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I got my first guitar when i was about 13.A cheap and extremely nasty plywood model with metal strings about 1/2 " off the fingerboard(got me started on slide mind!)First thing I did was shave down the floating bridge to save my soft little fingers -it was the start of a long journey.

Years went by I learnt to pick a little and went through a succession of gradually better guitars until I visited a guitar shop in Denmark St London(tin pan alley) and tried a Martin an epiphany - had to get one .I saved for a second hand D-35 but I wanted more. Budget would not allow so I hit on the idea of building my own. Enrolled at an evening class. 4 years later there it was a steel string, solid as a wardrobe but it played.

Struck by the immediacy of my new hobby I built a couple more and then enrolled at the London College of Furniture in London’s east end where they had a musical instrument technology dept. I specialised in violin family. In the last year (of 4) I met George Hinchliffe and a few of us got the embryonic Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on the way. At this time the only ukes available were expensive vintage models or virtually unplayable cheap plywood types-and these were what we used. Eventually though I made a uke for everybody so kick starting my career in lutherie.

I carried on with violin repairs and occasional commissions for a couple more years and then moved out of London to Lyme Regis where I still live. Since then I have been building steadily mostly acoustic instruments:-guitars, mandolin family, bouzoukis, resonators and ukes.

More recently I changed direction and built some electro acoustic guitars. This led to the Telecaster Project. Always wanted one and there was a piece of douglas fir just waiting to be utilised. It was too thin so made up the thickness with some chunky marquetry based on 60 degree angles. Well one is never enough so now 3 more have appeared all with different pickup configurations.

Had to teach myself rudiments of guitar electronics and this stood me in good stead for winding pickups for.

Cigar box guitars a generic term for mostly self-made primitive stringed instruments. I have a selection of these available too using recycled materials boxes and biscuit tins and the like - all good fun.

My designs are not fussy no bling (unless requested).I like simple clean strong lines using the inherent beauty of the materials with natural finish. Each are hand built and no two are alike. I think they compare favourably to most of what I have played.

Everything I build is for sale and I carry out restoration work on all strings. Prices are fair, comments and enquiries are welcome

I also do a nice line in fitted furniture but that is another story..

Marshall Stapleton


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