Saturday, 16 April 2016

Reeve Guitars - Continued. . . . .

The next instalment from Val Reeve.



































Off we go again!

After the excitement of the eighties, things began to quieten down 

and we settled into a routine of making instruments and also began to 
do a lot of repairs.  
Eventually we were doing all the guitar repairs for a music shop in 
Dunstable.
The recession was beginning to bite and orders began to dry up.  
Our accountant told us it was time now to revert back to 'hobby status'.  
We had tried but it was no longer viable to run Reeve Guitars as a 
business so Ges (the only one who was working full-time in Reeve Guitars) 
had to find a job and we went back to how it had been originally, working 
evenings and weekends.

In the late nineties, my son, Michael wanted a guitar made.  

This was a break through, Michael had always considered that nothing 
could better his Les Paul!!  
The consequent result of a gleaming white guitar was totally superb.  
Michael and Mike had worked closely, Michael explaining exactly what 
he required and with Mike's considerable electronic expertise, 
the guitar could produce every sound that Michael wanted and of course, 
the bodywork created by Ges was second to none.  
The ultimate praise came when Michael said the Reeve Guitar was far 
superior to his Les Paul!





 












More about Reeve next time.

Cheers. :)

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Val Reeve continues. . . . .

Val continues with the Reeve Story.






































"Hi Eric

Hope you have had a good week.  

Anyway, on with the story.

During this period Ges just could not cope with working 

full time and the amount of guitar work coming in so he 
decided to try to make Reeve Guitars a full time business.  
At that time it certainly looked as though Reeve Guitars 
could be a going concern.  
I had the unenviable task of preparing the accounts ready 
for audit when the accountant took over.  
I drew the short straw yet again!
Mick was still teaching and keeping a low profile but the 

long school holidays were a bonus, and I also had the the 
school holidays.

Totally out of the blue, we were contacted by a guy in 

America who expressed interest in buying instruments on 
a regular basis.  
He had obviously been monitoring our progress through 
the regular reviews in the music magazines.  
He had also contacted an amplification firm in this 
country with a view to them making and shipping out 
amps to America.  
Our first reaction was of disbelief, quickly followed by a 
wildly excited "This is It"!!!  Obviously we had to check 
that he was bona fide.  
The Overseas Branch of our local Bank were brilliant 
and ran a check on this guy.  
Apparently he had financial backing and everything 
seemed ok. 
Although on one visit from an adviser from the Bank's 
Overseas Branch , I was told that we should not as much 
as purchase a screw until the finances were completely 
watertight.  

Of course, with deadlines already being given that was 
not possible and full production went ahead.  
Ges and Mick were working flat out because all these 
instruments were custom built. 
I was in contact with a shipping company who had 
supplied me with prices on packing and shipping out 
the instruments and I also had a lot of contact with the 
amplification firm.

Gradually we began to get very anxious as the money 

had not been transferred and despite repeated phone 
calls to America when we were assured it would be 
happening very soon, loud warning bells began to ring.   
The amplification firm were also very worried and they 
sent a representative to America to check out the situation.  
I was in contact with the Overseas Branch of our Bank and 
it was the Bank, through their sources in America, who 
notified me that this guy's financial backers had withdrawn. 
And that was it!  The Dream was over.

Although we had about a dozen bodies ready, we were ok 

because over time, these were used in the making of other 
instruments.  
I dont believe the amplification firm were so lucky."


So, it seems that Reeve could have gone international but
unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

Back with more of the Reeve Guitar story, along with some
more images.

Any Reeve owners out there??
 Drop me a line.
Contact me here 

Cheers. :)

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Reeve Brian May and more Reeve Guitars. . .

Another long delay - Sorry about that - loads on, at 
the moment! :)

The next part of the story, which Val sent to me a few
weeks ago, I put down onto a memory stick, which I have
left behind, somewhere!!
Think I know where it is, so no panic.

In the meantime, some more picks of Reeve.

The one below is my first Reeve - "Mr Lee"

 
 















Val has sent me some more from her archive, including
 this one, which Ges called Patchwork Guitar, as it was 
used as a demo for all the timbers he could offer.
Bit of a Brian May looking trem, there which brings me 
to the "mystery guitar", shown below the Patchwork.









































This is a bit of a mystery to me and Val.
She can't remember if Ges built this Brian May Red Special
or if it was just in for repairs, as there are no shots of the
rest of it or the head.
I have tried to look for signature details on this - is it a Burns,
or a Guild? I don't think so - any comments, would be very
welcome, from those in the know.

This is another one that Val sent to me - a very 80's take on
a Strat - one pick-up in the "screaming position" and one
control, Volume!
Loud or off!! :)









































































I'll be back in a couple of days, honest. . . Promise!!!

Any Reeve Guitars out there?
I'm going to do a complete gallery of the ones that 
owners have sent me, at the end of this feature.

Back soon.

Cheers. :)


























































Friday, 4 March 2016

The Reeve Guitar Story

More about Reeve - A Cottage industry in Bedfordshire! 

 Val Reeve with a Bass & Guitar Twin Neck.

Val is helping me out with the story of Reeve, which relies 
on her detailing the story and finding old photos to scan.
So, after sever emails, we are off and running again.

Over to you Val! 

Off we go ......  Back to the eighties which, for Reeve Guitars, 
was a time of excitement and promise. 
In 1983, we were mentioned by a mutual acquaintance to 
Pete Tulett who at that time was Managing Director of 
Musicians Direct Supply Co producing the Alligator P.A.  
Pete was interested in bringing out an Alligator Guitar and 
Bass to celebrate the company's first anniversary.  
He came to meet Ges and Mick and decided that these two 
were more than capable of producing exactly what he wanted.  
Pete designed the shape, colours (green) and timbers while a 
guitarist and bassist helped out on the more technical aspects.  
These instruments would appear as a limited edition (6 guitars 
and 6 basses) to begin with. 
Each instrument had First Anniversary engraved on the neck 
plate and of course 'Alligator' on the headstock.  
It was never revealed who had produced these instruments, 
only that they were British made.  
Ges was a bit 'miffed' at this and each instrument carried a 
well-concealed 'Manufactured by Reeve Guitars' engraved plate.  
I think over the years, it did leak out.  
Obviously the instruments were checked regularly by Pete and 
his colleagues to make sure all was proceeding to plan. 
Pete had called us 'a cottage industry' and I guess we probably were.  
But this 'cottage industry' could produce the finest instruments and 
also provide a strong cup of tea!!!!







 




























During this time, Ges had to rent the use of a Carpentry Shop 
(at Dunstable) for a couple of days a week because obviously 
this offered a range of facilities our workshop did not have.  
How I ever found time to go to work I do not know.  
I worked in a school and the Headmaster was well into our 
guitar-making.  
Several times, he waved me off saying ' Off you go, go and do 
what you have to!!'  Imagine that happened now!!!

The instruments were very positively reviewed in the 

International Musician and Recording World (Nov 1983), 
Music UK (Dec 83) and Guitarist (June 84).  
But after a triumphant debut, the Alligators seemed to 
gradually peter out.

Part II of this episode next week.

Anyone out there got an Alligator Bass or Guitar??

 contactflateric@gmail.com

Monday, 25 January 2016

Reeve Guitars and Basses. . . . .

When I bought my first Reeve, I never thought I would 
end up getting the whole story.
After much research and putting out requets, my call
was finally answered. 
Many thanks to Andy Gilbert, who slotted in the missing
piece of the jigsaw!!
Cheers mate! :) 


















This is Val and Ges Reeve!
























  
Val has made contact with me and is very happy to tell
the story of Reeve Guitars.
A story that is much bigger than I ever imagined it would
ever be!!

Val, take it away!!

Hi Eric
Right here we go.
It all started in the late seventies.  Mick had been raring to 

make a guitar, Ges more reluctant. 
One day Mick came in to us from school with a piece of beech 

saying 'here's the body'. 
He had retrieved the lid of a school desk that was being dumped 

at the school. 
They were totally inexperienced but this was a music household, 

my son having his own band.
Mick having his own musical connections, able to play both lead 

and bass plus being a whizz kid at electronics and Ges becoming 
involved so they both knew their way round a guitar. 
In actual fact it turned out brilliantly so that was it, Reeve Guitars 

was born.
Both Ges and Mick in their own fields were very very talented, 

each complimenting the other in their craftsmanship.

Because we were involved in the local music scene, word quickly 

got round and orders started to come in. 
A huge selling feature was that the customer could call in regularly 

to check the progress of the instrument and also we could produce 
whatever the customer wanted. 
We made instruments for The Wellington Bootles, a local band 

who had a certain amount of 'fame' at the time.

Obviously by this time, the garage which had become a workshop 

had been extended, part soundproofed and now housed a lot of 
very impressive wood working machinery. 
Ges and I went to Nottingham to order one particular beast. 
We found a very reliable  supplier Cass Music in Eastbourne, 

it was a lovely man there, Jeff Frost who ordered all our 
Kent Armstrong pickups, some made to a definite specification.  

The dining room was turned into a customer receiving room. 
Sometimes the place was packed with would be customers or just 

guitarist mates of my son, Michael (or Mike).  
Michael was the most talented guitarist.  Sadly he died in March 2001

I did all the ordering, correspondence, phoning etc and during 1983, 

we put our heads together because we needed to project our profile 
and I came up with contacting Melody Maker magazine. 
I was in touch with a Mark Jenkins who ran a couple of reviews  in 

Melody Maker on Reeve Guitars.  
Ges and I had taken one of our guitars to his home for him to try.
Mark also got Snowy White (famous guitarist then) to write a review. 
The publicity sure paid off -  we were away!!!
 



   




















There is more to come from Val and more from the contacts
I have made along the way - owners, their Reeve Guitars and
their stories. 

My headless is almost complete, so will be gettting some final
shots of that, soon.

More to come next time.

Cheers. :) 

Monday, 28 December 2015

Reeve Headless Bass - Nearly There. . . . .

More progress has been made!



















I tend to save old strings to mess around and do a basic set up.
I don't do it every time but this seemed like a good candidate.
These came from a Jazz bass and I think I may have cut them  
a little short!!


















Never mind, they are only temporary, I'll correct that later on.

Having fixed the broken joint and fitted a new battery, it was time
to plug it in.
Very nice, indeed!!

On passive there is quite a big sound to it with some tones that are
more than acceptable - turn on the active - Wow!
As you have seen from the previous post, it has an "old fashioned" 
looking circuit but there is a lot going on in there.
The rear control knob operates a five position rotary switch, which
takes you from a deep, powerful thud, though to biting highs.
After playing around with it for a while, I think my favourite is
position two - big bottom end with some mid bite. Nice!
I must have taken the strings of the Jazz, as they were loosing their
edge but on this, they seem just fine!



















The bridge is totally floating and to be honest a bit of a fiddle but
seems to follow the design of some other Reeve basses I have seen.
The action and intonation aren't set at the moment - I'll get around
to that soon, as I think I will leave these strings on for the time being.




















The frets have come up really nicely and the wonderfully "hand made"
string anchor works a treat, with the setting being done with the little
tool screwed into the bottom. How thoughtful!

A few minor jobs to finish off and then time to plug it into something
big and powerful!

Back next time with a full report.

Cheers. :)