Lapstick electric travel guitar designer

Phil Neal: designer of the Lapstick travel guitar

Contact details

Phil Neal
Narodderstrasse 38
48432 Rheine, Germany
+49 (0)5459 913675
+31 64 0642054

Since I was very young I have loved travelling and making music. I started making guitars in 1978 in Newcastle in the north of England working as a gofer and teaboy at a shop run by Chris May and Andy Preston, two gentlemen who had a lot of patience with me and taught me an enormous amount. Chris May is one of the best luthiers in the UK specializing in bass guitars released from his own Overwater workshop. While Andy Preston’s shop on Denmark Street in London, known simply as Andy’s, has been the best known guitar shop in the UK for many years now.

After several years of doing repairs and working at the Overwater factory I moved down to London and started working at Andy’s on Denmark Street. Some excellent luthiers were working there including Rob Crocker, Chris Billings, and Kieran Hunter among others. There were also many great players around. I gained a lot of valuable experience watching and listening to the lively discussions which took place whenever an unusual or difficult job was at hand. The emphasis was on repair, customizing and set up work and our customers were some of the best known musicians in the country and outside.

I started my own workshop in Holland in 1984 and combined guitarwork with playing in bands. I played with several different groups including the Clarks before forming my own rhythm and blues band in 1988. In 1996 while working as an independent consultant for Catalyst instruments I designed the Catalyst Pantera, an electric guitar made of composite materials which was a prize winning design. I also built the first fifty instruments.

The workshop has branched out and now does furniture and interior design and industrial prototyping. The basis is still guitars though, standard repair work as well as restoring vintage instruments. Setting guitars up to optimum playability has become a particular speciality.

Playing and working with guitars is what I have done since 1978. I have played thousands of gigs over the years, solo and with bands in Europe, America and Asia. This experience was the direct inspiration for developing the Lapstick.