I grew up in England, attending school in Gloucester and then reading Classics at Peterhouse, Cambridge University. After working in London for three years, I moved to Belgium in 1993 where I have lived ever since.
I played the piano as a child and also started playing the guitar, but never took it seriously until 2012, thanks to Rocksmith. I've also done a lot of singing, including over 30 amateur shows.
Since 2012 I have been avidly accumulating guitar-related information as well as guitars and related gear, and I decided to create this site to share some of my knowledge, experiences and opinions with anybody who might be interested.
Today I have posted a new article on buying wood for building guitars. This is based on my experience of trying to find nice wood, and discovering that it’s not particularly easy to find. The article describes my progress so far, and includes some tips on where to look for wood.
I’ve managed to acquire a small stock of attractive woods, enough for about half a dozen guitars, which should keep me busy for a year or two!
Today I have decided to disable subscriber registration on this site, and I have deleted all existing subscribers. I believe that the vast majority of the nearly 2,000 subscribers were robots, and there has been no meaningful interaction on the site (e.g. genuine comments on articles), so I don’t see any need to allow subscription.
I apologise to any genuine subscribers. The site will continue, primarily with documentation of my future guitar builds, so come back and check from time to time, or take a look at my YouTube channel.
A few weeks ago in May, my son and I went to Crimson Guitars to build a guitar each, which is documented here in my Crimson Guitars 2017 Build pages.
I took quite a few photos during the week and gave copies to Crimson, and their media team has made a video montage as an example of a couple of student builds. Many thanks to Shaun for creating the video, and to Master Luthier Christopher for guiding us through this process!
The forum jam on the Rob Chapman Forum is now quite a long-standing tradition. Every quarter a backing track is chosen, of around 45-60 seconds, and anybody who wants to take part can record a solo piece over the backing track. Some poor soul (often me, though not this time) then has to laboriously glue them all together and produce a video which is published on YouTube.
The 2017 Summer Jam video has just been published. I took the opportunity to give my new Crimson build guitar its first real public outing and my jam is the first one in the video (not my choice!).
I hope you enjoy it, and maybe one or two of you will join us for the next one!
I went mad this week. Inspiration struck, with the evolution of an idea I’ve had in mind for some time, and I drew a design for a rather ornate bass guitar top using several types of wood and several techniques to put them all together.
Since returning from my second, and more successful, Crimson Guitars course, I’ve been mulling over what to do next. This idea has made the decision for me, and I’m going to at least start working on this build at home. I could return to Crimson to finish the build, but I’ll take that decision later and at the moment I’m thinking that I should be able to do it all at home.
I’m going to start documenting this build with a series of pages on this website very soon, but for the moment I’ll just leave you with a couple of pictures of the woods that I’ve ordered. These pictures were taken from the websites, and post my own pictures when the pieces arrive. They are in two batches, because I found different wood suppliers with strengths in different areas.
I bought the main body and neck woods from Espen, a German supplier that has a great selection of blanks.
Then I bought some other pieces from Edelholzverkauf, also in Germany.
Because I have never done much woodworking before my Crimson builds, I don’t have a lot of equipment at home and so I’ve also ordered a number of tools, such as a router, making this a rather expensive build, but hopefully the first of many!
Based on my experience of my two guitar building courses, I have compiled some tips on how to approach your first guitar build with a luthier. This is based on a course where you have a limited time for your build, such as a week, which may force you to make some compromises.
There is also a second page discussing some design considerations and their complexity and amount of time required. You probably won’t be able to include all possible elements, so it’s worth thinking about which ones to include in your first build.
I hope that these pages will be useful!
Finally, Day Six of our Crimson Guitars build has been posted! Take a look and see if we managed to finish our guitars on time.
Below you can see the machine room in Crimson Guitars, where a lot of the heavier and dustier work was performed. This was taken sneakily from the window next to Ben’s desk, when he wasn’t around!
Thanks again to Crimson Guitars for a great experience – I can certainly recommend going there for a course. More on this subject, possibly, in a future article…
I’ve updated the website with days Four and Five of mine and my son’s guitar builds from last week.
The page for the last day will go up very soon – probably tomorrow – and I may end up doing a couple of videos on this, although we didn’t actually film very much of the process and so most of the prospective build video will just be a montage of pictures.
I’d also like to do a short video demo of the two guitars, but I’ll have to persuade my son to bring his guitar round for that, so it might take a bit of time to organise!
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading about the latter stages of the course.
Last week, my son and I went to Crimson Guitars in England for a six-day guitar building course. For me, this was a repeat of my previous guitar build, but it was the first time for my son.
Due to the intensity of the course (nearly 10 hours per day) and the almost non-existent Internet connection at our hotel, I’m still catching up on the pages showing our builds on this website. Currently, the pages for days One, Two and Three are available, and the remaining days will be up soon.
Come back in a day or two to see how we got on in the second half of our course!