There were the Golden 50s, the Creative 60s, the Glorious 70s, the Glamorous 80s and so forth…
I was born during the Glorious 50s and back in the Glorious 70s, when I was living in London, I had the privilege to be able to purchase a custom made Grimshaw Bass (photographs enclosed), through a musician friend whom knew Mr Grimshaw.
In the early 90s, after living in London for some two decades, I left England and retired to live in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, where I met up with some dear old friends whom I had played with back in the Creative 60s. After a period or writing and rehearsals, we recorded two CDs and my faithful Grimshaw Bass was fully flowing throughout the entire project and recording sessions.
After a period of a few years in Rio, my wife and I decided to move North-eastwards (in Brazil), in fact, to Maceió, the Capital City of the State of Alagoas, where we finally settled down. In our house I have my own recording studio and suffice to say the boys from the band and I are now playing and recording at a distance through computer programmes and Internet downloaded gadgets. Needless to say my old and faithful Grimshaw Bass is still going strong and soundful, all being original.
I was extremely glad to find out, through another musician friend,
that Grimshaw Guitars has a site in the Internet with photographs and lots
of historical data from this most prestigious and marvellous guitar
manufacturer, i.e.. Emile Grimshaw Sr. and indeed Grimshaw Jr!
As you can see by the photographs my Grimshaw Bass is still
in full use, it has not lost any of its musicality, potency and is indeed a
musical instrument without comparison and I could not consider myself a bass
player and a true musician without it!
My requests are: could you Grimshaw Guitars tell me a bit more about
my bass… Would Grimshaw Guitars like to publish photographs from my bass
and indeed show it in your Gallery…
Please let me know and I will be more than glad and honoured to
provide specific photos as you may require and whatever else you may need.
Anxiously awaiting you contact, I remain sincerely yours,
A very proud Grimshaw Bass owner and old rocker,
I live in Texas and I am a member of the online acoustic guitar forum. A
recent thread on 12 string guitars started me thinking and mulling once
again about a beast that I once heard about, but never had the chance to
play: an 18 string guitar made by Grimshaw. I heard of it in the spring
of 1969 when a friends cousin(a fellow named Defore…dont recall his
first name)returned to central Texas from military duty in Europe
bringing with him a 12 string made to his specifications by a luthier
in Grimshaws custom shop, (apparently the luthier had a sense of humour
he,d dubbed the 12 string the “D4” an obvious conflation of the American
buyers name and the typical dreadnaught classification of Martin, Guild
and other instruments). That instrument I did play and it was a surprise:
easy to fret, a much smaller sound hole than I would have expected, lightweight
though enormous, with a full dreadnaught front body shape, yet easily an extra
inch of depth all the way around compared to the Martin D-28 of another friend
who was with me at the time. the 12 string was also quite a sonic marvel, at
least to my experience at the time: amazingly deep, resonant, and imo “organ
like”. When I used that term, the owner began to tell me that if I really
wanted an organ like guitar I should hear the 18 string also being made by
Grimshaws custom shop. I,m sure I must have rolled my eyes in frank
disbelief, but he insisted that he was in earnest. By his description
this guitar was strung as a normal 12 string but with double trebles
in each of the six courses. He claimed that although the neck was
neccessarily wider, it was every bit as easy to fret as his own 12
string. I would assume this meant that it was tuned at least a
full octave down if not lower still. Of course all this is hearsay
I never got to see, let alone play this 18 string instrument. I
dont know who it was being made for or if it was ever actually
finished and delivered. For all I know it was the guitar
equivalent of a Unicorn. But I was wondering if any of your
contributors had any records or photos of this instrument
alas, I have never again run into any Grimshaw guitars here
in Texas, but have remained impressed by my one and only
encounter. And regarding that 18 string, I admit that 42
years of curiosity is begining to weigh on me.
(Many thanks Dirk, a very interesting anecdote. The task of tuning
that 18 string guitar is not something to look forward to!!
The details of my guitar. I went to London for a holiday in 1967 with the
intention of buying a Plectric from Emile Grimshaw. At my first meeting with
him at 37 Gt Poulteney St, he informed me that he no longer made this model.
I told him my music teacher Jack Fairless from Aberdeen said to mention his name,
so he might consider making one. After talking for an hour or so he told me to
return in a few days and he would consider making the instrument. Which is the
instrument I now have. I have original document of sale. At the time I was an
apprentice and did not have the cash so agreed to purchase through Bruce Millers
shop in Aberdeen, so I could pay it up. Modifications I have carried out over
the years, the work was carried out by a very good luthier Alastair Watt in
1984. At the time I was not happy with the intonation, it went out of tune
after the 10th position, fret spacing was the problem, so a new fretboard was
fitted. Also when Alastair removed the pickup he informed me that he would
make a better one. Which is excellent and I will not change it. The original
went in the bucket. He also asked me about other aspects that I was not happy
with, well I thought while you are doing this a wooden pickguard and nicer
headstock inlay with Grimshaw in mother of pearl. Sadly Alastair passed away
5 years ago of lime disease.
Thanks for the information. I thought it would be around that age judging by
the other guitars mentioned on your site. I think the site is excellent and
it does a great job as a focal point for these guitars. Most of what I know
about Grimshaw I have learned from the site. Some, just simple things like
learning my guitar was a GS30.
I have attached a few photos. You will see it is a tobacco sunburst with
just Grimshaw on the head. There is a small mark underneath the name where
something else may have been attached but I doubt it. The only oddity I can
see is that the treble pickup is the wrong way round compared to other
guitars on your site. That may explain whey I felt the need to rewire it
shortly after I got the guitar to give more treble when the switch is in the
I first encountered Grimshaw guitars in the West-end of London where I
worked in my teens that would be 1967-68ish. Lunchtimes were spent visiting
the guitar shops with a friend. One day we found a black GS30 (now I know
what it was) and we couldn’t believe how comfortable and easy it was to
play. I have never forgotten it despite the fact that we used to visit every
shop in the West-end on a regular basis and must have tried many other types
of guitar. Some years later when I was looking for a guitar, Grimshaw was
top of the list and in the mid seventies I bought 294 in a shop in Shepherds
Bush for about £70.00 I think.
I’m looking around for a substitute so that I don’t wear it out completely
but I haven’t found anything yet.
I’m glad the photos reached you, it’s good to see it on the site.
As far as I can remember, it was in about 1974/75 when I bought it.
It was definitely from Forsyths on Deansgate in Manchester (still at the same place
today)in exchange for Gibson SG copy(make unknown), I paid £100 for it.
I hope this fills in some gaps for you, and I will continue to keep my eye on
your web site for anymore interesting news or info, Thanks again if only for letting
me know I have a decent instrument and not some cheapo Les Paul copy.
Steve, and all the best
Eric, Thanks for the email. Well spotted! The guitar was my first upgrade after a Hofner Colorama,
which I kept as a spare. It was a Grimshaw, not Park, don’t remember ever knowing the serial number
I’m afraid, very well built guitar and the ONLY Les Paul type guitar available. I bought the guitar
with hire purchase from Jim Marshall himself at his shop in Bletchley in 1968, the guitar was new,
in fact the guitar in the pictures is the second because the first guitar would not stay in tune,
it went back to the factory and they found a fault with the bridge and tailpiece combo.
This was all over my head at the time, probably still is, but Jim fixed me a replacement,
I think Jim being Jim helped a lot. It was quite expensive for the time, I think with the HP
charges it came in at over £125. I kept the guitar for about a year, but there are stories which
you might like for the website. I played with a local band called Skinny Cat, we opened for many
bands around the Bucks, Oxford area, on one occasion we were opening for Keef Hartley’s Band,
two guitar players, Miller Anderson and Spit James. After the show Miller asked me about the guitar,
he told me that Spit loved the sound and wanted to swap his Gibson SG Special, right there on the spot.
I agreed. Three days later Spit was on the phone begging for a reswap! He just could not get anything
like the sound; some years later Miller told me that he knew the sound was coming from me not the
guitar! I am still in touch with Miller. I drove to Watford and gave Spit back the treasured SG,
what a nice kid I was. Thing was I never really had a connection with the guitar, I think the problems
with the first one put me off it, and later saw an advert in Melody Maker, “Will swap Fender
Stratocaster 1964 Sunburst for Grimshaw “Les Paul type” guitar” I was in London that night and this
time the swap was final. Thing was in 1968 all I listened too was Peter Green, and he played a Les Paul
did he not! One other thing, at the time I saw the guitar hanging on the shop wall the guitar next to
it was a second hand Gibson ES335 from 1961 in sunburst, priced at £110 with case, Jim offered me that
first, but Peter didn’t play a 335 did he, and I was a year away from my first BB King album.
You reap what you sow.
All the best,
PS Use the pictures,
please put a link to my website.
I bought a Grimshaw GS30 today serial number 529. The previous owner (really nice guy with some great guitars) had it lying in it’s original case and hadn’t played it for about 17 years. It’s a orangy-brown finish and i love it to the bone allready! (I’ll send you some pics later) Dusted it off, cleaned it and put on some new strings and allready it’s great sounding and great playing. May be not on par with a true gibson but one hell of a guitar. I truely love the sound of the pickups and feel of the neck! It has some cracks and dints on the back but nothing serious and miraculously the pots aren’t even the least bit scratchy!
I live in the Netherlands by the way and I decided to buy the guitar when I started looking for Grimshaw on the web and found this site. Great stuff!
I have a GSG but needs some attention, do you know if there are any more of these about?
Thanks for your reply.I had this guitar made for me when i was 14 i think,
my neighbour was a session player with a GTC, he took me up to Grimshaws in NW5,
the guitar was made for me with a requested thinner neck.
The guitar has no pick ups at the moment, apart from that its in very good condition,
when I sort that out I will send some pics.
The pickups were his own Giles Humbuckers I would like find some of these, perhaps
you might know where ?
I was encouraged to buy my Troubador by my evening class teacher who was into Django Reinhardt and was encouraging myself to try his arrangements via a very simplified book of notation. Sadly with little success. I then “discovered Chet Atkins” and felt this guitar would be ideal ,sadly my fingers did not have dexterity. Seeing the way guitars have moved I was nearly right. I brought the guitar direct from Grimshaws (jnr) I believe at that time they were in Great Poultney Street but it was definately in Londons West End. I was really lucky with it. I had been in the premises a few times debating but the cost was a little high when one day Jnr. offered me what was to become mine. It had been made to order for a lady player but had the side damaged in transit so was replaced. This one had the side replaced but could not be sold at the full price so it became mine. Blonde top and dark wood sides and back, ebony finger board and those cunning electrics (no tone or volume controls) and a hard case. Sadly never played with any great accomplise but dearly loved until parted with. Still loved to this day as my first real guitar in the days when such items were hard to come by, must have been between 1958-1964. Today I would have added a piezo in the bridge and wired into a stereo jack socket and run a suitable lead into a switching box. It was ahead of the game and a great guitar which I would seriously consider today or even a SS Supreme even if I had to sell one of my current guitars. Playing still not of a standard but heck its agreat way to relax.
I have a couple of photos of my late father Clifford Hart playing an electric lap steel in 1948.He always told me it was made by Emile Grimshaw but I have never been able to verify it. Looking today at your web site, almost the last guitar on My Gallery is of an Electrawaiian which looks the same as my dad,s old guitar even to the step down wings. If you let me have an email address I will send a copy of the pictures to you to verify it. Sadly the guitar is long gone(sold to Mamelocks in Manchester in the early1960,s)
(See photos of Clifford Hart on players gallery with this rare and unique guitar)
RE-sending info on “The Fabulous Castle Kings” of Border TV fame, 8th
in the Scottish Charts and having backed such acts as P.J.Proby,
David MacBeth of Tyne Tees Television. Supported acts such as Johnny Kidd
and the Pirates, Swinging Blue Jeans, Screaming Lord Such and the
Savages , just to mention a few. The memorabilia disc has it all in chronological order.
Look forward to seeing the web page
(see some great photos of Norman with The Castle Kings on players page, using his Troubadour and SS deluxe)
I have a solid body electric made by Emile Jnr circa 1980 when the workshop was based in Kentish Town.
The guitar was based on a design of my own and has a 24 fret fingerboard, dual coil pickups and various other trimmings.
A close friend of my father’s had several jazz guitars and played with Emile in the 40’s / 50’s I believe – hence my link to the company.
The guitar itself is need of some real TLC – re-frets etc. would you recommend anywhere?
Also I would love to trace the two guitars of my father’s friend – his name was Roger Austin – I have no idea what models they were but remember Roger having the pick-ups gold plated around the time I purchased my guitar – do you have any of the workshop records or ideas on their whereabouts?
thank you for this wonderful web-site that has re-kindled many fond memories.
For a good few years in the in the seventies I worked in music retail, and was a keen advocate of
the old Grimshaws. I traded a fender mustang for a black GS 30, with chrome hardware, block inlays
and white pickup surrounds at the Carlsboro Sound Centre in Mansfield. My friend also bought a blonde SS
deluxe but the regular control panel was disconnected and a standard two volume /two tone configuration
added.It also had a bigsby and dearmond pick ups attached. I also saw a very rare twin neck, 6/12 in a
shop in Leicester called “Sound Pad”. This would be around 1974. I worked in a store named ‘Abbey Music’
where only two Grimshaws passed through in five years. One being a gold sparkle GS 30, I think it was a
homemade paint job. The other was a beautiful sunburst arch top with a venetian cutaway and a JohnBirch ‘magnaflux G’
pick up in the neck position. It was sold to a young medical student from [I Think} Melton Mowbray, who was a fine budding jazzer. I also worked for Ivor Mairants for a short time, and his views on grimshaw’s was thus, “Not bad guitars, but the pick ups weren’t much, Lil , make us a cup of tea”. I knew the guys at Cleartone in Birmingham quite well but I’ll save those views for later.
Thanks again for a great website.
P.S i’ve been in Melbourne for 24 years and have never come across a Grimshaw downunder, believe me I hunt.
After all here are some photos of my lefthanded Grimshaw. As I said before purchased in1961 and cost £120 gns. As you can see it is well used and has traveled as many miles as I have, all over the uk so it is a bit worse for wear BUT having said that it has played on many dates with all the top groups of the sixties i.e. The Stones, The Searchers, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Freddie and the Dreamers, and many more also with Big Dee Irwin (American) of Swinging on a Star fame, The Diamonds, oh yes and The Baron Knights. I am afraid I have not played for about 5-6 years now as I am partially deaf and can not hear all my mistakes. I do hope that this is of help to you in your research. Yours Brian Etherton (Thanks Brian, see this rare lefthanded SS deluxe in guitar gallery)
Hello Eric The history goes like this: The guitar was owned but never played by my late father George Cooper, not a musician, but in his day a successful agent/manager/promoter of many early British Rock & Roll acts, including Joe Brown, Marty Wilde, Johnny Kidd to name just a few, and coincidentally both the the Fleerekkers and Bert Weedon who I saw on on your site. At home the Grimshaw was always known as “the Terry Dene guitar”. The story, according to my father was that he bought it for Terry to use, from the Grimshaw shop in the West End for £100. When exactly this would have been I don’t know. Vernon Cooper
(see a photo of this guitar with Terry Dene and Vernon in players gallery)
thanks for your swift reply to my last E. mail, I am so pleased you received my photo it took me about five goes to do it . Anyhow the summary that you have given me regarding my grimshaw sounds fantastic, ive always thought it was something special. To answer your question regarding what I used to play and where. I started in the sixties with lots of local bands not heavy material, we would play the sixties stuff, I bought a Antoria guitar firstly, then went on to a blonde Hoffner , by the way none of these were left handed, I changed the strings round, this one is the cruncher, I decided that I wanted to buy a Fender Stratocaster, and if I remember in 1962 you couldnt buy one straight out of the shop window, I went down to Paramount in London and ordered a left handed pink strat, I had to wait 16 weeks for it coming from the States , the first one arrived and it was split straight down the middle, I nearly cried, so I re-ordered, and waited another 16 weeks and finally got a whole one, It cost me £220, @ £9 a month,
which was a lot of money then, but I was working as well as playing. Unfortunately after 12 months the group folded and I couldnt afford the repayments and I had to send it back to the finance firm. If only? But I moved on, and in 1967 I went pro with Sheffield showband called Paul Newman & The Xcaliburs, doing comedy, pop , classical etc, we recorded Phillips, CBS. and other lesser known labels , Norrie Parramor made our last record but it did not do much. I aquired my Grimshaw whilst we were doing a week in Whitehaven we were on stage and the neck shot out of my guitar, and I was left with a handfull of strings, so I had to get another guitar quick to finish the week of. The only guy I knew who owned one was a comedian in Leeds, so I went to his house and he had two guitars, the Grimshaw, and a Gibson SG which he had painted with some horrible white paint, so I plumped for the obvious and I am so glad I did. We did Opportunity knocks in 1968 and won on the night, but came third on the vote. I finished my pro years in 1971 carried on with some of the lads from the old bands doing the clubs, and now Im finally retired @ 68 I play keyboards more so now, really love my music,and always will. well I think thats about the end of the book, I will follow the site religiously ,
once again many thanks Eric nice talking to you. Roy.
(Photo of RoyBarfoot,s lefthanded SS de-luxe in guitar gallery) thanks for a great story and memories Roy.
Hi Eric, many congratulations on such an informative and enthusiastic ‘Grimshaw’ site. A real bridge to the swinging ’60’s and a generally misspent youth, ahh, the memories!
I have had the pictured Troubadour from new, and well remember Emile Grimshaw jnr. as plump friendly and very chatty. He even smiled when recalling the time a brand new SS deluxe fell out of its case at the top of the dingy stairs to his office cum showroom, and ended up in pieces on the ground floor, nothing dented his enthusiasm!
This Troubadour is a one-off with many non-standard features including a slotted headstock and an extra deep body (4 1/4″ at the lower bout). The extra thin front was, I recall made to order by the Chappell piano co.
My old friend came to grief during a folk-dance gig at of all places, Brompton Oratory; being knocked off a chair by a trainee cleric, not a good start to his career. I believe Grimshaw’s were still using ‘scotch glue’ at the time, so the front came up like an opened sardine can, the trembling Rev. gent nearly got his dog-collar crushed!
A luthier had a long hard look and eventually suggested scrapping the original thick cross-braces (most players favoured hawsers of strings in those days, but this made the overall tone dull and woody when played quietly) and, if I agreed not to use anything above medium weight, bravely suggested fan-strutting plus a light perforated (cantilever) cross-brace, as in picture. We settled for 7 struts, as per a plantilla of Antonio Torres of classical guitar fame. The marquetry was to reinforce edges as the wood was said to be very dry and therefore brittle. A transducer pick-up was fitted under the bridge along with a good pre-amp. I still have the original scratch-plate, but was advised to leave it off, as it affects sustain
Being now of a certain age, I would like the guitar to go to a good home, but have no idea as to pricing etc., could you possibly advise?
(Thanks for the memories Gordon) This interesting guitar is now in my collection see my gallery.
here is a picture about a late 70’s Grimshaw Custom
sorry it’s not the clearest of photo’s. At the time over a period of 6 months I ordered 2 of them ( 1 for me the other for another guitar player) and for a staring punk guitarplayer a GTC (telecaster model)(leaflet on your site
Thanks for a beautiful and informative site.
Due to some misunderstanding with Mr Grimshaw he drove me around to some music shops in London ( I’m still break in cold sweat when I recall his driving style)
By the way this model has a red push button with the novelty at that time…………a out of phase switch)
Thanks for the letter Erik sounds a fascinating guitar, perhaps some more history?
here is a picture I scanned
this is with the rockband “The Gents” and photo’s were taking in 1981
Your questions from memory
1) I purchased it in 1977/1978
2) due to a misunderstanding I arrived at his workshop (a 2 or 3 stages building close to a railway station)
as the guitar was not ready (my misunderstanding) I was driven to a shop in London were I boughtthe guitar ……but they had to go to a another closeby guitarshop since the size didn’t fit all cases.
3) I think I sold it around 1990
4)I sold my Fender Strat (1975) and with a little surplus I could buy the Grimshaw ( say at that time it must have been around 16.000 belgium francs which as the Sterling was low must have been around 450£ so with a surplus lets say I got the Grimshaw around 550£)………this is a bit of a guess.
5.I never wrote down the serial number, bit Mr Grimshaw always said it was his CUSTOM it was Brazilian Mahogony with a maple neck and schaller tuners. His own pick ups and a very narrow fretboard that joined the body almost at the end of the neck. Yet is was very stable and had no tuning problems at all.
The pick ups were self wound and single coils with a pretty hot output……very much like a P90.
The guitar pick ups were wound with a phaseswitch…novelty those days, but far more usable than some phaseswitches on other guitars. After very hefty use of that switch……I had someone at a guitarshop put in another one and I suspect they must have damaged the pick ups ………since that they they squeeled at higher spund levels.
Eventually I had a pair of Bill Lawrence pick ups in , lots of money but not nearly as good as the originals.
I got it back to sounding very good after putting in a shadow pick up ( with active EQ)
When I sold (1990) an Boogie amp the buyer only wqanted to buy if I sold him the Grimshaw………by that time I was used to playing guitars with wider necks. So eventually I sold it..
I live in Belgium but up to a certain time people from the coast (Ostend) used to go to Folkestone, Canterbury and given the time London to buy some things that were unobtainable on the continent like the Grimshaw and Coloursoundpedal, Hayman guitars and drums.
Nowadays evrything is on sale evrywhere………and prices are quite high in London.
Hi, I came across your website and was amazed at how much info you have on the grimshaw guitar. A couple of years ago I came across a jumbo acoustic grimshaw guitar made at 37 great pulteney street london. Not knowing what it was I purchased the guitar purely on its action, sound and looks. It was not in the best condition so I had it re-lacquered and new scratch plate attached. I was then on a quest to find out more about this item and after searching the internet I was able to learn all about emile grimshaw and son. However, pictures of his guitars are extremely rare and it was not until I stumbled on your website that have now found a picture of my guitar in your gallery. Thank you
Just a line to let you know about the grimshaw that I own.
I have a left handed short scale de-luxe, blond, recently refurbished by a good friend of mine, I played it throughout the late sixties to the end of the seventies, she is a 1962 model, the action was terribly high, so when it was refurbished the action was lowered, both coil pick ups were completely rewound by hand, and it sounds fantastic, I still have the original case although its a bit tatty
now, it travelled all over europe whilst Iwas playing I did change the machine heads in the seventies for some larger brass ones,
to make it easier to use, but I still have the originals safely tucked away, the last time I had it valued was quite some time ago by the guitar guru, and he said about £120, so I dont know what she is worth now, anyhow its not for sale , I payed £30 for it.
I hope this is of some interest to the site,
Yours ROY BARFOOT
(Hi Roy, I think you could add another 0 to your last valuation. Good SS deluxe models are becoming very sought after See photo of this rare guitar on gallery page)
Thanks for your mail.
I have attached photos of the receipts (signed by Emile Grimshaw Jr.)
showing that I paid a £30 deposit and then the balance of £22 for this
guitar including case! The guitar was brand new. I DID meet him on
both occasions I visited but it is only a blur in my memory. The
customer’s name on the receipt is A. J. Huddleston which is me – I am
called Andrew John Huddleston and recorded several albums as Andrew
The picture of me playing the guitar was taken in 1972 and at that
time I had stripped the thick varnish off the deck to make it a bit
louder! Later I drilled holes for the jack plug and also for a volume
control and screwed Barcus-Berry pickups to the bridge. I just
rediscovered the guitar in a cellar and it does not look great but I
have asked our acoustic guitar expert to give me a quote to make the
guitar “playable”. From 1968 to about 1976 it was my only guitar and I
recorded at least 3 albums using it and also played hundreds of live
gigs and worked as a session musician too!
Andrew John Huddleston
(See gallery for photos of Andrew and this guitar)
Was just flicking through an old copy of ‘international musician and recording world’ and found an ad starting
“your guitar refretted for £18” satisfaction assured, New Necks, repolishing, Custom Built instruments.
Grimshaw guitars, 12a Vicars Road, NW5 01 485 8362
That dates from 1982, so if its the same Grimshaws, I guess it would have been possible to have a custom made SSdeluxe as late as then?
(Thanks for the info Will, yes it is the same Grimshaw, and was the last known address. They did indeed make replica SS deluxe(at least one) see gallery for photo of Graham Lovejoys guitar.
Many thanks for getting in touch and glad you like my website – it was great fun building it.
I hated selling my Grimshaw GS30 and have always regretted doing so, but needed the money at the time and I sold it to a very good friend. Sadly, he too sold it on before I could afford to buy it back. He has forgotten who it went to, so I don’t where it is now. It was a really good guitar
Before I sold my GS30, I used it for all my work with the folk rock band “Hocket”. The band members formed the basis of the musician team that played the soundtrack and appeared in “The Wicker Man” and also
recorded a John Peel session back in 1972, so my GS30 is recorded somewhere in the BBC archives !!
Really like your site – some fantastic pictures and didn’t know Pete Townshend used one!
All the best and thanks again for getting in touch. If I find out / remember any more about my GS30, I’ll let you know
I had a year or more of lessons with Emile jnr until I changed my job in Sloane Square
and then was called up for National Service, I used to go once a week straight from
work and walk up the dingy staircase to meet the man.
He was a perfect gentleman with a great sense of humour, and we used to go through
duets together, I shall always remember him, in fact I have written a solo guitar
composition that reflects some of his music, for me anyway, it’s called
“I Remember Emile”, there’s a little of “Spick and Spanish” in it? I wrote it on a balcony in
I never ever owned a Grimshaw Guitar, but my friend Doug Perry? whom
introduced me to Emile, purchased the new blonde SS, it could have been the first one off
production or at least one of them, then later I saw one being used by Joe Brown on “Oh Boy”
the pop TV show, on Saturdays I think?
I remember I wasn’t impressed with the fitting of the pick ups, black plastic covers,
and I seem to remember Doug had problems with the selector switch, but I loved being able to
stretch to those big Mickey Baker Chords?
Emile’s designer and repairer at the time of my visits who worked in the adjacent room
was Terry Underwood, I later used to visit Terry at his home and we used to go through tunes
together, by strange coincidence I found him because he lived in the same road as Cedric West, that
was Castleton Road, Goodmayes, Essex,
Terry then moved to Cornwall, he would have been the man on the history of Grimshaw Guitars
but I fear he is sadly no longer with us, by the way I went to Emile’s funeral in Golders Green,
and there is more to relate on that.
My guitars through that period were a Trumelo[with Electone Pickup], Aristone[with Besson Pickup,
then after, a slide along DeArmond Pickup], Gibson ES 175.
thats all for now Eric—-Ken Steers
The Electrawaiian guitar was bought around the early 1950,s from Matchetts in Donegal Place, Belfast. The shop is still trading to day although it changed hands at the death some years ago of Stanley Matchett but still kept the same name. It was used by “The Hawaiian Dance Band” which started in 1934 and finished in 1969. It was the first band I played with in 1957 until it finished, the reason being that 3 of the original members fell ill and passed away within the next year, the guitar was given to me by one of these men. After being told that it was not a genuine Grimshaw I am delighted to hear from you that it is. I think it developed a problem in the pick up system around 1968 and the owner give it to some handyman to sort out.. The result being the pick up was took out and it being the copper wire wound type became unwound and never was in working order again. This was the state the guitar was in when the owner give it to me a few months before he passed away near the end of 1969. I have had it all these years untill about 3 years ago I thought I would get it in playing order again. I had already replaced the machine heads myself but couldn,t find anyone capable of sorting out the pick up system.. I found on the internet this man in Kent, named Kent Armstrong, I contacted him but found he had gone back to America where he belonged and left the business to his son Aaron. I sent the guitar to them to have a new pick up installed which cost £120 plus carriage etc which I also paid.. So thats about the story of the guitar, I don,t really need it my son can play it ok as he plays pedal steel as well as a lot of other instruments he has his own country band, The Stephen Smyth Band.
(See gallery for photo of this solid body electric guitar. There is no doubt that this guitar was made by Grimshaw, it is listed in the catalogue dated October 1945 and priced at £27/10shillings inc case. Eric)
Stumbled upon your website – can’t believe there were Grimshaw guitars! I’m sure I cant afford a vintage model but one day I will. I perform in a popular cover band in Myrtle Beach (The Paul Grimshaw Band) Google it if you’re interested – and I’ll soon have a website up. I’ll put a link to your website if you desire. My great, great, great grandfather emigrated from Lancashire, and I was born in upstate New York (Syracuse)
(Emile Grimshaw was born in Accrington, Lancashire. Maybe you are a distant relative? Eric)
It seems like ages ago(but it isn’t)that you and I first discussed the building of a website for Grimshaw Guitars.
Then around a year ago you launched this site. Since then “Grimshawguitars” has become the definitive home of these unusual and peculiarly British instruments.
The site itself is both interesting and informative and seems to grow every time I visit. Also it displays a wide range of guitars and, in addition, a fascinating glimpse into a world of music that has long sine gone plus a unique insight into the way that the Grimshaw family conducted their business.
My best wishes to you for continued sucess and thank you for providing such a valuable reference to a part of British musical history which otherwise, one day, might become overlooked.
With best wishes, Guy Mackenzie.
I did not realise that Grimshaw Guitars had such a following, I was particulally interested in the letter from Graham Lovejoy, and note that he was in a group called the Sundowners from Bracknell Berkshire, I am also from Bracknell and I was given Guitar lessons by a guy named Edie Groves, Edie was an accomplished Guitarist and played with various groups and bands as well as giving lessons, he was taught at the Ivor Mairants school of dance music, and he played a Grimshaw Les Paul model, when I had saved enough money Edie took me to London to Emile Grimshaws office and showroom above the Carreras cigarette showroom in Piccadily, where I ordered a Grimshaw Troubador with D soundhole and square cutaway plus wide fingerboard to accommodate my agricultural hand, the guitar cost 40 guineas plus £7 for a hard case, on one of my visits to the showrooms a guy pulled up on a scooter, wearing a brown tweed jacket and a grey Stetson to my delight it was Rambling Jack Elliot (my main musical interest being Folk & Blues) as far as I can remember Jack played a Martin Dreadnaught at that time. Please excuse my ramblings but your website has triggered a lot of memories of my misspent youth, ? I wonder if Eric remembers John Grace, who with his Skiffle Group appeard in the finals of the 6-5 Special Skiffle competition (BBC TV),allso does he rembers Piccalo Pete.
Adrian Simmonds p.s I still have my Troubador but have never leant to play it.
Here is a picture of my GS30 (see picture gallery GS30). Is this a rare colour(green sunburst)? The guitar has Dimarzio humbucker pickups and extra switches, which make minor tone adjustments, could these switches have been added because of the Dimarzio pickups? Strange that not more people know about these guitars. Does anyone know what this would be worth?
(Thanks for the letter Peter. The green GS30 could be the only one made and was without doubt made to a specific customers order. I am sure the Dimarzio pickups suit the guitar, I am not able to answer regarding the extra switches, although I have a SS deluxe with similar arrangement done by Grimshaws, so it was not unusual.
Hopefully this web site will improve the awareness of Grimshaw guitars. I have no idea what value to place on the GS30. I suppose its what someone is prepared to pay! Eric)
My name is Michelle. I live in Kent. I was given this guitar for £35 to practise on in 2003.
I always knew it was special because it makes everything I do sound great! which is
fantastic cos I,m completely crap!!
Everyone loves my guitar. I,m told it has some of the most powerful pickups eva!
which is also pretty cool as its a bit ancient, so I am told.
I was also told it belonged to a punk rock band called “Damage” in the late 70,s early 80,s
Which explains why it has this written on the case I guess.
I think some people would say this guitar was wasted on me and they,d probably be right!
I,m a very lucky girl!
( I would say you are lucky £35!! Michelles guitar is the quirky but rare GS33, see picture
of Michelle and guitar in gallery pictures. Hey less of the ancient 1960/70 was my finest
hour. Eric Sandiford)
In the early 70’s I bought my first ‘quality’ guitar which was a Grimshaw GS7 solid body. A friend worked in Foots drum shop and recommended I go to Grimshaw’s which was just round the corner, near Golden Square, Piccadily. I walked into what was more like an apartment than a workshop, it was carpeted but there were guitar parts leaning against the walls and lying on the floor. I had a leaflet with their range on it and I asked how much it would cost. The basic model with two single coil pickups was £90 as I remember (much cheaper than any US made guitar at the time). I asked for a Bigsby and extra humbucker pickup which made the price £130. Barely enough to cover the Bigsby! The guitar was ready after a couple of weeks. It had a very nice metallic gold finish. The fixed neck was very thin. I eventually moved on to a pre-CBS Strat which I have still have. The Grimshaw got sold to a friend.
I hadn’t browsed all the pictures on your web site before I emailed you. The GS7 was the same shape, headstock etc, as the GS33 in your selection of pictures. As standard it had 2 single coil pickups rather than humbuckers and was painted gold. I think the GS33 was included on the leaflet I had. Sadly I don’t have the leaflet anymore (or a picture of the guitar) but it was in the same style as the one at the bottom of your pictures page, only in colour. I remember the gentleman I spoke to (Grimshaw?) was a bit on the monosyblic side and didn’t seem too bothered about getting a new order.
I read once that Grimshaw guitars had a reputation for not being finished properly. Mine was certainly playable but there was no name, or model number on the headstock and the nut had been roughly cut from a piece of semi-clear plastic. That said there was absolutley nothing wrong with the rest of it. There was no serial number.
As I touched on in my original email, the premises seemed more like a home that had been stripped of furniture. I remember a neckless Les Paul shaped body which had been stripped of it’s paint just lying on the floor.
The friend I sold the guitar to later complained that the frets had started to come loose. I think the GS7 was the cheapest guitar in the range at that time but it was a lot better than the FenderGibson copies from the period and looked unique. I was very happy with it until got my Strat.
It’s nice to see someone is taking an interest in the make.
I am interested in a Jumbo J1 as you have pictured on your web site. I have had two of these in my time the first was from 1967-1970 when I was in my teens it was an absolute beauty it was a one off a see through orangy lacker on mahogony with a creamy ivory neck and mahogony fret board. It sounded just as described in the blurb. Sadly it was stolen at a wild Party in St Johns Wood. I replaced it with another which was exactly as pictured on the site. Sadly it did’nt sound as good as the first one – not bad but it just wasnt the same. I traded it for an extremely good Martin Copy in 1974. It was a trip down memory lane that led me to your site. I would really love to own one again. I used to play it with ultra heavy strings 56 thou base sometimes 58 with 13 thou top. The sound was and is truly memorable.
If you know anyone who has one please let me know. Even if they do not want to sell it would be a treat to play one again for a little while.
All the best Nick Weston
A pal of mine found your site after we had talked about my Grimshaw 12 string that I bought back in ’63 from Gt Poultney St.
It looks the same model as the one in your gallery played by Cyril Davis. The Troubador?
Back in ’63 I played with THE PACKABEATS & The Hi-Fi’s and I used it on our recording of Lennon & McCartney’s “Baby’s in Black”.
I’ve got photos of me with it in both bands. THE PACKABEATS are recording again and I’m tempted to use it on one of the tracks.
I have no intention of getting rid of it but, any guesses as to it’s value? It’s not in mint condition but I do have it’s original hard case.
How much is the tobac sun gs30. Great site. add some info. I worked as shop manager for jones and crossland in 70’s. J & C part owned cleartone with jim marshall. cleartone distributed Grimshaw during GS 30 era.i had one myself prior to working in the shop and remember several models. 3 p/up les paul and a 335 style semi.i swapped my ’62 strat for a double neck grimshaw (not my brightest move ). the last model i saw in the flesh was a doubleneck in Carlsbro Derby , but it was pretty far gone.
Q. were the GS’s made in uk and were they bolt on neck or fixed ( though i owned one i can’t remeber.)
I know I have completely the wrong name ,but there you go. I do play a Gibson now. Back in 1968 I bought a GS30 from Orange second hand, I was intending to buy a strat, Which where going around the same price £85 ! I used it when playing with Leo Sayer. He then worked at Island records art department, and the Grimshaw was used on a Trojan album sleeve. ( I would love to find out which one, it was lent up against some keyboard ) It is tobbaco front with black back and neck which is an odd colour for a GS30.I used to take it to Grimshaws workshop in Soho for repairs, and what great deals they did. I wanted their new higher output pickups fitted ,But only had the price for one. he said you can’t mix them as for the inbalance . In the end he gave me 2 new pickups plus new rewire a new tail end ( removed Bigsby ) new set of stings complete set up for the price of 1 pickup (£25) and exchanged the old weaker ones. He used to keep what best he could, the history and ownership of each guitar. My serial no. is 239. He informed me that it originaly started life sunburst. A few years later I was playing at a gig and the original owner showed up only to inform me that he had had it stolen but didn’t expect it back ,Just as well ! I used it for years giging and recording and still have it but I think now it has a gibson humbucker in the neck and a very high output in the bridge. and has had a couple of refrets. I wonder after the company went, that someone thought to get hold of his records of ownership etc. You don’t see many about any more. What type of price do they go for though I don’t intend to sell mine at all. Its not just for christmas its for life!!!
Cheers Ges Gibson
Back in the 70’s I went with a friend to purchase my first electric guitar. I have always studied classical guitar and did not have much of a clue about other styles. We came across a second hand Grimshaw guitar and I liked the sound and its individual looks. It is marked as a GS33 and is a cherry red colour. Do you have any info on this model. I still have this guitar but have not really considered looking into its history until I read an article about Pete Townsend and his Grimshaw.
> Hi Eric,
> Just found your site after trying to find out some history of grimshaw
> I had one in the sixties when I used to play in a band called the Sundowners
> based in the Bracknell Berks area.
> God knows where I got it from but I wish I still had it.
> Reluctantly when the band broke up I got rid of all my gear including a Vox
> ac15 amp.
> See photos attached.
> About 10 years later I decided to then become a bedroom guitarist and
> thought I would try and get hold of a similar guitar.
> Having done much searching I discovered that grimshaws had practically gone
> out of business but I think his son or someone else was still making the odd
> one from what appeared to be a garage in east London.
> I went to his workshop which was full of all the guitar templates they used
> and he quickly identified my original guitar from my photos as an ‘ss de
> I asked if he could make me one and having agreed a price he went ahead. I
> also showed him the band photo to identify the colour.
> A few weeks later he contacted me and I went to pick it up.
> My initial reaction was that it was terrific, an exact copy of the original.
> The only difference was that it appeared to be a lot heavier than the
> original and wouldn’t stay in tune.
> Consequently I haven’t played it much.
> The bridge is not fixed to the face of the guitar and I think this is where
> the problem lies.
> Anyway I will persevere and I may try a find someone who can set it up for
> Please see attached photos and thanks for an interesting site
> I have also included an article from the Making Music magazine dated March
Emille arranged for me to go show the guitar to Lonnie Donegan at the adelphi slough where we compared the guitar to lonnies collection of Martins,I think the martins had the edge
(see gallery photo of this unique guitar specially built in 1950s for Chris. He would also like to re aquire it, (see for sale page). Can anyone help?
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR E-MAIL ABOUT EMILE,HE WAS
A GREAT CHARACTER,AND I GOT TO KNOW HIM QUITE WELL IN THE LATE SIXTIES TO EARLY ’70’S,WHEN HE HAD THE UPSTAIRS WORKSHOP IN THE WEST END[I’VE
GOT THE ADDRESS SOMEWHERE,BUT CAN’T FIND IT AT THE MOMENT] I WAS WORKING AT HILL&SON’S VIOLINS [IN BOND ST.] AT THE TIME,AND USED TO WALK ROUND THERE SOMETIMES,IN MY LUNCH HOUR,FOR A CHAT.AN AMAZING PLACE,CHOCK FULL OF STUFF.HE WAS EXTREMELY FAT THEN,AND PRESUMABLY QUITE OLD,BUT HE COULD STILL TALK NON STOP ABOUT GUITARS AND BANJOS. I
REMEMBER HE HAD A MUCH YOUNGER GUY,CALLED FRANK,WHO USED TO DO ALL THE PRACTICAL WORK. I’D LOVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO FRANK.
I DIDN’T GET ANY HARDWARE FOM EMILE,AS IT SEEMED PRETTY STANDARD
STUFF[I DO REMEMBER FRANK STILL WINDING SOME PICKUPS,THOUGH],BUT I DID
BUY A LARGE AMOUNT OF PRE-MADE ARCHTOP WOOD FROM HIM,[FRONTS AND BACKS] SOME OF WHICH I STILL HAVE. ALSO,SOME BANJO HOOPS AND ARMRESTS,BUT I’M AFRAID I’VE USED THOSE UP. I’M GLAD YOU ARE PROMOTING EMILES WORK,AS THE YOUNGUN’S SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN HIM,AND IF THERE IS ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP,PLEASE LET ME KNOW, CHEERS,
I have a very good colour photograph of a cherry red Grimshaw SS Deluxe which I played, in an Irish Showband (The Majestic Showband) back in the mid 60s. If you would like a copy for this excellent site, would be delighted to forward it to you. My greatest mistake was to sell it while I was in the USA in the 70s (for $100!!!!!!)
Around the same time, I also sold a 1962 Burns Black Bison (with gold hardware)- 1 of only 49 made. You learn to live with your mistakes!!
Thankyou for your most interesting e-mail.The photo of
the Premier Vox in Ivor Mairants book is indeed an
Hawiian guitar and he is shown playing it on his lap
in the usual manner with an amplifier.
There is also a photo of The Emile Grimshaw Banjo
Quartet with E.G., Stan Hollings, Ivor Mairants and
Monty Grimshaw. Ivor got to know E.G. when he was
editor of the BMG and later gave Ivor lessons.
The double cutaway guitar he refers to was apparently
a large flat top, which Emile Junior had designed,
with a dreadful action! The Martin he exchanged it for
was an archtop. Martin did make a few archtops in the
1930’s which would have suited his style although he
later used an Epiphone and then a Gibson Johnny Smith.
I came across your website in the new Euroguitars site run by Nick Wass. In his book “My Fifty Fretting Years” Ivor Mairants refers to Emile Grimshaw as his mentor and the person who helped him on his way. He is pictured with a Premier Vox steel guitar and mentions a double cutaway acoustic which he used for some while before changing to a Martin. I presume the Premier Vox is the same one that you do not have a photo of.
Thanks for a very interesting site,
When I was a boy I owned a Grimshaw ss. ( not sure what number ) a tobacco sunburst. I damaged the wood around the socket where the lead plugs in and had to have a tortoise shell cover made to hold the socket. ( This is its unique characteristic ). I desperately would like to find and buy my guitar again. It holds real sentimental value to me. When I sold it I lived in Brentwood Essex ( I think I sold it around 1976 ). If you can help in anyway to locate it I would be eternally grateful.
GLAD YOU ENJOYED MY E-MAIL.ONLY TOO HAPPY TO CONTRIBUTE.MADE AN ERROR WITH MY ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION i.e.THE SERIAL NO. IS 304(NOT 303 AS PREVIOUSLY STATED).THE GS30 MODELS BOUGHT “OFF THE PEG” SO TO SPEAK,HAD THE 6 PICK-UP SCREWS FACING EACH OTHER AT THE CENTRAL POINT BETWEEN THE PICK-UPS.THIS MAY ACCOUNT FOR REPORTS OF WEAK/SQUEAKY TONE ON SOME MODELS.MINE HAS THE 6 SCREWS FACING THE NECK/BRIDGE i.e. AT FURTHEST DISTANCE POSSIBLE.THIS DEFINITELY MADE A LOUDER,MEATIER SOUND.MAYBE DIE-HARD APPRECIATIVE OWNERS COULD RE-ARRANGE THEIR PICKUPS IN THE SAME WAY-IT DEFINITELY MAKES A DIFFERENCE.INTERESTINGLY,THE LOCAL DEALER WHO ORDERED MY CUSTOM MODEL FOR ME WAS SO IMPRESSED,HE ORDERED A STANDARD MODEL FOR HIS STOCK.IT WAS A SUNBURST MODEL WITH STANDARD DOT MARKERS.THE PICK-UP SCREWS WERE FACING EACH OTHER AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.A LOCAL PLAYER,BRIAN HARDING,BOUGHT THIS GUITAR,& HE MENTIONS ON THE WEBSITE THAT THE SOUND WAS WEAK/SQUEAKY(YOU CAN READ THIS FOR YOURSELF ON THE “CAFE” WEBSITE).BERNIE MARSDEN HAS PLAYED FOR WHITESNAKE,UFO,BABE RUTH,MOODY-MARSDEN,& AS A SOLO ACT IN HIS OWN NAME.HAS A COLLECTION OF MANY RARE,VINTAGE GUITARS,BUT I DON’T KNOW IF HE STILL HAS HIS GS30.JOHN ENGLISH WAS A LOCAL PLAYER WHO JOINED JIMMY JUSTICE & EXCHEQUERS AT THEIR PEAK AS A TOP ACT.HIS GRIMSHAW WAS A SINGLE CUTAWAY GIBSON STYLE MODEL.HE EXCHANGED THIS FOR A CASINO(EPIPHONE IN 1963).JIMMY JACKSON MADE SEVERAL RECORDS FOR EMI’S COLUMBIA LABEL FROM 1956-1961.AN E.P. OF SOME OF HIS TRACKS,ISSUED IN 1957,PICTURED HIM WITH A GRIMSHAW.AS A DEALER IN RARE RECORDS,I HAVE HAD MANY RARE FIFTIES ITEMS PICTURING GRIMSHAW USERS.SADLY,I HAVE FORGOTTEN THESE.MY INTEREST WAS MAINLY DUE TO MY RESPECT FOR THIS MAKE.PLAYERS FROM THE EARLY DAYS USED TO SAY THAT GRIMSHAW WERE ONE OF THE “FOUR G’S” i.e.GIBSON,GRETSCH,GUILD,GRIMSHAW.ALWAYS WERE LOOKED UPON AS ON A PAR WITH THOSE AMERICAN MAKERS.I HAVE SEVERAL VINTAGE GUITARS.THESE INCLUDE A FEB ’57 TELECASTER,A ’59 STRATOCASTER,A ’68 ESQUIRE,AMONGST OTHERS.MY GS30 SOUNDS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TO ANY OF THESE.THE SOUND IS LOUD,VERY,VERY “EDGY”,WITH UNBELIEVABLE SUSTAIN.A FEW MONTHS AFTER I GOT IT,AROUND JUNE ’68,THE FINISH CRACKED.IT WAS NOT SPRAYED WITH A BLACK PAINT;IT HAD A TYPE OF THIN PLASTIC TYPE OF COATING,& IS BOUND ALL OVER WITH WHITE PURFLING.WHILST BEING RE-COATED,I USED AN OLD FENDER STRAT.NO COMPARISON;I HATED IT;COULDN’T WAIT TO GET THE GS30 BACK.DEFINITELY A BETTER GUITAR.HOWEVER,I DOUBT THE VALUE WOULD BE AS HIGH TODAY AS THAT OLYMPIC WHITE STRAT!!!OF COURSE,THE GS30 IS NOW ALMOST 40 YEARS OLD.IT WOULD BE HARD TO PLAY IT THESE DAYS AT GIGS.TOO RAUCOUS & OVERBEARING.RATHER A VERY “RUDE” TYPE OF SOUND.THE PICK-UPS SEEM TO HAVE A PERMANENT GAIN TYPE OF TONE(A BIT LIKE SEYMOUR DUNCAN’S PEARLY GATES,ONLY MORE SO).THE CUSTOM CASE WAS ALSO INTERESTING.IT WAS A FITTED CASE INSIDE,BUT THE CONTOURS WERE REMOVABLE,SO YOU COULD USE IT FOR A TELE/STRAT ETC.ALL WERE LINED IN A RICH RED VELVET,WITH COMPARTMENTS EACH SIDE FOR ACCESSORIES.I WILL TRY TO GET YOU SOME PICTURES IF I CAN.MEANWHILE,IF I REMEMBER ANY OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST,I WILL CONTACT YOU.IF THERE ARE ANY RARE RECORDS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR,MAYBE I CAN HELP YOU.TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY.I’M NOW A VINTAGE 61 YEARS OLD.BUT I’VE SEEN IT ALL,FROM SKIFFLE TO DATE.WHEN THE GS30 WAS STARTING,YOU COULDN’T GIVE STRATS AWAY.NOW I WISH I HAD BOUGHT ALL OF THEM.EARLY ’60’S MODELS £100.00.EARLIER MAPLE NECK ’50’S WERE £75.00!! I DIGRESS & APOLOGISE.I HAVE A LIFETIME OF STORIES ABOUT OLD DAYS & GUITARS.SORRY IF I HAVE GONE ON A BIT. VERY BEST WISHES.
FIRST SAW THE GS30 L/P MODEL NOV ’67 IN BALDWIN-BURNS WEST END SHOP.SUNBURST WITH PEARL DOTS.ASKED MY LOCAL DEALER(MIDLAND MUSIC NORTHAMPTON)IF I COULD HAVE A CUSTOM MODEL MADE.HE PHONED THE MAKERS,& THEY AGREED.I ORDERED A MODEL WITH BLOCK PEARL MARKERS,IN BLACK & CHROME.THE BRIDGE PICK-UP TO BE INSTALLED RIGHT ON THE BRIDGE,TO GIVE MORE RESPONSE(VOLUME,TONE,GLASS ETC.,WHICH IT DID).ORDERED IN NOV ’67,TOOK 4 MONTHS TO COMPLETE.RECEIVED IT IN FEB ’68,COMPLETE WITH FITTED CUSTOM HARD CASE.COST WAS THE SAME AS A STRAT COST IN FEB ’68.SERIAL NO.303(LIKE THE ENFIELD BULLET).THE GUITAR PLAYED LIKE A DREAM,& SOUNDS EVEN BETTER TODAY,40 YEARS ON.I WOULD NEVER PART WITH THIS GUITAR.THE PLACING OF THE PICKUPS RIGHT NEXT TO THE BRIDGE/NECK MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE,& ELIMINATED THE SOMETIMES WEAK/SQUEAKY TONE ON STANDARD MODELS.PLAYED THROUGH AN ORIGINAL EARLY MARSHALL PLEXI AMP,IT WAS AS GOOD AS A GIBSON L/P,WHICH WERE NOT BEING REPRODUCED AT THE TIME.THE ONLY QUIRK IT EVER HAD WAS THE TOP STRING ON THE 22ND FRET STILL PLAYED D-FLAT,& NOT D(AS ON THE 21ST FRET).I BELIEVE BERNIE MARSDEN BOUGHT ONE FROM BALDWIN-BURNS AT THIS TIME.THE GS30 WAS THE NEAREST THING TO A L/P STANDARD,IN LOOKS & SOUND.HOWEVER,THE GS30 WAS VERY LIGHT,& MADE FOR A COMFORTABLE GIG.THE GUITARIST OF JIMMY JUSTICE & THE EXCHEQUERS WAS A LOCAL FELLOW,& HE PLAYED A GRIMMIE SEMI(JOHN ENGLISH).EARLY ENGLISH SKIFFLE/ROCK & ROLLER JIMMY JACKSON PLAYED A GRIMSHAW ELECTRIFIED ACOUSTIC ON THE COVER OF HIS 1957 EP.ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO VIEW MY CUSTOM GS30 ARE WELCOME.BEST WISHES & THANKS
Pete’s (Townsend) Grimshaw has been a shrouded mystery for so many years. I saw it in action for the first time in December 1965 at The Goldhawk club. This was the first date that I saw The Who with the new Marshall set-up and the sound was really loud ( well I was front row !). I had thought the guitar was a Rickenbacker with a much fuller sound. It was loud and clear with great authority. Pete swapped over to his standard Rick at the end of the show and there was a huge difference in sound. I saw Pete use that guitar twice again in December and once in January 1966 at The Two puddings club on Mare Street Hackney.
I am assuming that it was a good stage guitar because it did not feed back and had higher output levels. I have a Burn’s Virginian in my collection and it has a similar type sound. I did not learn about the true provenance of the guitar till around 5 years ago… I was really fooled
I re-named Pete’s instrument the *Grimbecker*…
Please email me if you find one for sale !
I am sure you will find a lot of interest in your site, they were great
guitars.They were preferred to the Gibsons by many
Guitarists.particularly the Les Paul models in the 50’s .
It is a pity you do not have a picture of Mr Grimshaw as we used to
call him, he was a tall ,very smart and reserved man always wore a
stetson more like a city banker than a guitar maker . I used to collect
Guitars from his place up stairs in Piccadilly when I was a young’n ,
he was always very friendly. It is about time someone has appreciated
his fine talents,the quality of the Guitars he made and his contribution
to our industry.
If I think of any information that may be useful for your site in
respect of Mr Grimshaw I will send it to you.
I wish you all the best with the site and trust that it will grow and grow.
NB I will link the site to my own .
Great site and a pleasant discovery while surfing. I own a Grimshaw. I dont know what model it is. It is a six string django d hole guitar with a flattop bridge and the wooden pick cover like your troubador. I would really like to know anything more about these dhole hybrids…I don’t know when it was made?? It has a great tone and sounds quite like a Favino.
Look forward to hearing from you soon
Great Site A friend of mine, Ken Milley, had a unique Grimshaw. A blonde jumbo 6 string, with the oval hole and no cut away. I have a photo of this instrument somewhere I will dig it out and forward it on to you. Ken lives in Norfolk somewhere and still plays. Strangely, he converted it into a 12 string, big sound.
Pete Hogan (Toronto Canada)
Just wanted to say what a great site – congrats. I’ve now fitted K&K archtop contact mics to the Hartford XII and it is going from strength to strength – great sound. Cheers, Giles Hedley
I too have a Grimshaw PARK GS30. My father bought it for me when I was 14 in 1966 from Macari’s on Charing Cross Road in London. The number on the neck attachment plate is 272. It’s still in pretty good shape.
I stopped playing guitar around 1970. I moved to Canada in 1980 and brought the Grimshaw with me. I have just reconnected with one of my old band mates in England in the Spring of this year and that prompted me to get the Grimshaw out again. I found some setup info on the web and it now plays better than ever. I had to shim the nut to get rid of string buzz which always annoyed me. I’ve also set the intonnation and put on a new set of Ernie Ball strings. I remember that I had to make a new set of bridge height adjustment wheels out of stainless steel in ’69 as the originals had very poor threads and one collapsed.
Having not played for 35 years I was extremely rusty to say the least. Anyway, my wife bought me a Fender G-DEC modeling practice amp for my birthday and I’m now getting back into it.
So, that’s the story of my Grimshaw which now makes it’s home in Canada.
hi i bought a grimshaw guitar its like a gibson 335 off Ron Barrett back in the 80’s when he was teaching me to play guitar i lost the bridge for the guitar and im now trying to replace it is there any photos of more grimshaw guitars so i could match it as i dont know what it looks like or what model i have or if you could put me in touch with ron barrett as he might know what it is. many thanks
I have a GS30. Its my second the original being back in the early 70s and was damaged in an accident and sold afterwards (I wish I hadn’t as it was a beautiful cherry red one). The one I have is of unknbown age…How do I age it? Is there a date somewhere?
They have always been my favourite guitar and in spite of having fenders and yamahas and having had Gibsons the Grimshaw is still by a long way my favourite.
Also the photos on here seem to show the bridge on a GS30 the wrong way round. I am confused by that.
Thanks for the reply.
Photo I can do and will as soon as I get the chance (I am very busy at the moment).
I no longer play in bands but did so during the 70’s and 80’s as well as being a session player. I tend to play at sessions only now and have done some work locally but nothing major. I play for Morris dancing and other things as well now but not on guitar. I play quite a few other instruments.
The question about the bridge is that normally the individual saddles on the bridge are positioned so that the flat is on the neck side and the slope is on the tailpiece side. Strangely my Grimshaw had it the other way round when it arrived but I assumed that it had been altered. The intonation is near perfect.Perhaps grimshaw designed it the other way round. Certainly the adjusting screws are facing the bridge pick up my way round.
The nice thing is the surprise that other guitarists respond with when they try the guitar. It has mm action..almost invisible and when given a little boost signal wise produces very sweet tones. I must admit to fitting PAF pickups into the original pickup covers but I retain the original pickups just in case but the output was feeble to put it mildly. This means that the sound is less ‘jazzy’ that it would otherwise be.
I had searched for twelve years to find one after parting with my original one and came across this one on ebay of all places. I paid well below what I would have for it and the chap selling it even knew that which is a bit weird. I suppose he thought he could get more for it. My gain.
It was filthy and had dead strings on it which were rusty and broke almost on touching. I was surprised to see no neck warping in spite of that bad treatment. The guitar had been stored somewhere a bit damp so it is lucky to be a survivor. Mollycoddled now though!The body has a few cracks and other marks but they add to it not detract from it. I have a receipt signed by Emil Grimshaw (jnr) for the sale of the guitar as a refurb in 1971 but it gives no date for its manufacture. I reckon its a late 60s one but will look up the number and see if you can date it.
There was a shop in Norwich where a guitar repairer who used to work at Grimshaw did his stuff. Can’t remember his name but he said that the later ones were farmed out to other makers and the matching of neck and body was not as good in the later 70s models. My original cherry red one was an early 70s one and a beautiful guitar. Even then I had been looking for one for a few years before I found it.I paid £75 for it which was a mistake as it should have been £90 but the salesman made a mistake. I played it in many bands and sessions as standard. In fact if I played my statocaster or gibson (which I parted company with as it was one of the worst guitars I had ever bought and one of the most expensive too) I got complaints that I wasn’t playing my signature Grimshaw. I have some recordings done at the time but the masters are in a dreadful state now and the tone is lost.
Enough rambling. I’ll mail a photo and numbers and at some time perhaps a cd of me playing although I can’t send the session stuff as the copywright does not belong to me. The local radio station used to play the recodings as jingles because bluesy-rock guitar was back in for a time and that’s what theyhad asked me for.
Nice to see more Grimshaw interest on the internet.
PS I know of one other l;uthier/guitarist who’d love to get his hands on a GS30.I used to play with him in the 70s and he’s made guitars ever since but always coveted my grimshaw even above the instruments he made himself. He still runs a shop and workshop in Paisley near Glasgow which is where I come form sort of (long story).
Hi! I’ve recently found a guitar with a label inside saying it isTHE EG Hartfort 10″ guitar no.644
Emile Grimshaw and sons 54-55 Piccadilly London W1, so far I have been unable to find anything out about it and was hoping you could help after having looked at your web site, I would appreciate any info at all.
I once had a great Grimshaw SS Deluxe (with, curiously, ‘Broadway’ inscribed on the headstock – I have only just, with the help of a friend, identified it as a Grimshaw!. I bought it in the shop on the northern corner of Denmark Street and Charing X Road in about 1965/6, but had to sell it to get married in about 1967, to a shop in Oxford. I first saw one played by Lonnie Donegan’s guitarist, Jimmie Currie, and have located a photo (from which you would not be able to tell it was a Grimshaw unless you knew). Would be very interested to know if there are any SS Deluxes out there for sale.
Hi Eric in the late 80s I got a Grimshaw bass from a music shop in High Wycombe and Ive always wanted to know more about the company. My boyfriend at the time took off the machine heads as he thought that they were not the originals, and over time the neck has become unglued. I am at work at the moment so I cannot send you any photos, but I would love to have any information about it. I have been meaning to get it restored. Once I have sent in pictures would it be possible to give me an approx value to see if it is economically viable
Did you know that the English manufacturers of banjo, guitars and ukes, were very competetive of each other and were very secretive of their innovations. The name Grimshaw gave to his latest gimmick the resonator guitar was the Revelation. In fact, he copied this from Paramount, his competition. Abbott, Dick Night, John Alvey Turner and Clifford Essex behind his back all called it the Grimshaw revulsion. It is impossible to get production numbers of his instruments, or for that matter any of the english makers, as they made many back door models which they sold for cash to avoid income tax.
I have a Grimshaw guitar(a Les Paul jnr, double cut away single humbucker). I would like to have more information about the guitar and also if you know of anywhere to get it refinished.