Tom Sands is known for building some of the most responsive custom-made acoustic guitars available in the world today, all built within his studio in North Yorkshire, England.

From Ripon, Tom Sands graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a degree in product design, he then went on to train as a Cabinet Maker under the stewardship of master cabinet maker Wynn Bishop at Rupert Mcbain furniture in County Durham.

How would you describe your craft?

Bespoke steel string acoustic guitar making – or, lutherie.

How would you describe your company/business in 3 words?

Progressive, holistic, luxury.

How did you begin your career?

When I was 17, a friend wanted to build a bass guitar for a Design and Technology A level project. I’ve always been a maker of things, and I agreed to help him make the guitar in exchange for bass guitar lessons. So that was my real introduction into guitarmaking, although I had no idea it was a feasible career that people did. So, after studying Product Design at the Glasgow School of Art, I trained as a cabinetmaker specialising in high end bespoke furniture. I left my job when I felt unsatisfied with the disconnect between myself and the clients I was making for. Having discovered that there were people all around the world who made high-end guitars for a living, I wrote to the very best of them and secured an apprenticeship with the ‘king’ of guitarmaking, Ervin Somogyi, in Oakland, California.

What other Craftsmen stand out to you most and why?

Joseph Walsh, for pushing the boundaries of his medium and straddling the craft world with the art world.

Did anything in particular inspire you to start your craft?

My own experience as a player, as well as my inherent love of making things – especially things as intimate and valued as a guitar, made to the clients needs.

Do you work with any other craftsmen/women to create your products?

I often work with Keith Robson, who manufactures high-end tuning machines that are later installed onto my instrument.

If so what is your criteria for working with fellow craftsmen/women?

They must be either at the top of or aspiring to be at the top of their craft. They must be innovative and push their field of craft forward. They must live and breathe their craft, like I do.

How would you describe John Smedley?

Quality clothes for life.

Do you have a favourite John Smedley piece, if so what?

Black Zachary Rollneck. To brave the Yorkshire winters…

What are you most excited about for the future?

To see my assistant complete her first guitar under my guidance.

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