I’ve been playing music for well over 35 years, and working on instruments for almost as long. What began as tinkering with my own guitars and effects pedals soon developed into working on instruments for friends and acquaintances, and eventually led to me designing and building my own mandolins starting in 2010. I have sold them as far afield as Richmond, Virginia.
I’ve always been fascinated with how things work, so the journey to understand the physics of something like a fretted instrument came very naturally. I have also built a few analogue effects pedals in my time, but I’m always drawn back to the fundamental sound produced by quality tonewoods and strings.
I play guitar, mandolin, and bass in a local band called The Car Park Kings, named following the discovery of the remains of Richard III under a council car park here in Leicester. We play a mixture of very early blues and country, plus some of our own material, typically in pubs and at small music festivals.
We always play for the love of the music, rather than any ambitions to be famous. I once heard a wise person define folk music as ‘that which would still be made if there were no record industry.’ That’s the kind of music that I’m intuitively drawn to, and the sort of music I have in mind when designing and building a mandolin.
I’ve also been leading worship in various churches and at conferences for over 30 years. This is usually with acoustic guitar, but I have occasionally played lead electric when someone else was leading the band. For me, combining music with lyrics that express the soul’s deepest longings is hard to beat, and gets back to the origins of singing as a human activity. Hence my recently discovered love for Gregorian chant.