Our Guitars

My Guitar  –  Rod Faulkner (Musical Director of Diss Guitar Ensemble)

Firstly I have to say that any guitar I use has to be an extension of me, and so it must be able to produce the tone and volume I have in my mind before I play each note, and must feel ‘right’ under both hands.  Things I look for are a ‘thickness’ of tone on string 1, a clarity and balance across and along all the strings, good general volume, and, basically, the ability to ‘tell the story as I wish to tell it, and sometimes, move the listener’!

My first real ‘concert’ guitar was a Ramirez 1A (Cedar front), then a Brian Knowles (Spruce front) with the Kasha strutting system he experimented with at one time.  THEN my first John Mack guitar.  A lovely instrument with a beautiful bass, but a slightly light treble.  This guitar I used for several years before it was passed to a very good student of mine.   John then made my present guitar (in 1981) with beautiful timbers we selected together from his stock – Spruce soundboard and Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. The Spruce came from a tree shared between John and our friend Jose Romanillos.  This guitar so impressed me on day one that I used it unpolished for a year (for teaching, workshops and concerts) before I would allow John to retrieve it for polishing!  This is still my main guitar, even though the sound has changed a little in character over recent years.  It is a tough guitar to play, with quite a rigid feel and very interesting strutting. Some players who have tried it refer to it as a ‘tree trunk’.  It was so powerful in its prime that I had to be moved further from the microphones and the other three players when we [Colibri Guitar Quartet]recorded with John Taylor in 1988.

 I have had mini dalliances with several other guitars over the 41 years of our relationship – lovely ones by my good friends Alastair McNeill, Brian Knowles, Paul Fischer, Edwin Peck, and  Geoffrey Needham, but invariably return to the Mack, now pretty tatty, but reliable, responsive, and still ravishing!