Welcome to SMB Guitars.
Bespoke luthiery, for the discerning guitarist.
SMB guitars is run by myself; Master Luthier Simon Bailey. I have over 15 years experience in luthiery and trained at the Musical Instrument Technology College of Merton, London. Today my workshop is in the sleepy village of Milland, located in the South Downs National Park.
I first took an interest in luthiery and guitar tech work back in the late 1990’s when I was around 15 years old. I took a cheap Les Paul copy to a local music store for a repair, and when I got home, after a long train journey, and a 2 mile walk home, the phone rang and told me my guitar was ready for collection. I caught the train back to the shop, and collected my guitar, glad to have it back, but annoyed at the wasted time and money on the train. It was then I decided I needed to know how to look after my own instruments. I learnt initially by experimentation, then by books and by talking to other guitar techs. The internet was not a big thing when I was beginning my career, and this probably helped me me as I find luthier forums today can be a bit of a battle ground with many people on soapboxes without experience giving mis-information instead of giving useful and reliable advice.
I enrolled at the Musical Instrument Technology (MIT) college of London, Merton campus in 2005 and quickly set up SMB Guitars shortly afterwards. At first I was doing guitar setups and minor repairs on instruments for friends and family, but soon the interest in my work became recognised from further afield.
My modest workshop quickly became a hive of all kinds of luthiery and guitar tech work as word got around about the quality and consistency of my trade. After my 3 years at Merton I worked for a number of recognised music and guitar shops in the South including; PMT, formally Nevada Music, in Portsmouth, Guitar Village in Farnham, Chamberlain Music in Haslemere, and DK Guitars in Godalming.
As the business grew I was forced to leave my humble shed workshop and find a larger premises; I moved into the thriving workshop of Milland Joinery, where I have been since 2013.
I believe that the guitar is made to be played live and belongs on the stage; not left in cases, lofts or garages. So as well as building you a great sounding, great looking guitar, I am ultimately building you a guitar that is a tool for expressing your musical self, that is built to withstand years of playing. I will guide you through every aspect of your bespoke guitar, helping you to choose what tone-woods will work best for your playing, right down to the type of finish to use.
I know I can help your in you journey in the search for your ultimate guitar, and I welcome visitors (by prior agreement) to the workshop. Please feel free to call me or pop in for a chat to discuss any of your needs.
I look forward to working with you.