UK Blues Guitar maker Tonk Bros have made a series of major modifications to the construction of their parlour Blues Guitar. Tonk Bros owner Mark Ellis decided to make the guitar even more authentic - in keeping with the early Blues instruments which inspired the Tonk Bros range which inspired the Tonk Bros range.
The modifications include
Multi Laminated Neck
Hand Shaped Triangular neck profile
Mortise and Tenon Neck Joint
Thinner top and back
"The overall construction has changed" says Mark. "Originally we CNC machined thick plywood to give a one-piece top and back. It was a truly different way of building guitars integrating all the structural top and back parts into the design. Our neck was finished by CNC also" but Mark goes on, "now it's made of individual part, including the bracing and the kerfing, and then constructed with the traditional method of guitar building. The neck is made using a multi laminated build method. this combined with carbon fibre reinforcement , gives the neck superb strength and stability. Our original model used a screwed neck fitting. We now a mortise and tenon joint which I find gives a greater transfer of sustain and tone between the neck and body. It's well engineered and by hand profiling the neck to a slightly triangular shape it feels just like the old guitars"
Mark continues "we have a guitar which is lighter , louder and has a great blues sound. One thing that hasn't changed though is that we won't use any timber unless it has come from a proven sustainable source- that will never change. We only use premium grade birch ply from a managed resource"
There are two things Mark finds amusing. Firstly, some think that the guitar is made in the Far East and sent to the UK for assembly.
"Absolutely not" says Mark. "The timber components are made in Suffolk by a specialist engineering company"
Secondly, some seem to think that he has a large mechanised factory with a production line.
"Nothing like it" laughs Mark. "It's a shed. Admittedly a nice shed, well insulated with proper machinery and tools. I call it the Blues Shed. The guitars are all built by hand, a few at a time - a limited production. All hand finished and then distressed. The extent of the distressing is dependent on how I'm feeling that day - from slight to major. they'll never be two the same"
"One thing for sure though" says Mark. "If you want a blues guitar to tell your story......... we make it"