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  • Chicago 12:33PM
  • rafapak 12:33PM
  • Wim Glenn 12:33PM

Handmade guitars in the UK - anybody has got suggestions on different luthiers?

I am looking into buying a handmade GJ guitar, moving up from my Dell'Arte Robin Nolan.
I came across some names (JWC, Alex Bishop, Ian Meredith) but I was wondering if anybody has specific recommendations and comments on the quality of guitars made by UK luthiers.


  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆVirtuoso 503
    Nothing against English luthiers, but it's only a 2.5 hours train ride to see many of the best gypsy guitars in the world - don't be shy to widen your horizon a little.. :)
  • Brad HermanBrad Herman San Francisco, CANew JWC Modele Jazz
    I love my JWC is all I can say... When doing my research, mostly everyone said it was easily the best deal in the GJ guitar world. Since getting mine, I have zero complaints and am in love with it.
  • I know Alex and Ian - they both make fantastic guitars, you can't go wrong with either. Alex makes beautiful, one-off guitars that are true works of art. Ian is a craftsman who undersells himself, his guitars are very good and just feel right, well-balanced and very playable.

    JWC are really good too - Paulus Schaffer is very happy with his JWC. I got Rob Aylward to make my guitar and I'm really happy with it, it's had a lot of attention as well and has been borrowed a couple of times by some great players.

    The godfather of British luthiers is undoubtedly John le Voi - I've never played a Le Voi that I didn't immediately get on with and he's been making the guitars since the 70s I think and all that experience goes into his new work. He's the luthier other luthiers look up to.

    Also worth mentioning Killy Nonis, a fantastic British-based luthier with a huge amount of respect internationally.

    The Cumbrian company Fylde made Remi Harris's guitar for him, I don't know if they are doing anymore but it's a first rate guitar and Fylde are one of the best names in the business.

    All of these luthiers are really approachable as well.

    The best thing to do is get a ticket to the Vintage Escape/IGGF in July - Alex, Ian and John often go to this and you will definitely see a number of Aylwards and JWCs.
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole,Gitane DG250m, Manouche Moreno, Anastasio,
    I can't say enough about Alex Bishop and his guitar making skills. Easily the best by far for me. I've tried Eimers, Le Voi's, and a heap of others. I also tried a JWC F hole at the weekend and that was another cracker for the money. And Stuarts Aylward is another cracker.
    always learning
  • Wim Glenn wrote: »
    Nothing against English luthiers, but it's only a 2.5 hours train ride to see many of the best gypsy guitars in the world - don't be shy to widen your horizon a little.. :)

    2.5 hours from London, but you have to get there first - it would be a 5 hour journey for me. Worth a trip if buying used, there's no where in the UK that has the stock that the Paris shops have. Pity about the exchange rate though ... and nearly half of Francois Charles stock is British made anyway!

    I saw a good used John le Voi in Ivor Maraints off Oxford Road in London last week.

    If commissioning a new build I would stick with a more local luthier, it's good to be able to build a rapport with the luthier. The great thing about people like Alex and John is that they go to a lot of the main festivals.

  • ConorFConorF Cheshire JWC Catania Swing
    As per Stuart's post, all three make great guitars.

    I'm the JWC agent for the North West of England.

    I also live very near Ian Meredith and we're very good friends. If you live in the North West you'd be more than welcome to come and try a few guitars.

    I'd be happy to arrange for Ian to come over and bring a few of his guitars also.

    Andrea Vergani
  • I have played Stuart's Aylward too and it is indeed a lovely instrument Very responsive as I recall
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Thanks everybody for your comments - as far as the trip to Paris, it's not just 2 hrs and half indeed :) Also I think the problem with gipsy jazz guitar is that they are difficult to find so I would be more than happy to promote local luthier as well! Thanks Conor F, I have been in touch with Ian, I am based in London and I am not sure when could I come up north. Been thinking to jsut go for it and get one guitar :D A bit risky but that is also what I ahve done with my Dell'Arte. If I like that one I bet I would love any handmade guitar :)
  • stuartstuart Moderator R.J.Aylward
    edited March 21
    Ian has just posted his latest guitar on Facebook - it's a beauty.
  • ConorFConorF Cheshire JWC Catania Swing
    Andrea, you'd not go wrong with Ian Meredith. As Stuart has just posted his latest is a real beauty!

    Hope I'll hear it on Friday when I'm jamming with him :-)
    Andrea Vergani
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