Our Story

We’ll start with David in 1974. As a teenager he made his first guitar with the help of a family friend. We still have it, its pretty basic and its pretty heavy..
1976-1979 David studied instrument making in South Wales. Tutors providing inspiration were Allan Shiers, renowned harp maker and Bernard Richardson. They provided the essential platform for understanding hand construction and acoustics.

After finishing college David set up his own workshop in and around Croydon with the idea to make more of the hand carved semi-acoustic guitar he designed and made at college. He also worked a brief stint in Andy’s Guitar Shop, Denmark Street around 1980/81 in the basement repair shop.

In 1982 Christie Moore commissioned a bouzouki for Donal Lunny after seeing a prototype. The bouzouki is seen here being played by Donal at the BBC Records with Christie. More of these Irish bouzouki’s have been made over the years for other notable musicians.

Up until 1985 he also assisted Hohner UK at their premises in Coldharbour Lane with QC and guitar brand developments, primarily for products made by overseas manufacturer Saehan, South Korea.

Another example of Dave’s work is this classical guitar built in 1983 which won an award in the annual Woodworker Show.

1986 Fender. Looking after QC in the UK with the reintroduction of American made instruments, carrying out customer and artist repairs and the initial prototype for the switching logic, and a prototype birds eye maple topped telecaster, in what would become a Fender Custom Shop model – the Jerry Donahue Signature Telecaster.

Dave also worked at the Fender UK custom shop and Artist Relations centre at Nomis Studios in London.

During his time at Fender Dave was commissioned to make a ‘tapboard’ for Francis Dunnery’s ‘It Bites’.

After leaving Fender in 1993 Dave worked for Kaman, the owners of Ovation, Hamer, and Trace Elliot. Work took him on factory visits and attendance at A.S.I.A symposium in Pennsylvania. The nearby Martin factory in Nazareth was an irresistible trip out.

In 1995-99 Dave returned to his own workshop to carry out repairs and make custom instruments, such as this 000 type commission in Brazilian rosewood.
He also developed early prototypes of his own electric guitar, the Dola.

After that and until 2009 Dave worked part week on Takamine guitars while continuing to create his own instruments and completing commissions. Lots of mandolins both electric and acoustic were made.

2009-2014 Dave returned to Fender UK to work in their repair department.

Shortly after this Dave moved his workshop to Woodford, Northamptonshire where we are still based now. Since then he has worked on one-off commissions, lots of repair work for musicians far and wide, and turning our attention to creating and reviving our own brand, with Charles.

So this is where Charles joins the story.
He made his first instrument, a soprano ukulele, in rippled and bird’s eye maple before starting university in 2017.

In 2021 after finishing university in Coventry studying product design Charles joins Farmiloe Instruments and we start developing our own ideas and fine tuning our skills.

In 2022 We handbuilt and finished run of Gatekeeper mandolins in English Walnut, making these instruments by hand, side by side.

So nowadays we have re-equipped our workshop and have brought new technologies and skills learnt through Charles’ degree into the business, such as CAD/CAM to grow and provide our customers with precision made instruments.