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Talking Guitar: Tom Sands, Will McNicol & The Model L

This truly has been the most wonderful year for all of us here at The North American Guitar, seeing many phenomenal instruments from both 'new' and 'established' luthiers coming through our London showroom to find new homes. Also seeing new luthiers such as Isaac Jang, Stephen Strahm, Ryan Gerber and Tom Sands to name a few carving (no pun intended) their mark on the guitar world has been thrilling to watch and be a part of.

As many of you will know Tom Sands has made quite a name for himself in the luthier world this year, from his 'The Week This Week' Instagram videos, podcasts and beautiful photography all over social media to fantastic insights into his building techniques, 2018 has resulted in a waiting list for a Tom Sands Guitar of three years.

Earlier this month we hosted the official launch event of Tom Sands Guitars here at The North American Guitar showroom to a sold out audience. Joined by guitar sensation Will McNicol, the evening was filled with wonderful music on a variety of Toms Sands Guitars and a Q&A with Tom himself.

We managed to capture a rather special Talking Guitar video just before the event start with Tom and Will sitting on the famous TNAG sofa, talking about Tom's journey as a luthier and their relationship as Luthier and Artists...what a wonderful monemt to capture on film.

We recently managed to get our hands on this absolutely masterful Model L in Madagascan Rosewood and Cedar from UK luthier Tom Sands, after it had just been used to record by Will McNicol for his latest album. Built in an absolutely phenomenal set of Madagascar Rosewood for the back and side and a beautiful warm cedar for the top, this guitar has really stopped us in its tracks. With a beautiful and yet powerful voice, this Model L has everything you would expect from a Somogyi style MD (modified dreadnought) but with a few unexpected twists. Yes, the power from the bigger lower and upper bout is vast, full and thick but there is a sweetness to this guitar that really jumps out at you in the trebles, making it incredibly well balanced and offering a complex, full and versatile tone.

There are so many things about this guitar that we absolutely love, from the stunning modern contemporary art feel to the design, the mirrors Madagascar head veneer, the 'Manzer' wedge and of course the arm bevel. Of course, it goes without saying this is a tonal monster, offering everything the modern fingerstyle player could ever want from an instrument (which one would expect from one of the world most sought after Somogyi apprentices), but for me, it is the comfort of this guitar that really stands out! Even though you have that bigger 16" lower bout you would usually get from a dreadnought body, the 'Manzer'wedge accompanied by that beautiful subtle arm bevel makes playing this guitar a joy. Whether you are a sofa player, seated player or jamming on stage or in a studio for long periods you will not feel the size affect your ability to play for long periods of time.

This phenomenal guitar was also used by Will McNicol to record his upcoming album. Here is what Will had to say about the guitar:

"Tom's Model L was a dream to record with on my latest project featuring a string quartet. When you're in a room with violins, viola and cello it certainly helps when the guitar you're playing has real power behind it, and this had power in abundance. Not only that, but I was so impressed with the treble tone - a real sweetness combined with bite allowed me to get all the nuance I wanted with minimal effort. Recording take after take can be exhausting, particularly with large-bodied guitars, but it was an amazing how comfortable it was even after a few hours - that bevel works wonders! I also remember the hairs standing up when I heard the first playback of a tune using CGCGBE tuning - the bass resonance was just epic whilst remaining wonderfully balanced..." Will McNicol.

Will & Tom in Session together...

Tom Sands Model L Madagascan Rosewood & Cedar

"My Model L was the first guitar of my new range; it marks an important transition, but pays homage to the Somogyi MD. I wanted to create a guitar that had a big, bold presence but was well balanced with delicate yet full bodied trebles. Subsequently there is a complex tonal blend; the warm mellow tones of the cedar counterpoint the articulate clarity of the Rosewood. Aesthetically, there are nods to the art deco and bauhaus styling through the use of materials such as Macassar Ebony and brass, with the deconstructed rosette theme..." Tom Sands.

The good news is, as this guitar has been used for recording it is therefore classed as ex-demo, meaning we are able to offer this outstanding instrument under the second-hand margin scheme at an ex VAT (value added tax) price of:

£9,850 down from £13,500.

+ a FREE Climastand Display case.

  • Back & sides - Madagascar Rosewood
  • Top - Cedar
  • Laskin style arm bevel
  • Manzer wedge
  • Rosette - Bauhaus inspired brushed brass and macassar ebony
  • Binding & End graft - Rocklite Ebano sustainable composite
  • Position markers - brass
  • Bridge - Hand sculpted Rocklite
  • Bridge pins - Ebony
  • Saddle - 2-1/4” string spacing (bone)
  • Nut width - 1-3/4” (bone)
  • Neck - Wenge
  • Headcap - Madagascar Rosewood
  • Rear headcap - Rocklite
  • Tuning machines - Robson 501 Lux
  • Fingerboard - Rocklite
  • Truss rod - Double action, headstock adjustable with magnetic cover
  • Fretwire - Jetcar medium evo-gold
  • Fretboard radius - 20”
  • Scale length - 25.5"
  • Case - Hoffee deluxe, black/black
  • Finish - AC lacquer
  • Strings - Elixir 12-53

For more information on this stunning Model L in Madagascar Rosewood and Cedar please contact us on +44 (0) 207 835 5597 or email us here.

Have a great week,


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