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About

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About

Oswald Guitars is a one-man guitar shop based in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Every guitar that leaves my shop is entirely made by hand and made to order. Because of this, every single aspect of the guitar is customizable to the player's preference for the exact desired fit, looks, playability, style, and tone.

Spending all that time with each instrument you can’t stop falling in love with every single one of them.

  • 2014

    In the beginning

    I fell through the rabbit hole when I bought an old 80’ MIJ Fender body and decided to restore it. I never finished that guitar, but I learned a lot! I spent the next few months spraying and sanding that body – it started out as a 45mm thick refinished body in blue metallic and ended up in the trash a few months later, in a mint green hue and about 38mm thick after all that sanding.

  • 2014

    Buying a router

    After some years of working on partscasters I discovered that a hand router would nearly be enough to make an electric guitar body. That week I bought a router and went wood shopping at my local lumber yard. I still remember the smell of that block of Hard Ash and the flaws in the maple board. The Ash was way too heavy and the maple wasn’t stiff enough, but it was a start.

  • 2015

    Mini workshop

    Because my neighbours got cross with me for routing on my balcony I decided to clear out my small bicycle shed and kit out a small workshop, later this workshop got repurposed as a spraybooth

  • 2015

    In prison...

    When a vacancy opened up to rent a cell in a repurposed prison in my home town I jumped on the chance. This workshop allowed me to build guitars more efficiently as I had some larger equipment like a bandsaw, router table and a thickness sander. At this point I started building complete guitars from start to finish fairly regularly.

  • 2016

    Crimson guitars

    When I was building guitars YouTube was of great help to me, so when I had the opportunity I decided to visit the lads at Crimson Guitars to build a guitar in a fully kitted out workshop, under the supervision of some full time luthiers. This was a great week filled with loads of new insights and gave me the confidence that I did indeed know what I was doing.

It does not do to dwell on dreams...

  • 2016

    Kitting out my workshop

    I officially started Oswald guitars when I bought a house with a large enough backyard to build a proper workshop. To finance my workshop I sold nearly all the guitars, amps and pedals I had accumulated over the years. It was painful, but still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

  • 2017

    Dave Simpson

    As you can imagine, it’s not easy to get the word out when every free moment is spent locked away in a workshop building guitars. Here is where Dave comes in; I found this amazing and quirky guitarist on YouTube with these ‘sound like John Frusciante’ lessons. I thought I’d drop him an email and see if he’d let me build him a guitar to use and abuse however he liked. Dave loved the guitar, and from here, my online exposure when through the roof.

  • 2018

    Improving my workflow

    The years after that where spent building and slowly and steadily improving the workshop. By the summer of 2018 I had such a solid stream of orders coming in that I thought I’d better cut back on my teaching hours. I used to teach full time and try to keep up with my business in the evening hours and the weekends. Moving to teaching only four days a week gave me the room to take on more orders and focus on guitar building even more.

  • 2018

    Building with friends

    Over the years, friends visited my workshop, some even to build themselves a guitar – either to enjoy the building process or because they "needed" a new guitar... It turns out with the right equipment and step by step guidance, and a lot of patience, nearly anyone can build something playable! I might want to offer similar courses to the wider public one day.

  • 2019

    Danish Pete and That Pedal Show

    “Metallic purple is a very cool colour for a guitar, but I think shell pink is great as well.” That was kind of the internal monologue I had before I contacted Peter Honoré, about maybe sending him one of my guitars. I’d been a faithful watcher of the Andertons YouTube channel and pretty much enjoyed every Danish Pete feature there. I was very happy to read Pete’s reply – and over the moon when he told me that he’d take my guitar to his upcoming TPS session. That was amazing!

  • 2019

    Crazy times

    This triggered a pretty wild building schedule – even by my standards, the time demands were ran completely out of control after this. From this point on, every single free moment was spent building. In the summer of 2019 Tom started helping me – he is here about once a week to help me sand, clean, and keep me sane.

  • 2020

    What's next?

    Next year I hope to find a balance between my teaching, the other job which I love, my guitar building – and I would like to have some sort of social life again. I’ve neglected friends and family for quite some time now – and it would be nice to have a day off in the week! I’m planning to move shop as my big backyard is getting too small. Also I’d like to make some changes to the building process that will make it easier for me to take on these large order numbers while delivering consistently high-standard instruments to you guys.

  • 2022

    This

    These past few years I've survided the pandemic, Tom is working more hours as a teacher. so we still hang out loads, less at the shop though, I've moved to a propper workshop, gotten a whole load of new tools and finally have figured out how to edit my website.....
    So I do plan on updating this shortly!

    Cheers,
    Nick