At The Fellowship of Acoustics we are always trying to find extraordinary guitars. Please join us on one of our guitar hunts.
Somehow you ended up in this house and the only thing you know is that you have to be upstairs: the attic. So you walk up a steep staircase, looking for a some sort of switch in the dark. It has to be here somewh…YES! Your eyes need to adjust to the light for a bit and then your gaze falls on the reason you're here: a black guitar case under a thick layer of dust. With your thumb, you wipe away some dust and there it is: a very promising logo. Could this be…? You hear click... click... click as you open the locks, you lift up the lid and there it is: a perfect guitar from the 30s. Rarely played, in mint condition. You hesitate for a moment, but then you take it out of the case and look closely at those beautiful letters on the headstock and the unique landscape that the craquelé lacquer makes. How much mojo can there be in just one guitar? The strings are old, but you still manage to get the guitar in tune. One hand makes the shape of a G-chord, your other hand hits the top E-string and then... then... Then the alarm goes off!
It was a dream! Because we all know we will never ever run into a perfect guitar in an attic, flea market or on eBay. It is like the famous Dutch song says: Most dreams are a deception (de meeste dromen zijn bedrog)
Maybe, if you're very lucky, you'll be there just in time when a great guitarstore finds one of those golden oldies and knows how to fix up properly. And then you need some extra luck to have saved just enough for that rare event.
But here is the good news: thanks to the very clever luthier Atkin in Canterbury (UK), this dream is not a deception and these kind of guitars are available to us all. Atkin makes perfect, affordable, 'old-new dream guitars.'
Alister Atkin has been working in his modest workshop for 25 years. At first he made his 'high end' guitars in the more or less ordinary way. Until he made a little mistake: a scratch on the paint. What now? Throw it out? Fix it? He decided to turn misery into virtuosity so instead of repairing the scratch, he just added scratches to go for an aged or more relic look. The "mistake" flew out of the store. Atkin has been focusing building aged guitars since then. But it is important to know, these are certainly not one-on-one copies of vintage originals. The are more than a replica because Atkin added a lot of modern cleverness to them. Like a slightly slimmer neck with a truss rod. The vintage models don’t have that, but you're going to find it useful now.
An almost compulsive eye for the details of 'classics' is what also defines Alister Atkin. Some top wines have great years and according to some there are also ultimate guitar years. For example, a Martin OM or OOO from 1937 and a Gibson L2 from 1947. Atkin has studied these and other sources down to the millimetre and that knowledge is now in all of his guitars.
Atkin does not stop at the use of the woods and dimensions of the time. For example he treats the wood as if it had been around for decades, by drying it, baking it and even freezing it. He does not stop at the top layer, but he also treats the bracing on the inside of the guitar. The nitrocellulose lacquer is put on layer by layer and processed to make it look old. As if all that wasn't enough, the voice mechanics, scratch plates and really every single guitar part gets a treatment to make them look really old.
The end result is something entirely different from the reliced electric guitars that have been popular for some time. Such guitars are actually deliberately 'mistreated', to give them dents and bruises in exactly the right places. Atkin does not mistreat his guitars to make them look old. Instead, he makes his guitars look old to make them sound authentic and really, really great. That is something unique, especially for acoustic guitars.
Others about Atkin
How special these guitars are is evident from the impressive customer list of this small builder from England. Ed Sheeran, Dolly Parton, Elbow, Bruce Springsteen and many more singer-songwriters have one or more in their guitarsenal.
They are all artists who have access to the most expensive guitars, but yet they still opt for an Atkin for at home on the couch or on stage. The reason: Atkin gives you that authentic sound, they play wonderfully and they are not fragile, but very, very solid. So you don't have to keep an Atkin guitar in a humidified display case and you don't have to look for it in the attic of your dreams.
If you visit our store in Dedemsvaart, grab a G-chord with one hand, let the other hand follow and then... then you will hear that sometimes dreams are no deception at all. The are, in fact, very, very real.