Rik Middleton - maker of fine classical guitars

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 ~ July 2014

I am now also selling completed guitars

From time to time, I shall also be offering finished guitars for immediate purchase. Hand built to the same
exacting
standards used for my custom made guitars, these are ideal for the player who needs a quality
instrument but who
is unable to wait for one to be built to order. This can happen when a treasured
instrument is lost, stolen or damaged and an immediate replacement is required. Watch this space!

New timbers

I am pleased to announce that two timbers have now aged sufficiently for me to offer them alongside my
existing options. These are Flamed Mango and Macassar Ebony. If you are not familiar with the grain
pattern on these, either try Google images or, if you can't visit, ask me for a picture.
I also have some African and Andaman Island Padauk, which is brightly coloured and is exceptional acoustically.
As far as fingerboards go, I shall soon be offering Bog Oak, which is as black as the best Ebony but adds an Oak medullary ray figure.

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 'phone me (on the number below) as I have
reason to suspect that some of my messages have been going astray in this cyberspace thingy!

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 (or prospective owners) 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 at the bottom of this page.

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 of them 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 the unsolicited testimonials at the end of the 'my approach' page.
So please feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts on my guitars, guitars in general, music, art, politics, religion ~ the Cosmos!


Guitarist Profiles

Michael Martin

"Rik's guitar is a dream to play! Made from Spruce and Rosewood I happened upon it by chance.
One dark and stormy afternoon in January 2007 I took refuge in the Spanish Guitar Centre Bristol.
I decided to play a few concert guitars. I picked up Rik's guitar never having heard of him.
About three bars into Una Limosna (by Barrios) it struck me that this was an exceptional box.
I decided to pay Rik a visit. He showed me a variety of guitars.
Some were made of very exotic woods and there certainly was a characteristic 'feel' to his instruments for the left hand.
The attractive appearance was a bonus because that aspect means little if the sound won't work for you!"

His < website > enables you to hear him play and hear the sound of his Middleton guitar.

Colin Chettle

I constructed a guitar to order for Colin Chettle who, in addition to other requirements, needed a left-handed guitar.
Colin visited me on a number of occasions during the construction of the guitar and took pictures.
I felt that it would be interesting to hear what it feels like to witness a guitar being made especially for you.
So I asked him to write an article to go with those pictures and the result is < here >

Matthew Sear

“My Rik Middleton guitar is my main guitar and has been since I was introduced to the Middleton range in 2002.
The ease of play is superb and the guitar helps me attain the kind of expression I need when performing.
The subtlety of tone is rich and warm and the dynamic range extremely responsive.
I am proud to be associated with Rik Middleton guitars.”
Visit Matthew's website < here >
Listen to 'S.L Weiss - Fantasie in C minor' played on a Middleton guitar < here >

Roger Montgomery

If you follow the links from Roger's website < Guitar Now > you will see him playing three of his own compositions on his recently acquired Middleton guitar.
Please remember that the sound you hear is somewhat limited by this method of presentation and the often moderate quality of a computer's sound system.


How to contact me

E-mail me at: rikmiddleton@tiscali.co.uk

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

 

2001-2014: Rod Ballington Productions
 
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