Bedlam Guitars is a one-man guitar making workshop, making one-off custom guitars. The one man is me, John Roberts. I started making guitars in the late 1980s because I was rubbish at playing the guitar. Instead of practising and getting better I decided that it was the guitar which was at fault. Of course, nobody in the world could make a guitar just for me, so I was going to have to make my own.
Armed with some very basic tools, a piece of wood salvaged from the lid of a piano and a book called ‘Make Your Own Electric Guitar’ by Melvyn Hiscock, I cobbled together something which was pretty embarrassing by current standards, but it worked and I used it at a good few gigs.
Over time I got better tools and made more guitars, learning as I went. After thirty years I like to think I’ve pretty much got the hang of it now.
I have made some original designs and I’d like to make more, but the sad fact is that guitarists are pretty conservative and don’t like to stray too far from what they know. I enjoy making ‘hybrid’ guitars which take features from several sources and blend them together to give a new look or sound. I refuse to make direct copies or replicas. If you want a guitar exactly like a Fender Strat, buy a Fender Strat. I do use the familiar outlines of the Strat and Tele quite often but I use exotic timbers and different pickup configurations to produce unique variations.
More recently I built a number of effects pedals, mostly from kits, just to learn about electronics and to bust a few myths.
Most of the guitars I make are for myself and friends, but I’m becoming increasingly snowed-under with them to the point where some of them have to be sold. I don’t usually make guitars specifically to sell, but sometimes I make one I know I won’t keep just to try a new technique or tool.
If you would like to ask me about any of my guitars or pedals you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that I don’t do commissions or take orders for stuff. Not yet, anyway. I don’t have time, on account of working full time to pay for all the stuff I make…