CLC Newsletter- March 2012
Hello again from the west coast of Ireland.
This is the view down our lane towards the mountain (our house is off to the left) and you can see standing water. When it rains all the water that falls on the surrounding area eventually finds it's way down our lane and then flows out into the sea so often in the winter we have to drive along a 'river' to get in or out of the house. This winter the combination of rain and agricultural traffic have done a lot of damage to the road surface.
The local council have no money to do any repairs so we are gradually filling the potholes with stones! Every day as we return from the beach after walking the dogs we bring a stone with us for the lane.
It's going to take a while so, if you are coming to visit us, please bring a stone with you to speed this process up! Here is a picture of a stone 'nest' that Syra is working on.
The Hot Press Music Show.
The weekend of February 25th/26th I, with the help of Syra and others, had a small stand at the Hotpress Music Show at the RDS in Dublin. I had not exhibited at any sort of show since 1999 but up until then did one or two shows a year throughout Europe including 13 years at the Frankfurt Musikmesse which is the biggest trade fair in the world for the music business with up to 80,000 visitors.
Well size isn't everything and, although this show was small, the quality of visitor was high and we had a good experience showing off a good selection of my instruments to interested and knowledgeable people who came onto the stand. Here are some pics from the event. Where the quality is not great it is because some are taken by phone. Thanks to Cristina for some of them.
This is a general view of the stand. I had borrowed back some instruments from a customer (thank you Ross), borrowed amps from KMI who are the Marshall distributors (thanks Lesley and Paul) and Christoph brought 3 of his custom basses with him from Vienna. So 16 instruments in all covering almost every type of things I make.
A small corner for merchandise which included T shirts, the straps and some of Syra's beautiful guitar themed prints and cards.
A few visitors.
Christoph came over from Vienna to help out. Many thanks to him. Here is proving he can play a 5 string bass too! Christoph plays and records with Stranzinger.
Man in cream suit being interviewed! There will be a video of aspects of the show in time thanks to Ronan.
I wish had I had got this guy's name. He picked up the stocklist archtop and delighted us in a quiet few minutes with some beautifully played standards. It was a delight to me to hear an instrument I had made being used so well.
The glamour shot! Cristina, the daughter in law, models the apron that we use to protect the guitars from the spikey clothes some of the people who want to try them were wearing.
Theo plays. Theo Cheng from London has demonstrated my guitars at every show I have been to since about 1984. Theo is an accomplished classical player, adept at jazz, rock and blues styles. So he can handle anything. And he records. After all this time I still talk to him!
Syra and I, suitably clothed for the event. And no, you can't buy my T shirt which was a one-off that Syra made for me featuring a print of one of her paintings. You can see more of her work here.
Overall this was a very positive show with lots of interest. It was far too noisy for anybody to properly hear the guitars (particularly the acoustics) but they could see the quality. There are a number of people who have arranged to visit the workshop where they can better assess the instruments so I expect good things from it. It was fun to do a show again and I expect we will be there next year.
There is no Tech Bit this month. The Newsletter is already too long! But if you have a topic that you would like to see in the Tech Bit section let me know and I will try to include it in a later Newsletter.
In the Workshop.
I managed to make some really nice pieces for the Dublin show and finishing these has taken most of workshop time and you can see some of them in the Stocklist section later in the Newsletter. If you want more details the place to look is here, the Stocklist page on the website. Also finished and delivered to customers were a 4 string tenor guitar and a Syra 4 bass.
The tenor guitar uses the body size of an ASAP 6 string guitar with the same scale length but with a neck the same dimensions as a tenor banjo. The tuning for this customer, Willie Kelly, was the same as for an Irish tenor banjo in fifths so GDAE although there are more common tenor tunings (usually in fifths) such as CGDA and also a guitar tuning where the top four strings of a regular guitar are used in fourths - DGBE.
This tenor has sitka spruce for the top and beautiful Tasmanian blackwood for the back and sides.
The neck is sapele with laminates of flamed maple and walnut. It is very strange to pick up a guitar and have it tuned so unexpectedly! It does have a great sound.
Stephen Marshall's blue Syra 4 bass has a poplar body and a maple neck with an Irish lacewood fingerboard. The 3 pickup Syra is passive but the 5 way switch and three very differently wound pickups (deep reggae humbucker at the neck, PBass humbucker in the middle and guitar P90 at the bridge) gives a really wide range of sounds.
This one has the colour on the back of the neck too which I think is very attractive. And an Irish lacewood control cover.
Dom O' Driscoll has been a customer for many years and has sent me a Reader Article.
Back in the mid 90s, I was looking for a small body acoustic. Up to this I played dreadnought size, a Martin D35, but I started to experience a dead hand from the point where my arm lay over the body of the guitar when playing. I normally wear the guitar fairly high so this didn't help, hence the quest to find a good small body guitar.
Chris assured me that he could make another just like it. Problem was, I really liked the feel of this guitar from the moment I picked it up, it just 'fitted' right and felt very comfortable (Im still talking about the guitar, not the t-shirt!). The neck was just right and the sound? Plenty of volume and the clarity of single notes was something that really impressed me, and I was a bit concerned he might not get it so right a second time (remember this was early days acoustic guitars from Chris Larkin) how wrong was I.
It has never been re-fretted or had any repair work done, it just begs to be played the minute I open the case, it is and always has been one very special guitar. It was built in 1995 (serial number 950504) Correct me if I'm wrong but from the serial number this is one of a batch of four acoustics made at this time? I wonder where the other three are? (I should know if I could find the records Dom!- Chris). I bought it in August of '95. I have since bought two more guitars from Chris, an ASAP JM, and an ASAP cutaway, which is based on the JM, ie wide fingerboard and slotted headstock. I'll save talking about these for another day!!
Thanks to Dom for this. You can find out more about Dom and get music downloads and videos here.
So it could be you!
Why not contribute an article for the Newsletter yourself? Write a paragraph or two about something relevant (or irrelevant!) and get a chance to shamelessly publicise yourself and/or your project in the Newsletter. Send your effort to me along with a suitable pic/video/soundclip/url/link, etc., and I'll see if I can include it (if I don't lose it). It does not have to be about how good your guitar is (even if it is!) but maybe something about a situation it got you into, a gig experience, the design and ordering process or anything related to it. Use your imagination! Or simply send me a pic of you and your Chris Larkin gigging.
This is going to be bigger than usual as I have instruments that I made as samples for the Dublin show and did not want to sell before it. So some great new stuff available now to buy direct from the Workshop. Each instrument comes with a case. There is some stunning stuff there. I'll just give a picture and a brief description of each. There are more pics and full details on the Stocklist page of the website.
First up the amazing (and probably unique) ASAD 7 string baritone with locking trem! Explore your dark (or surf) side with this low F# tuned 27" scale stunner.
Update March 3rd. Now sold! That didn't last long on here!
Update March 24th also now sold. I have enough of this wood left to make another one though.....
Or what about an ASAP CAW made from a Swiss table? It's true the beautiful figured maple in this guitar was recycled from a table top. The full story is on the Stocklist page.
Irish wood in a 5 string bass? This beauty has a top of Irish yew which is hard to find and extremely pretty. Versatile too with the custom wound pickups and Aguilar 3 band EQ.
5 strings too many? Don't like active electronics? What about this Syra 3 pickup in subtle pink?
Fancy something that looks old with a special sound? This ASAPJ JM with top, back and sides made from the same board of highly figured sapele might be it.
Last month the blue Superstrat sold. Here is it's successor. Top of zebrano overlaid on alder. Looks fast and hot - is fast and hot!
The big, warm sound of a cedar topped Jumbo comes clothed in some figured walnut. And a cutaway too.
Update March 12th. Now Sold. But I could always make another one if you liked it!
And still there and available to buy now is the ASAST archtop jazzer. This one turned heads at the Dublin Show and, in a quiet moment, was played expertly by a gentleman whose name I did not get. Made me feel proud!
The ASAD 2HB was also very popular in Dublin. One young guy didn't want to put it down but it was a little out of his price range at the moment. Beautiful Irish maple top and very versatile.
All available now. More details on the Stocklist and you can contact me for other pics and details if you would like to know more. If you are in Kerry, call and arrange to meet with one of them and it could be the start of a long term relationship.....
And Finally..The Recipe.
Food from the beach! Living by the sea has advantages with regard to harvesting free eaties. We can pick mussels off the rocks in season at any low tides, collect clams, oysters and razorfish on the sand flats on the lowest of the spring tides. We had a shore net for years and could catch bass, mullet and the occasional salmon or seatrout (we always put these last two back as it would be illegal to catch them!) by leaving it down at low tide and checking it at the next low tide. We also had a currach and some lobster pots that would provide crabs and lobster in the bay but, although this was very rewarding, it was very time consuming.
But there are also lots of vegetables that grow on the shoreline and one of them is sea beet.
You can eat the roots, young leaves and flower shoots (best to avoid the older tougher leaves). Steam the leaves for about 6 minutes to bring out the sweetness and use them as if they were spinach - it maintains it's texture much better than spinach. The roots look and taste like a mild beetroot but do not share the red colour
And finally, finally....
This month's model! Tony Hodges and I go back a long way. He has nothing to do with music or motorbikes yet we have been mates for more than 40 years. He now lives in Australia but was the Best Man at our wedding all those years ago. He bought a T-shirt and sent me this.
"ME, in one of your Tshirts!!! I hope you remember you said I owned the only one in Australia, so I tried to make the setting typically Australian and as I do not live near The Harbour Bridge or The Opera House or even Ayers Rock, I looked around my back yard and decided nothing is more Aussie than a Gum Tree! So there am I hugging a gum tree, proudly wearing my Chris Larkin Custom Guitars T shirt."
T-Shirts and Straps
I got a new batch of T-shirts made for the Dublin show so now have extra Tees in L and XL sizes in black and blue which were the most requested colours and sizes. Still some mediums in most colours too.
These are high quality, heavy cotton Tees either by Fruit of the Loom or Gildan with the Chris Larkin Custom logo embroidered on the left side in bright green.
Also available for the first time in a while are the much sort after Chris Larkin Custom guitar straps. Again, numbers are limited.
These are custom made Levy's 'Signature' series 2" adjustable, heavy duty cotton straps with reinforced suede ends including the embossed CLC guitars logo. They are suitable for acoustic or solid bodies and can be adapted to fit straploks if required. The cost per strap is 11.00 Euro with the same shipping costs as the T-shirts - for Ireland the postage is 2.70 Euro, for the rest of the world it is 3.50 Euro. The postage for two or more will be a little higher.
If you are interested in buying a T-shirt or strap please email me and we can sort out all the details.
And finally, finally, finally....
If you have any suggestions for the Newsletter please send them to me. If you think anyone you know might be interested in this Newsletter please send it on to them with their permission. If you do not wish to receive future issues please email me with unsubscribe as the subject and I'll remove you from the mailing list. If you are a new reader and would like to subscribe to get future editions please email me with subscribe as the subject or sign up on my website. There is an archive of previous Newsletters on my website.