AC Guitars is a small, one-man shop based in Moffat, South West Scotland; I am the one man. In June 2006, with the first commissioned order arriving from Dave McDonald of Toronto, AC Guitars officially came into being.
Prior to that, I was building instruments for about 2 years, mostly out of boredom. Illness had left me unable to do my usual work, but as I recovered, I had time on my hands. I’d played bass and various other instruments for years, and fostered a real interest in recording and all the equipment it brings with it. So, I decided to build a guitar.
I had several high-end basses so it never entered my head to build a bass. My first attempt was a hollow bodied Telecaster, which provided a steep learning curve and a good deal of swearing. On completion I was fairly pleased; it made a noise, it stayed in tune, and from a distance it looked OK. But my satisfaction only lasted a week before I decided I could do better. Happily, it’s all been downhill from there.
I have several people to thank for their help in making AC Guitars a reality:
Mrs. Linnhe Cringean
Obvious I know, but maybe not in the way you’d think. Linnhe has an impeccable eye for design. When I come up with body shapes, with old school paper and pencil, I know they are not quite right, missing a line here, or a curve there. I could spend hours figuring out what it needs, but discovered early on that if I ask Linnhe to fix it, it’s done in 10 minutes. So, every design has her hand in it. She also designed the ACG logo that appears on every instrument.
John East East Tone UK
Back in the day, John put up with endless questions about electronics, many of which I now know were just plain stupid. He showed incredible patience with someone with no track record or any obvious ability. Years later I still ask stupid questions, and John still has the good grace to answer them without making me feel like an idiot. He’s truly a gentleman. John designed and makes the ACG EQ1/2/3 for me.
Aaron Armstrong Kent Armstrong and Son Pickups
I decided early on that custom basses should, whenever possible, have custom components. Aaron and I have been refining the ACG B series pickups since I built my second bass. This collaboration continues with the release of the new MC series.
Larry Davies Gallery Hardwoods
Larry has been my main wood supplier since I started. I found him through the JP Basses website. I got in touch with Larry after admiring JP’s work and the stunning woods he uses. Once again, I was very lucky; Larry not only put up with my barrage of questions but also my stream of small orders. Like John and Aaron, he sensed I was serious about what I was trying to achieve, even if I wasn’t entirely sure how to achieve it. Larry introduced me to Acrylic Impregnated Woods, his proprietary set of resins that stabilise woods and give AC Guitars some of the wildest fingerboards you will see on any bass.
These are the people who have made the biggest difference to AC Guitars, but there are many others who have helped me along the way, all of whom have my thanks.
Over in Toronto, my first customer, and now good friend, Dave McDonald still enjoys his ACG 001 Recurve 4. We meet every couple of years, and continue to discuss his bass wish list. Dave is not the only friend I have made through AC Guitars, which is a benefit I could not have anticipated when I started out.