©Terry Docherty Guitars 2013
I started building stringed instruments almost 20 years and if I have one regret it’s that I didn’t start earlier though I guess that things happen when they do for a reason. My earlier interest was primarily as player and so guitars especially, have been my passion from childhood and the days of Skiffle, followed by a wild adolescence as a bass player/vocalist in the local rock bands of the 1960’s, much to the delight of my parents whose unswerving opposition was the finest motivation a kid could have wished for.
The Folk revival of the post-war era finally caught up with me in the mid to late 1960’s when I heard the steel string acoustic guitar played finger-style for the first time - a “Damascus” moment for which I am forever grateful and which has shaped the course of my life ever since. Soon after graduating in Geology in 1972, from Queen’s, Belfast, I went off to the States to play music professionally before returning to the UK and Cumbria, more folk clubs, the recording of Fellside Recordings first album in 1976, (Teller of Tales FE001) interspersed with periods of proper jobs and alongside decades of learning, playing and developing (see discography) until I finally got around to building my first guitar. It was as rough as the roads but it played and sounded well enough and so the rest is history.
I’m often asked “how did you learn to do that?” ~ my stock answer being that if you want to do something badly enough then learning is easy. The truth is that I taught myself over several years and that I’m still learning through reading, experimenting, and trying out new things. I’ve built more instruments than I care to count and I enjoy variety though having been away from it for several years, I began making just for pleasure about 18 months ago and quickly discovered just how much I missed it. So, the rumours of my retirement circulating on Mudcat, were only partially true and you can't get rid of me that easily, I'm afraid.
Prior to that, I’d built violins, F-style mandolins, mandolas and bouzoukis, but my passion is guitars and always has been. One of the reasons for starting up again was to set myself some new challenges and build those instruments that I'd always promised myself I would, but never got around to and as a consequence, I've added both a carved top cittern and guitar-cittern to what is now a fairly full range of largely my own designs. I still have a career as a Fostering Agency Manager but hope to retire in a couple of years so all of this is forward planning for the day when I can concentrate wholly on what I enjoy doing most. I still play though not nearly as much as I used to and my last excursion into the realms of professional folk music was as a member of the Great Northern Roadshow alongside Tom McConville and Pauline Cato.