Richard Durrant launches his "neolithic" guitar

Shoreham guitar virtuoso Richard Durrant offers a hometown concert to celebrate two remarkable new instruments.

Thursday, 15th September 2016, 11:57 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:57 am

“I’m playing my brand-new concert guitar made out of a 5,000-year-old tree. It’s so beautiful,” explains Richard who will be playing the concert unplugged and in the round. “Also I am playing my new tenor guitar made in Ditchling and with a silver Uffington horse on the headstock, The Uffington Tenor.”

In effect, Richard’s show at the Ropetackle on September 24 at 8pm, will be a taster of his Stringhenge tour next year.

It all adds up to an exciting time for Richard.

“I have only just got the 5,000-year-old one. This is brand-new for me. The tree was growing in north Norfolk 5,000 years ago in an area that was flooded, and it ended up being buried in the silty mud. It was dug up about three or four years ago, and they have a way now of kiln-drying the wood.

“It was built by Gary Southwell who comes from Lincolnshire. He is very interested in English history. He has got English longdogs and birds of prey, but he is above all a top, top maker. Paul Simon has just bought one of his guitars.

“This is an extraordinary guitar. It sounds wonderful. The back and sides are the bog oak. You have effectively got a Neolithic instrument, and it feels like no other guitar. It has got a floating neck. There are carbon fibre robs that support the neck. There is even a little arm rest that keeps your arm away from the sound board. And it has just got a clarity and a projection that I have never encountered before!”

The skill that has got into its making is the skill you gain in a lifetime, Richard says: “He is about my age, maybe a couple of years younger, and you just don’t make a guitar like that without an awful lot of experience. It is a wonderful thing. This instrument really is as good as it gets.”

Richard will be showcasing it alongside another new instrument, this one made by Ian Chisholm of Ditchling, The Uffington Tenor, a tenor guitar with a silver Uffington horse on the headstock.

“What I am doing for the first time is a first full concert with these beautiful two new instruments. I want to try them out in a full-length gig before the tour next year.”

Box office: 01273 464440.

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