Specifications

All instruments

 

Made from native or imported solid wood
You choose what woods you want on custom made instruments, but I can advise you on what i think best suits requirements.
Wooden bindings.
Radiused fingerboards.
Bone nut.
Paua Abalone shell inlays.
Varnish finish.  I believe varnish gives a slightly looser and warmer sound that I prefer over nitro lacquer finishes.
Hard shell case is included at no additional cost.  The higher end instruments come with custom made cases from Presto (if available), Cedar Creek or Hiscox cases.

All instruments are tuned using Chladni plate tuning techniques to get the best and most consistent sound.  These techniques were developed by Peter Coombe for mandolins and the guitar tuning techniques were developed by Alan Carruth.  Thank you Allan.

Mandolins and Mandola

Carbon fibre neck reinforcement.
Dovetail neck joint.
Fingerboards radiused to 12".
Crosspiece at the 12th fret for the oval hole mandolins, at the 15th fret for the A5 mandolin.
Fingerboards are Ebony (usually quarter sawn Macassar Ebony) except for the Goldfinch models which may have an Australian native hardwood fingerboard.
Modified Ebony Brekke bridge (the saddle is modified), except for the Classical model which has a one piece Ebony bridge.
Engraved gold James tailpiece.  The classical models have a custom made tailpiece and the Pancake mandolins have a nickel cloud tailpiece
High quality Schaller GrandTune tuners with Ebony knobs for all new mandolins.
Nut width 30mm, except for the Pancake mandolin which is 19mm, and the mandola which is 32mm.  I can do 28mm nut width on any custom mandolin if required.
Wooden pickguards, except for the Pancake mandolin which has a clear mylar pickguard.
Pickups are not included.  Pickups can be installed as extra, but some mandolins cannot have a pickup internally installed once the box is closed (e.g. Classical).  I install McIntyre feather pickups, but for best sound recommend Schertler.  Note that McIntyre feather pickups require a preamp.  Schertler are less convenient and more expensive, but in my opinion have the best sound on the market.  Note that the Schertler can be used on mandolins that cannot have the McIntyre pickup installed.

My main influences for the mandolin family have been Gibson, Lyon and Healy, Lynn Dudenbostle, Carleen Hutchins, and the great Australian luthier Stephen Gilchrist among others.

Guitars

Two way truss rod in the neck.
44mm nut width in the guitars, 32mm nut width for the tenor guitars.
Bolt on neck joint (greatly simplifies neck resets).
Mahogany neck, either African or Honduras mahogany.  Queensland Maple is another option.
Quarter sawn Macassar Ebony fingerboards radiused to 16".
Top radiused to 25", back radiused to 15".
Top X braced, but bracing is symmetrical similar (but different) to Larrivee.
Wooden rosette.
A frame brace in the upper bout to stop movement of the neck block (reduces need for neck resets).
Tuning of the top is adjusted with side weights if necessary as per Trevor Gore.
Tasmanian Blackwood bridge (lighter than Ebony or Roosewood bridges), Ebony bridge pins, and bone saddle.
Superb quality (Swiss made, very smooth and accurate) Schertler tuners with Ebony knobs for the OM guitars, Schaller GrandTune tuners for the small guitar, and gold Gotoh tuners on the Tenor guitars.
McIntyre Feather pickup is installed as standard on all guitars.  Note that this pickup does require a preamp.  I do not install active electronics in my guitars.  Over the long life of a guitar, any active electronics are very likely to fail and cannot be repaired because of changing technology.  The McIntyre feather can be easily removed if it ever needs to be replaced (unlikely because it is a passive device).

I have pretty much settled on Adirondack Spruce (i.e. Red Spruce) for the top wood of my guitars, although I can use other species of Spruce, Redwood or King Billy Pine on request.  Most customers like the bigger headroom of Adirondack, and I am getting excellent results with it.  After all, it is the same topwood that Martin used in their pre war guitars that are so highly regarded.

My main influences have been Martin (of course), Gibson, Jean Larrivee, Alan Carruth, Jim Williams, Trevor Gore and others.  I also do repairs which has given me a good idea on what can go wrong over the life of a guitar and how to avoid most of the problems.

I make guitars that will sound great for many years into the future, not guitars that sound great when brand new but then  later develop structural issues or the bass starts to sound flabby.  That creates a marketing problem in that my guitars do tend to feel and sound a bit "stiff" when new, and that can put uninformed customers off.  Adirondack Spruce is the stiffest of all the Spruce species so brand new instruments do tend to feel stiffer than with other Spruce species. However, don't believe the rubbish you can read on the Internet about how Adirondack Spruce takes 20 or 50 years to "open up".  If it takes that long then the guitar is too heavily built.  My guitars will "open up" in as little as 6-12 months of solid playing and will improve for around 5 years afterwards and continue to give many years of enjoyment.

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