Mark Gilbert Guitars are hand-crafted one off custom made instruments, designed and built by the one person from start to finish at Mark’s premises in Hobart, Tasmania. Constructed from beautiful special- species Tasmanian timbers, each Gilbert Guitar is a work of art – aesthetically unique. Mark Gilbert Guitars are built to withstand the demands and rigours of the working musician. They are tried and tested by gigging musicians playing locally and nationally and even touring internationally.
Australian Musician magazine editor Greg Phillips caught up with Tasmanian-based guitar builder Mark Gilbert over a zoom call to chat about the history of his guitars and what goes into building them. You can see Mark and his guitars on stand 11 at the Melbourne Guitar Show. Watch the interview below
More about Mark Gilbert Guitars
Originally a primary school teacher, Mark later moved into graphic design. Some 17 years ago he established his own design/promotional items business but a lifelong interest in music and guitars is where he saw his future. So, Mark started making electric guitars, using Tasmanian Special Timbers.
He admits that the first few he made had the bandsaw put through them, but as with any craft you persevere to learn and you improve. And improve he did.
Mark’s guitars are now used by some of the world’s very best guitarists. The first being an infamous gig at the Lauderdale pub where Wolf Mail was playing. Mark’s wife Karen informed Wolf that “Mark makes guitars” and then drove back to their home to get one to show him. Needless to say, Wolf was impressed and the following night played some sets with Mark’s guitar.
Through this and other introductions Mark’s guitars are now made to order for both discerning amateurs and internationally acclaimed professional musicians: Richard Smith, Stig Mathisen and Brian Ritchie among them.
Each Mark Gilbert Guitar is made from the best, sustainably sourced Tasmanian wood including: Figured Tasmanian Blackwood, Musk, Black Heart Sassafras, Myrtle (Burled, Striped and Tiger) and Huon Pine. Mark’s guitars showcase Tasmanian Special Timbers in their most striking, decorative form. The only non-Tasmanian timber used is Indonesian Ebony because of its unique hardness as the fret board. His instruments are examples of how our Special Timbers specific attributes and high-level design, craftsmanship and passion combine to link Tasmania’s timber-crafting culture to the international music culture.
The vast majority of these woods are sourced from Chain of Custody certified suppliers. A world first, Fine Timber Tasmania’s Chain of Custody is an innovative and credible program that guarantees the exotic Tasmanian timber has been legally sourced from a sustainable managed forest and represents a responsible purchase decision.
These woods offer a distinctly natural looking guitar. No two pieces of wood are the same and each guitar is unique.
Mark Gilbert Guitars at the Melbourne Guitar Show
Products exhibiting: Mark Gilbert Guitars are hand-crafted one off custom made instruments, designed and built by the one person from start to finish at Mark’s premises in Hobart, Tasmania. Constructed from beautiful special- species Tasmanian timbers, each Gilbert Guitar is a work of art – aesthetically unique. All woods uased are Fine Timber Tasmania’s Chain of Custody certified.
Mark Gilbert Guitars are built to withstand the demands and rigours of the working musician. They are tried and tested by gigging musicians playing and touring locally, nationally and internationally.
Stand highlights: A range of Mark Gilbert Guitars will be on display. These can be inspected and played at the Gilbert Guitars stand, a boutique Carr Lincoln amp being available to play through.
Three photobooks featuring high quality photos of Mark Gilbert guitars are available to look through.
Souvenir Gilbert Guitars caps and bottle openers will be given away.
Internationally touring bluesman Wolf Mail will be present on the Saturday, demoing Mark’s guitars and answering questions about them.
Meet acclaimed Canadian blues rock guitarist and Mark Gilbert Guitars endorsee Wolf Mail on the Mark Gilbert Guitars stand on the Saturday. (Stand #11) at the Melbourne Guitar Show