We’re at the London Guitar Show!

Come getcha pull with us at the London International Guitar Show, 28 October 2018 at Kempton Park.

Our newest endorsee, Yue Miyagi, will be on stand demoing her gear.

We’ll have our core models, ready for you to try out. See you then!

Kanji Guitars at the UK Guitar Show 29-30 September


We’ll be on the Flattley Guitar Pedal stand this weekend at the UK Guitar Show (London Olympia). Come and say Hi, we’ll be there helping out with Flattley Pedals and we’ll also have a couple of Kanji Custom models for you to try out. See you there! \m/

There’s a reason why your strings aren’t made of wood….Bolt-on versus Set neck

We make custom electric guitars by hand. We make guitars with bolt on necks. If you ask us nicely, we’ll make guitars with neck through. But no matter how much you plead, we won’t be fed after midnight and we won’t make guitars with set necks.

Set necks means the neck is glued in. Traditionally, there’s a mindset which says that glued necks are superior to bolt on necks; this perception seems to be based on nothing more than the fact that Gibsons (exponents of glued necks) are more expensive than Fenders (bolt ons). At this juncture, let’s ignore the fact that a set of neck bolts and ferrules is more expensive than a light application of wood glue.

Gibson recently went into administration and in our opinion, has floundered for years following misjudged positioning of new ‘genre defining’ models, poor finishing and as we now see, having overleveraged the business with expensive debt. We’re not saying that glued necks have caused Gibson’s insolvency but the wider malaise in which Gibson has become mired in recent years should go some way to dispelling the myth that expensive glued necks are ‘better’ than less expensive Fender bolt ons.

Ok – we recognise that PRS are also advocates of glued necks but they’ve also released a number of bolt on neck models, eg DC3, NF3 and most recently, the lauded Silver Sky.

Most other reputable, high calibre guitar makers advocate bolt ons, eg Ernie Ball Music Man, Ibanez, Charvel, Jackson, EVH, Suhr. This can’t just be because bolt on necks more readily lend themselves to factory production; even the top of the range models (such as Ball Family Reserve, Ibanez J Custom) from these builders carry bolt ons.

In our view, glued necks immediately place the guitar owner at a disadvantage:

          If your neck is damaged, the headstock snaps off or you simply want a new neck with a new fretboard, a glued neck makes it almost impossible to deal with any of those situations satisfactorily

          Glued necks tend to present the player with a very chunky heel to contend with, restricting upper fret access

          If the neck pocket and heel aren’t cut correctly and the neck isn’t set and glued correctly (you’d be surprised how often this happens), then there’s really no way to correct this

          They just feel old fashioned. Don’t they??

But the overwhelmingly compelling argument that favours bolt on necks is that metal conducts vibration much more efficiently than wood.


To an extent we’re being flippant here but the physics is valid:

          A glued neck merely presents a wood on wood interface. This isn’t bad but it’s one medium of vibration transference.

          Whereas a bolt on neck presents a metal to wood interface PLUS a wood on wood interface.

A paper by RM Mottola (2007) deals with Sustain and Electric Guitar Neck Joint Type; this paper measures (to a high degree of accuracy with electronic equipment) the relative sustain of bolt on necks versus other neck joints. The conclusion is that bolt ons sustain at least as well and in many cases better than other neck joints, such as glued necks.

In addition to the all important benefit of sustain, a bolt on neck also enables:

          Easy repairs

          Easy re-frets

          The ability to swap out the neck for another one

          Removal of the neck for transit or storage

          Retrospective work on the heel/ pocket to provide a better fit

This is why we are dead set, full-on-gear-headed, wide-legs-stage-rock-stance advocates of bolt on necks.

So contact us to get your quote for a bolt on custom, handmade electric guitar by Kanji.

(And if you ask nicely, we might do a neck through…)

The Tone That’s In Your Head

Kanji Guitars and Flattley Guitar Pedals are proud to announce their collaboration, in order to raise the awareness, quality and variety of independent British custom / boutique manufacturers of electric guitar and bass equipment.

All Kanji and Flattley products are made by hand in our custom shops in Surrey and Gloucestershire respectively. Our guitars and pedals acknowledge the rich heritage of electric guitars and the endless journey to find the Tone That’s In Your Head, whilst also providing the player with a modern twist on those vintage designs.

We’d like to help you find the Tone That’s In Your Head with our products. Get in touch with us quoting TONE18 and we’ll work with you to build the guitar and pedals that you’re looking for and when you buy Kanji and Flattley products together, we’ll make sure that our combined prices are ultra-competitive!

Come and talk to us on our stands at the following upcoming guitar shows:


Thirsk Guitar Show 1st July 2018 http://www.mojoguitarshows.co.uk/thirsk-exhibitors.html

Cumbria Guitar Show 26th Aug 2018 http://www.mojoguitarshows.co.uk/cumbria.html

Leeds Bradford Guitar Show 2nd Sept 2018 http://www.guitarshows.co.uk/

Guitar Summit Mannheim Germany 7,8 & 9th Sept https://www.guitarsummit.de/en/aussteller-2018/

Cheshire Guitar Show 22nd Sept 2018 http://www.mojoguitarshows.co.uk/cheshire-show.html

UK Guitar Show 28 & 29 Sept 2018 www.mia.org.uk/2018/06/the-guitar-show-2018/

Northampton Guitar Show 7th Oct 2018 http://www.myclassicguitars.co.uk/

Manchester Guitar Show 21st Oct 2018 http://www.mojoguitarshows.co.uk/manchester.html

London International Guitar Show 28th Oct 2018 www.guitarshows.co.uk/

Thirsk Guitar Show 4th Nov 2018 http://www.mojoguitarshows.co.uk/thirsk-exhibitors.html

Merseyside Guitar Show 25 Nov 2018 www.guitarshows.co.uk/


Contact Us

ed@kanjiguitars.com paul@flattleyguitarpedals.co.uk
www.kanjiguitars.com http://www.flattleyguitarpedals.co.uk/
01372 879 800 01452 849421/07802455127
https://twitter.com/kanji_guitars https://www.linkedin.com/feed/
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https://www.facebook.com/Kanji-guitars https://www.facebook.com/Flattley/

Guitar tonewoods and the global timber market

Handmade custom electric guitars are made from wood which is sourced from all over the globe. The more boutique and custom the electric guitars are, often the more exotic and expensive the woods used.

Jules at Kanji Guitars keeps a keen eye on the global timber markets and is a woodland geek; he studied Geography at Manchester University and his thesis was on ancient woodland in the UK.

Kanji Guitars is a member of the Woodland Trust and we support sustainable woodland techniques and ethical timber production.

Our Tonewood Resource is aimed at providing our customers with some summary insight into the woods used in guitar manufacturing and in the woods used in their custom electric guitar builds.

Tonewood is a term which is often used in guitar manufacture but it’s not strictly defined; it means any wood which can be used to manufacture a guitar and which can be deemed to produce ‘good tone’. As a generalisation, Tonewoods have traditionally been defined as Maple, Rosewood, Mahogany, Alder etc.

As legal, regulatory and commercial constraints make sourcing of traditional Tonewoods less palatable, new Tonewoods are being explored by guitar makers (particularly boutique luthiers). It’s now more common to find guitars with elements of Pine, Meranti or Paulownia, for example.

Here are some key facts about global woodland (UNECE 2015):

NB The term ‘forest’ is often used to denote a wooded area. The correct term is ‘woodland’. Forests were originally royal hunting grounds, which may have included areas of woodland but which may also have been predominantly heathland.

–          Woodland comprises c31% of total land area on Earth ~ 4bn hectares.

–          The most woodland rich countries by gross area are Russia, China, Brazil, Canada and USA.

–          Of the total global woodland area, 36% is primary woodland, ie where indigenous species prevail and there is no evidence of human impact.

–          Planted woodland now represents 7% of total global woodland (with China showing the quickest rates of afforestation).

–          13% of global woodland is legally preserved for biodiversity.

–          Deforestation rates have halved in recent years:

  • o   7.3m hectare loss average pa 1990-2000
  • o   3.3m hectare loss average pa 2010-2015

–          Africa and South America continue to see the most dramatic loss of forest.

–          80% of total global woodland is publicly owned (eg by the state) but private ownership is increasing.

Timber is a commodity and as such the global timber markets are affected by the same economic drivers as other global commodities. Demand (global consumption) and supply (global lumber production) dictate market price of timber.

–          Developed countries are consuming 27% less timber than before the 2008 recession

–          However, developing countries are consuming 47% more than pre-recession demand

–          Whilst this means global consumption is still net 3% down, developed countries demand continues to rebound and growing global demand plus supply constraints mean that global timber prices could increase by 50% over the next 5-10 years (FIML 2015)

Increasing demand will drive increased timber prices and improvements in woodland laws, regulation, policies and national programmes mean that supply constraints will push timber prices up even higher.

Greater lumber productivity from SE Asia (in particular China and Vietnam) means that wage increases will be directly passed on to timber consumers in higher prices.

Consolidation in European timber organisations, along with beneficial (ie weak) exchange rates may mean that European timber production becomes more competitive (outside of Europe) in the coming years but drivers of global timber demand (increases in house building and exponential proliferation of paper packaging) and supply constraints mean that wood prices continue to rise.

The importance of global woodland as:

–          a sink for Carbon Dioxide,

–          protection against soil erosion, flooding and mudslides,

–          areas of rich biodiversity and

–          a source of socio-economic value (eg productive output)

…means that we understand why prices will continue to increase and as guitar builders, Kanji Guitars support all measures to retain primary and secondary woodland and active afforestation (in environmentally appropriate conditions).

We all know that Rosewood is now on the CITES sanction list. This means that it’s illegal to import Rosewood without very specific permission and so  it’s unlikely you’ll see many new builds from guitar manufacturers which use Rosewood (unless the wood is certificated as having been lumbered previous to the ban).

But did you know that the Rosewood ban also covers Kingwood, Cocobolo and (some varieties of) Bubinga? They’re all part of the same Dalbergia genus.

We’ll work with you to find the best combinations of Tonewoods for your custom electric guitar and we’ll also make sure that the wood used is ethically sourced.

23 Brook Street, London

Hendrix lived at 23 Brook Street in Mayfair from 1968-69. The composer Handel also lived here (albeit a couple of hundred years before Jimi) and the rooms are now open to the public. Hendrix’s pad is recreated and it feels authentic. There’s half his smashed strat from the February 1969 Royal Albert Hall performance when he mullered it against his Marshalls. It’s well worth a visit for Hendrix devotees #handelhendrix #Stratocaster

Merseyside Guitar Show


Kanji Guitars and Druzkowski Guitars at the Merseyside Guitar Show…did you ever see such awesomeness…? #kanjiguitars #druzkowskiguitars #electricguitars  #handmade #bespoke #custom #madeinbritain