The most special of all of my instruments, this guitar was a 30th birthday present from Sophie and was made by legendary Coventry luthier Rob Armstrong. I’d first come across Rob’s work when I bought a second-hand 1988 mandocello of his which was one of the most remarkable instruments I’ve ever played – loud, bright and full of colour. Based on that experience, there was only one place I was going to go for a custom-built guitar.
Accordingly, I went round to see him and tried a few guitars. Unlike most luthiers, there isn’t a standard Armstrong model – every guitar he makes is different to (and usually better than) the previous one. I found one that particularly spoke to me and asked if it was for sale. Possibly, replied Rob, but Bert Jansch had also expressed an interest and it was a case of first come- first served. If Bert didn’t want it, then I was next in the queue.
Unsurprisingly, it turned out that Bert did want it so I asked Rob if he could build me an identical one. Unfortunately not, he replied, as the next one was likely to be better – and so it proved!