John Bailey RIP.

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GORDON
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John Bailey RIP.

Postby GORDON » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:15 pm

It is with great sadness that I received an e-mail from Maureen Bailey,the wife of John Bailey informing me that John passed away two days ago.

John was without a doubt one of THE great pioneers of guitar making here in Britain.

I shall be writing a more detailed dedication to this great man in next months news page.

In the meantime we send our deepest condolences to his widow Maureen and their family.

A sad day indeed.

Gordon.

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Re: John Bailey RIP.

Postby Jon G » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:47 pm

I missed this post until now - sad news indeed.

I phoned John a few years ago, on the strength of having owned the famous doubleneck for a few years. Not only was he evidently pleased to hear from an owner of one of his instruments, but chatted for a good while about his days in London, with people like Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band being frequent visitors to his flat.

He told me that he made double-necks not only for Ralph Denyer, but for two other members of his band, Blonde on Blonde. He had hopes of many new orders when the band appeared on Top of the Pops, but unfortunately they split up before that happened! Nevertheless the guitar still became an icon for Gordon. It is a beautiful and wonderfully well thought-out instrument. Especially so when one considers (as John told me) that it was almost impossible to get hardware like tuning machines and pick-ups in those days. It was build around the Baldwin pickups which were all he could get. I think they'd been customised by Gordon by the time I got it - certainly he'd replaced the original tuners with Schallers.

I remember admiring Gordon's original 6-string Bailey when I first saw it on the "Portrait" album (and wondered what make it was), and later when I heard it at several gigs.

Another friend of mine studied guitar building with John in the early 70s (who told him that the black finish on the doubleneck was owing to a slight accident to the original mahogany with a sharp instrument!). I guess a number of others learned from him, so one hopes his skills live on in some of them.
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Roger
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Re: John Bailey RIP.

Postby Roger » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:56 pm

Gordon played a superb version of "Sallie's Song" on John's double neck at Fareham a few years ago - we were fortunate enough to be there.

RIP
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marc_brierley
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Re: John Bailey RIP.

Postby marc_brierley » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:14 pm

Thanks Gordon for posting the info and your thoughts about the guitar maker John Bailey.
Bert Jansch introduced me to John in 1966, and he became a good friend throughout the the rest of the decade. He made me several guitars and an eight string appalachian dulcimer which went from me to Mike Heron. I only kept the 000-21 style guitar which with it's Brazilian Rosewood back and sides continues to improve in sound if not in body - it was beautifully restored by Roger Bucknall in 2005, but it is now being repaired again. I spoke to John again a couple of times during 2004/5, and was able to forward him an email I'd received in late 2004, which I'd like to quote here (I hope it's sender will not object):-

"Marcus,
It was good to see a John Bailey guitar on the web.
His no nonsense approach to guitar building is by far the best way to start the art.
I was fortunate enough to have attended Hampstead Comprehensive School on Westbere Road, Cricklewood,  London in the sixties.
John was the woodworking teacher. I made a dulcimer and a folk guitar from his paperback books which I still own.
I’m the design engineer for Gibson Guitars 16yrs, Nashville (Custom Shop Division).
Matthew Klein."

A more fitting tribute to the life and work of John Bailey I can't imagine.

All good wishes to his memory and to his surviving family.

Marc Brierley.

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Re: John Bailey RIP.

Postby GORDON » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:21 pm

Hi Marc.

How lovely to hear from you via this FORUM of ours.I remember you well from the Cousins day and a fine artist you were sir and no doubt still are!

Yep, John was indeed a pioneer and I'm delighted to have acquired back my twin neck from many years ago that was made for Ralph Denyer. John very kindly sent a new hand written label for it which is tucked away for safe keeping. It is virtually unplayable due to a neck warp issue but still looks as beautiful as ever. Sadly I had to sell my original 6 string a few years back due to incompetant management and agency representation. I had to sell guitars to pay bills, a common tale, and sadly on occasion continues....... but enough of that.

John's guitars had a very sweet tone but not a very loud voice. I spoke with Roy Harper recently and he still has his Bailey's bless him!The sound of John's guitars can be heard on my Visionary album, and I used it "high strung" for Heartsong.

SO good that we remember this great maker who obviously influenced many makers who went on to greater things as is evidence in you posting from Matthew Klien!

Be Well and THANKYOU.

G.

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Re: John Bailey RIP.

Postby marc_brierley » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:47 pm

Gordon

It's good to hear from you too!! I'm starting to play the guitar again and relearn my songs after a long holiday. It would be lovely to meet up and compare notes.

Maybe you have access to my email address through this - if not - google marc brierley or marcus brierley and you'll get it right away.

Very good wishes,

Marc.

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GORDON
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Re: John Bailey RIP.

Postby GORDON » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:21 pm

Will make contact sir.

Glad you're back playing.

Be Well.

G.


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