First published with The Advocate –

Mount Franklin local Nick Carpenter has been making guitars for over 25 years. Now he is sharing his passion and knowledge of the craft with others.

ROCK ON: Local Nick Carpenter has been making guitars for over 25 years. Picture: Dylan Burns.

After growing up in Western Australia and teaching himself the art of guitar making, Carpenter took to the road with his band while selling his own instrument range before opening a shop in Brunswick.

In 2013, he relocated to Mount Franklin to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and set up Wildwood Instruments and a workshop with the appeal of a natural bush setting.

Since 2016 Carpenter has been sharing his specialised knowledge with locals and visitors during two day guitar making workshops.

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Carpenter said there was something special about playing a handmade guitar.

“You have a connection to it,” he said.

“You put in a lot of time and effort and you work out how it works. You have got all the knowledge of the instrument. But also because you have built it yourself you know how it works and you can adjust it exactly for yourself.”

Guitar making is a hands-on learning process for those who sign up to Wildwood Instruments’ weekend course, but the learning process for Carpenter has been lifelong.

“Back in the those days (over 25 years ago) there wasn’t much in the way of internet and there weren’t any apprenticeships in Fremantle where I grew up,” he said.

“The people who did make instruments were fairly sparse and they were all making it from their sheds in their backyards. For me it was a lot of books and a lot of trial and error. Nowadays people are lucky, they have got the internet as such a great resource and there are a lot of courses out there too.”

STYLE: Participants choose from a variety of colours and styles to make their own guitar. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Carpenter said he was happy to share the knowledge he has gained over the decades.

“I found it difficult when I was starting out and I wish there was courses like this out there when I was starting.”

By the end of Carpenter’s two day course, participants will have built their own electric or bass guitar. No prior knowledge of woodworking, guitar playing or electronics experience is required.

Carpenter said after building the guitar, it was time to play it in.

“We set them up as best we can through measurement but you actually have to play to see if it feels right and works properly. You play it in as you build them,” he said.