Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Luthier Philip Woodfield : Woodfield Guitars

Luthier Philip Woodfield and Woodfield Guitars from www.woodfieldguitars.com

Philip has been making guitars in england for nearly 25 years (over 200 guitars till date). Over time he has developed an ever growing appreciation among players and concert artists around the world. Concert artists who play a woodfield includes Scott Tennant (LA Guitar Quartet), Giulio Tampalini in Italy, Raymond Burley in England as well as Arne Brattland, Jonathan Salfield, Clive Carron, and members of the Duo Gvito, Pro Trio, and arctic Guitar Trio.

Although Philip builds fan braced guitars (his toreros and Series One), his recent focus has been building lattice braced instruments. Philip strives to build instruments that look, feel and sound very traditional and yet are actually contemporary. Philp says, "I strive for clarity, separation, sustain, volume and evenness over the whole range - balanced in a harmony such that no aspect outshines others. In addition, the sound I want should be sweet and expressive with dynamic timber that encourages expressive playing."

Philip explains his building approach as, "I really enjoy the fine woodworking process and it has been a part of my life since childhood. My approach to guitar making is ‘hands on’ and organic. I limit the use of machines because I enjoy using hand tools and find that this makes the instruments more personal. I use traditional glue for many of the significant joints and the guitars are finished only in natural shellac. After many years I have finally come to enjoy greatly the French polishing process. You can’t beat it for looks in my opinion, with its deep shine. From a technical point of view I believe it to be the best finish, as being thin and fairly soft it does not interfere with the tone. This also makes the wood warmer to the touch than with lacquered guitars and in the neck area the thumb slides effortlessly on its smooth surface. Although it is more easily marked than lacquer, it is a much smaller matter to repair."

Describing his guitars, philip says, "My guitars are pure and sweet in tone and also have volume. As a player myself I realise how important it is that the instrument is expressive and allows you to explore an expansive tonal palate. It is vital that it ‘feels right’ with a neck shape and action that is not restrictive and is comfortable. It must feel satisfying to play. I believe that a guitar should sound good and lively from the start and as such gives a hint of its potential. There is still a long way to go during the playing in period for the guitar to continue improving and, given good attention, will do so for years to come."

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