General News

January 2011 News Update

Gordon with Sir Cliffs 1973 Custom Fylde

Photo ©  Dave Ellison

An old Friend

An old friend in the form of a 1973 FYLDE custom acoustic that I gave to Sir Cliff Richard in 1996, is temporarily on loan to me for a possible exhibition. This guitar can be seen on that Top of the Pops clip of me on YOUTUBE playing Heartsong. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful guitars that I ever owned. Why did I part with it? I keep asking myself that very question! Anyway it’s lovely having it back in my hands for a short while and I plan to do some recording with it and of course have loads of pictures taken for a future news page.

Update: It was suggested that the only thing missing from the original of this photo was a robin - so by the wonder of technology, as requested, Gordon with guitar plus robin !!

More GG Vintage guitar news

The general enthusiasm surrounding my guitar continues.

That fine guitarist and writer Paul Brett has given the GG 12 string the thumbs up and has created a short DVD where he plays and sings a selection of pieces in different styles to give folk a really good idea of what it can do.

In the current issue of GEAR magazine a full page has been given over to my guitar along with a feature on our friend Billy Hawkins of the incredibly successful vocal group The Fishermans Friends. Whilst we were down in Port Isaac in the summer I told Billy about the guitar and he was very keen to get hold of one. He is now the proud owner of the VEGG 2000 and absolutely loves it!

Also in the magazine is a lovely letter from our friend Russ Gannicott who bought one for his son Ashley for his 16th birthday. Needless to say Ash was over the moon with it. Russ said.”To be honest, every guitar player should buy one”

You can view the electronic version of the magazine below. Mouse -over and click to view in full screen.

I recently recorded a brand new piece using the GG and the result was stunning. This guitar continues to amaze and surprise me!

There is also a slim chance that one of THE most famous guitar players on the planet may be getting his hands on one soon. Watch this space.

Rob Armstrong fund raising plans

Plans continue to help raise funds for Rob Armstrong in an effort to put a few coins back in his pocket after the huge outlay for a new workshop. A very good friend of ours (I shan’t mention his name because he would probably get embarrassed by it) has donated nearly £600 towards new tools for the great man. In this months Acoustic Magazine there are details of the fund raising auction for Rob along with a photograph of the two instruments up for grabs. A tenor guitar made by Dave Hodson and a VE 2000GG kindly donated by JHS. This auction, along with the March 26th concert should help towards Rob rebuilding his life again.

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The good news is that Rob will have completed his first instrument since the fire way back in the summer. The irony is that Rob’s new workshop is far superior to his old one, but obviously there would have been no need to create a new one if it hadn’t been for the fire. It is an ill wind indeed! Long may Rob continue to create wonderful instruments for many years to come. Both he and his partner Sheila have showed incredible fortitude in the face of this heartbreaking episode in their lives. We are all very proud of them.

Recent concerts

There were four concerts worth mentioning in December. The first one being The Great British Folk Festival in Skegness. The last time that I was at Butlins in Skegness was with my two children Jamie and Sadie in 1981. My then girlfriend at the time thought it would be a great idea for me and the kids to spend some time together just the three of us. Believe it or not the Butlins experience was  was fun!

Since that time the place has had a complete facelift. We attended with friends Cath and Geoff Olner and Sue and Mike Holton. It was great to see old friends Hunter Muskett who opened the festival on a very cold Friday evening. They played a lovely set and were followed by The Strawbs who likewise did a great job. Once again it was good to see my old bass player Chas Cronk and guitarist Dave Lambert again after so many years. Also lovely to see Jerry Donaghue and Doug Morter again so soon after Ullapool.

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I thought it would be good to catch part of Donovan’s set. I even plucked up enough courage to try and chat to him backstage, so during the interval I went back to see if this was possible. I gave my name to security and they passed it on to Don who said “yes it would be nice to chat after the show”, so I returned later only to find that he had left pretty much straight after the concert. Hey Ho, I obviously wasn’t meant to meet the great man!

Photo © Cath Olner

For obvious reasons I am the last person to comment on my performance on Sunday afternoon. All I can say is that it was a thrill to be playing in front of two thousand plus people and to have been so well received. I think we can say that the whole festival was a great success and I sincerely hope they do it again at the same venue.
Comments about Gordon at the Festival found online include:

For me, the highlight was Gordon Giltrap. A brilliant technical set as you would expect (but was it folk or prog rock)

What a great weekend- Gordon Giltrap proved that the rest of us strummers and pickers are mere mortals.

Sunday afternoon opened with Gordon Giltrap who was outstanding

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Thoroughly enjoyed Gordon Giltrap

Gordon Giltrap (Awesome)

Giltrap was fab

Gordon Giltrap was also a surprise joy

Loved Gordon's set, breathtakingly beautiful

Gordon Giltrap was bloody wonderful !

A big thumbs up also to Gordon Giltrap

Gordon Giltrap was stunning

Highspots for me included Gordon Giltrap with a really terrific set
The wonderful Gordon Giltrap who started off day three with some breathtaking guitar wizardry.

Oh yes, Gordon Giltrap - amazing guitar wizardry and I can't quite fathom how he does all those different clever technical things at the same time and keeps it all in sync. I thought men couldn't multi-task?

Photo © I. Blenkinsop

Private Concert in Hertfordshire

On Friday the 10th of December I played at a surprise concert for a lovely guy called Pete to celebrate his 60th birthday. This surprise evening was organised by his daughter Heather along with the rest of the family. It was held in a little scout hut and the atmosphere was truly lovely. I played a public concert the following night but for me personally I enjoyed the Friday show that much more. Maybe because it was a family affair and I just love being a part of a special memory for people. Hilary and I would like to thank the family for looking after us so well.

Pete writes:

"On Friday evening I had the biggest surprise of my life when I walked into our local scout hut to attend a surprise party for a friend's 60th birthday only to find the hall full of my friends and relations who were there for my 60th birthday party!

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The surprise didn't end there as Gordon appeared from the back of the hall, walked over, shook hands and wished me a happy birthday.

This was the start of a fantastic evening as Gordon entertained myself, friends and family to some superb music and humourous stories. Although I have been to many of Gordon's concerts over the last 25 years or so this was a very special and unforgettable evening.

Everyone was mesmerised by Gordon's guitar playing and no one wanted the music to stop.

I am sure he has gained a few more fans.

Gordon, a big thank you from us all."
Bramall Hall Stockport

For Hilary and I Christmas begins with Bramall Hall and stopping with our friend Julie and Brian Booth in Macclesfield. As each year goes by one continues to be grateful for being able to continue in good health and for the venue to continue hosting these concerts. Bramall was a really special night for me in spite of a rotten cold. We just hope that recent cutbacks generally won’t affect any future appearances at this beautiful Tudor venue.
Coolham Village Hall 11th Dec 2010

Review by Keith Meredith

Saturday 11th December found us in West Sussex incorporating a Gordon Giltrap concert into a pre-Christmas weekend away. We were welcomed warmly by Hilary and The Man Himself and in turn greeted webmistress Sue Holton and hubby Mike who arrived hot on our tail from Kent.

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Unusually there were other musicians warming up when we arrived and we soon understood why. A local ensemble who called themselves ”The Maypole Band” struck up to entertain the assembling audience with some English country folk.

The unusual line up consisted of flute, banjo, piano accordion, concertina, fiddle and double bass. This combination worked; and the uplifting and jolly sounds caused feet to tap and smiles to appear on faces – and was a lovely overture to the main business of the evening.

The group is organized as a part of the Coolham Acoustic Club by gig organizer, Gary Holder, who was keen to encourage anyone to have a go.

After a short interval, Mr. Giltrap took centre stage, and commenced doing what he does so well – making people happy with his wonderful music. Those assembled were enveloped in its spell as Gordon again demonstrated mastery of his art, and were cheered by his anecdotes , commentary and reminiscences from a long and successful career.

Favourite tunes included ‘Shining Morn’ ( I love the melodious tones of the fan fretted 12 string guitar) and ‘Maddie Goes West’

Of special interest was a new piece of music, “Fiona’s Smile”. Special not only because it is a delightful original work in its own right, but also because it was composed for my beloved wife – and this was the first time she had heard it played live.

It had been a long-standing ambition of mine to commission Gordon to create a homage to my spouse of some thirty odd years - and I am very pleased that my trust and confidence in his talents and abilities were far from misplaced. The Troubadour has produced an outstanding tune that perfectly reflects Fiona’s personality and manner. I think Gordon is quietly proud of his work too.

During a second interval we enjoyed free tea, mince pies and a duet consisting of concertina and double bass – AND a rendition of ‘Tuba Smarties’ ( a la Herbie Flowers of Sky fame ) by Gary Holder.

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Following the customary raffle, ( balloon modelled Christmas tree any one ? ) Mr.G continued to astound those gathered with his technical and artistic abilities with wood and wire. Memories of the 1960’s were invoked by the inclusion of “ Ives Horizon “ ( that 12 string again ) and Gordon’s smashing version of Davy Graham’s 'Angie' - and all too soon the final medley of Gordon’s greatest hit, - Heartsong, - heralded the close of proceedings.

Responding to the calls for more, the encore, unusually, was not Lucifer’s Cage – the nearest thing to heavy metal that the acoustic instrument gets – but the more reflective ‘Tears of Joy’.

Gordon Giltrap has an extraordinary talent that has rightly earned him the respect and admiration of his peers – the best in the music business. However, I am convinced that his success is also due to his genuine, self-deprecating manner that earns him the affection of his many fans. The world is a better place for his music.

Four Parts Guitar

I along with Clive Carroll, Raymond Burley and John Etheridge are putting the finishing touches to our debut CD to be released to coincide with our 2011 tour. I have contributed brand new recordings of the following pieces: The Dodo’s Dream, Maddie Goes West, Five Dollar guitar, A Dublin Day. I shall also be contributing a brand new piece, Fiona’s Smile commissioned by Mr Keith Meredith for his beloved wife who is of course Fiona! See below for more info and to download the track.

Fiona's Smile

One of the pleasures of what I do is composing special pieces for special people, and those of you who have bought Shining Morn will see that quite a few of the pieces on that album fall under this banner.

Keith Meredith commissioned me to compose something for his beloved wife Fiona, and Keith bless him was incredibly patient with me and the creative process. It can take me months to compose something that I feel fits what the person wants and also MUST stand up as a piece worthy of the public domain.

I am delighted to present to you this special composition Fiona’s Smile. I recorded the whole thing here at my home studio and then took it over to the great Paul White for final polishing and the addition of strings at the tail end of the piece.

I’m certain that Keith and Fiona won’t mind me sharing this Giltrap offering to the world at large as a download. I recorded this piece on my brand new Vintage Gordon Giltrap signature guitar and I am personally delighted with the results proving that this guitar is a winner, and certainly worthy of the outstanding reviews it has received from the musical instrument industry at large!

My thanks go to Keith for commissioning it and having the patience to bear with me!

If you would like to hear Fiona's Smile we have made it available for you to download here you will need to enter the password Smile when prompted to unlock the file.


Hope you saw it and that it too raised a smile!

Happy New Year all,