I phoned Pete Barton in early October and he kindly invited me to see his workshop when his next instrument was well on its way. The understanding of the skill and art that he invests into his work only added to my appreciation. I waited (very impatiently) until the middle of January, with Selina and Adrian keeping me in touch with progress, until I finally got the call that Pete's latest creation was ready. I went down to Stafford, and again if there was any doubt of my affections going elsewhere, one touch of Pete's guitar, and I was mesmerised. Handing over the credit card was of course easy. What was lovely (and I can't underestimate the importance), was Adrian's patient and helpful advice on the care of my very beautiful new baby. When you are responsible for (what is for me) the most wonderful thing you have ever owned, you have to understand the basic care that she needs.

The guitar then: I am what I would call a social player who got through grade 8 and did a few professional gigs 20+ years ago. I then more or less stopped playing till very recently. I tried various instruments but never felt particularly inspired. Suddenly I can play again. By coincidence, just 3 days after collecting my baby I played a short recital (a bit of Bach and Dowland). I never felt so relaxed and in control. No guitar plays itself, but this is damn near to it. It does exactly what you ask it to; but with love! There is a wonderful, bright, open sound that just feels so clear and true. It's looks are of course beyond reproach. "............ the most beautiful woods in the world" says Pete - with very good reason. I sometime can just gaze at the beauty of her. My only fear is that maybe I don't deserve her. Then I smile - grin! Its the sound though, the musical, convincing sound that convinces me that its the best £##### I've ever spent.

So thanks so much for your kindness, support and good service at Stafford Guitars and especially to you Pete for the many years of pleasure that you are sure to have given me.

Very best wishes

Bob Mercer