafs colour coated and drying. One of our favourite Gordon Smith models and currently getting a lot of orders.

    A pair of Grafs colour coated and drying. One of our favourite Gordon Smith models and currently getting a lot of orders.

    Completed Graf necks with the new Gordon Smith logo ready for clear coating.

    Completed Graf necks with the new Gordon Smith logo ready for clear coating.

    Another of John Smith's inventions, the trusty Gordon Smith pickup winder doing its work.

    Another of John Smith's inventions, the trusty Gordon Smith pickup winder doing its work.

    Pickup components. The new pickups still follow the original Gordon Smith design but there are some upgraded parts in there.

    Pickup components. The new pickups still follow the original Gordon Smith design but there are some upgraded parts in there.

    Completed Gordon Smith Humbuckers ready for installation.

    Completed Gordon Smith Humbuckers ready for installation.

    Wiring looms are also pre assembled to save time when putting the guitars together. There are a few come looms to Gordon Smith models and they're all here.

    Wiring looms are also pre assembled to save time when putting the guitars together. There are a few come looms to Gordon Smith models and they're all here.

    Installing the wiring loom on a Gordon Smith Graduate.

    Installing the wiring loom on a Gordon Smith Graduate.

    And we're there! The completed Gordon Smith Graduate set up and ready to go.

    And we're there! The completed Gordon Smith Graduate set up and ready to go.

    Yours truly road testing one of our new collaborative special edition guitars. We made a few minor changes, designed a pick guard and the finished guitars should be with us in a few weeks. There are more Forsyth / Gordon Smith projects in the pipeline so watch this space...

    Yours truly road testing one of our new collaborative special edition guitars. We made a few minor changes, designed a pick guard and the finished guitars should be with us in a few weeks. There are more Forsyth / Gordon Smith projects in the pipeline so watch this space...



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