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 (June 2013)

Posted by admin on Jul 30 2011 | Instruments

We are closed for mail order sales between June 18th and July 3rd 2013

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

We have:

Bowed Psalteries – have to investigate, certainly got one big ‘un around £200.

A hammered dulcimer with gig bag and strap – as it is, £250; tuned, £5000 (this was a joke, sorry for anyone who thought it might not be – it does need tuning and honestly, I have no idea how to go about positioning the bridges and making it play as it should)

A very high quality Indian sitar (would be described, I think, as a renowned luthier) – offers over £250

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 – £300.

Two Spanish lauds, one in poor condition, both student grade – £40 and £100.

A Victorian Geo. Matthews Birmingham top quality zither banjo (nylon/nylgut strung, tunnel chanterelle) – offers in region of £200.

A Jewish-style (possibly?) wire strung lyre harp, modern, appears to be Romanian or similar luthiery – £120.

An Ardival Dupplin celtic small harp (not lever, portable, Scottish, hand made and utterly beautiful but not for your orchestral harpist in any way), offers in region of £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 – £150

Antonio Lamaq small jumbo solid cedar and rosewood cutaway with Fishman pickup/preamp – this is a twin saddle instrument, like a super light version of a Lowden S25C. Very light and thin construction, highly resonant and with plenty of volume. One of a small number of unique and interesting guitars designed by Lamaq a few years ago and built in China under his supervision as prototypes. Cost me very little (bought a stack of instruments from him) but a sound like this is very hard to find. I gave this to my son rather than resell it, he eventually decided to return it due to lack of playing ability, keyboards his thing not guitars. No case. £300.

Ashdown Acoustic combo amp, black, £200. Was also a gift to our son, has found its way back for same reason. He has many other very different amps suited to non-acoustic non-guitarry stuff.

HORA electro acoustic bass guitar, 870mm scale, jumbo body, solid spruce/maple, superb acoustic sound – £200

A solid maple 3/4 classical – £60

A Turkish saz, more of a repair project, will sell cheaply £50, neck needs straightening.

A 1770s English guittar in unusually good condition, probably Smith & Broderip or Simpson, fully playable, offers in the region of £2000 – this is a museum piece but also a completely robust functional playing instrument

A Brook guitars Bovey small or travel guitar in good condition, walnut/cedar, £700.

Black standard size fiddle with pickup system, traditional not skeleton, fine sound, needs new tuning pegs – £150.

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

Bolivian made roncoco (tenor charango, wooden) needs a couple of hard to find strings, sounds incredible – £120.

Canarian Timple, 5-string baroque ukulele, fine artisan luthiery with hard case, excellent condition (effectively new) – £300.

Yamaha Pacifica Natural electric guitar, plays as well as you would expect from a playing owner – £75.

Godin Midi Nylon solid body with Roland unit, cables, gig bag etc, excellent condition with original ownership certificate from The Beautiful South band – £950 ono.

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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