Toon Guitars by Steve Toon Interview
NAME: Steve Toon – Toon Guitars
LIVING IN : Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
TRAINING & BACKGROUND: I first trained as a cabinet maker and then went to the London College of Furniture where I studied early fretted instruments, after this it was the usual trial and error experimenting to arrive where I am now.
PLAYING: I used to play Classical guitar and also electric guitar but I have not really played much following an accident to my thumb and first finger a long time ago
NAME OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL BAND : I didn’t really have a band I used to jam with friends some of whom had bands
LUTHIER YOU ADMIRE THE MOST: I was influenced a lot in my early days by Herman Hauser and Daniel Friedrich
INSTRUMENT YOU DREAM TO HAVE ONE DAY: Hauser 1 guitar
LAST ALBUM YOU BOUGHT: The Perfect Miles Davis Collection – 20 original albums
LAST MUSIC SONG YOU PUT IN YOUR CAR: Emotion and Commotion by Jeff Beck
LAST SHOW YOU WENT TO : Robin Nolan trio
MOST IMPRESSIVE INSTRUMENT YOU EVER HAD IN HAND: 1967 Houser Guitar
MOST STRANGE RESTORATION OR REPAIR YOU HAD TO DO : restore a 1960 Strat for a widow so that it could be buried with her husband in playable condition
When I design or build a guitar I am always looking to improve on the last guitar, I always look through my wood for what I think will work best for the guitar. If I am designing a new model I always start with the scale length and the neck dimensions before moving on to body shape air volume etc.
My main production is Concert Classical guitars both traditional construction and double top.
I am also quite well known as a builder of Gypsy Jazz guitars and build both oval hole, D hole and my own Hybrid Design which is called Montpellier.
The most important to me is my standard concert classical guitar based on a Hauser guitar which I repaired a long time ago.
I have been building this model a long time but it still gives me a lot of pleasure.
I do not build exact replica copies as I like to bring in my own idea, sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t but I am always trying to build the next guitar better.
I am always looking for a good tonal balance which is even across all strings but with a good depth of tone, volume and sustain.
I think the most important thing when building a guitar is the wood for the soundboard and then how you work the wood and bracing to get the best tone and volume.
The next most important thing is the geometry to achieve good playability.
I build most of my guitars for sale direct to dealers or customers and prefer that customers come and try the guitars I have rather than build to commission.
I do not build many guitars to commission , I prefer to build the guitar and let the customer choose what they like.
If someone wants a guitar with specific details like neck width or neck profile I will do this based on a standard guitar. Customers can also come and choose their own wood under my guidance.
I have built a few guitars for fairly well know musicians John Etheridge Gordon Giltrap, Chris Quinn but as most of my guitars go to dealers around the world I don’t always know where they end up.
I do not think there is any great difference between luthiers here in the UK or in other countries around the world we are mostly individuals working on our own in small workshops.
It is said that classical guitars by UK builders have an English sound but I am not sure.
My instruments can be purchased direct from me or from various dealers, London Guitar Studio, Classical Guitar Academy, Intersound guitars, Classical Guitars Copenhagen.
I always try to have some guitars for customers to try at my workshop but this is not always possible as they usually sell quicker than I can make them.
I also participate in various guitar festivals and will post details on my social media. T
he next show I will attend is Shrewsbury Jazz Fest where I will present my Gypsy Jazz guitars and answer audience questions about my guitars
We also invite you to follow him on his various social networks:
In the coming weeks, as for others luthiers for plucked string instruments, luthiers for bowed string instruments, amps & effects makers, wood & supplies dealers, lutherie events, jobs, schools & teachers subscribers on our site, you will be able to follow our series of mini-interviews dedicated to the fascinating world of luthiers.
See you soon…
If you are passionate about the world of luthiers, join us!