General News

December 2017 News Update

December 2017 News Update

My Sharing Day went well on November 4th, with special guest Becky Langan a delightful lady and fine percussive style guitarist, who shared her music with us. Becky made it through to the finals of GUITAR STAR on Sky TV a while back.

She is pictured here with her beloved James, and one of our youngest attendees Oliver Keane, who has reached grade six classical and is a fine acoustic player who shared one of his pieces with us.

Also in attendance was our dear pal Carrie Martin and Mark Guyatt who was there in the capacity of teacher to show some of the tricky bits of HEARTSONG to the students.

Other old friends were Chris Abrams and Annie, and another old friend Geoff Olner.

I love these sharing days as I feel I can impart knowledge in just the one day over a fairly broad spectrum, as I'm there to give as much knowledge as I can on any given subject be it composition or performance.

Becky reviews the day below:

"It was such a pleasure to have met Gordon and Hilary and all the students involved at Gordon’s sharing day! Soon after arriving, Gordon introduced me to Oliver Keane, a young musician who happened to have discovered my music through Sky Arts Guitar Star. After watching my performance of Thomas Leeb’s arrangement of “No Woman No Cry” at Abbey Road Studios, Oliver felt inspired to learn this piece, and volunteered to perform it at Gordon’s sharing day. He absolutely smashed it, and I was very happy to discover that he had recently released an album called “Runaway”. We traded CD’s, and ended up geeking out and chatting about guitars for a little while. ;)

After lunch was my performance/ Q&A session, where I covered a variety of questions about my creativity process, use of acrylic nails, overcoming nerves, and how I dealt with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Since dealing with an injury, I find myself preaching about how important injury prevention is, so I decided to provide some tips and demonstrations on how to do so. As discussed in my Q&A, I’ve come to the conclusion that it all boils down to having good posture, avoiding high gauge strings, stretching before/ after, and warming up beforehand. Osteopaths/ chiropractitioner's are great too – it definitely helps to get your machine serviced every once in a while!!

To round off a wonderful day full of lovely like-minded people, smiles and guitar geekery, I experienced some truly exceptional performances. I really loved how Gordon collaborated with students, and to jam with Gordon after my Q&A was definitely something to tick off my bucket list! :)

Thanks again to everybody who made this event possible, including the folks who provided the tea and coffee (I do like my tea!). But most of all, I’d like to thank Gordon and Hilary for having me, and allowing me to experience such an incredible day. What an absolute pleasure it was to meet you all."



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The next Sharing Day will be 24th Feb 2018 with my special guest Tristan Seume.

Full info HERE

NEW Weekend Guitar Course

Following on from the success of my Sharing Days I'm also delighted to announce that I've found a great venue to hold a Guitar Weekend 26th - 28th Jan 2018.

Learn with me on a fantastic weekend away at a bargain price. A friendly, family- run guest house in the heart of the historic market town of Uttoxeter in the English Midlands is the setting for a two-night, all-inclusive Gordon Giltrap Guitar Weekend.

The £320 package includes two days of guitar workshops with Gordon, accommodation, all meals and an exclusive concert on the Saturday night. Immerse yourself in music from Friday night til Sunday afternoon and bring a non playing partner for a bargain price of just an extra £60.

My special guest will be my dear friend and 'Double Vision' partner - one of Britain's most experienced classical guitarists Raymond Burley.

This or my Sharing Day could be the perfect Christmas gift for the guitar player in your life – or a winter treat for yourself.

Full info HERE

For more information and to book your place / accommodation please contact Sue Holton by email at

My thanks to Sue for being the perfect admin person to handle any enquires connected with Sharing Days and Weekends.

New guitar

You may remember a couple of months ago I featured a new guitar built by an unknown Derby guitar maker called Graham Warren. Well, that one has found a new home and part of the proceeds of the sale went towards this beautiful creation from the man’s workshop and what a beauty it is.

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Made from the finest woods and lovingly crafted over a solid three months labour. The woods used are walnut for the back and sides and cedar for the top, ebony for fingerboard and bridge, stunningly bound in maple and I just love the butterflies around the sound hole and adorning the headstock. How does it sound? Powerful and sweet.

The cost of this guitar is shockingly low, but that's Graham he's not out to make vast profits, he just loves doing it. Put your order in now or join a rapidly growing queue. Contact the great man if you want one to your own specification. Tel. 01283221384

I asked Graham to write something about himself and his thoughts on this guitar and others he has made, this was his reply:

Hi Gordon, I have been making guitars for 8 years now, having retired and in need of a hobby. I have always enjoyed working with wood and decided to make a guitar. I only make O.M. size orchestra models. Having made one and loving it, I decided to make more.

I always use top quality wood and fittings and prefer Walnut, Flame Maple or Yew with either Cedar or Spruce tops.

I now make them to customer's specifications. I design all of the inlays and all of them have been different.

I met Gordon when he saw some of my guitars on E-Bay and he visited me and bought one. I have since then, made him one in his choice of wood etc.

I am making one at the moment for someone as a special gift and I am then making one in Walnut, similar to the one Gordon bought, which will be for sale when completed.

Gigs of Note:

I promised you I would report on the Fairkytes concert in Hornchurch with Carrie Martin as my special guest. The venue was indeed lovely and the staff even lovelier if that's the right word. They just couldn't do enough for us to make our visit memorable. They were what Hilary describes as a ten out of ten audience in terms of response and appreciation.

Sue and Mike Holton were there along with her brother and his wife, and Sue true to her word filmed the evening and the evidence is already up there on YOUTUBE for all to see, and it looks and sounds good, so THANKYOU Sue for not only attending but doing a sterling job behind the camera. Sue has filmed many of my concerts and pretty much most of them have had a YOUTUBE placing. Let us not forget Mike in the equation as he is there as an extra pair of hands to assist with the filming.

Carrie has been the perfect guest on my shows and I'm proud to call her my friend and feel it is a privilege to do whatever I can for her in my own small way. I so enjoy playing Holly Blue with her in the second half of our shows because it gives her an extra plug for her fabulous new album Seductive Sky!

Watch the Youtube recording of Holly Blue

St Alfege Church Solihull

On November 1st I was special guest for two numbers at a lunchtime concert featuring that talented young musician Adam Parrish. We played Maddie Goes West together and Heartsong, and the 100 plus attendees were most appreciative. Adam is very gifted as an organist as well as a pianist and has started composing his own material and very fine it is too. We are doing a full show together in December. I look forward to it

Acapela Studios Wales

This venue is a beautiful converted Methodist chapel in a small village not far from Cardiff. Carrie Martin was once again my special guest, and we all travelled up together. On arrival and whilst unpacking the gear to set up I discovered that I had left my bag with guitar stands, foot stool and leads behind in my music room. This has got to be a first. On top of that I discovered that whilst messing with my new and beloved Helix FX pedal I had somehow deleted a very important programme rendering my pre-sets to The Dodo's Dream an impossibility to perform on the night. I had to adopt a new mind-set for the evenings concert and got through it all OK with just my trusty Fylde guitar and Paul Brett Viator.

In spite of these two minor disasters all went wonderfully well for both Carrie and I. My thanks go to Joe our sound man for the evening for looking after us so well and giving us a dream of a live sound. Both Carrie and I agreed that our rendition of Holy Blue that night was extra special. Sometimes it works out like that, don't ask me why!

Lovely to see our friend Andy Smy in the audience with his trusty camera, also Andrew and Anna Davies, (she of The Anna Fantasia fame) in the audience.

One more gig to report on for next month and that will be my concert with the wonderful Mr Nicholas Hooper.

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Roger Williams Guitar Award

My good friend a Roger Williams is now the proud recipient of an MIA award for his classical crossover.

Instrument based on a guitar he made for me well over ten years ago. My contribution was to act as a catalyst and introduce Roger to the company, the end result speaks for itself. So congratulations to Roger and JHS for getting together to make it happen.

Here is a pic of that very award.

Recording With Carol Sampson

My good friend and stunning singer songwriter Carol Sampson (Carol is the wonderful voice on my Angel Air Records "Peace will Fall album" due out in January) asked me recently if I would contribute to a charity fundraising EP she is working on. Even though I'm pretty busy I always try to make time for this lovely lady and her voice and creativity I find captivating and it just draws me in. The piece she wanted me to play on was a traditional Christmas carol called "Love Lives On". It has a very medieval flavour to it which is just up my street, so I set to with my trusty Viator guitar and added an arrangement to her superb piano and voice.

Whilst working on it I came up with a separate idea using an unusual instrument called an Avante which is like a short scale 12 string but strung in unison not octaves. The sound is glorious and Carol has added a "Carol choir" to it and it has worked a treat.

I have asked Carol to write something so she can tell you more about the pieces and the fund raising element and how you could donate if you so desired.

Three years ago, my best friend Gill spent her last Christmas at St. Richard's Hospice, where she was so well cared for. I had the blessing of being with her during Christmas day afternoon, and will never forget the image of her sitting on the edge of her bed, wearing her paper cracker hat, and trying to eat a little of the lovely dinner they had given to her. The staff gave space for privacy, yet you knew they'd be there for any sign of discomfort or distress. I was so privileged to have spent some quality time, just sitting with her, sometimes not even talking, but just 'being'. That's what you can do with true friends.

I miss Gill, and this is the reason that this Christmas I decided to record another EP, to raise more funds for this brilliant facility, which relies totally on public funding!

The inspiration for 'Love Lives On', came really quickly one Sunday evening. I was sat in my music room, and came across the old hymn 'Now the Green Blade Rises'. When I sat at the piano and sang through it, I immediately had the idea for a chorus. The chords and words came spontaneously, and seemed to fit so well with the original tune. It just felt like it was meant to be!

With it being an old English/ folk type of song, I could imagine how Gordon's playing would really suit it, so sent him the track to listen to.....the result, is beautiful. I love how his guitar weaves around the chords, and sounds almost medieval somehow.

I feel so blessed - thank you Gordon!

As well as the 2 tracks Gordon is featured on, there are 4 bonus tracks: O Little Town, Sans Day Carol, (a fun instrumental of Ding Dong Merrily), and In the Bleak Midwinter.

If anyone would like to donate and order a copy of the EP, please visit:

(Please make sure you email me your name & address too)

MusicRadar - What are the best budget acoustic guitars under £500/$650?

Another thumbs up for JHS products.

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Well, MusicRadar picked a total of 5 Vintage guitars out of 40 guitars in the category earlier this year - high praise indeed!

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Vintage Viator 12-String by Paul Brett

The Viator 12-string is the seventh model in the Vintage by Paul Brett range and the second 12-string to appear. Like the six-string Viator, however, this is a downsized 12-fret 'travel' guitar centred around a condensed 546mm (21.5-inch) scale length.

But despite the rather old-world appearance, this 12-string, like others in the range, leaps into the modern day with its on-board Fishman Sonitone preamp system with a USB output for direct recording into your DAW.

MusicRadar's verdict:

"A near-essential purchase for recording and live work."

4.5 out of 5


Vintage VJ100N

A spruce-topped jumbo with plenty of projection and an extremely appealing price tag, the VJ100N isn't Vintage's only appearance in this poll.

The manufacturer has been turning out some incredibly likable and a characterful guitars in the last few years, and the VJ100N is another fine addition to the growing ranks of first rate Vintage acoustics.


Vintage V880N

Just look at it! The slotted headstock, the herringbone inlays, the vintage style tuners - this a tasteful little acoustic that subtly demands your fullest attention.

There's something about parlour size guitars that makes us want to sit on a sofa and fingerpick the day away, and this would be the guitar to do it with. Mahogany back and sides, a cedar top, and all those little visual details makes this a steal of a guitar for the money.

Make sure you try one, even if you're not necessarily looking for a smaller bodied guitar - this could be the one to make you think again.


Vintage V400N

That's right, it's another Vintage - are you getting the message about this brand yet?

With three guitars in this gallery and more models that didn't quite make the cut hovering just outside, one thing is clear: Vintage acoustics have a lot of fans out there.

It's the result of a simple philosophy, of which the central tenet is to build great, affordable guitars that people won't be able to put down - guitars like the V400N.

The most popular Vintage dreadnought in this poll, it's an all-rounder with a nicely balanced tone that you'd be doing a disservice to if you didn't try the next time you're in a guitar shop.


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Vintage VE2000GG Gordon Giltrap Signature Model

The VE2000GG is a curious looking guitar. Fans and followers of Giltrap will be familiar with its unusual shape, but first time viewers are struck by the sweeping lines and ultra-tight waist. In essence, somewhere between a Grand Auditorium and an 000; the upper bout more 000, the lower bout more Grand Auditorium.

It's not a loud guitar, particularly when compared to similar priced folk and OM shaped competitors, but what it lacks volume it makes up for in character. Rob Armstrong's unique body design creates a warm, sweet tone which bridges the gap between the rich, fullness and clout of a larger bodied guitar with the bright, sweet, clarity of a smaller body.

MusicRadar's verdict:

"A visually-unique electro suitable for collectors and acoustic enthusiasts alike."

4.5 out of 5

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Pre Raphaelite Website

Through my darling Hilary's hard work my new album both vinyl and CD are on sale in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery gift shop.

Here is a link to a very gifted lady who spotted them there and her wonderful website where she interviewed me about the album.

The Kissed Mouth

Acoustic magazine

In the December issue of Acoustic Magazine I have chosen Pedrolino as my piece to be studied. It's quite an old tune now but I think it has stood the test of time and still presents a challenge to me and hopefully to all those pickers out there who read the magazine.

On behalf of Hilary and I (and webmaster Sue) we should like to wish you all a healthy and peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.