‘The Family Tree’ - Model M in ‘The Tree’ and Swiss ‘Moon’ Spruce, dedicated to Grandy Norman / by Tom Sands

Last week was a super exciting time in the workshop, as the building of a very special project came to an end. Not only do we think this guitar is one of the most aesthetically beautiful instruments ever built in the TS shop, but it’s backstory is particularly close to our hearts.

These Robson tuning plates with hand engraved detail and snakewood buttons brought the guitar to a standard above and beyond expectation.

These Robson tuning plates with hand engraved detail and snakewood buttons brought the guitar to a standard above and beyond expectation.

This guitar was made in memory of Tom’s late grandfather, ‘Grandy Norm’ who was the person responsible for Tom first picking up a chisel. ‘He could fix anything with a piece of string’, and spent many a weekend with Tom passing on his practical knowledge. Subsequently when Tom first embarked upon his career as a luthier, Grandy Norm proudly decided that he’d like Tom to build him a guitar one day. Sadly he passed away in 2017, but his wish to have a Tom Sands instrument was never forgotten. Tom finished this special guitar last week, and Granny Marg took delivery of it this weekend on behalf of Norm. Tom held off putting the strings on for the first time in order for Granny Marg to be there to see it sing for the first time.

Gluing the bridge

Gluing the bridge

Final fretwork preparations

Final fretwork preparations

Someone forgot to remove the label protector!

Someone forgot to remove the label protector!

One happy Granny

One happy Granny

We dug up some old photos of Norm and Tom at work together from way back when in honour of the occasion…

Tom & Norm circa 2007

Tom & Norm circa 2007

Norm popping in to inspect #001

Norm popping in to inspect #001

This project came together beautifully - here are a few workshop photos to document the progress, so Granny Marg was kept fully in the loop.

Of course, she came over first to inspect the raw materials.

Of course, she came over first to inspect the raw materials.

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We hope this guitar is celebrated, held and played as much as possible as Norm would have wanted; so don’t forget to come and give it a go at Sonore, if you’re there. If not, we hope to see you soon! We’ll no doubt put up a more comprehensive build diary in the not too distant future, in the meantime keep your eyes peeled over on Instagram and Facebook for videos and studio photos!

Have you built / commissioned an heirloom guitar yet? Drop us a photo or a comment if you already have, or tell us your dream specification for someone special.

TS <3