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Kit Jon French

making the wood sing

I play and build guitars, but some of the tropical hardwoods used in their production have been over-exploited, causing significant environmental damage. I therefore, use mostly salvaged, reclaimed or recycled materials in my hand-made guitars and ensure that for every one I sell at least 10 trees get planted, thus creating a legacy that will continue long into the future.

ABOUT ME

Hi, my name is Kit Jon French
and guitars are my life!

I love to listen to them, I love to play them and more than anything - I love to build them.

I started my guitar business in 2009, operating from my garden shed. However, after the success of my first classical acoustic commission it became obvious that I needed bigger premises, so I moved to my current workshop in the Old Sawmill at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park in beautiful south-east Cornwall. 

The wood I use is important to me; its grain, its density, its moisture content and hardness all contribute to the tone, feel, and sound of a guitar – but equally important is the source and providence of the wood I use.  As a principle therefore, I only use salvaged, reclaimed or recycled timber in production.  This is to ensure that no tree has specifically been cut down to make any of my guitars   I donate all the profits from the sale of my guitars to tree planting projects both locally and around the world, for example Maya 2020 in Belize or Rame Woodland CIC in Cornwall. I also teach local people the art of guitar making from reclaimed timber to help conserve precious forests and woodlands.

I build new electric and acoustic guitars on commission only either bespoke or one of my established designs. I also undertake repairs and customise instruments to order, using only the best quality sustainable materials and components.  As a one man show I can guarantee top quality instruments rivalling any of the big names.

Why not look around this web site or visit my workshop and please feel free to contact me.

GUITARS

Two of the latest guitars from Kit Jon French.

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Kit SixtyTwo

I took my inspiration for the KIT SIXTYTWO from the great American icons of the fifties and sixties. 

Specifications:

This guitar is built with a solid single piece African Mahogany body with a Maple neck and Rosewood fretboard all salvaged from a stately home. The neck is attached with threaded stainless-steel bolts into brass inserts embedded in the heel.

Electrics are two Bare Knuckle PAF single coils, custom CTS pots, custom Jensen capacitor and an Oak Grigsby four-way switch offering bridge, both in parallel, neck, and both in series.

Hardware is from Callaham consisting of nickel plated hard tail ST type bridge strung through body into stainless ferrules. Machine heads are also nickel plated Callaham slotted Klusons. Plastics are ’54 replica ‘Bakelite’ Pickup covers, knobs and switch tip.

Nitocellulose lacquer. Supplied with a Hiscox LiteFlite case.

Base price: £1600

Model shown: £1650

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Kit AC1 Prototype

Specification:

This beautiful small bodied acoustic steel string guitar is built with Claro Walnut back and sides, old growth Sitka Spruce ladder braced soundboard, American Black Walnut neck with Macassar Ebony fretboard and peg head plate, flamed Maple bindings and Tulip Wood rosette.

Base price: £1600

Model shown: £1850

TREE PLANTING PROJECTS

BELIZE

Salvaged Timber Guitars

Last year I travelled to Belize in Central America.  I have travelled throughout the Caribbean and Central America before but never to this small country on the Yucatan Peninsula.  I was immediately struck at how much native forest cover remained compared to neighbouring countries, however I was equally saddened to see that illegal logging was well underway close to the border with Guatemala.  The forest is an integral part of the wider forest called the Selva Maya which is an important habitat for an extraordinary diversity of endemic and endangered species including the Jaguar and Scarlet Macaw.

However, the entire Selva Maya has come under increasing pressure as human populations have, over the last 40 years, grown.  The subsequent decline in forest cover is due to fires, illegal logging, gold mining and the advancing agricultural frontiers of cattle ranching.   The ecological and economic impact caused by this destruction is immense on a local and regional basis.  The extraction methods used by the illegal loggers, for example, is very crude and extremely wasteful with approximately 30% of the commercial value of every tree felled left to rot on the forest floor. I have also been able to source some old growth mahogany and rosewood in Belize that had sunk to the bottom of a lagoon over 150 years ago, when Belize was known as British Honduras and exploited for its excellent trees.  The original timber had sunk before being loaded on to ships destined for England to be distributed to Chippendales sawmills or other similar destination.  

In collaboration with the conservation project Maya 2020, I am now teaching local people from surrounding villages how to make guitars from the salvaged timber.  We aim to sell these to fund and support a reforestation project and restore these bountiful majestic giants of the forest. As the timber has been perfectly preserved in near anaerobic conditions, it now makes wonderful instruments with unbelievable tone and grain.

 

Further information can be found at www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/music-tree-guitars

 

Kits Guitars

Mount Edgcumbe House and Gardens
Cremyll
Cornwall
PL10 1HZ
United Kingdom.

 
 

Contact Me

If you're interested in any of my services then please use this form to contact me and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

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