Pickard Acoustics - handbuilt acoustic flat-top steel-string guitars, mandolins, mandolas, bouzoukis, citterns, etc.
Handbuilt Guitars and other Musical Instruments
Customer Endorsements and Unsolicited Testimonials
itís arrived and itís going to be a constant distraction from work for the foreseeable future. Lovely to hold, lovelier to play - action is fantastic and itís very quick and the sound is sparkly. Photos on your website donít do it justice. Compared to my present mandolin collection - this is like going from a 2CV to an MX5.
Martin, December 2017.
Got the instrument back today Ė great. Sounds marvellous, thank you.
Ian, July 2017.
I thought I'd just drop you a line to say thanks for what you did fixing and refretting my guitar. I have been playing it every day till my fingers hurt, it is great, better than it was when I picked it up in Denmark Street 9 years ago.
Thanks again for the work
Richard, May 2017.
"....in all the excitement I forgot to say that I have already played my new Pickard for several hours. Loving it!"
A. Lawson, April 2017.
"Excellent instrument ... as in EEEEEEXXXXXCELLENT!!!! And lightning delivery."(Rosewood Mandolin).
"Ukulele arrived today in good shape and I'm very pleased with it. Thanks for the prompt turnaround of the additional saddle."(Tenor Ukulele).
Feedback from eBay sales, April 2016.
Ukulele received, many thanks. Lovely instrument. The build quality is as good as anything else I own, and that includes some very expensive instruments.
Dave, December 2015.
The mandolin arrived; lovely instrument and delightful sound.
John, November 2015.
Thanks for the work on the Mandolin. Much appreciated.
John, August 2015.
I thought you'd like to know that my guitar still draws positive comments :)
Sheila, August 2015.
The Guild repair - amazing - such a transformation.
Andrew, June 2015.
I just thought I would drop you a note to say that I am really enjoying the OM, and that I have become used to the action so there is no need for me to change it. In fact I like the strings with a little more resistance than I have had previously. It drives the top well and allows me to "dig in" a bit more. I have had favourable comments from my orchestra colleagues and will be playing it two concerts later this month. ....Thank you again for your instruments.
Adam, November 2014.
I have now had a chance to try out my new mandolin, and I am delighted. It has been beautifully made and plays easily. It makes the sound I was hoping for which is quite like that of a bowlback mandolin - without the awkwardness of holding one. It isn't a bluegrass instrument, instead having the classical sound I wanted. .... Thank you very much for building this gem.
Adam, May 2014.
I recently acquired one of your mandolas from my friend. ..... A beautiful instrument. On the inside reads: No.6-OM 05-87.Thank you.
Alan Mc Fadden, February 2014.
I read with interest the testimonials for fellow cittern players. I have No 2-C5M from 03-88 (bought lightly used in 1990) and, as they are fairly thin on the ground over here in Canada, get asked about it at every show. It's a lovely instrument to play, and the tone is just great. For the players out there: mine is tuned gG dD gG B-flat D. Sharpening the B-flat to a B when happiness is required. Thanks again for making such quality instruments.
Doug Hendry, Ottawa, Canada, February 2014.
(re. set up)
The guitar plays beautifully.
Alan New, November 2013.
In the pre-internet 1980's, if there was one instrument which was harder to find than a unicorn, it was an octave mandola. Having stretched my normal sized hands with a Greek Bouzouki for many months, you might imagine my pleasure in finding a beautiful sounding, elegant and delightfully maniable, Pickard Octave Mandola (07/87) on the Hobgoblin stand at the 1988 Cambridge Folk Festival. Twenty-five years on, I am still delighted with my purchase and was very happy to discover that Ivor is still making these beautiful instruments available for others to enjoy playing. Highly recommended.
Alistair, Vayres-sur-Essonne, France, August 2013.
Hi, I have a well loved Model 6-C5M cittern dated 11-88, I bought new when I was working at Hobgoblin,....It is still the incredible instrument it ever was, and draws as many comments as it ever has - I think I may be the only person to tune it dD gG BB dd gg , but it's worked for me.
David Jacobs, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, February 2013.
(re. set up)
I have managed to pick the guitar up tonight, it plays lovely, feels so much easier to play and less strain on the fingers and wrists. Many thanks!!!
Phil, November 2011.
(re. Cittern 3-C5M)
Thought youíd like to know where this instrument is now. Iíve owned it from new Ė bought from Hobgoblin around the end of the Ď80s? I assume you made it in Ď88 as it is labelled 06-88.
... It has been used professionally in ceilidh bands, wandering minstrels and banquets [Warwick Castle for more years than I care to remember] old timey American bands in lieu of mandolin, contemporary folk bands, a very electric R & B band and now it features strongly in an acoustic blues band which blends early blues, klezmer, Celtic tunes, jazz and anything else we decide to throw at the audience.... It has pride of place along side my resonator, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo and hurdy-gurdy and other band members fiddle, sax and bass.
... It has had a truly varied and very hard life, has the scars to prove it [I had to stick a scratch plate on it as I was wearing a hole in it] and could tell some terrible tales but it still plays superbly.
... Many thanks for a superb instrument that has most certainly stood the test of time and will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.
All the very best,
Murray aka Mr Muz, February 2011.
I can hardly believe that this is my tenth Pickard instrument (and I still have them all). My Christmas gift to myself and my latest; the fabulous 12 string. Beautiful cocobolo back and sides with a cedar top. It truly is an exquisite piece of art in itself. However, thatís far from all that it is. It plays so easily and sounds magnificent, with such sustain that I almost need a calendar to measure it.
Flawless workmanship as always. I donít know how I can be surprised by another Pickard but I am. I was going to write this a couple of hours ago but I was playing it.
An instrument that already sounds twenty years ahead of itís time.
Andrew Lawson, January 2011.
...two passing musicians have tried your mandola; superb singer/songwriter/luthier Drew Nelson from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who loved it so much he's now making one of his own, and a Liverpudlian called Scott Poley (great player) who couldn't put it down!
James Partridge, December 2010.
Sorry, I should have emailed earlier to assure you that the instrument arrived safely. I'm really enjoying playing it: it's very different in tone from my other mandolins, and its brightness was just what I was looking for.
Brian Miller, May 2010.
A whole fortnight of blissful mandolin playing, I've never done so much practice in my life. I meant to write sooner but everytime I think of it, I decide to play a little to get in the mood and then hours are lost. I haven't really words to describe how delighted I am with the instrument, it seems to play itself, and it can play a lot better than I can; I'm working hard to catch up. The mellow tone and the clarity are fantastic, and they are improving all the time. It really seems to be beginning to get into it's stride now. It is such a pleasure to play and it looks beautiful. I have flaunted it in front of all my friends, and they have been extremely impressed. Thank you so much for making such a wonderful instrument, it will be a friend for life.
Nicky Lodge, January 2010.
"A beautiful, quality hand-made instrument. V friendly, helpful seller. Thank you" (Bouzouki)
"Pure Quality. I was apprehensive prior to purchase - I need not have been." (Concert Ukulele)
"Excellent transaction, superb instrument - quite exquisite, many thanks!" (Soprano Ukulele)
"Many thanks for excellent service - beautiful mandolin, lovely tone." (Mandolin)
"Excellent transaction, pleasure to deal with - superb ukulele, many thanks!" (Tenor Ukulele)
Feedback from eBay sales, 2009.
The Uke is a beautiful job...thank you very much...now to get to grips with it!
David Dyke, September 2008.
Ö I thought I would take the time to provide some thoughts. Here is my opinion of the banjo.
It is beautiful. Exactly to spec - thanks. I like the attention to detail like the small mother of pearl dot position markers on the top of the finger board. The sound reflector, is bound in 'Ivoroid' I think? Which I like and is better than I expected. The bronze parts are excellent, I know these are off the shelf but they are a good choice. I don't totally like the geared tuners at the moment because they are hard for fine tuning, or maybe I just can't use them properly, but they are beautiful and I don't want to change them.
Sound it the most important thing and it is the best sounding Irish banjo I have so far heard just as the mandola is. The head is ideally suited to the sound I want to project. The sound is mellow and well behaved. When you need it to be, it is loud - again just like the mandola. As more people come into a session it is important to have some volume if you need it - well that is no problem! But I also found the volume very controllable so I could avoid overpowering everyone which is a real issue if you want to keep friends! I have learned more triplet playing on it than my old banjo because it sounds nicer, so it has even altered my playing style.Ö
I am most proud and happy with the instrument. It has been one of the best experiences for years, having you make it and having it arrive and being perfect.
Matthew Gerring, August 2008.
The uke is absolutely staggering. It's in a class of it's own!
Andrew Lawson, August 2008.
My Pickard Mandola is a joy to play and beautifully made. I play it in sessions and occasionally Ceilidh dances. It always gets attention from musicians that have not seen one before and sounds perfect. There is more volumne and woody tone in the instrument than anything else I play - it has real character. Thanks Ivor.
Matthew Gerring, April 2008.
Ivor. I would like to let you know what a fine job you have done. Because of work and recent flood precautions I have not had chance to really play and assess the guitar. The tonal balance and sustain are much improved, it really is a joy to play. Thanks very much.
Paul Everitt, July 2007.
Thanks for the fabulous repair on my 1943 Martin 0-15 - it should be good for another sixty-odd years now!
Andrew Lawson, May 2007.
As I, once again, pick up the Octave mandola that you made for me 18 years ago to put it in its case to go to play yet another gig, I suddenly felt I thought to contact you to thank you. I put a SDP pick-up in it as soon as I got it and I am still using it today without any problems. Averaging around 40 barn dance gigs a year since then, I imagine that it is probably the most gigged of all the instruments that you have made - not to mention the instrument's many visits to folk clubs, sessions and festivals......
Vic Smith, September 2006.
What a fabulous job you did on my Yamaha 12 string!! It plays like a dream. As usual you understate your talents by miles. Thanks very much indeed.
Andrew Lawson, February 2006.
I have been the very happy owner of one of your bouzoukis for about 10 years now ... that I bought S/H and which is still going strong.
Roger Gall, June 2005.
My latest Pickard continues to improve. It was a little similar to the mahogany six, inasmuch as I was a little disappointed with the overall volume but particularly the treble. I thought at first that I had gone a size too far for my taste. However, after a couple of weeks it had loosened its tonsils and was singing like a lark on a sunny afternoon. The appointments are brilliant. The neck is the best that I have on any guitar that I own!
Andrew Lawson, April 2005.
I just got a beautiful Pickard octave mandola (number 37-OM) via The Music Room.
Well made and finished, with a remarkable and (for me) highly desirable bright tone. Really audible in sessions! A great acquisition, congratulations on making such good instruments!
Pete Timmins, April 2004.
Pleased to see you are making instruments again - I was told some while ago that you'd given up - used one of your Octave mandolas ... professionally for years - it always sounds great and attracts a deal of interest.
Peter L.Sharp, November 2003.
It was great to hear that Pickard have started building instruments again. I would recommend the acoustic guitars and mandolins to anyone and have seen an excellent Octave Mandola.
My own acoustic guitar was purchased directly from Ivor in 1991, is kind of a largish body, but with a tighter waist and smaller fore end than a dreadnought. Also it has a slimmer body with a bent back that reflects the vibrations out of the sound hole. I think this design gives the umph of a good dreadnought, but without the tubby, boomy overtones.
It has a Spruce top, for brightness and Mahogany back/sides for warmth, usually my favorite combination.
The unusual strutting pattern probably gives it a fairly unique blend of sweet but cutting treble, loads of punch and presence, with a solid (not boomy) bass and huge volume, which doesn't run away with itself on sustain.
The neck is comfortably fully dimensioned, rather than the usual, current crop of cramp inducing, electric guitar inspired slim jobs, which rarely hold the tuning properly.
It is a great all rounder, although more for the strummer who does some picking, than for a dedicated fingerstyle player. The small bodied versions would be the ones for most pickers.
I've played the hell out of it for years in late night sessions, plus amplified in "Sixteen String Jack", a very loud folk rock band which toured in Europe, plus in "Hurry The Jug Barn Dance Band" and an Irish Pub band called "Rattling Gate".
It has had numerous re-frets due to my general heavy handedness and also survived having the headstock knocked clean off after falling onto a stone floor in a pub, then being glued back on by Paul Hathway.
From the mid 90's the instrument was also used as a tool to help design and fine tune the sound of Headway Electronics active under saddle pickup systems, which are now being exported to South Korea in quantity, in a coals to Newcastle manner, as well as supplying lots of much smaller, high end makers.
If anyone is taking some time out to meet Ivor in Binbrook, Lincolnshire, I am sure they will think it well worth the trip. Also they have good fish & chips shops up there.
John Littler, Headway Electronics (Partner), September 2003.
Built in 1984, my guitar has well stood the test of time and gives me the beautiful mellow but strong sound I want. I'd love to have a sticker saying 'my other one's a Lowden', but this would always be the first choice.
Sheila Mosley, May 2003.
Many folks ask me who made the cittern...it does sound superb...probably has something to do with the heavyish strings and the pin bridge...and the guy who made it...but it has MUCH more depth of sound than anything else I've played or heard....If you would like an endorsement for your site would be glad to oblige...
Pete Sumner, May 2003.
Youíve done it again. My new guitar is absolutely magnificent. It looks better than I expected and sounds better than I thought possible. Also your latest design refinements are to be applauded. Will this be my fourth and final Pickard?
Andrew Lawson, April 2003.
Although it is certainly another very beautiful guitar, with the same high standard of workmanship, the sound is where it scores the highest marks. I really do believe that this man's talents deserve recognition.It has been very difficult to put it back in its case, I just want to play it all the time. The string to string balance is very even. The intonation is perfect and it just sings.
Andrew Lawson, July 1991.
It is now several weeks since I took delivery of my twelve-string guitar and I would like to give you some of my thoughts.
It is almost unbelievable. The standard of finish is second to none; even on the closest inspection. However, it is not just a very beautiful guitar. It sounds rich and full with an even balance from bass to treble. Even though it is a twelve-string it is extremely responsive and capable of great subtlety. It plays effortlessly and the sound is just magnificent. If it is played hard it stays with you all the way and loses none of its clarity.
I can hardly wait for the improvement that its maturity will undoubtedly bring.
Should any of your prospective clients wish to see it or contact me, I would be happy to oblige. I thank you for your time and effort on my behalf for my superb guitar.
I recommend your work to anyone, without hesitation or reservation.
Andrew Lawson, November 1990.
Lincs. LN8 6BW
Phone +44 (0)1472 399443