I’ve divided my gear page into sections under Guitars, Equipment and Techniques, so scroll through to each section or you can link to them here: Guitars - Equipment - Techniques.

I don’t have lots of guitars, much equipment and probably less technique so scrolling shouldn’t take that long, but I hope that it will help someone out there to progress with their creative endeavours (“and good luck too!!" … or should I say “ and hard work too!!").

All pictures of the guitars on this page can be clicked to view a larger image.



Guild Finesse

My most recent acquisition, this was made in the Guild Custom Shop in Nashville (now moved to Corona in California).

It is an unbelievably accurate guitar in its intonation and evenness. Now my main onstage and recoding guitar, it is fitted simply with a fishman Matrix system (no holes cut in the guitar!) and uses .52 - .12 strings.

It has a spruce top and rosewood back and sides, and the headstock is ornamented with beautiful abalone sheel (well, I think it's abalone).

Fender Jumbo

Set up with the same twin pick-up systems as the Guild, this fairly inexpensive guitar is used as my knock-a-bout slide guitar, set up with .16 .18 .26 .36 .46 .56 strings.

Used in open G (D G D G B D) or open (D A D F# A D).


Custom made by Gary Albrecht, one of the best luthiers I’ve had the pleasure to come across.

This guitar is fitted currently with an EMG under saddle p/u & pre-amp & I’ve not fitted anything to interfere with it’s appearance – a beautiful warm guitar with rosewood back & sides, spruce face, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, it is my other main guitar.

It has a wider, flatter fingerboard than the Guild & is my main writing guitar.

Hancock & Son

Made by Kim Hancock & his sons, this is a fabulous slide guitar, with a thick neck & very fine body.

It has a natural compression that comes from the complex body stresses & the ‘slipper foot’ neck mounting which adds to the sound transference.

It is strong with .16 to .56 (as per Fender) & I can transfer the Rare Earth pick up to it easily because of internally mounted mini cannon plugs – a shit of a job to wire them all up too!!

Guild 12 String

A Fishman Prefix p/u system only in this one.

Set up with a custom set I patch together myself from .52 to .11 or .12, this guitar lives permanently in a C G C G C E tuning – a great drone sound, & one I use for quite a lot of on stage things as well as recordings (McJig / The Back Shed / Christmas Morning Phone Call / Two Roads / Canefields Burnin’ / Take Note – capo on 4th fret position).

Gibson J45

This is a vintage re-issue of the "working man" model, and was used almost exclusively on 'Migrants Dance'/

An incredibly light guitar, it is also fitted with a Fishman Matrix system. It records superbly and prior to the Guild Finesse had a year or so as my main instrument.

Now it lives in the studio as my principle writing guitar. Strung with .52 - .12, it's shorter scale neck is a delight to play.

Chris Finch 'hi strung' Guitar

This wee baby is not much bigger than a ukulele, and is tuned a 4th higher than normal using .50-.11 strings. Back and sides are silky oak, while the top is red pine, and it is so-o sweet - I love it to death!

Chris Finch is a great builder and now is the master repairer at Maton Guitars in Melbourne, Australia. He was one of the main people who worked on my 1974 electric "Phil Manning" model series too.

This guitar has a passive saddle p/u which I use through a Fishman Platinmu model pre-amp.

Ken Wright Custom

Another gift, this time from Chris Finnen.

This Adelaide made instrument has a beautiful voice, & for quite a long time was Chris’s main live acoustic.

It works well as a slide or normal guitar – depending on what it is strung with.
Currently has a saddle p/u only with no preamp on board.


When I go out with ‘Chain’ or for electric playing elsewhere, I take my very loved Fender ‘Eric Clapton’ model Stratocaster – it’s a red one.

I set up with .10 to .46 Fender strings, with a medium action & I use the vibrato system so breaking strings can be a real pain – consequently I change strings every 3 gigs as breaking one puts everything out of tune.

My amp is a Fender F.A.T. Deluxe – 60 watts with 2 x 12’s & the only effect I use is a Dunlop ‘Hendrix ‘ Wah Wah.

I love a small amount of reverb & settings that border on the lovely area between ‘clean’ & ‘dirty’.
I use lots of tops & mids, but tend to wind the bass off a bit so it leaves some room for the bass guitar or double bass instrument.

As I usually work in a three piece setting (guitar/bass/drums) with Matt Taylor on harmonica, I like to use a clean almost thin sound for rhythm parts so that the guitar solo fattens up the sound rather than leave an empty space where the rhythm part was.

Maton – My original prototype Maton “Phil Manning Custom Stereo” (1974) has altered greatly since made as the model for a series released by Maton Guitars in the mid- seventies.

Gone are the stereo outputs, the original pickups & most of the switching – replaced with two P.90 style pickups & a single volume control with tone controls for each pickup.

Of course it has a p/u switch & another switch which bypasses the tone & puts the bridge p/u straight out (it’s fairly useless actually, but seemed like a good idea a the idea!).

It is now Monaro red (yes, a genuine Holden car colour!)



I’m not incredibly fussy over string brands as they last very little time with the way I play & sweat.
They certainly last better in winter than summer anyway!

I like the sound of 80-20 Bronze, but they tend to go dull quicker than Phosphour Bronze – my usual choice.

For live work I use Fender usually – they have a nice tension & last well.

They’re also not incredibly expensive.

Darco (the cheap Martin brand) is another good one for live work.

In the studio I tend toward Martin or D’Addario & often vary the gauges .12 - .52 .53 or .54.

For flat picks I use Jim Dunlop .73 or similar, but most of my playing is with a thumbpick & bare fingers (they get sore sometimes too!!).

I love the Poppicks heavy gauge – or a plectrum shaped thumbpick that bites into the thumb & doesn’t move around.

I do a lot of upstrokes with thumbpicks so they need to be light.

All the acoustic recordings I’ve done lately have been approached the same way basically – put a good microphone in the best spot & record it with as little tampering with as possible.

It works on the principle that a totally natural recording can be played around with in the mix, but undoing something can be extremely difficult if not impossible.

Paul Cheeseman recorded two of my CD’s mainly (I did some on ‘Two Roads’ but Paul mixed them anyway). There’s a link to Paul on the Links page & he is a bit of a whiz when it comes to recording.

One thing I do try and avoid at all costs is using compression in the recording process.

It is one thing that can’t be undone (effects as well!) & all through the mixing, mastering & playback to air processes, compression can have the effect of turning everything into a formless sort of mush.
Radio & TV use outrageous amounts of compression so the less used in recording (or at least the less audible it is), the more the listener can enjoy a natural sound rather than hearing something squeezed through a wet sponge.

I love long reverb on acoustic guitar although I have great respect, bordering on fear, of using too much.

Unfortunately the quality of reverb seems to be directly relevant to the cost of the reverb unit, & hearing lots of ‘bad’ reverb can really damage the quality of an acoustic guitar – not to mention giving the listener the impression they’re listening to you play in an empty basketball stadium.

One thing I do love about modern recording is the ability to record at home thanks to modern low cost digital gear. Of course, some nice valve amps can help too, but being able to record without the ‘time is money’ equation can do wonders for developing songs & their performance. My ‘The Back Shed’ CD was done with only an Adat, a four channel Mackie & a reverb unit. (Some might say ‘it sounds like it too’, but it meant I could record when I pleased & at all hours of night & day).


Hmmm! Don’t know that there is much here – I’ve mentioned my thumbpick, and my fingerpicking is very basic. I use all my fingers, although the little one is pretty much limited to damping the top couple of strings when needed.