Welcome to Troubadour UK

ProfileHi - I'm David Kilpatrick, owner of Troubadour UK. Actually, I run Icon Publications Ltd, publishing photographic magazines, and also organise the local folk club. Troubadour UK started from an interest in these instruments and became an addition to our business. It's run from the same offices.

Stock position (Feb 2016)

Posted by admin on Jul 30 2011 | Instruments

We are currently only stocking the Xaphoon pocket sax, and a few rather exotic items.

Stock position on the Xaphoon is GREEN only available on Feb 1st with new stocks due during February.

We have:

A professional grade six-course large Moroccan oud purchased from a musician, not a dealer and nothing like the typical tourist product rather plain to look at but superb sound, bought in Morocco – £350.

A Victorian Geo. Matthews Birmingham top quality zither banjo (nylon/nylgut strung, tunnel chanterelle) – offers in region of £250.

An Ardival Dupplin celtic small harp (not lever, portable, Scottish, hand made and utterly beautiful but not for your orchestral harpist in any way), will consider offers over £600.

Classical guitars – cedar/rosewood, spruce/mahogany, solid woods, light and responsive, Romanian. Choice of examples, £200-300. You’d pay a four-figure sum for anything approaching the sound and quality of the cedar/rosewood, from Spain – but the Spanish luthiers build far more heavily than this, and unless you spend a fortune, their output is pitched at heavy P-stroke technique.

Russian 7-string guitar – £175

HORA electro acoustic bass guitar, 870mm scale, jumbo body, solid spruce/maple, superb acoustic sound – £250

A solid maple 3/4 classical – £90

A Brook Bovey 010 series small or travel guitar in near-mint condition, English walnut with dark stained very tightly grained cedar top, £900. This guitar is almost as made in 1999 and has just a couple of tiny minor visible marks (only one on the top) and no general playing wear, has never been fitted with a pickup, and has its original gig bag. Gotoh tuners. It is a resonant, sweet, echoing small 21.7″ guitar which can be tuned to standard or 1 to 3 semitones up depending on string choice. The current new price is £1475 as specced.

See/hear – three live digital camera/iMac recordings, obviously limited by auto gain and built-in mics:

Studio/digital recording with better studio twin mics but some fx -

Puerto Rican cuatro, Asian manufacture, five double course, as new – £65.

Various pickups and pickup/preamp kits – enquire.


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Duduk and guitar

Posted by admin on Apr 27 2011 | Instruments

Armen Grigoryan, principal duduk player of the Yerevan State Orchestra in Armenia and master teacher/virtuoso, was kind enough to use one of my guitar compositions as the ground for a duduk solo – a fusion of British and Armenian music:



The guitar played here is a Lowden S25J nylon string jazz guitar, which I no longer own. The duduk is a great instrument, almost the same size as the Xaphoon which we sell here, but turned from mulberry or almond wood and fitted with a very large double reed. It is more a relative of the oboe or hautbois than the sax, though it actually plays more like a sax in terms of expression and intonation.

– David

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Sold out of Lionheart and Tamburlin

Posted by admin on Jan 12 2011 | Instruments

Troubadour is likely to be moving premises in the next year of so, and due to unfavourable exchange rates and shipping costs, we are temporarily suspending new orders from Romania rather than see the retail prices increase to what we consider to be too high a level. We now have just a few instruments remaining and it is important to email with requirements, don’t assume we have stock.

“We analyzed your order and I’m afraid that we have to increase the prices again… we have no profit at those prices anymore. You have instruments completely natural color and for these we need perfect wood, without any defect, which is more and more difficult to find.”

That’s what our Romanian luthiery factory told us in 2008 when EU membership, exchange rates and the beginning of today’s economic ‘dip’ started to hike up our costs. We want perfect wood! That’s why we asked for the unstained, natural instruments right from the start. We were rewarded with everything from good plain matched sets to the occasional lovely examples of quilted maple or bearclaw spruce. Check our ‘versions’ against Ozark, Montana or Blue Moon and you will find a completely different grade of instrument.

We continue to stock the Maui Xaphoon or ‘pocket sax’ pitched in C, a great travel instrument for sax or clarinet players. We now have stocks of the lovely emerald, ruby and sapphire translucent body Xaphoons and also a special Copper metallic-coloured resin edition.

David Kilpatrick, Icon Publications Ltd t/a Troubadour UK, Maxwell Lane, Kelso, Scottish Borders TD5 7BB, UK. Tel: (+44) (0)1573 226032. Email: david@maxwellplace.demon.co.uk

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Why Troubadour is different

Posted by admin on Jul 06 2008 | Instruments, Uncategorized

All of our current stocks use types of rosewood, or related woods, for their fingerboards (do not confuse this with the black stained acacia used, for example, in the Blue Moon/Ozark/Montana travel guitar which superficially resembles our Blondel).

Our fingerboard wood is described as sonokeling or rosewood, and does vary. The sonokeling is darker, midway between Indian rosewood and ebony in appearance. Both woods appear to be similar in having a tight closed grain. Both are preferable to the stained acacia which leaves your fingers black and gradually wears off. They are smoother, look better and play better than cheaper variants of instruments from the same source.

Our Blondels have a superior type of bridge (classical style) which, again, is solid rosewood-family hardwood and different from other variants of the the instrument which use a black painted maple bridge. We also use a laminated three-piece neck which is unique to Troubadour, and a modified headstock design.

The mandolas and bouzouki have a new type of twin-foot carved bridge, and a two-piece chased metal tailpiece which permits slightly shorter loop end strings to be used.

Although HORA is a luthiery factory, half the machines are people – mechanical output is not something we have ever expected from them. Each delivery includes ‘improvements’ made by the staff, whether it’s a change in the styling of a bridge to the colour of fingerboard dots (or the absence of them).

Unlisted items

We do have a few classical guitars in stock as well as a number of special items – two or three bowed psalteries, a portable hammered dulcimer, an electric-acoustic solid maple/spruce 860mm scale bass, a couple of baritone ukuleles, a small mandolin, a seven-string Russian Guitar, and a one-off unique music trade fair prototype electric cello with gig bag and bow. Call me on 01573 226032 or use the email below if you are interested in any of these, I’m reluctant to eBay them or create sale pages here for single items.

The cost of investing in new stock for the high-end solid wood classicals means the few we have remaining will be the last. And one of them is definitely not for sale, I’ve been playing it for a year or two now and it just keeps getting better! These guitars are built more lightly and responsively than any Spanish ‘artisan’ level guitar – not that you can buy a solid rosewood/cedar or mahogany/spruce Spanish made instrument in our price bracket anyway.

Email david@troubadour.uk.com if you are interested. We are not a music shop so no-one is going to see these instruments in a hurry and my original intention to attend festivals and take them along has never materialised, too busy sadly.

- David

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