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Biography

I believe passionately in the connection between player and instrument. I feel the guitar should not be a barrier between the musician and their music, but rather be a vehicle for the effortless creation of music, and so I build tactile guitars that one can feel a visceral connection with.

Here is a video in which I talk about my approach to guitar making.

As much as possible I use reclaimed and local woods without compromising the quality of the instruments.

I was born in Lincoln, England in 1957 and began playing guitar at the age of fourteen and getting involved with bands soon after. In the late '70s I studied architecture, and left college with a degree and a sense of structure and form. A stint as a joiner reinforced my interest in working with wood, originally absorbed as a child in the environment of the family joinery business. Meanwhile constant activity as a musician deepened my understanding of the guitar from a player's perspective.

I began building guitars in 1990 at an evening class under the tutelage of Roy Courtnall, learning traditional Spanish methods. Having set up my own workshop soon afterwards, I began exploring ideas from many other makers as well as developing my own concepts, and have experimented with and refined these over the years. I have always listened to feedback from the most demanding of players and simultaneously have become sensitised to what I am listening for in a great guitar.

During my time as a guitar maker I have illustrated a book on guitar making, 'Making Master Guitars' by Roy Courtnall (Robert Hale 1993). This has become something of a standard textbook in the field and was a real stepping-stone in my own research and building methods.

I have taught guitar making classes over the years and am currently teaching classical and steel string guitar making one day a week at Newark College in Nottinghamshire. The guitar school at the college has been a partner in The Leonardo Guitar Research Project, which researched the use of non-tropical woods in guitar making: a theme that is close to my heart and one that is informing my work. Teaching guitar making is a great way to engage with ideas about the craft as well as keeping oneself grounded in the fundamentals.

I am a member of the board of the European Guitar Builders (EGB) and was heavily involved in the organisation of the Holy Gail Guitar Show in Berlin for 2016.

I regularly show my work at exhibitions in both Europe and the USA.

I am active as a musician and this constantly reminds me of the need for the musician to connect with their instrument.

A.J.Lucas at his workbench