Luthier

Tom Sands Guitars

Luthier
Tom Sands
Founded
2015
Location
Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Based in Yorkshire, England, former Somogyi apprentice Tom Sands is building some of the most beautiful, unique and responsive acoustic guitars in the world today. Across three base models (S, M, L) Tom is pushing the boundaries of what the acoustic guitar can do through innovations in design.

“When I'm thinking about guitars, when I'm thinking about designing guitars, I almost try not to think about guitars. I try to draw inspiration and influence from external sources outside of the guitar world. The less is more philosophy is where I'm increasingly trying to move towards... to kind of strip away anything that's not needed and really just focus on pure design, placing the real emphasis on the materials,” says Tom.

“If you don’t take a step outside of your field, then you risk your work becoming generic.”

“I wanted a small, a medium, and a large. They were all going to be different. All going to have different body sizes, scale lengths, feels to them, all for different objectives. It seemed to me that there was just loads of overlap between one builder to the others. One builder was building an 0M but to me, it was more like a 00 style. And then some people were building a small jumbo, but it was like an 0M, and it was just confusing. So I wanted to kind of strip all that away and kind of start from scratch.”  

The Guitars

Tom offers three base models—S, M, L—and gives each its own name. Below we explore each in more detail

Models

Model S

“The Model S was a kind of engineering and design challenge, to create something that was small, that was appealing, that didn't look like anything else, that was very much my own, my own design. It wasn't really based around anything, so it was really starting from the ground up. New bracing patterns, new kind of scale length considerations. It was a real departure from what I'd been building previously.” 

*Please note, the specifications provided below are the standard specs included in the base price. Specifications are customizable upon request*


Dimensions
Length
19”
Body depth at end pin
4.25”
Body depth at neck
3.5”
Lower bout
14.25”
Standard specifications
Soundboard
 European spruce or Redwood
Back and sides
 Wenge
Neck
 Mahogany
Neck profile
 Medium C
Fingerboard
Ebony
Inlay
 None
Tuners
 Gotoh 510
Nut material
 Bone
Nut width
1.75"
Scale length
 24.75”
Peg head veneer
 To match fingerboard and bridge
Pickguard
none
Rosette
 Plain copper ring
Purfling
 Custom
Back strip
 None
Body binding
 Rocklike ebano
Bridge
 Ebony
Pins
 Ebony
Saddle material
 Bone
String spacing
 2.25"
Tom’s notes

“The Model S is what I like to call my fireside guitar. It's the end of the day, kind of sitting on the couch with a whiskey, just relaxing, kind of guitar. It's comfortable. It's 12 frets to the body. It's short scale. But it's got plenty of oomph to it and really nice and sweet; it projects, but it's got that kind of open spectrum sound. It's got plenty of bass response, plenty of volume and headroom, but still nice and small and compact and comfortable.” 

 

Model M

“The model M is very much based on the Somogyi OM that I really enjoyed building. Sort of a medium sized guitar, and it was kind of the luthier's choice instrument. You know, everyone loves building an OM. It's the kind of goldilocks guitar. It does a little bit of everything. I wanted it to be really balanced, both to play fingerstyle, as well as really driving it with a plectrum.” 

*Please note, the specifications provided below are the standard specs included in the base price. Specifications are customizable upon request*


Dimensions
Length
19.5”
Body depth at end pin
4.5”
Body depth at neck
3.5”
Lower bout
16”
Standard specifications
Soundboard
 European spruce or Redwood
Back and sides
 Wenge
Neck
 Mahogany
Neck profile
 Medium C
Fingerboard
Ebony
Inlay
 None
Tuners
 Gotoh 510
Nut material
 Bone
Nut width
1.75"
Scale length
25”
Peg head veneer
 To match fingerboard and bridge
Pickguard
none
Rosette
 Plain copper ring
Purfling
 Custom
Back strip
 None
Body binding
 Rocklike ebano
Bridge
 Ebony
Pins
 Ebony
Saddle material
 Bone
String spacing
 2.25"
Tom's notes

“The standard M has a 25-inch scale length, with a 16-inch lower bout—so it's got quite a substantial lower bout. But I also really love to build this as a 12 fret, as well, just placing the bridge right in center of the lower bout.” 

Model L

“My model L is kind of an homage to Ervin's modified dreadnought, which I think is a real kind of game changer of a guitar, so it's pretty much based on that kind of design footprint. Slightly longer scale, 25 and a half, and that's just a big, ballsy, loud, bassy, powerful sound. I really wanted to capture, or almost try to replicate that feeling that I felt the first time I played one of Ervin's guitars.” 

*Please note, the specifications provided below are the standard specs included in the base price. Specifications are customizable upon request*


Dimensions
Length
20”
Body depth at end pin
5”
Body depth at neck
4”
Lower bout
16”
Standard specifications
Soundboard
 European spruce or Redwood
Back and sides
 Wenge
Neck
 Mahogany
Neck profile
 Medium C
Fingerboard
Ebony
Inlay
 None
Tuners
 Gotoh 510
Nut material
 Bone
Nut width
1.75"
Scale length
25.23”
Peg head veneer
 To match fingerboard and bridge
Pickguard
none
Rosette
 Plain copper ring
Purfling
 Custom
Back strip
 None
Body binding
 Rocklike ebano
Bridge
 Ebony
Pins
 Ebony
Saddle material
 Bone
String spacing
 2.25"
Tom's notes

“I just wanted something that was really going to make people kind of stand up and pay attention, so yeah, you know, three guitars that are very different from each other. They all have nods to Ervin's work, but also speak of my own design aesthetic.” 

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