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Below are some of the wonderful Luthiers that displayed their instruments in 2017.

David Whiteman
is one of Britain’s leading guitar makers. Born in Abingdon in 1965, he started playing the guitar at the age of 14, inspired by figures such as Julian Bream.

 From a young age David also had a great interest in making things and his love of the guitar led him to teach himself to build his first instrument at the age of 16. In 1984 he enrolled at the London Collage of Furniture and undertook a guitar making course and in 1987 he set up his own workshop in Sussex making classical guitars professionally. 

From 1992-2001 he was Senior Lecturer at the London Guildhall University, where he specialised in teaching guitar making. Since 2001 he has concentrated solely on producing his own instruments.



José Marques
was born in Portugal in  1973.
From an early age he became interested by the sound of the guitar and other string instruments. However, as it was necessary for many in Portugal at that time, at the age of 14, José began his career as a carpenter. He worked for many years with success, gaining much experience and skills in that field.
 Later while living in Alentejo, Portugal, José was fortunate to be introduced to a traditional string instrument luthier, Daniel Luz, and soon found the happiness of being able to learn the art of guitar making with him. J
After this learning period with Mr. Daniel Luz, José decided to increase his knowledge and understanding of several world established and respected luthiers of past and present, by studying their techniques.
Today José lives in the UK in Bury St Edmunds where he has a small workshop in which he spends his time building his guitars.
 Jose's main influences are: Antonio de Torres, Jose Romanillos, Hermann Houser , Daniel Friederich and Paulino Bernabé.


My interest in the classical guitar was first as a player, but the challenge of working with wood lured me away from my career in physics and engineering working with high-power laser systems. I studied Musical Instrument Technology at the London Guildhall University (formerly the London College of Furniture) under David Whiteman, and then specialised in classical guitar making at Newark College with Roy Courtnall and Tony Johnson.

I have been making and selling guitars since 2001, and I now teach classical guitar making two days a week at Newark College in Nottinghamshire.


Toon Lauwers
had his first guitar class from Jurgen De Bruyn. Thanks to Jurgen, Toon was accepted to Dé Kunsthumaniora at the age of 15. There he started at the guitar class from Robert Denies. In 2004 guitar making took over. At that time, Toon started his education at the International Lutherie School of Antwerp. 
The same year, he started classes of classical and baroque guitar from Dirk De Hertogh. Soon Dirk became more of a mentor to Toon, for guitarplaying as well as for building musical instruments. 
Under the guidance of Walter Verreydt he completed his education in 2012 at the Center for Musical instrument Building of Puurs.

Since 2011 Toon teaches a one week lasting musical instrument building class for Muziekmozaïek in Gooik.
In 2012 Toon started as a self-employed luthier.


I have been making guitars for more than fifteen years, initially as a hobby, whilst working full time. I have now retired and can focus more time and attention on guitar making.I started playing guitar whilst at university. My interest in making guitars developed after I came across Irving Sloane’s book on guitar making , which helped me make my first guitar, and sparked a passion which has endured since.

I make my guitars using traditional tonewoods, such as rosewood, maple, or cypress for the back and sides, and spruce or cedar for the soundboard. The construction is traditional, with fan bracing similar to Torres design. Most tasks are completed with hand tools, and I make all the design elements, including the rosette banding and purfling. I use hot hide glue for most of the construction, because of its proven longevity and acoustic properties. The only parts I don’t make are the tuners and the strings.I finish my guitars with French polish. This is a slightly more vulnerable finish, but looks great, is easily repaired, tolerates normal careful use, and does not impair the sound of the guitar.


Johan grew up in a world filled with music, visualisation, creating, building and constructing. He combined studying jazz guitar at the royal conservatory of Brussels with guitar construction at CMB (Centre for musical instrument making). Being both guitar player and builder gives him the advantage of an intimate knowledge of the instrument. 

He has built several guitars, including steelstrings, solid-bodies (strange curves) and quirky experiments (see facebook for pictures & info). Nowadays Johan specializes in Classical and Flamenco-guitars, using the technique of the Spanish masters. Everything that will define the sound of the guitar is done by hand and the use of machines is limited. Hot hide glue is used for the connections and all the guitars are finished with French polish. 

Through the CMB Johan was invited to participate in the Leonardo Project that researches the use of non-tropical wood in guitar construction. 


My first active interest in guitarmaking came in the form of an attempt to build a chambered electric guitar after work in my tenement flat in Glasgow. An ambitious project without the proper tools, a bench or a clue, this was soon brought to a halt by complaints from the downstairs neighbours!

Despite this inauspicious start my interest was piqued and the next autumn saw me enrol on the Stringed Instrument Repair course at Anniesland College. I spent two years there learning to make guitars and perform all kinds of repair for violin and guitar under the expert tutelage of Paul Hyland and Bill Kelday. Paul and Bill are truly inspirational teachers, with a nurturing attitude towards the progression of each student that is old fashioned in the best possible way. At the end of the two years I exhibited a parlour guitar in the Trades House of Glasgow "Craftex" competition, winning first prize in the musical instrument category.
I then moved to London to continue my studies with a degree in Musical Instrument Technology at London Metropolitan University (formerly Guildhall College of Furniture). Workshop tutors there were Dave King, Norman Myall and Martin Bowers (who was another inspiration). Whilst there I worked around the official timetable to get as much time in the workshop as possible: sitting in on the 2nd and 3rd year workshop sessions, getting in when there was no session, and even sneaking into the twice weekly evening leisure classes. For the duration of my final year I rented a workshop with fellow Scottish Luthier David Anthony Reid. This allowed me to work more hours, and to continue work outside of term time. 

Upon graduating from the degree I was keen to escape the city and moved to Herefordshire. My workshop there served me well for several years before I made the move down to the Somerset levels. After five and a half years there I have now returned to Scotland, and have built my new workshop in Argyll.


Sam was born in Oxford, but has now settled in the little village of Aislaby, in the North East of England.

Sam attended Yarm School, where a passion for guitars developed. Playing classical guitar from the age of eight helped him achieve a GCSE and A Level in Music. This passion crossed over into building his woodwork skills in the Design & Technology department. Sam started off creating a guitar stand and foosball table, eventually winning the Design & Technology award
Following college, Sam attended the Totnes School of Guitarmaking. He completed his first guitar in March 2011, which was rewarding at the end of a fantastic experience. Teaching him the skills to be a luthier.

Sam then worked alongside inspiring guitar makers such as Peter Barton and Christopher Dean, which heightened his knowledge and experience within the industry.
Sam returned to the Totnes School of Guitarmaking in 2012 to make a steel string and a classical guitar over a three-month period. This led me him to apply to the guitar making course at Newark, in which he received a direct place in the final year. And won the top prize at the end of year show!

Sam has also run classes teaching ukulele making to young students, passing on his skills and knowledge.


I made my first guitar at the age of 19 in 1993 under the supervision of David Wooldridge, who was also my first guitar teacher.
I trained as a fine artist, completing a BA in fine art and later an MA in contemporary visual arts. Throughout my twenties and early thirties I worked as an artist and teacher. During this time I continued to play classical guitar.

In 2008 I was fortunate enough to be in a position to buy a new guitar; the kind of concert guitar I had always dreamed of owning. After much searching I chose a Kevin Aram. I went to visit Kevin and selected some beautiful wood and in doing so I fell in love once again with the tools, the smells and the possibility of guitar making. The idea was seeded that it may in fact be possible for me to make guitars professionally. As I waited for my guitar I obsessively researched guitar making and on returning to pick it up a year later I asked Kevin if he would be prepared to mentor me as a maker and to my delight he was. He has been extremely generous with the information and advice that he has given me and has been able to answer every question that I have put to him with great detail and knowledge. I have also been fortunate enough to have his guitar as a constant source of inspiration.

I set up my current workshop in Falmouth, Cornwall in 2009 and my instruments have steadily improved since then. By applying my skill and creativity as an artist and consistently focusing on a traditional design I have been able to produce some beautiful instruments.


I started making guitars well over 20 years ago, beginning with trial and error and for a short period under the tutelage of David Oddy. 
I pay great attention to playability and sound. This means the greatest of care with the string length, the set up, the overall dimensions, the action and indeed with each individual fret. All backs and sides are thicknessed to 2mm, and the front tapers from 2.5mm on the treble side to 2mm on the base with a gradual reduction over the width of the front from one side to the other.
My passion is the classical guitar, and I have borrowed ideas from the great masters. I model the body on Ramirez, the fan braces on Hernandez y Aguado, the brace dimensions on Romanillos and the fingerboard on Contreras. The neck is based on Farre, my headstock is my own and although I use a range of rosettes, my purflings and bindings are of my own design.

I source exceptionally fine quality Engelmann spruce for my fronts. This spruce produces a rich and sonorous sound that does not have the harshness of some other tonewoods. My other instrument fronts are made from the finest grain cedar. Backs and sides are of rosewood (Indian, Honduras and when available Brazilian), cypress, maple, zebrano and by special request ziricote, depending on customer requirements. 

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