CLC Newsletter May 2017

Chris Larkin Custom Newsletter May 2017.

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Hello again from the west coast of Ireland.

This has been one of the most eventful months for many years so I don't know how I'm going to fit everything in.

The most important event was Syra getting her Irish Citizenship at a very moving ceremony in Dublin. Here she is with her Certificate of Naturalisation.


While we were in Dublin we went to look at the Incognito exhibition that I mentioned in last month's Newsletter. We could not believe the length of the queue waiting to get into the Solomon Gallery - it went right around the block.


We managed to get in and saw that all three of Syra's pieces were sold. This was the first day. By the day after everything was sold which was a great success for the Jack and Jill Foundation.    

 Tech Bit - My Talk in Lier.

We attended the Cordefactum Event in Lier, Belgium in the middle of the month. I had been invited to give a talk about my way of making necks for acoustic guitars and bolting them to the bodies. Pic stolen without permission from Adrian Lucas.


So this month's Tech Bit is easy! If you are nerdy enough to want to find out what I said the text, pictures and some dimensional diagrams can be found by clicking here. They don't get much Techier than this!

   More later on the Cordefactum Event.

Dom O' Driscoll long time customer, great pro and friend turned up with his ASAP from 1995 with the original handwritten label, original case and original frets. After 22 years of continual use and some road rash the frets needed changing!


Kenny Zeserson, a fine pro player, from Ithaca, New York visited and tried the ASAP Parlour that I had just completed and fettled. He took it home
with him.


Not before Carol gave it a work-out in the conservatory!


The World Forestry Tour.

On Monday April 23rd we had a visit from Bob Taylor and some important people from the world of wood (2 from Ireland) who were in Ireland for two days as part of his World Forestry Tour. They are travelling around the world (Guatemala the day before Ireland!) looking at forestry possibilities for growing sustainable woods for guitars. Some of these plantations have already started. Talking to them I was really enthused about their project and their desire to get the job done. They were interested in my stocks of Irish woods and we had some good discussions on using local woods. They were aware of The Leonardo Guitar Research Project, of which I am a partner, and I guess that is why they came to see us.

So here are nine men with an interest in wood in our conservatory.


Bob Taylor (Taylor Guitars), Vidal de Teresa Paredes (Madinter) and some bloke with in an Ireland rugby top in the workshop.


I think it is Irish walnut Bob!

Syra with some male friends in the Gallery. They liked her work. Some prints are travelling the world!


There ia a short video of the Irish leg (and the other legs) of the Tour here. The last minute or so features the area around us.

Not in the Workshop.
I received more pics from customers with their guitars over the month. 

Kieran Eaton gigging with his re-furbed fretless 5B that was the subject of a Tech Bit in an earlier Newsletter



Paul Gyles (lovely lyrical player) and long time friend with one of the first ASAD Custom solids.



Ian 'Tank' Boyland with his lefty Syra Pro 5 string.


The Cordefactum Event.

The Cordefactum Event was held in Lier, Belgium. It is held on a biennial basis by The Centre for Musical Instrument Building (CMB) based in Puurs, Belgium. This year it featured the guitar - steel string and classical (and the odd solid body too!) - with displays of instruments made by students and also guitars from other makers. Plus, this year, there was a section for guitars made from local woods - I had the little Irish ash Parlour guitar in that section.


Additionally CMB organise lectures, concerts and, because they are partners in The Leonardo Guitar Project, there was an opportunity for an audience to participate in some blind testing of tropical and non tropical wood guitars.


If you were interested in guitars then this was the place to be for 4 days.


We met up with lots of old friends and made some new ones. The guitar building fraternity is a big family!

Jacco from Rikkers and Christian from Stoll are part of it.

Here are some of the Leonardo guitars made by students. In pairs - one made from tropical the other from non tropical woods.

And these are some of the local wood guitars - made from local woods surprisingly!

  At The Holy Grail Guitar Show in Berlin last year Jacky Walraet (one of the partners of the Leonardo Guitar Research Project) turned up with a fine hat. I determined to out-hat him at Cordefactum with my Leonard Cohen titfer. Jacky turned up on his bike with a crash helmet so there was no contest!


Many years ago (we think 1992) I met Ed Collier, a fine bass builder, at the Rotterdam guitar Fair where his helper was his 9 year old daughter Jana. He was at Cordefactum and give me this picture of Jana and me taken at that time. She looked up at me and I looked down at her!


The Recipe.

 For the first time this year there isn't one since nobody sent me one! If this situation continues I'm going to drop this section and just post pictures of cats! I hate cats so you know what to do to stop me doing this!  

T-Shirts and Straps. 

T-shirts (same old logo - see pic from 1992 above!- and only in black, M, L, XL and 2XL) available. Price is held at €15 each and postage will depend on where you live. These are going well.


The new batch of the exciting Chris Larkin Custom straps are in stock. These are highest quality Levy's Leathers straps custom made with an embossed leather oval. Price is also €15 with the postal shipping costs depending on where you live.


I can't guarantee that these will improve your playing but they will certainly lift your image!
If you would like to purchase either of these items please contact me and we can sort it out.    

The Stocklist.

I try to keep some instruments in the workshop for visitors to try. These instruments are also for sale. 

If you remember I have been trying for some months to make an acoustic guitar to have in the workshop for players to try and to add to the Stocklist. Last month I thought I had managed to do this with the Irish ash Parlour. Well it sold almost immediately. But, I hope to have another, very pretty Parlour in the Workshop for next month!

Here are some pics of what is in stock at the moment. There are more details and pictures on the Stocklist page of the website. A beautiful ASAS Archtop Jazzer  This is an exceptional instrument with the classic combination of spruce and Irish fiddleback sycamore in a cherry sunburst.


 An ASAPB5 acoustic bass guitar with back and sides of Irish walnut, adjustable bridge and RMC pickups. This one is amazingly loud acoustically and has that 'woody' sound.

For solid bodied basses there is a Syra 4, passive in fetching pink...


 ...and an SC5 throughneck with headstock in figured Irish maple and all the active EQ trimmings.


These instruments are all available to try if you visit the workshop and if you would like to know more about any of them please contact me and I'll be glad to help.  


Birds are nesting all over the place. This starling is just leaving the nest that is being built under one of our roof tiles.

Ollie likes watching the birds!



A sad farewell to my Serow but she has gone to a good home in Cork with Traolach who was one of the woodmen who organised the Irish leg of the World Forestry Tour.



...Finally, finally...

Cricket was a popular sport in the 19th and early 20th century in Ireland then declined but recently has had a resurgence.

I was out on the Hooligan for a Sunday ride approaching Fenit when I came across an unusual sight and one I had never seen in Kerry before. Cricket being played on a field that had been reclaimed from marshland by County Kerry Cricket Club. I stopped to watch for a good while. I don't think you could play cricket against a better backdrop than this anywhere. Imagine it on a sunny day.

....So Finally, Finally, Finally....

 If you have any ideas for the Newsletter, would like to send me a recipe, an article for inclusion, want to promote your band (if it has one or more of my instruments in it), an event, pics of your Larkin, any YouTube video of you playing one of my instruments or anything else suitable, contact me and I'll see what I can do.  Feel free to forward this Newsletter to anybody who it might interest. The mailing list can be joined by filling in the form at the bottom of any page on the website.