About Andy Manson
For over four decades Andy Manson has been hand building some of the worlds finest instruments. He is an avid guitar player and this was how it all started for him and what has driven him on in the ongoing quest for tone.
Over the years Andy has made approximately a thousand instruments. He has continually strived to push the boundaries of what you can expect in the performance of an acoustic instrument.
This is his story of how it all started -
" In 1967 I built my first instrument, from necessity.
It was a teardrop shaped body with a long neck and 30” scale. I don't remember what inspired the long scale, though I remember measuring strings to see how long I could make it. I think I hoped for a more strident sound with a long string.
The body had plywood sides with oak top and back and an African mahogany neck with teak fingerboard. Not traditional, just what happened to be lying around in my Father's garage.
The thing could deliver a tune though and I played it all over London, Paris, the Cote D'Azur and anywhere else I landed. Then there was a car crash, the guitar's top smashed in.
I found a piece of walnut faced plywood in a skip, “that looks nice!” and then, “...hmmm...sounds different!”
Well, forty plus years later I'm still wondering, though now I tend to use the traditional luthier's materials, the classic tonewoods.
Most of the science in my luthiery is that of experience and intuition. I gaze at classic work, in any kind of artefact, and I try to absorb the configurations of nature.
I've built many guitars, lutes, mandolins, dulcimers, and a variety of multi necked and multi stringed instruments over the years. I have learnt a lot and been able to pass on some knowledge. My brother Hugh and later the fellows at Brook Guitars started under my guidance. I feel heartened and rewarded at their achievements. One of the things I enjoy most about being a luthier is the willingness to share ideas with other makers. It's a very supportive community.
I recently relocated to Portugal and have my new workshop up and running. We are really happy to be here. I have always had an affinity for the European way of life and weather !
The conditions here are perfect for guitar making. I feel the space and calm will bring out the best of me and inspire good work.
My stepson Seth has been with me in the workshop now for sometime and we have been developing ideas and working together.
Seth was the manager of my brother Hugh's shop - Manson's Guitar Shop for a number of years and also was John Paul Jones' co-technician on several tours and the Led Zeppelin reunion show. He is developing his own range of electric guitars and doing some beautiful work.
We are very much enjoying working together, the symbiosis is exciting. "