CLC Newsletter August 2017

Chris Larkin Custom Newsletter August 2017.

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Hello again from the West coast of Ireland,

We were in London in July for a couple of days where Syra had work in The Mall Galleries at the Society of Women Artists exhibition. Here is the artist and the painting. This is her third time being selected for this exhibition.

We are having a new wall built in front of the house and workshop. We had a wooden fence but it was always being damaged by horses leaning against it while trying to eat our vegetation so this one is going to be solid. Monty is digging the foundations.

One of our favourite places is Muckross House in Killarney National Park. We put the bikes in the back of the car and had a Sunday afternoon cycle round the lower lake. More than 40 shades of Green!


Tech Bit - Acoustic Guitar Moulds.

The last instrument I finished was a harp guitar, a first for me. It created many problems for me to solve amongst which was how to make mould for it! Typically steel string acoustic guitar bodies are constructed in a mould which is exactly the same shape as the guitar body. In my case I make these in two halves which are held together by clips. Being in two parts means that the body can be easily removed as required. Here is one for my full sized archtop jazz guitar.

It is designed so that it can be adapted to having or not having a cutaway. It is constructed in sections which can be added or removed to make a body shorter or taller. Versatile.

But the shape of the harp guitar does not lend itself to having a mould that opens so I had to come up with a different way of holding the shape of the instrument as I worked on it but which would still allow me to remove it when I needed too. I don't make classical guitars but I had seen pictures of a work board that was used in their construction which had slots in it which would allow for fitting and adjusting supports to suit the shape of the body. This gave me the idea for the work board for the harp guitar. Here is what I made.

Made from 3/4" (19mm) birch plywood it is very rigid. The shape of the instrument (from my plan) is down on the board. To allow for the fact that the top of the guitar would be arched I contoured the body end. The slots are for the supports which are made from birch ply too with coach bolts and butterfly nuts to attach/adjust them.

Here it is in use.

It all worked very well and you can see the result in the next section.  If you have an idea that you think would make a good subject for the Tech Bit let me know and I'll see if I can include it in a future Newsletter.

  In the Workshop.

The biggest thing that happened in July was finishing the harp guitar that had taken me a long time to build.

To those of you not familiar with harp guitars (and I was one until couple of months ago!) you can see that it has a guitar body and neck with the top of the body extended to support 5 (in this case) bass strings that are fixed in pitch. The customer wanted fanned frets on the guitar neck - see last month's Tech Bit on how to make a fanned fret fingerboard. A few more pics.


As a harp guitar is such an unusual thing I had to spend hours thinking about every stage from drawing the plans to how to hold it when spraying. Both the customer and I were delighted with the result. I'd like to make another one!

There were also, as always, visitors. Liam O'Connor would be best known for his accordion playing but he wanted to see if a parlour guitar might suit him. He showed me a mini concertina that he had made - a beautiful piece of work. Like a parlour guitar the sound it made proves that size isn't everything.


Not In the Workshop.

I met Kieran Power for the first time.


He has opened Inner Chapter  in Castlegregory which offers just about everything that a band/musician could want from recording to production to a label. There is lots of stuff on the website including the impressive list of equipment that he has in the studio. I hope this will draw even more musicians into Castlegregory.

Some nice stuff from customers.

Kieran Eaton looking moody with his fretless 5B.

Tim van Roy giving it some with Belgian band WomenOnTop! 

Denny Ball playing his fretless 4B with Wolfie Witcher in the 1980's. Pub rock days. We both had more hair then!


The Recipe is back!

When we were in Killorglin for KFest we met Maria Tanner Cohen and Eyal her husband. One evening, enjoying a drink with them, Eyal promised me one of Maria's recipes for the Newsletter. And here it is complete with picture.

I'm sorry it took too long, this is a wonderful recipe from Maria, it's very simple but so tasty. I hope you'll like it!

Asparagus Dressing:

One bunch of Asparagus (use the small one)
Mix…Three crushed cloves of garlic One generous teaspoon of Dijon mustard Half a t-spoon of coarse black pepper. Half a t-spoon of pink Himalayan salt. Squeeze half a lime or lemon  mix all ingredients together and then smother asparagus with it.
Pop in the oven till slightly roasted 10-15 min 
Enjoy with rice or risotto, its only fabulous!

  T-Shirts and Straps. 

T-shirts (same old logo) and only in black, M, L, XL and 2XL) available. Price is held at €15 each and postage will depend on where you live. These are going well.



The new batch of the exciting Chris Larkin Custom straps are in stock. These are highest quality Levy's Leathers straps custom made with an embossed leather oval. Price is also €15 with the postal shipping costs depending on where you live.

I can't guarantee that these will improve your playing but they will certainly lift your image!

If you would like to purchase either of these items please contact me and we can sort it out. 


 The Stocklist.

I try to keep some instruments in the workshop for visitors to try. These instruments are also for sale. Here are some pics of what is in stock at the moment. There are more details and pictures on the Stocklist page of the website.A beautiful ASAS Archtop Jazzer  This is an exceptional instrument with the classic combination of spruce and Irish fiddleback sycamore in a cherry sunburst.

An ASAPB5 acoustic bass guitar with back and sides of Irish walnut, adjustable bridge and RMC pickups. This one is amazingly loud acoustically and has that 'woody' sound.

For solid bodied basses there is a Syra 4, passive in fetching pink...


 ...and an SC5 throughneck with headstock in figured Irish maple and all the active EQ trimmings.

These instruments are all available to try if you visit the workshop and if you would like to know more about any of them please contact me and I'll be glad to help.


Syra has entered the following paintings into an on-line competition. Please take a look and  if you feel moved you can give one or all 3 paintings  a vote. You know you should!!!

Here are the links:





For further details about the competition please visit Works selected will be exhibited in Milan. If Syra's works selected she will there too! (and I'll be there as her lovely assistant!)



...Finally, finally...

To complain about the weather would be too easy (it has been awful!) but we did have a few beautiful days. On one of then the sky was blue for 360 degrees almost all day just spoiled by this single, small cloud. But I'm not complaining!


 ....So Finally, Finally, Finally....

If you have any ideas for the Newsletter, would like to send me a recipe, an article for inclusion, want to promote your band (if it has one or more of my instruments in it), an event, pics of your Larkin, any YouTube video of you playing one of my instruments or anything else suitable, contact me and I'll see what I can do.  Feel free to forward this Newsletter to anybody who it might interest. The mailing list can be joined by filling in the form at the bottom of any page on the website.