The Year This Year... / by Tom Sands



As the year 2018 draws to a close, we wanted to share with all friends and supporters of Tom Sands Guitars a newsletter of what exciting things have been happening over the previous year. The business has grown enormously, and could not have done so without your support; at shows, at events, online and as friends of the guitar. January 2018 saw the first guitar out of the brand new Tom Sands UK workshop, and this year has seen the growth of the business into new heights of opportunity. 


 The first of the 'shop outings' of the year began in March, when Tom was invited to exhibit at the V&A museum in London. He displayed his work as a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust scholar, to represent British craft at it's finest. It seemed that the guitars made a striking impression amongst the London design elite, and Tom was subsequently invited to exhibit at both Carpenter's Hall and David Linley's Belgravia showroom in May in celebration of London Craft Week, where he gave live voicing demos. The guitars were befittingly on display for a discussion of the sensory experience of craft, with the 'How To Spend It' expert Nicholas Foulkes chairing. Champagne flowed (thankfully not anywhere near the guitars) and Lord Snowdon himself had a whirl on the newest Model S. 

Linley Showroom with Horologists Craig and Rebecca Struthers, and Designer Silversmith Wayne Meeten.

Linley Showroom with Horologists Craig and Rebecca Struthers, and Designer Silversmith Wayne Meeten.

     Though London in itself be a far-flung place for a Yorkshireman, the Holy Grail Guitar Show was not to be missed, and so the guitars were carried out to Berlin before Linley managed to borrow them for his showroom. While the guitars Tom brought to the Holy Grail Guitar Showwere already spoken for, the buzz around his table was incredibly humbling - although, this may be down to the fact Will McNicol was performing mini demos to everyone who stopped by to have a look. Will also played a rather more organised demo on Tom's guitars, and many friends, old and new, were met. Thank you to all who made it such a wonderful trip. 
     As if Berlin wasn't far enough to travel, August demanded a trip to across the pond for the delivery of a Model S and a Model M. Of course, it only made sense to tie this trip in with a visit to the Vancouver International Guitar Festival in Canada. The Model S and Model M were displayed, as in Berlin, in their element among some of the world's top luthiers, and after the show were transported over to San Diego to a very happy client. Will performed an exclusive house concert on the two guitars for their client, which will no doubt be remembered from all parties as a very special evening.


     Despite all this excitement, the workshop (and Tom's creativity) were keen to gather the right kind of dust, and with a full order book the start of some very special projects were underway. Five bespoke builds; two to be the first Model M guitars, two Model S, and one Baritone Model L. The volume of work at hand twinned with the dedication necessary to make each build special meant that the company was in need of a helping hand.
     After approaching Tom on instagram, Daisy Tempest managed to secure a much coveted position as 'Creative Assistant', based at the workshop to observe and learn about build processes, capture regular and informative images of build progressions for clients and focus upon growing the company's social media presence. Together, Tom and Daisy ensure you get your dose of 'The Week This Week', the weekly shop update series, various 'Wood in Focus' educational videos and a multitude of short video tips and advice for aspiring luthiers and clients alike. Our goal is to embed the company with as much value as possible in line with the high level of craftsmanship and dedication that goes into a Tom Sands Guitar. Not long after Daisy joined, another assistant came to the workshop - Juno may have four legs and a tail, but her services as 'wood procurement officer' have been invaluable.


     With a broader team and order board in 2018, the company was honoured to accept more press coverage opportunities both internationally and in the UK. In February, Spanish magazine 'Guitar Fair' reached out to Tom to do an article paying homage to his 'minimalist y refinado' philosophy. Later this year, Tom and his new assistant Daisy were featured in Country Life Magazine's 'Living National Treasure' feature. Subsequently, Tom was invited to appear in 'A Celebration of British Craftsmanship' by Julian Calder and Karen Bennett, a book comprising of 100 of the top craftsmen and women in the UK, sponsored by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust.      
While the company flourished outside the world of high-end guitars in it's own right, the reputation within the world of fine instruments was not diminishing. In July, Tom joined the ranks of the other world-class luthiers represented by The North American Guitar in London and celebrated their official partnership with 'An Evening With Tom Sands' hosted in their showroom earlier this month. Will McNicol played a demo concert on Tom's Cedar Model L (appearing on Will's new album released next year) and Tom partook in a Q&A session. Thank you to all those who came, and it was a wonderful way to close the year. 


     We hope that your 2018 has been as filled with positivity, growth and wonderful people as ours at Tom Sands Guitars has been, and we look forward to sharing the next year with you!

This Model L is currently available from The North American Guitar.

This Model L is currently available from The North American Guitar.