Instrument Makers’ Exhibition

Pic:  Peter Coombe’s ‘194’, from his all Australian timbers range.

Instrument Makers’ Exhibition 2019

We are proud to host one of the largest interactive hand made instrument exhibitions in Australia. Marvel at the beauty and craftsmanship that goes into creating your favourite instrument… This is no static exhibition; rather it is a vibrant and bustling hub of knowledge, information and the joy of creativity. You can chat to the makers and watch as some of the instruments are crafted before your very eyes in the marquee! The exhibition culminates in a special Australian Made & Played concert, featuring instruments from the exhibition played by a stellar lineup of both Australian and International performers. This exhibition is your perfect opportunity to purchase your next unique instrument.

Exhibition Times

Sat & Sun 10.00am – 5.00pm
Mon 10.00am – 1.00pm
at the Instrument Makers’ Marquee, main arena.

The Makers’ Made & Played Concert
This intimate, blackboard style concert showcases our makers’ unique instruments from the exhibition played by a stellar line-up from our festival performers.

Exhibitors 2019:

(Keep checking back – more will be added!)

Avocet Cigar Box Guitars

Cigar box guitar

Founded by Milan Paskas, Avocet Cigar Box Guitars aim to make instruments that are not just ornamental but are also good to play. Features Milan sees as affording cigar box guitars a legitimate place alongside their 6-string counterparts are that their wider string spacings and 3 or 4 string open tunings make them easy to play, and above all, encourage creativity.

Craig Szabadics

Szabadics Guitars began in 2007, with the goal of creating quality instruments with pure tones and silky-smooth playability. Inspired by outstanding guitars and ukuleles from the middle of last century, the look and construction of these instruments is mostly traditional. Only high quality tone woods and components are used throughout.

Declan Bartlett

Bodhran, percussion
Declan started his musical journey making tippers (Irish drumsticks) in his fathers workshop when he was just ten. Since then, Declan has furthered and broadened his career in music and instrument making with a Bachelor of Music from UWS , has been a member of Lithgow Highland Pipe Band, various rock bands and proudly supports the folk scene in the Blue Mountains as a performing percussionist. As well as that, he regularly travels up and down the eastern seaboard of Australia attending instrument making exhibitions at major music festivals. There will be plenty of bodhrans and tippers to try at this years Port Fairy festival.
Email: [email protected]

Double Bass Tattoo

Custom decoration
Come and see the only ‘pencil tattooist’, Gypsy Spelling. Based in Warrnambool in Victoria, he is passionate about the designs he can produce using pencil on musical instruments. ‘Tattoos’ are hand drawn, unique designs, customised to the desire of the instruments owner, and are finished with a light coat of sealer. Regularly featured at major music festivals, Gypsy and his crew are currently working with both local and international guitar makers.

Erle Bartlett

Erle Bartlett has been involved in instrument making for over 20 years. Erle’s popularly acclaimed Syn whistles will again be on display at the Festival.
Email: [email protected]



Francis Jerome Artisan Woodcraft

Building his first guitar at age 13, Francis’ craft is now Informed by over 20 years of formal studies in fine art/sculpture, furniture design/craft and anthroposophy, as well as many years industry experience as a designer/maker. Francis’s work is imbued with feel, texture, beauty and practicality – both visually, sonically, and to the touch. He has developed a unique approach to design in aesthetics and functionality. Francis’ delicate and intuitive sensibilities of line and form, coupled with his innate relationship with the materials is given full expression in the art of luthiery. “Francis Jerome Russo is a true artist and craftsman. That Guitar was visually stunning and played like a dream”.Paul McCracken, fingerstyle guitarist.

The Harp Dude

I’m Jamie, A.K.A ‘The Harp Dude’. I build custom harmonicas, featuring my own handmade Australian hardwood combs. My collection includes rare pre-war, vintage and new custom harmonicas – all fitted with a wide range of fully stabilised Australian hardwood combs for superior playability, extra rich tone and volume. My services also include customisation, optimisation, repair, restoration and service of all brands and models of harmonica. I endeavour to assist the music makers to keep on making music. Harp On…

Hyde & Clay

Tarek Sawires, Egyptian born percussionist, migrated to Australia in 1983. He pursued his musical career while majoring in ceramics and sculpture at Sydney College of the Arts. During this time at college, he explored the idea of drums and sound and combined the art of playing music with his ability to create unique instruments and sounds. Each drum is individually made, having its own tone achieved simply by changing its shape and by using different types of skin. Tarek’s pottery is beautifully crafted with an earthy and raw finish. When not at the wheel Tarek performs at festivals, community and social events and runs drumming workshops and Egyptian tabla courses.

Jack Spira

Guitar, bouzouki
Jack Spira is a Melbourne-based luthier of over 20 years experience. Originally trained in London, Jack has worked in Australia since 1991. His focus has always been on steel strung instruments including guitar cittern, octave mandolin and mandolin. Nearly all his work is made to order, however he usually finds the time to make something special available for the Festival.

Joe Brady

Stringed instruments
Joe Brady is an instrument maker based at Fisherman’s Beach in Mornington, Victoria. Joe makes ukuleles, guitars and Dobro-style resonator guitars. This is Joe’s third appearance at Port Fairy.



Kallquist Guitars


Luke Kallquist is a maker of traditionally inspired instruments, specialising in acoustic guitars. His aim is to create instruments that have that “played in” sound and feel of the highly sought after vintage instruments. Hand tools are used to do the majority of the work and machinery and power tools kept to a minimum.There is a standard line of instruments available, based on a variety of classic models, available in a multitude of timbers. The majority of work though is Custom order Guitars. Guitars that are made to suit the customer on all levels, sound, feel, and aesthetics.The customer is involved in the whole process from wood selection and design to final set up.

Peter Coombe

Guitar, mandolin, mandola
Peter Coombe is based in Bega NSW, and has been making instruments of the mandolin family since 1994. He began making guitars in 2010. Many of his mandolins and mandolas have been exported to the USA and Europe. He uses Australian native as well as traditional imported timbers, and has written articles about the use of Australian native timbers in mandolins.

Pianos Recycled

Repurposing instruments

Hundreds of years of craftsmanship, knowledge and valuable (and often rare) natural resources have gone into making a piano. And each piano has its own story, but unwanted pianos end up in landfill. Pianos Recycled is on a mission to restore respect for piano heritage and provide alternatives to dumping. We restore, recycle or repurpose pianos into other products. Our repurposing collaborations so far have engaged designers, woodworkers, jewellery makers, and luthiers. If you’re interested in what we do please chat to us at the Instrument Makers Exhibition.

Ray Black 

Mandolin, Banjo, Bouzouki

Over the past few decades Ray has honed in on the tonal qualities and playability of his instruments, making them appealing to musicians of all genres. He continues to hand carve mandolin tops and backs, hand cut pearl and abalone inlays and make his own banjo hardware rather than outsourcing. His mandolins and banjos are highly sought after by bluegrass and old-time players.

e: [email protected]  

Rocky Creek Strings

Stringed instruments

Rocky Creek Strings is based in the Northern Rivers of NSW, in the hills behind Byron Bay. We are a family-run workshop producing quality handmade musical instruments specialising in banjo ukuleles, banjos and other stringed things. We strive to make you the best sounding, most fun and unique instrument to play.

Roderick Octigan

Guitar, mandolin
Roderick is a boutique builder based in the East of Melbourne. Each instrument he creates is crafted by hand with absolute attention to detail. Using both Australian and imported tone woods, he specialises in acoustic arch tops and mandolins and caters for the discerning musician who is very particular with regard to the tone, responsiveness, feel and playability of the instrument. His commitment to both the aesthetic and sonic quality of each instrument, combined with his love of creating them, means hundreds of hours are spent on each instrument – resulting in only up to three instruments being completed in a year.

Rodrigo Percussion

Originally from Chile, Rodrigo has been a professional Latin percussionist based out of Sydney for nearly 20 years, playing many of Latin America’s musical instruments and rhythms. He established Rodrigo Percussion (RP), Australia’s leading cajón brand, in 2008, setting new standards for cajón and cajón hybrid instruments here in Australia. His cajón are played by many of the elite in the industry, both here and internationally, with excellent reviews. His products cater to all levels of playing, from children and adult beginner learners to the seasoned professional.

Sachar Amos

Stringed instruments

Using ancient methods, Sachar restores instruments that have seen better days and also hand-makes classical guitars using master grade timber sourced from every continent except Antarctica. Amos laboriously cuts each piece and French polishes the instrument for superior sound and finish. Even the decorative rosettes inlaid around each guitar’s sound hole are one-offs, painstakingly constructed from layers of veneer.

 Scott Wise

Stringed Instruments
Scott Wise has been making all kinds of stringed instruments since 1978. His clients include Loudon Wainwright III, Del Rey, Hawaiian singer Douglas Po’oloa Tolentino (ukulele) and Eric Bibb (guitar). He offers a wide range of Australian and traditional exotic tonewoods.


Steam and Lumber

Handcrafted frame drums
Based at Montsalvat artist colony in Eltham, Victoria, percussionist and instrument maker Matt Stonehouse handcrafts frame drums from the Middle East and beyond. Milling his own timber and bending with traditional steam methods, Matt crafts high-end drums such as the Bendir (Morocco), Daff (Iran, Kurdistan), Tar (Middle East) and other contemporary frame drums. Matt is a passionate musician and craftsperson always happy to share his knowledge.

Stockade Case Company

Instrument cases

Trevor has been making custom flight cases for all types if instruments and equipment for almost 40 years.  He is returning to the Festival to offer his expertise to those of us who need help to case our tools of trade.  He has designed and crafted cases for many Australian performers who tour both here and overseas,  He can also repair or refurbish your existing case.

Tim Kill

Stringed instruments
Over the last 25 years, luthier Tim Kill has specialised in one-off custom designs. He works closely with customers to conceive and create a unique instrument ideally suited to their physical, aesthetic and musical needs. Using both traditional and modern inspired techniques that reflect his own personal experience, Tim creates a lyrical and responsive instrument that embodies the highest level of artistry and craftsmanship. Over the years, Tim has worked closely with artists such as Garry Beers (INXS), Jeff Lang, Harry Manx, Scott Owen (The Living End), Xavier Rudd, Colin Hay (Men At Work) and many more Australian and overseas artists.

Trevor Phillips

Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele
Trevor makes stringed instruments from a traditional foundation, making use of the freedom to experiment and modify afforded to the small custom builder, enjoying the treasury of local timbers available. He is a firm believer that Australian makers are writing their own chapter in the history of musical instruments, due to a mixture of cultural influences, combined with the unique, locally available timber species.
Email: [email protected]

Udini Guitars


Federico Udini is a Melbourne-based luthier crafting classical, flamenco, steel string and archtop guitars from his workshop in Ormond. Federico studied guitar making with traditional guitar makers of Granada, Spain and his guitars bear the characteristics and sounds of the traditional classical styles. As a guitar player and maker, Federico brings to the guitar making experience a finely tuned awareness of sound, tone and playability.

Violin World

Stringed instruments

Specialising in all stringed instrument repairs, restorations, conservation of rare and historical instruments, valuations and sales. Violin World also offers students classes in the fine art of instrument making, run by Dutch Master Violin Maker John Ferwerda at his workshop in Moonee Ponds. John has been operating out of Melbourne for over 40 years since finishing his training and early years in Europe, John has also won a number of international awards for his violin making expertise. Attendees at the festival are invited to visit John and Violin World at his stall in the Instrument Makers’ pavilion.

William Hancock

Will Hancock began building guitars around ten years ago and after working in various positions within the industry, has been out on his own for the last two. With a focus on nylon-stringed guitars, Will leans toward the Hauser style and has recently been developing a line of Traveller (micro) guitars aimed at an ease of access and play for adults and children alike. Handcrafted guitars from Australian native tonewoods for musicians and collectors.

Woodskin Cajón™

Woodskin™ has significantly advanced the traditional cajon, extending it’s use in a wide variety of musical genres. With patented built-in pedal kick drum, switchable snare, tone and depth controls it offers versatility and a uniquely crisp and powerful sound. Additional to traditional hand playing, Woodskin’s™ KiKBox® Cajon employs foot pedals to generate the rich bass, snare and tom sounds it is renowned for. Woodskin’s™ KiKBox® is used by professional musicians of all types, from percussionists to guitarists, the world over.