Me (Toby) about to do some repairs

About Carter Guitars

My name is Toby Carter. What started as a general interest in the construction and design of guitars quickly turned into a fascination/obession sometime in the late 90s. I had already been playing guitar since I was a kid and it seemed like a natural progression for me to learn more about the instrument.

I then had the crazy idea, when I was about 15 years old, that I would build my own guitar with my Dad (Nick), his woodworking guidance and tools, using some rather large pieces of mahogany he had lying around in the garage. The old man was on board and he taught me a bit about woodworking along the way. And so the adventure began on a chilly October evening way back when, and Carter Guitars was born, although I didn't realise this at the time.

Through a labour of love that first guitar was built, and moreover - IT WORKED! It wasn't a masterpiece by any means but I'd seen it through from start to finish and tackled the obstacles along the way by asking questions, reading books and learning about guitars. I knew the next guitar would be a vast improvement because of what I'd learned and I started to design more methodically, taking note of the dimensions and design features of all those classic electric guitars - the tiniest things that can be overlooked which actually serve an important purpose. And so I built the second guitar; and then the next; and then another, and so on and so forth over the next few years until I ran out of woods that were either in the garage, given to me by friends or not nailed down to the floor. Since the first venture into guitar making I've picked up a few more skills through experience, study and arduous practice. I have effectively become a self-taught luthier through studying the art for no other reason than being utterly thrilled by the experience.

I knew I'd started something when I found myself buying an array of specialist luthier tools and materials for guitar making. I also noticed that I was tending to go for higher quality materials and parts at reasonably practicable prices for my budget. To fund the cost of building more guitars I began to carry out regular guitar repairs for friends and customers, as the local music shop had closed down and so there was seemingly no one else nearby who could carry out all manner of guitar repairs. Around that time for reasons other than guitar making, I attained some electrical certificates which only helped to solidify my understanding of guitar, amp and pedal electronics - what seemed so mind boggling all those years ago when I first picked up a soldering iron, suddenly made a whole heap of sense. I put this knowledge to use when deciding how to wire each guitar in an interesting way, without trying to reinvent the wheel - everyone knows how a Les Paul is wired but by adding a couple of push/pull switches the tonal possibilities are increased significantly (just ask Jimmy Page about his altered setups).

The guitars that I make these days are as comfortable to play as any high end production line guitar you might have had the pleasure to feel at home with, and they are made of similar exotic materials with decent branded components - a Carter Guitar is also individual in its design as I don't really want to build "clones" of well known guitars.

I feel that these strangely organic guitars built from scratch, by hand, with care and love, using high quality new or reclaimed materials, are truly special instruments and the sort of thing that you just don't see at every gig or in every shop window. I've always been thrilled to see a rather attractive guitar being played at a gig yet knowing full well that it is not a production line guitar or famous brand instrument.

That is the reason why in late 2010 I decided to start making Carter Guitars with a view to offering them up for sale occasionally - the guitars are just too nice to keep all to myself, and I'd like other people to be able to enjoy these decent handmade instruments. I'm never going to stop making guitars but it sure would be nice to make more space for new ones as I go!

I also strayed into the realms of boutique pedal building in 2011, using all manners of circuits to create interesting pedals for various functions (again I felt this was just another natural progression for my interest in all things "guitar"). I was asked if I could quickly build a bass fuzz pedal for someone - and so I did, it sounded awesome, and another obsession took hold.

Like anything worth doing, making a guitar is worth spending the time to do things properly - rest assured that my guitars are not haphazardly knocked out for a quick buck or assembled from pre-fabricated kits; each instrument is given the time and attention it deserves during the whole building process so that the guitar looks, feels and performs just right. With that said, a Carter guitar comes with a guarantee against faulty workmanship - if anything goes wrong that shouldn't normally go wrong through normal use, then I will fix it under my guarantee (this obviously doesn't include things such as knocking the guitar off its stand resulting in neck breakage etc - that's down to you to safeguard against!)

If you're not happy with something then tell me and I'll sort it out for you; if you ARE happy, then tell your friends!

If unique, good quality handmade guitars are your cup of tea then you've come to the right place!.


Thanks for your time and please give send me any relevant feedback,

Toby Carter