Bricks and Mortar

This is a very sobering piece of research; especially given our electric and heating bills have recently doubled and fuel is almost £2/litre.

Traditional retailers are paying 755% more in business rates than their digital competitors, according to new analysis.
Real estate advisory firm Altus Group says that for every £100 earned by most retailers in Great Britain (excluding non-store sales and fuel) £2.91 is owed to local councils in business rates.

For large online-only retailers, however, total business rates per £100 in sales are just 34p.

In addition to this, we have to ensure we are not being undercut by these online retailers for things like pickups, strings, and other accessories such as Spring and nail kits, or even our giftware which means our margins are cut to the bone.


We have a guitar in our showroom that we affectionately refer to as the OAT or, very occasionally, the OATY and we often get asked why.

The guitar is question is a Catherwood parlour guitar which, much to our astonishment, we’ve had in the showroom for a little while now. The reason for it’s name is that it is made from Celtic sacred woods – the oak, ash, and thorn – with a yew finger board (hence the occasional OATY).

It is an amazing sounding instrument which packs a punch belying it’s petite size. You can check out more details on it here or simply book an appointment to try it out for yourself.

To oil or not to oil…

… That is the question.

We hear a lot about the use of lemon oil on finger boards with the two camps firmly entrenched with their opposing views of “it does no harm” and “avoid like the plague”.

Even our luthiers have differing views; but they make sense when you realise you are dealing with very different woods.
If, for example, you are the proud owner of a Catherwood Guitar you’ll know that master luthier John uses lemon oil on his finger boards. This is because he uses more unusual native Irish woods that are more open grained than ebony. Even then, he recommends using it sparingly and you must ensure all the excess is wiped off to avoid damaging the frets and fret markers.

Maurice Dupont takes the opposite view, even with his rosewood finger boards, and recommends avoiding lemon oil. He selects extremely close grained ebony for his finger boards and recommends you wipe it down after every use to keep yours in good condition. The same advice is applied to his rosewood finger boards; but, being slightly more open grained, they might need a very occasional oiling – once or twice a year maximum – with linseed or very good quality olive oil. Again, be sure to wipe off all the excess.