Howard Robinson hand-builds Lindsay Wilson guitars in the UK with Grit Laskin-inspired inlay
By trade, Howard Robinson is a period furniture designer, fitting some of the United Kingdom’s finest period homes with gorgeous, expertly built pieces of furniture. In his spare time, he’s the talented luthier behind Lindsay Wilson Guitars. Though known as a furniture designer, Robinson has been building guitars since his youth. It all began with a Rosetti Lucky 7 acoustic that went through numerous conversions as he went through school—electric bass, SG bass, double neck guitar, and eventually two cricket bat basses. It would be decades before this hobby would turn into a craft. Ten years ago, he was inspired by a magazine cover featuring a Hollywood actress holding a stripped mahogany Fender Precision Bass. Soon after, he began building guitars one at a time.
“I am not really pushing it as a big business,” Robinson says, “I want to get [the guitars] absolutely dead right, so I have a lot of patience.” Robinson makes six instruments, guitars and basses, per year on specific commissions for clients. From the headstock to body work, fingerboard, frets, inlay and even pickguard, each piece is handmade by Robinson, except for the neck blank, which he buys from a specialist. His background in high-end furniture is evident in the instruments’ high polish and attention to detail, from the smooth curves to the meticulous inlay. Robinson credits his intricate inlay to three places: his experience as a cabinet maker, a book by “the awesome” Larry Robinson (no relation) and inspiration by Grit Laskin. “[Grit] uses the neck as a window looking out at a snippet of life, and I love this concept,” Robinson explains.
This guitar is a six-string mahogany solid body built with reclaimed Cuban mahogany, a maple neck, ebony fingerboard, and Karelian birch pickguard and headstock. It features Bare Knuckle Apache single-coil pickups, 7-way switching, Sperzel locking machine heads and a Fender LSR roller nut. He says of the guitar, “I wanted to concentrate on the most basic of principles, and that is a wonderful piece of wood with simple single coils to try and get the very purest sound from the combination of all those materials.” The result is a guitar based in the Strat-style with influences from Rickenbacker, Mosrite, “and a lifetime of looking at various shapes, forms colors and textures.” He adds, “There is no such thing as an original thought.”
The inlay on the guitar came from a Japanese print of two Samurai in a duel. “I have always loved Japanese art, so it was a natural progression from there,” says Robinson. The inlay is composed of mother-of-pearl, abalone, briar, end-grain oak, aluminum, brass, reclaimed ivory and tortoiseshell, bone, bamboo, red and oyster buttons and birdseye maple.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.