Kif has been making limited production and experimental Guitars for over 45 years. At an early stage, he discovered that there were many hows, but no whys, with regard to Guitar building. 'My Grandfather did it like this, and now, so do I'. So, combining his design background and an almost intuitive application of applied physics / mechanics with a 'blending-in' of a fascination for the organic structures found in nature's engineering, he started to design Acoustic Guitars from first principles. Tradition is all very well, but it can tend to become 'Fossilized', and it is easy for the guitar maker's best friend to become his dogma.
History is punctuated by great innovators: Stradivarius, Torres, Panormo, Staufer, Maccaferri, Leo Fender et alia. However it is sad to see their genius becoming the next dogma. It is very pleasing to note that over the last few years, many Luthiers are experimenting with other radical ideas. The nature of Music itself, and the relationships within the harmonic series of the vibrating string further reflect ratios and dimensions which are directly applicable to the structure of musical instruments.
The philosophy behind the design process is threefold. The instrument must perform with the fullest balance of volume and tonal qualities. It must demand to be played. It must be visually beautiful. These three qualities are twisted together as in a strand of rope. From many experiments with form and materials, including the infamous J Cloth Special: a bowl-back made from J Cloth reinforced resin in 1972, and experiments to build lighter and lighter instruments - only one has ever imploded !! ...A range of superb acoustic instruments has finally evolved.
If perfection could be attained,
it would not be worth striving for.
Having lived from the age of four in a beautiful medieval yeoman's house surrounded by woodland, Kif quickly gained a fascination and deep respect for the natural world in all it's forms.
Early observations of the symmetry and superlative engineering structures found in shells and plants etc., have had a profound effect on all his design work.
Having frequently visited the Natural History Museum in London and admired the skeletal reconstructions of various animals, at the age of 10, upon the discovery of a copious quantity of Barn Owl 'pellets', he removed the bones of mice, voles and shrews and with the aid of thin wire and glue, managed to rebuild the miniature skeletons to duplicate the Museum displays.
With a civil engineer for a stepfather, he was taught to use any and all available tools to design and make things under the motto: 'You haven't learned anything until you've got your hands dirty!'
At the age of 14 he was building Go Karts (and a water kart!) and stripping and modifying 2 stroke engines. Lawnmowers suddenly cut the grass twice as fast for a week and then blew up!
After a brief spell in the Queens Dragoon Guards as a 'Short Service' officer, he attended college and gained his qualifications as an Industrial Designer in Engineering.
Having become disillusioned by the world of ID, Kif spent a year as a mechanic and test driver in an import garage in London to gain hands-on experience of practical motor engineering. Then, he met and worked with Dan Armstrong, genius musician and designer of radical electric guitars and amplification.
Consequently, Dan's influence, and a love of music in all it's forms led Kif to build his first guitar.
He moved to West Cornwall in 1970, and to finance his self-teaching was employed as a boat builder and marine engineer. Further part time work involved fitting kitchens, interior design and decoration and making replica Art Deco furniture for a shop in New York.
Since then he has made over 300 instruments of various types, built cars and designed boats.
He writes songs and music, makes jewellery, breeds tropical butterflies, and enjoys sailing as fast as possible.
His great desire is to make guitars that take their owners into new areas of creativity.
His even greater desire, is to inspire and enthuse people of all ages
into the wonders and delights of the natural, real world
and the common factor that binds all things: Music.