Without wanting to make too bad a judgment on a different guitar, against the Reid Vaultback, a normal price industry guitar would seems as it were the handicraft of a ten-year old child. Extraordinary, unique, far away from any mainstream and artistically valuable. The Vaultback Halo of DAR is a masterpiece of contemporary lutherie – without ifs and buts. Its unbelievable value as a musical instrument competes with its artistic quality. I am honoured to have been allowed to play a guitar that differs so much from anything known and which leaves such an impression. Considering how rare these creations are, how innovative, refined and special, I want to predict that they will also play a prominent role in the future.

Grand Gtrs Magazine

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Semi retirement from instrument making

Semi retirement from instrument making


Dear all,

It is with the deepest and most heartfelt regret that I am forced to publicly announce my semi-retirement from musical instrument making.

I have kept this fairly quiet, but for the last three years I have developed serious respiratory problems, which have worsened exponentially in the last year.

One year ago I was diagnosed as having severe asthma, but I just knew there was so much more to it than that. My doctors in London were pretty useless to say the very least, but since moving back to Perth my new doctor here has been great; and after only a couple of months wait, I received confirmation of a CT scan of my chest - this was carried-out a couple of weeks ago, and I received the results last week, a consultation with my doctor ensued.

This consultation happened last Wednesday, and it has been confirmed that I do indeed have severe asthma, but it has also been found that I have scattered calcified granulomata scaring in my lungs. This has been caused by severe infections that I have contracted through poor London living conditions, and the asthma with longterm exposure to hazardous materials. I have long known that some timbers cause a bad reaction in me - namely mahogany, cocobolo, ebony, Brazilian cedar, and pear. However, these are just the materials I use that cause "severe" reactions in me. All wood dust has a detrimental effect on my health - and before anyone says or thinks it: yes, of course, I have always worn masks and used other protective measures! It is just inevitable that the dust from any woodworking gets "everywhere", and at some stage you end-up inhaling it. It is plain and simply, unavoidable!

These calcifications could be with me for life now, and they make me seriously susceptible to severe lung infections, which I now get all of the time. I regularly have to have sputum sample screenings, and courses of antibiotics to follow. As you may possibly imagine, this is thoroughly unpleasant, and to compound the problem it was also discovered in my CT scan that I have a sliding hiatus hernia. This it's thought could be a result of my severe coughing and retching all of the time. The hiatus hernia causes me great difficulty in swallowing even water on occasions, and in a couple of instances I have experienced severe choking whilst eating. I have had a gastroscopy and it was also found that I have esophagitis, too.

As aforementioned, this is a semi-retirement from instrument "making" - to greatly reduce my exposure. I hope to continue to make at least one special piece a year, and exhibit somewhere in the world once a year. And I shall be able to continue with all of the instrument repair side of my business, and shall inevitably expand on this in London and Perth, and shall of course still receive instruments for repair from all over the world.

I'd like to stress that I am forever grateful to my current and past customers, and will still of course honour my lifetime guarantee of all instruments to their original owners.

This has been an extraordinarily difficult decision for me to make, not only because of how unbelievably difficult it has been to build-up this business over the last 18 years, but also because I feel I still have so much more to offer the industry in way of innovations.

But, woodworking makes me seriously ill. Of that there can be no doubt, whatsoever. These tropical timbers we use have developed serious poisons to repel some unbelievably formidable insect attack. Wood doesn't want to be guitars, it wants to be trees!

After watching one of my closest relatives pass-away last year at a relatively young age by todays standards, and for my father to have died this year from metastatic prostate cancer at only 67 years old, the thought of me possible only having 24 years left in me has made my decision for me: I need to fix my health, because I want to live a lot longer!! And that means getting away from the causes of the problems. Life is too precious to shorten it through your occupation - there is no point working to live if it kills you!!

As aforementioned, London was also detrimental to my respiratory system. Both because of the pollution and the poor accommodation that so many Londoners have to suffer because of unscrupulous landlords. It is yet to be found whether one particular damp property was the soul cause of my calcifications as I suspect it was, but regardless, they are there now, and my lungs are weakened by them.

Thank you very much for all of your custom and support over the last 18 years. Stay healthy everyone, it just isn't worth it not to!!

Sincere regards,


Written: Monday May 25th, 12:16pm 2015