Nick Hartell

I have been building electric guitars on and off for over 30 years. After a traumatic few years being forced to learn the violin (Grade 3 merit!), I gave up (by now to the great relief of everyone) and picked up an old acoustic guitar that had been lying aorund the house for many years. During the school holidays, there was a program on TV called Hold Down a Chord that kept me entertained for half an hour or so before men in garish flares and nylon shirts from the Open University explained the joys of splitting the atom. This old guitar was out of tune and almost impossible to play but I was hooked. I pursuaded my father to buy me an electric guitar and got a Hondo Les Paul copy and a small practice amp. After a lot of practice playing along to Top of the Pops in the living room, I got a beautiful Aria Pro II guitar that I still have. I joined a couple of bands playing all sorts of terrible music for weddings, functions, caravan club dances and the like and I taught guitar part time at the local music centre at the weekends.

Big Willy

William, it turns out, is a keen entrepeneur who enjoys fine dining and regular but often inapropriate episodes of naturism.

Combining Albie's expertise in marketing and Williams oversized aspirations, they explained to me their plans to launch a range of guitar related products as part of their newly established Big Willy's Guitar Emporium.

For sale under the subtly named Big Willy brand are products that you will be desperate to get your hands on including peddles, hand wound pickups and various other items that you simply cannot do without.

Whether you have always longed for a Big Willy of your own, or you would like to surprise a friend or partner with a Big Willy, then look no further. As Albie and William say rather too loudly and often, 'You can't go wrong with a Big Willy'.

It is not an exageration to say that having a Big Willy will be a life changing experience for you and yours..... so, gird your loins, strap yourself in and enter the world of Big Willys Guitar Emporium to expand your horizons and enhance all your guitar related needs.

On our eCommerce site, you can find our world reknowned parametric equaliser peddle, Big Willy's Phat Middle. This beautiful, hand made peddle will boost your bass, tame your treble and shape your middle to add some extra girth to your guitar tones.

Meet the Team

Albie The Intern

In 2021, I took on Albie the Intern who rapidly gained promotion to CEO Marketing and Chewing Offcuts. It turns out he prefers sleeping, chewing sticks and rolling in fox poo more than building guitars but he has a keen business mind and can do miraculous things with a soldering iron.

He was out one day chasing next door's cat when he met our larger than life neighbour William. After several days of Albie disappearing behind the workshop and me hearing a lot of whispering interspersed with occassional hysterical laughter, Albie and William informed me of their cunning business plan.

Still at school and after carving a fruit bowl and making a wonky box with dovetail joints that fell apart, I asked if I could make a guitar. The teacher helped me make a laminated, neck through fretless bass guitar that was virtually unplayable but looked great (at least from a distance). This was soon followed by a double neck guitar that had some frets, most of which were in approximately the right places. It was only slightly easier to play but really too heavy to use. When I went to University, I soon lost interest in playing and didn't have the tools or space to make any more guitars. Several years on, I saw an advert for an evening class in Bristol for guitar making and finally got some professional help in making a stratocaster from a trained luthier.

No sooner than I started and before I could do much more than cut out the body and neck, I moved to Japan for work and my interest in playing and making guitars again stopped until I spotted a mutilated stratocaster copy for sale at a junk stall by the side of the road near my apartment in Tokyo. I bought it for a few hundred Yen and after several trips to Tokyu Hands for a saw, some chisels and a can of spray paint it was looking more like a telecaster and just about playable.

Many years later, back in the UK, the urge to play and make guitars hit me again as I was clearing out the garage and rediscovered the box with the wood I had started to cut out in Bristol to make a stratocaster. I finally finished it off and since then, I have been designing and making the guitars that I previously never had the money to buy.

After finishing the stratocaster and several PRS inspired guitars, I came up with my own designs that capture the styles and features of guitars that I like best. Now, I offer for sale a range of guitars in these standard styles as well as a custom build service for those who would like to design their own dream guitars. I also repair, modify and setup most types of guitar when not building bespoke guitars for my clients.