Me & My Gui­tar: John Smith

As the Bri­tish acous­tic singer / song­writer cel­e­brates his roots with new al­bum Hum­ming­bird, he shows us the first Fylde from his grow­ing col­lec­tion

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS - Hum­ming­bird is out now on Com­moner Records See the video at

1 “This is my first Fylde gui­tar, a Fal­staff. I had this built back in 2006 and I picked it up in 2007. I had played a Fylde in the old Hank’s Gui­tar Shop on Den­mark Street. I’d seen it on the wall and it had com­pletely blown my mind. But there was no way I could af­ford one. I was play­ing a fac­tory-built acous­tic gui­tar at the time but this gui­tar was way, way bet­ter than any­thing I’d ever played.”

2 “I was on tour with John Mar­tyn and driv­ing past the Fylde work­shop on the way to Glas­gow, be­cause they’re based in Pen­rith in the Lake District. So I just stopped in and pretty much cold-called them. I knocked on the door and I said, ‘How are you do­ing? I think you need some young en­dorsees and I’m your man.’ I could see that Roger [Buck­nall, Fylde founder] looked at me a bit sus­pi­cious. Then we got chat­ting, I played a bit and he agreed to make me a gui­tar. It was amaz­ing and it started me on a jour­ney with these in­stru­ments.”

3 “It’s a Mada­gas­can rose­wood back and sides with cherry bind­ings, a cedar top and an ebony fin­ger­board. I’ve gone for no fret mark­ings on the fin­ger­board. There’s just this one at the 12th fret and then I’ve got dots go­ing up the side. I have these dots on all my Fyldes but I like to keep the fret­board sim­ple.”

4 “It’s a great-sound­ing gui­tar that I’ve re­ally mis­treated over the years. I’ve scratched it up pretty good and put a big crack in it that I had to take back to Roger to have him fix. He pre­tended he was an­gry but he didn’t mind too much.”

5 “It’s se­rial num­ber 7337 with Dun­can Turner pick­ups – it’s got a lit­tle mic and a piezo that comes out of a stereo out­put into a preamp that I make a mono sig­nal from and send to front of house.”

6 “I play this gui­tar a lot when I’m in the UK. When I’m tour­ing I have an­other one that I fly with be­cause it’s In­dian rose­wood and spruce. You have to be very care­ful fly­ing now with rose­wood [be­cause of CITES reg­u­la­tions] so I take that one. I play this a lot, it’s such a beau­ti­fully res­o­nant in­stru­ment. It’s all there, you know? All across the spec­trum it just sounds amaz­ing.”

7 “I’ve got a mixed set of strings on here; the top and bot­tom from a 13 set and the mid­dle from a 12 set. These are Elixir Nanoweb phos­phor bronze strings that I think are the best strings you can get. So it’s a .056, .046, .032, .024, .017 and .013 so it gives you plenty of re­sis­tance higher up and at the bot­tom you’ve got a bit of weight. Then at the mid­dle it feels kind of fluid and easy to get around. Then you put all that to­gether and it just feels like it works. Quite re­cently, I was de­lighted be­cause I found out Derek Trucks does the same with his electrics. So if it’s good enough for Mr Trucks, it’s good enough for me!”

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Olly Cur­tis

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