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Welcome to my website

My father was a carpenter. No-one could have known my father and not seen his regard for craftsmanship skills and striving for perfection. But, as a grammar school
boy, I was expected to be something 'better' so I took a BSc. Botany degree at London University in 1968 and went, through a post-graduate year, into biology teaching
in 1969.

Increasingly, through the years, woodwork became a very useful hobby ~ sometimes a paying hobby ~ and led me into writing about woodwork.
I submitted articles to magazines and found this rewarding and lucrative. Writing about my projects had the effect of urging me on to always be pushing myself and
trying something new. So, over a number of years I have had experience of many aspects of woodworking... then I tried guitarmaking... That was over twenty years
ago now ~ I found it! ~ I don’t need to move on.

Recuperation from illness allowed me some time to concentrate on building my first classical guitar as a piece of therapy. I was surprised at how well it worked out;
so I made two more and entered them into a competition. The chief judge was a well known instrument maker so I wasn’t expecting much more than constructive
criticism. What I got was a silver medal and a gold medal and a great deal of congratulations.

On this evidence of some talent I gave up teaching and became a full time Luthier at the end of 1994. I suppose I might tell you of the master builders I have
studied under but the fact is that I am completely self-taught. Never mind that, I am hidebound by no master's prejudices, the instruments speak for me.

News ~ January 2018

From March 2017:

I am now 72 years of age and have to accept that only a finite number of guitar constructions will follow. I have made classical guitars commercially for just over 20 years.
If I judge by the number of customers who have bought more than one guitar from me and those who have had their spouse, duo partner and/or students buy from me,
I feel I have been successful. The design of the Classical Guitar, like the violin, is  rather clearly defined and most classical guitarists want the standard instrument.
But I have had some of my own ideas as to what is effective in guitar construction and playing and have introduced some innovations outside of the standard design.
I feel it is time now to put more of myself and my ideas into the remaining instruments to be constructed. I therefore propose to concentrate on two particular designs:-

Short scale length:-
I have been successful in producing concert pitch instruments for those with smaller hands or reach problems at 600mm scale length.
These I would like to continue to produce to order. Projected standard price from 4,000 with Hiscox case.

The Jazz Classical:-
This is the "Supercutaway" design. A Nylon strung guitar where the thumb position at the back of the neck can continue to fret 16 (that is higher than a ‘Strat’).
This guitar will play all the classical repertoire but will also allow the jazz guitarist to use common inversions higher than on a standard classical.
It is envisaged as being made of the most acoustic but also visually exciting timbers to the highest possible standards.
It will be fitted with a transducing saddle and socket already tested for me by professional players/customers. It will have a monitor port with removable cover.
It will be available 6 or 7-string. This will be my "Signature" model and I believe this design is unique to me at the time of writing.
Projected standard price with Hiscox case:-  6-string 7,250; 7-string 7,750.

January 2018:

Domestic circumstances (minor ~ no disasters!) have slowed my workshop progress and I have not yet started on the 'Signature' model, as planned.
In addition, I have had little feedback to the News piece from March 2017 nor any orders for the 600mm short-scale model from that time.
If you are concerned that an enquiry may be taken as an 'order' then rest assured that I don't work that way.

My last remaining (and best) retail seller, Bristol Spanish Guitar Centre, closed its doors for the last time at Christmas and so I currently have no public sales outlets.
The last guitar I was planning to send to them will now be listed on the MODELS page, when it is available.

I now hope to complete the first of the 'Jazz Classicals' by mid-summer with a 7-string version to follow soon after.
Pictures will appear in the GALLERY section as and when these become available but, for now, that page holds examples of what you may expect.

I am now also selling completed guitars

From time to time, I shall also be offering finished guitars for immediate purchase. See the MODELS page for details of any available.

Please Note:

Apart from my (all too) rare holidays, I always reply promptly to all e-mail enquiries.
So, if you do not receive a prompt reply, please feel free to 'phone me (on the number below).

For existing owners

If you use the MENU bar on the left to visit the 'Adjustments' page, I deal with some of
the issues you may encounter while playing one of my guitars in your own personal style.
This page also carries a guide to fret dressing and information on cleaning your guitar and some comments on the strings I use ~
and why ~ which may help those of you who do not have a strong, personal preference but enjoyed the original sound of the guitar.

Whilst the information may help you on its own, owners of my guitars should always feel that they can contact me to discuss any issues.

Additionally, if you own one of my guitars, you might like to register your address and serial number with me as a security back-up.
The contact information is below.

Over to you ...

For better than a quarter century, I was a secondary school biology teacher, so I spoke
to some 150 people a day, shouted at some and had intellectual conversations with others.
Now, I work alone in my own workshop. It's a bit like being a hermit. So, not surprisingly, I'm pleased when people get in touch.
Imagine my delight at getting e-mails out of the blue, like those featured on the 'Testimonials' page.
So please feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts on my guitars, guitars in general, music, art, politics, religion ~ the Cosmos!


How to contact me

E-mail me at: rik.g.middleton@gmail.com

Telephone me on: 02477 677964 (UK)
International: +44 2477 677964

 

2001-2018: Rod Ballington Productions
 
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