Martin Simpson


27 Apr 2018

Martin & Richard Hawley's Grand Guitar Day Out - BBC Radio 4, Tues 1 May.

A couple of months ago, Richard Hawley and Martin went to visit their dear friend and master luthier, Roger Bucknall in his workshop, to record a programme for 7Digital's 'Instrument Makers' radio series. We are delighted to announce that this will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday the 1st of May at 11:30 am. It will then be on iplayer for a month after to listen back.
They had a really great day ... hope you can tune in next Tuesday to BBC Radio 2 at 11.30am to hear all about it.

"Martin Simpson and Richard Hawley take a trip to Fylde Guitars in Penrith, where master luthier Roger Bucknall reveals the extraordinarily painstaking and creative labour of love involved in making an acoustic guitar.

On a tour of his workshop, Roger reveals not only a passion for instrument-making, but for the pure pleasure in working with wood. In the vast store of tonewood, we hear about the aural and decorative properties of centuries-old Claro Walnut, Bearclaw and the incredibly rare Snakewood. Roger reveals some of the fascinating and surprising stories behind his stock including the Giant Redwood, reclaimed from the Big River at Mendocino and the 2,000 year-old Alaskan Sitka Spruce windfall.

We’ll find out how Roger acquired some rare Brazilian Rosewood from the folk musician Mike Waterson, and crafted it into three guitars, one of which Hawley owns: ‘If anybody’s ever seen Harry Potter, then they’ll understand what the word Horcrux means’, he says. ‘Roger, you’re going to live forever with this ‘cause part of your soul, without doubt, went into this guitar’.

We discover the minute detail and precision employed here, with bespoke machinery and hand-made tools, from steam-bending and curfing to the hammering-in of frets with a hammer thought to have now made more than two million blows. ‘I have a deep passion for frets’, says Simpson. ‘It’s how we do what we do. They are beautiful things, and when they’re properly finished it makes all the difference in the world.’

And who knew bits of guitars and mandolins could be made from old snooker tables or whiskey barrels? Or why Rosewood is called Rosewood?

A unique insight into a popular and much-loved instrument and three friends' obsession with it - with stories, laughs and music along the way."

Out now

Vagrant Stanzas
Vagrant Stanzas
CD, 2013

More info
Purpose & Grace
Purpose & Grace
CD, 2011

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Martin Simpson: Prodigal Son, The Concert
Martin Simpson: Prodigal Son, The Concert
DVD, 2009

More info

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