CLC Newsletter October 2017

Chris Larkin Custom Newsletter October 2017.

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Hello again from the West coast of Ireland,

Autumn. Time of mists and mellow fruitfulness? Maybe. Not many mists and we have eaten all the mellow fruitfulness of the apple trees which were delicious.All the small garden birds that we have enjoyed through the summer have gone too. Not flown away home (except the swallows) but possibly because we have a beautiful female sparrow hawk living close by. She comes and sits on a pole in our fence where she can view the area for possible dinners - small birds! I've not been able to take a picture of her but I hope to.

Additionally, and not conducive to birds, we have a new family member on holiday. Molly the lurcher.

Molly is a city dog who belongs to our daughter and her family in London but was spending too much time alone in the house as everybody was out at work all day. So we were asked to have her for a holiday and, so far, she seems love the freedom of the open spaces in our garden and in the fields around. She is still a bit unsure of the cows and horses that are part of the landscape here. Good for her and good for us as she has to have at least one long walk a day.       

Tech Bit - Fitting a New Sprayroom Fan - Part 2

Last month I posted about fitting the new, more powerful, expensive(!) extractor fan in the sprayroom. Tested in anger (with lacquer) it turned out not to be very effective. The way the fan was mounted in the exhaust outlet the idea was that it would create negative pressure in the sprayroom and this would suck the overspray out. My friend and engineer Jerome suggested another way of working - create a powerful positive pressure in the room which would force the overspray out. He just happened to have a salvaged, industrial extractor fan at home which we could fit into the entry door to the sprayroom that would force air in from the outside. Worth a try. We rigged up a temporary door from scrap plywood with the fan mounted in it to test the theory. It seemed to work brilliantly - you could feel the air rushing across the sprayroom and out the exhaust outlet. Here is the test rig with Jerome.



The fan, as can be seen, is the type that fits on top of buildings and has a 'mushroom' to protect it from the weather. It is amazingly powerful.

So now to fit it permanently. A hole had to be made in the solid firedoor and also a sliding system to close it when the fan was not in use.

And from the outside with the fan mounted.

The inside. Not pretty but effective! 

The suction from the inlet side is such that, when in use, we have to shut all the doors in the house and workshop to prevent a rush of air through the house. Luckily there is an overhead window above the door and opening this solves the problem. Trying to open the door from the inside with the fan on is difficult showing how strong the positive pressure is. 

The new fan required a new spray hood made from timber and strong polythene. This might require a bit of re-thinking but it has proven effective when spraying a couple of guitars.

At some time we are going to do some pressure/flow measurements with an anemometer to see whether removing the 'mushroom' will produce more pressure. But the result, as is, is very, very satisfactory.

 If you have an idea that you think would make a good subject for the Tech Bit let me know and I'll see if I can include it in a future Newsletter. 

  Medical Report.

Some of you will know that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004. After an operation and several  courses of radiation and lots of drugs I have been kept in really good condition thanks to a brilliant medical team plus the stupendous care from My Lovely Wife  until now. I've had few symptoms or pain in all that time and it has not affected my work. There have been some side effects of the treatments but nothing terrible. Nor have I any symptoms or pain now but the disease has progressed so that my oncologist thinks it is time for  chemotherapy. This will involve one day every three weeks in a hospital in Cork, 160 km away. This will start in the next two weeks and continue until April next. Since I don't know how this will affect me (apart from me losing my hair!) I have decided not to take on any new orders until May 2018 - I still have considerable backorders to fill - and I will still be open to talk to anyone about guitars!

Now the preaching bit for all you guys out there. In 2004 I had no symptoms but I had been having my PSA checked as well as a digital rectal examination annually since 2000 so I had a baseline idea of where it was. PSA is one indicator of unusual activity in the prostate so when it rose and the digital rectal examination was unusual I was sent to a consultant urologist who, after a biopsy, was able to confirm I had prostate cancer and suggested treatments. If I had not had the PSA/digital rectal examination check and waited until I had symptoms it would have been too late for effective treatment and I would not be here typing this now.

So, if you are a male over the age of 40, I would highly recommend you to talk to your doctor and get his opinion about getting your PSA measured and a digital rectal examination regularly. Preaching over!  

In the Workshop.

Few visitors and I was away for some time so this will be short!James Sugrue was a onetime winner of the Kerry School of Music guitar competition. This is run annually and the prize for the winner, if the standard is high enough, is to get to commission me to make them the guitar of their choice. There have been some great young players who have won and James is one of them. So what did he choose? A Lug Semi in Irish fiddleback sycamore with a see through black finish. So here he is with it when he brought it in for a check-up.

Why have a check-up? Because he was going to study music in Cork the following Monday. Congratulations to him for winning a place there and I wish him every success.

The Lug was in great condition and I was delighted to see it again as I am with all my guitars.

   Not In the Workshop.

A couple of nice pics from customers. Dave Larkin (no relation!) from Michigan with his long scale ASAPCAW.

Dave wrote "The Chris Larkin long scale guitar sounded great at the “Stage in the Woods” while my friend Jim Weeks and I performed as “House Call”.  This was our second invite to the annual Thunder Bay Folk Festival.  The 86 degree humid day insured I was using the tuners."

Why House call? Both Dave and Jim are physicians!

Anyone who knows me will be aware of my  love for cats (not!) so you can imagine my feelings on seeing one of those beasts walking away from one of my Parlour guitars in the studio of Rainer Oleak in Berlin! Lots of quartersawn Irish oak with a bog oak fingerboard.


T-Shirts and Straps. 


T-shirts (same old logo) and only in black, M, L, and XL (all the 2XLs are gone) 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. 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. Backs this month!

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.

If you would like to see other shots of these instruments and get more details on them you can at the Stocklist page of the website. 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.  


It was a pleasure to meet up with some biking friends from the UK who were 'doing' a tour of Ireland early in September. Despite the weather we had great time riding the roads of Co Kerry. Some of the best biking roads in Ireland are in Kerry. Here we are on the pier in Dingle. The bike is mine and anyone who knows me would recognise it as it is dirty as usual!  


...Finally, finally...

There is no ...Finally, Finally... this month!  

 ....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.