BiographyMy first active interest in guitarmaking came in the form of an attempt to build a chambered electric guitar after work in my tenement flat in Glasgow. An ambitious project without the proper tools, a bench or a clue, this was soon brought to a halt by complaints from the downstairs neighbours!
Despite this inauspicious start my interest was piqued and the next autumn saw me enrol on the Stringed Instrument Repair course at Anniesland College. I spent two years there learning to make guitars and perform all kinds of repair for violin and guitar under the expert tutelage of Paul Hyland and Bill Kelday. Paul and Bill are truly inspirational teachers, with a nurturing attitude towards the progression of each student that is old fashioned in the best possible way. At the end of the two years I exhibited a parlour guitar in the Trades House of Glasgow "Craftex" competition, winning first prize in the musical instrument category.
I then moved to London to continue my studies with a degree in Musical Instrument Technology at London Metropolitan University (formerly Guildhall College of Furniture). Workshop tutors there were Dave King, Norman Myall and Martin Bowers (who was another inspiration). Whilst there I worked around the official timetable to get as much time in the workshop as possible: sitting in on the 2nd and 3rd year workshop sessions, getting in when there was no session, and even sneaking into the twice weekly evening leisure classes. For the duration of my final year I rented a workshop with fellow Scottish Luthier David Anthony Reid. This allowed me to work more hours, and to continue work outside of term time.
Upon graduating from the degree I was keen to escape the city and moved to Herefordshire. My workshop there served me well for several years before I made the move down to the Somerset levels. After five and a half years there I have now returned to Scotland, and have built my new workshop in Argyll.