Hi I’m Andrew Davidson and I live and work in Devon, U.K.
I build guitars in the traditional Spanish style. Everything is made by hand.
I started guitar making in 2000 at London Guildhall University (formerly London College of Furniture, now London Metropolitan) where I completed a BSc degree in Musical Instrument Technology.
After finishing the course I travelled to Mexico in 2004 where I discovered guitar-making Mecca in the town of Paracho, Michoacan. Everyone in this town is connected in some way to luthiery; there are many makers and most work by hand. I found a local craftsman, Gabriel Hernandez, who was willing to teach me so I spent a few happy months there learning the old ways of instrument building that had been introduced by Spanish missionaries way back in the mists of time. This really changed my perspective and I realised just how much is achievable with simple hand tools.
Upon returning to U.K. I started to build guitars at my friend Pete Lloyd’s workshop in Gillingham, Kent (thanks Pete!) and to develop my own personal style of guitar construction based on all the information I had gathered up until then.
During the last 6 years I’ve established my workshop in Totnes, Devon. My current work consists of a mixture of guitars commissioned by individual customers from time to time, guitars of my own design, guitars inspired by historical instruments and, as I enjoy people’s company and sharing knowledge, I like to run training courses here also. Click on Training above for more info.
I am greatly inspired by the work of Torres and Romanillos among others. I also enjoy blending ideas and creating new designs. I’m aware of an increasing number of musicians using the classical guitar for many different styles of music such as Jazz, Salsa and Flamenco so as well as offering Concert Classical guitars copied from marvellous instruments from the 1800’s, I also offer guitars of my own design. I hope I can inspire musicians to create beautiful music with my work…
Being a lover of flamenco and having grown up in southern Spain, the Spanish guitar has resonated with me ever since I started playing 25 years ago. I naturally gravitated towards the Spanish style of making instruments which comes from a long tradition of individual artisans as opposed to the North American industrialised mass production tradition of steel-strung guitars. I love steel string-guitars too, and when I make them they get the same hand-crafted attention as my Spanish guitars.
For all you friends interested in flamenco, I’ve uploaded my dissertation on Flamenco and the Spanish Guitar, including some interesting interviews with Spanish luthiers from Granada.
Sustainability is an area I feel strongly about especially as the guitar making tradition has such a liking for tropical hardwoods (often of uncertain origin). I am currently sourcing much of my wood locally and experimenting with the beautiful tonewoods to be found here in Britain.
Although as an individual maker my wood consumption is very small (at present I make about 5 guitars per year), I feel it is my responsibility to ensure that as much of my wood as possible comes from environmentally sound sources. For this reason I buy locally whenever possible and I always prefer air dried wood as opposed to kiln dried . I then resaw and season it for as long as possible .
At present I am using English Walnut, Ash, Sycamore and Yew amongst others for my guitar bodies.
I recycle tropical hardwoods such as Mahogany and Utele for necks, back bracing and linings inside the guitar body. I choose to do this in order to minimise environmental impact on tropical rainforests and to make good use of available resources. This method carries the benefit of using older wood which is therefore very well seasoned and stabl.
I use European spruce and North American cedar of the highest quality for my soundboards to obtain the sweet tone and responsiveness you would expect from a hand made guitar of professional quality.
All my wood is carefully selected, quarter sawn and straight grained (with the exception of yew); I then keep it for a number of years to ensure it is stable before it becomes a beautiful guitar.
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From time to time I offer a selection of native british tone woods for sale; Yew, Walnut, Ash, Cherry, Sycamore and Lacewood (London plane) among others.
Please contact me for more details.