A Dream Realised
Since the days I first saw a Fylde guitar I always wanted one. As a teenager I envied some of the musicians at the Fleetwood Folk Festival who played them, because even with my limited knowledge of guitars at that time you could tell they were a cut above. Back then (and I’m talking about the mid-late 1970s) I owned two guitars, the Spanish guitar that my parents bought me when I was 15 and a Black Eko jumbo guitar that had been the subject of a swap deal with a posy lead singer of a band in Norwich. I could play neither especially well. So while I coveted a Fylde guitar I never dreamed I would actually own one of their instruments.
For 35 years or more I continued to play my two first guitars, and little by little amassed a small array of musical instruments, without ever expecting to use them outside the domain of my house. Three more guitars followed, and a mandolin before my son and daughter started to build their collections. I believe I am a third owner of a Peavey bass guitar and half owner of a violin with one or both of them.
I have lost count of the number of instruments Duncan now owns, but from his initial electric guitar and heavy metal phase, most of his later acquisitions have been folk instruments. It was when I was buying him some bouzouki strings as part of a Christmas present at the end of 2013 that I picked a cittern off the wall at Hobgoblin Music above Johnny Roadhouse in Manchester, and thus my music journey began.
When I collected my Ashbury cittern six months later I took to it immediately, and instead of continuing to play the same irritating tunes over and over as I had on the guitar for so long, I began to write songs. In April 2016, I released my debut album Moorscape following a chance encounter with a recording studio six months before, meeting amazing producer Ali Karim Esmaail (www.heygamal.com). in September 2015.
Last weekend I played with the whole of The Folded Arms for the very first time at a full day music event which I co-organised. We headlined an evening of seven bands in five hours: a rare Under A Banner acoustic set; Chique Acoustic’s first ever gig; Duncan Reed playing his own songs with a band for the first time, including Ali on acoustic bass guitar; the Cathouse Ragtime Blues Band playing outside Blackpool for the first time; Matt Steady’s accomplished solo set of folk-blues songs; and The Lewinskies, all the way from Nova Scotia on their first visit to the UK. They were all hard acts to follow, but we came through it and my Ashbury’s strings held up throughout!
Late last year after my first gig in 34 years, I realised I needed to own a cittern with a pickup so I could stand up and play. Sitting works okay but the cittern is such a loud acoustic instrument and its resonance can interfere with my vocal mic. After trying a clip on mic and not really getting along with it, I decided I was going to buy a cittern with a pickup and was astonished when my searches highlighted Fylde as a manufacturer.
Six months on, and I now own a Fylde Arch Top cittern. Much that I will always love, always play, and continue to record with my Ashbury, the Fylde is a game changer. It is absolutely beautiful to look at and even nicer to play just as an acoustic instrument, but putting it through an amp really takes it to another level. It has given me the confidence to play live some of the songs I had previously be reluctant to inflict on an audience. It is a work of art and a wonder of engineering and if you are a folk or acoustic musician you should aspire to owning a Fylde instrument.