General News

December 2019 News Update

December 2019 News Update

The Lichfield Guildhall Concert on November 1st was indeed memorable.

It is a wonderful feeling for any artist to perform to a sold out venue with an unbelievably appreciative audience. This was certainly the case on that evening made all the more memorable by having Adam Parrish join me for the whole of the second half. As much as I enjoy playing solo, there is something magical joining forces with a like-minded musician who is completely in sympathy with my music. Adam does that and more when we perform. I loved every minute of it and I know the audience did.

It was very special having some of my family there and to have played Appalachian Dreaming on that very stage where I played it for the first time in front of my young (now 25 year old) grandson Alex. Great to see old friends Wally and Joyce along with one of my students and now friend Mark Guyatt.

I have always regarded performing as a privilege, none more so than on that Friday within the confines of the beautiful and historic Guildhall. I look forward to the next time.

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Health latest

The following Wednesday I got a good report from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital but by Thursday evening I was in an ambulance on the way to the A and E department at Good Hope Hospital diagnosed with a lung infection and an abscess on my liver. After seven days in hospital I was feeling weak but in good form.

My daughter Sadie remarked when I rang her that my going into hospital was like a social event! Whilst in hospital someone discovered who I was and kindly made me a lovely engraved stainless steel mug. How lovely and generous folk can be.

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One of the nurses on my ward turned out to be a classically trained violinist with a music degree and had gigged with local Birmingham band Quill. It is amazing the number of gifted people who chose the vocation of nursing.

Please see below the copy of my posting on Face Book, although brief it truly expresses how I felt and continue to feel about our wonderful doctors and nurses and indeed our NHS system.

Today I shall be returning home from 7 days in Good Hope Hospital with a lung infection and a small abscess on my liver.

During this week I have witnessed first class compassionate caring from every member of staff from the lady who brings me tea in the morning to the lady who serves me lunch and all that occurs during their very busy day.

I have witnessed angels at work on Ward 7 and although they would say that they are just doing their job, believe me it is far more than that. Good Hope we thank you most sincerely. xx

I THANKYOU Good Hope Hospital and all at Ward 7 for making my stay as painless as possible.

Unfortunately I have had to cancel three shows because of this health issue and can only apologise to all those who bought tickets. Two of the shows have been re scheduled until the New Year. Further details can be found it the Concerts section of the website.

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My grandfather

I posted this early pic of my grandfather Giltrap for Remembrance Day on my Face Book page giving a brief history about him. Later on in life he became bugle major in the Royal Artillery band. When I was a lad he gave me his tuning fork and a book entitled Rudiments of Music. Sadly both have gone.

I had to smile at one of the comments by a chap who asked which one was my grandfather? I almost replied “Three guesses” !!!!!

In remembrance of all those who fought in the war to end all wars.

This photograph of my grandfather Edward Giltrap has no date but as he joined as a boy soldier age fourteen fresh from his Irish homeland of Cork I can't date it precisely.

He survived the conflict was wounded twice and lived into his nineties. He rarely spoke of the horrors he witnessed.

We give thanks for all their bravery.

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T Shirt

This lovely T shirt modelled by the even lovelier Carrie Martin was created by our friends Mark and Jane Day.

You will all recognise the guitar of course, and I wore the shirt at the Lichfield concert.

If anyone out there fancies having a T shirt made with their guitar on the front or any image they desire do contact them on

Guitar of the Month - Guild F20

I know I have possibly featured this little gem of a guitar before. I was 15 years old when this Guild F20 guitar was made in the USA workshop of Guild guitars in Hoboken New Jersey. This sweet little guitar was a gift from my dear friend Paul, a resident of Nashville many years ago. I had a slightly younger model of this guitar quite a few years back but foolishly sold it and consequently missed it.

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This guitar is light as a feather and was without a doubt made by hand. If you look closely you will see that the right hand side of the upper bout is slightly larger than the left side. For the guitar 'anoraks' amongst you, I use the word 'bout' in guitar construction terms. Upper bout and lower bout. For example a Gibson J 200 is probably the largest of Jumbo guitars with a 17 inch lower bout which can be a little large for many players who would find it a bit too large for the right arm when picking. I get over this problem using a foot stool raising the left foot which automatically lowers the lower 'bout' making it easier on the right arm.

When I acquired this guitar it was in need of a neck set, which means that the neck had to be removed and reset at the correct angle thus enabling the action to be set lower to make it easier to play.

I then replaced the machine heads with some Grover mini gold plated ones. The gearing is much better and really does make it easier to tune and to keep in tune. What I love about this guitar is its compact size and aforementioned lightweight construction which makes it the perfect "sofa" guitar and is perfect for composing. I can't remember how many tunes started life on this guitar but believe me there have been many.

The F20 was initially a budget instrument but it’s all mahogany cousin has found favour over the years because the late great Nick Drake used one and was photographed with that model. Because of that association early USA models can change hands from £1500 upwards. Mine is the deluxe model with the spruce top and mahogany back and sides and probably a Rio rosewood fingerboard.

Over the years the F20 has been re-introduced onto the market via the Fender company and are made in China, which is fine but of course an original has far more "character." I have never recorded with this guitar and methinks this is long overdue.

God bless my pal Paul for finding it on a USA EBay site and sending it through.