Guitar man won’t fret about expansion

Rory Dowling makes his guitars to order and produces about a dozen each year. Photograph: Phil Wilkinson

Rory Dowling makes his guitars to order and produces about a dozen each year. Photograph: Phil Wilkinson

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A GUITAR maker in Fife who has created instruments for musicians including Karine Polwart and Matheu Watson is expanding his workshop as he branches out from folk into other forms of music.

Rory Dowling was working as a furniture maker in Edinburgh before launching Taran Guitars in 2005. He set up his first workshop in the capital in 2007 and then moved to Comie Law Farm near Pittenweem in 2011.

Dowling’s landlord Bal­caskie – one of the East Neuk Estates – is carrying out the extension, which will see his workshop doubling in size to 140 square metres.

“The biggest difference will be that I can have a showroom for my guitars,” said Dowling. “Customers will be able to come along and try out the guitars.”

Dowling, 30, makes his guitars to order, producing about a dozen each year and charging between £3,000 and £8,000 per instrument.

“Musicians will talk to me about the style of music they want to play and then I can vary the neck size or string spacing for them,” he said. “It takes about two or three months to build a guitar, with a lot of that time being spent on the finishing.”

Dowling is from Alford, in Aberdeenshire, the village that also gave the world singer­-songwriter Emeli Sandé. Joel Sandé, Emeli’s dad, was his craft and design teacher at Alford Academy.

Watson, who played music for the soundtrack to Disney’s cartoon Brave, used one of Dowling’s guitars during his opening performance with Zakir Hussain at the 2011 Celtic Connections festival.

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