EMERALDING My time playing Emerald guitars


Meaning and Uses of Emerald

Emerald is excellent for reviving passion, whether for an interest, a person, or a job.
Emerald imparts a wonderful rejuvenating quality
Emerald is of the heart, alleviating heaviness in the emotional field and nourishing the aura with an energy of hope, encouragement, gentleness and abundance
Emerald opens the heart, clearing and strengthening one’s connection to Divine Love, and sustaining one in their spiritual journey. It encourages one to live and act from the heart, offering unconditional love and compassion in daily life and relationships, and to be open to receive love from others.


Pete Skinner aka "Clansfolk"

Born in 1951 and brought up in a house of music, it was no surprise that he started playing and singing at an early age.. and never stopped! Introduced to Folk, Skiffle and Rock 'n' Roll in the 50's then Bluegrass and Pop in the 60's, an eclectic influence of musical styles that has led to an open attitude towards music without boxes.

Early Days

1951 - 1969

Born - learned to play Accordion, Piano, Violin, Mandolin, Guitar, Banjo etc. (to Varying degrees)

Sang and played alongside Brothers (Alan & George), Dad, Mum, Grandad and at School.

Fylde Folk formed alongside Pete Chittock and Sue Moulton. Played alongside teachers Arnold Smith, Dave Knight at venues and concerts along with "Fylde Folk". Met Ian Gartside.

The Original Brewers Line-Up
The Raikes Folk Club

Reformed with Pete Chittock, Mike Woolhouse and later Bernie Brewin and became The Brewers, filled in with "The Shoal" for John Holland at same time later becoming a "Full" member of The Shoal.

Solo after The Shoal split up, then reformed as "The 2 Brewers" with Pete O'Callaghan and Bernie Brewin as guest musician.

The Brewers Cherry Tree Gardens (Your Father's Mustache)

Various other liaisons with several other musicians, singers during the above period.

Humming Along

1969 -1990

Nelson Folk Club

The Two Brewers play venues throughout the UK going from strength to strength. Local Gentry Form and go through several line-ups eventually turning into Grog.

Grog - Folk with an Overdrive

Pete plays with The Paragon Banjo Band.

Pete, Eileen and Ron emerge from the folk scene and start playing larger concert halls, working men's clubs etc, under several guises adding C&W, Popular and Middle of the Road music to their repertoire.

Pete & Ron
Eileen & Pete

Eileen and Pete play as a duo eventually joined by Simon (their son) and take the name Clansfolk.


1990 -

Pete & Eileen
Pete & Simon

Clansfolk the group (Pete, Eileen & Simon) continue to play together, Simon joins Spindrift and The Falcon Folk Club brings a lot more music and friends into their circle.

Sundance - Rockabilly
Elderly Brothers

John Bond joins Clansfolk on several gigs and Pete reforms his relationship with Ian Gartside and starts playing with The Elderly Brothers , Sundance (Rockabilly), Pete also joins The Wyre Pier Band. Pete and Eileen join Singleton Cloggers. PI Recording Studio opens (Pete & Ian).

Midnight Special

The Millennium sees the formation of Midnight Special which proved the new line up for Penny Black, Sundance reform as Willy and The Poorboys, Pete & Ian (Gartside) go back to their roots and form the basis of The Ian Gartside Band.

Ian Gartside Band - Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Ian Gartside Band Fylde Folk Festival

Penny Black release several CDs, work with the BBC on several ventures including The Blue Bus and take A.R.C. (Arthritis Research Campaign) as their chosen charity arranging Concerts, Events and even buskin' to raise money for this worthy cause.

Penny Black at Radio Lancashire
Intimate Evening with Penny Black at Radio Lancashire
Evening Concert in aid of Cancer Care - Penny Black
John Bond

On the 12th October 2012 , after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer and other medical conditions, John peacefully fell into a contented sleep from which he would not awake. R.I.P John Anthony Bond.

A few snippets from my musical life over the last 64 years, during which time I have owned and played hundreds of instruments (of which over 200 were guitars!)

In 2015 I purchased my first Emerald Guitar, an X7.....

The Story continues, scroll on.....

Pete playing the Amicus by Emerald Guitars

The Emerald Road - the Journey Starts

In mid 2015, I decided to purchase a new guitar and decided to look around for a Carbon Fibre one, being in the UK, the availability was a little restricted.. but after a scan of the internet came across Emerald Guitars, just across the water in Ireland.

In the UK at the time there were a couple of dealers (Emerald now only deal direct or via eBay), one of which was "Play Away Guitars" (Polegate East Sussex), who specialise in travel guitars. After a long chat, they sent me an X7 on Sale or Return, needless to say, it was not returned!

Emerald X7

Emerald X7 arrives

scroll on!......

Emerald X7

Details from Emerald Website

The X7 is the perfect balance between portability playability and tone. Following on from the ever popular X5 we have created a guitar with a bigger body in both width and depth and to keep it compact we have given it a 24″ scale.

With the X7 we wanted to create a compact guitar that was more than just a travel guitar, we wanted this to be a guitar that people carried with them not just because it was small but because they just love how it sounds and plays and that’s exactly what the X7 is. Its got a full and loud voice with clear trebles punchy mids and a good helping of bass, It’s a very well balanced instrument with great note articulation so it excels as a fingerstyle guitar but it can also hold its own for strumming too.

The X7 features our innovative offset sound hole design which really enhances the sound on a small instrument like this. By moving the sound hole to the upper bout it gives us a much larger active soundboard area and allows us to make a lighter more responsive soundboard. It also has the added effect of projecting the sound much better towards the player. giving a more rewarding playing experience.

It comes with a B-Band pickup and preamp with built in tuner that really gets the best out of this guitar giving a natural and powerful amplified sound.

The sound is big and rich for what is still a very small guitar and its light weight and compact design make it a great guitar for life on the road whether your a traveling professional musician or a passionate guitar enthusiast who just always has to have a guitar close at hand.

My Emerald X7 in Amber

Emerald X7

The Emerald X7 proved to be all that was said about it, a beautifully made travel guitar, but with a tone, projection and playability normally associated with a full size acoustic guitar, and when played though a PA or amp excelled way beyond.

Having played it at sessions and even outdoors at festivals, it was admired (and borrowed) constantly, never once was any negativity shown towards it.

Having been seen and played at my local session at The Plough in Staining two of the regulars took a particular shine to it, first Seamus purchased an X5 (Green) and then Peter decided to order a twin neck "Chimaera" (Blue)

Emeralds (X5 & X7) Fund Raising

Aiming Higher Charity Fund Raiser with Pete (X7) & Seamus (X5)

Not to be outdone I ordered an X20 ............ Scroll on!

Emerald X20

Details from Emerald Website

The X20 is the latest edition to the Emerald line up and marks the evolution and development of our guitars and sets the bar at a whole new level.

This is a guitar designed with the player in mind and not tradition. We have looked at everything carbon fibre construction allows us to do and brought together all the little design elements we have developed over the past 15 years and this guitar is the result.

The first step of the X20 design was form and function and with the freedom we are afforded with our moulding technology we have been able to add some very significant ergonomic improvements such as the forearm bevel and the beveled cutaway to give even greater access to the fretboard. Less noticeable is our unique asymmetrical back contours that make the guitar sit more comfortably and securely on your knee. Its an improvement that you may not even notice visually but you will certainly feel it as soon as you sit down to play.

The neck has been given a very comfortable shallow C profile with a 1 3/4″ nut and the heel has been massively reduced in profile to give better access to the higher frets and yes there are 24 frets on this guitar.

Tonally this guitar has a big voice, We developed a new laminate structure to give it a richer fuller sound and with the unique soundhole placement it gives a great projection to the player while still giving your audience the fullness of your performance.

Playing the X20 is a whole new experience. You hear your playing in a whole new way with the unique soundhole design, its like being inside the guitar. You feel the guitar in a whole new way, its curves and contours hug your body and it just sits there effortlessly without sliding off your knee or digging into your forearm and with its super stable and accurate neck it plays effortlessly.

This guitar truly is a step forward in so many ways and whether you perform in front of thousands or just your dog by the fireside you are sure to appreciate the X20 comfort, style and tone.

My Emerald X20 in Black

Emerald X20

Having played the X7 (set up for open G) for just over a month, I decided I would like to expand and add an X20 to compliment it, so back to Play Away Guitars, as I knew they had one. It arrived the following day in its beautiful solid case (and a spare soft case I ordered at the same time)

In standard tuning and using with a partial capo, I was once again blown away by it's tone and clarity/separation (the quality of production was no surprise as it was as brilliant as the X7!) with nice extra touches.

The X7 (in open G) and the X20 (in standard tuning) became my regular musical companions, fulfilling my every guitar need - or so I thought!

As the year drew to a close, I came across the Emerald Amicus 12, a 12 string short scale guitar with its strings tuned in unison (like a mandolin)... mmmm what would that sound like in DADGAD? I wondered.

With none available in the UK, all I could do was check out youtube to get an idea of whether my idea of how it would sound was on target which led me to...

Decision made! now with My Birthday and Christmas approaching I contacted Emerald Guitars, with a request to find out if they had any in stock, the reply came back that they had two, one black and one amber, but they were the acoustic only, and obviously I wanted a pick-up fitted, but they could be upgraded - so the amber with upgrade was ordered (the black one (upgraded) was ordered by Seamus when I told him about it)...

On the morning of 15th December, I was up early for a hospital procedure, so checked my messages before leaving, to be greeted with a photo.....

The Amicus has been posted

17th December - Happy Birthday

With perfect timing the amicus arrived on my Birthday (a present from my wife Eileen), was it what I expected?

Well of course it was! and it has has been a constant companion since it arrived, happily playing everything from traditional tunes and songs, to C&W and Rock 'n' Roll. I can't emphasise what a superb instrument this is, and all the musical pathways it's led me down, from the subtleties of sweet and gentle ethereal tones to hard driving, in your face Folk Rock.

amicus usque ad aras noun, Latin.

a friend to the last degree.

Keep on scrolling...

Emerald Amicus 12

Details from Emerald Website

The Amicus is an innovative new instrument that brings a whole new sound and dimension to your guitar playing.

Its short 18” scale allows it to be tuned up to D, similar to having a capo at the 10th fret and with its full width neck spacing it is a comfortable and familiar instrument for guitarists making it a seamless transition. You can also use all your regular guitar chord shapes so you don’t have to learn a whole new instrument.

It gives you access to a complete new sound that is more in the mandolin range yet it has a fuller richer dimension. The Amicus12 offers a great accompaniment to a guitar adding another layer in an arrangement and is immense fun to just play by yourself and find new tunes and sounds.

This little guitar has been creating great excitement since it was first unveiled in 2013 and has put a smile on the face of everyone who has held it. Why not check one out for yourself and open up a whole new dimension.

My Emerald Amicus 12 Amber

Emerald Amicus 12

So the Amicus arrived and became my best friend, making a trio of Emeralds to back me up, and what a trio they are!

Christmas with the Emeralds

Christmas is a time of family and friends (and making music!), so it no surprise that Christmas 2015 was shared with them as can be seen...

waiting for the show to begin
We three......
Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas

So now we enter 2016 a new year, with new friends, three of the finest instruments I've had the pleasure of sharing time with...

You may think the story will end here with the traditional, "and they all lived happily ever after".....

but the 12 months isn't up yet! and as I sit here typing I know there are 2 more Emeralds heading towards my open and welcoming arms......

To be continued....... Scroll on.......


Having fallen totally in love with the wonderful Amicus its sound and versatility, I got to wondering what an octave lower Amicus (now named an Amicum to save confusion) would sound like

So I contacted Alistair Hay (the man behind Emerald Guitars) to discuss what alteration would be required to make a full size (X20) big Amicus. A few discussions later, the plan was put into action and the Amicum was conceived

A short time later I got an update from Alistair, to update me with progress.

Big Amicus ready for next procedures

Whilst waiting for the delivery of the Big Amicus, it came to my attention that Alistair was selling a rather special X30 for a friend - but more of that later.

Two Emeralds on their way

On the 23rd of June there stood two boxes in front of me, time to introduce Amicus to Amicum.

Amicum and Amicus

Twins Reunited

Only their maker can tell them apart

scroll on......

Emerald Amicum 12

Emerald X20-12 (Big Amicus Variation)

The X20 is the perfect platform for going beyond the standard 6-string and is the best sounding 12-string we have ever heard.

The X20 was designed with the player in mind and not tradition. We looked at everything carbon fibre construction allows us to do and brought together all the little design elements we have developed over the past 15 years in this guitar.

We were able to add some very significant ergonomic improvements, such as the forearm bevel and the beveled cutaway to give even greater access to the fretboard.

Less noticeable is our unique asymmetrical back contours that make the guitar sit more comfortably and securely on your knee. It’s an improvement that you may not even notice visually, but you will as soon as you sit down to play an X20.

Tonally this guitar has a big voice, especially as a 12-string. We developed a new laminate structure to give it a richer, fuller sound and with the unique sound hole placement it gives great projection to the player, while still giving your audience the fullness of your performance.

And there's more scroll on....

As mentioned

Yes on the 23rd June it was a double Emerald day, not only the "Amicum" but a rather nice .......

Emerald Guitars X30 Artisan 2005 Limited Edition

This is a very unique and collectible Emerald Guitars X30 Artisan from early 2005 which we have been asked to resell and was originally built for a personal friend of company founder Alistair Hay.

As one of our high end models of the time, it features a solid silver sound hole rosette with beautiful Celtic design and detailing, including the Emerald dog’s head which has green crystals embedded as eyes.

The guitar features solid silver bridge pins, which also have green crystals embedded, and ruby red crystals act as fret markers on the neck.

The fretboard is carbon and the headstock features Sperzel locking tuners and a solid silver Emerald Guitars logo.

This X30 Artisan has an LR Baggs LB6 pickup system with an LR Baggs Acoustic Timbre Preamp which has a 3-band EQ, ‘Presence’ control, and ‘Mid-Tune’ that acts as a notch filter to control feedback.

The finish is our Triple Flash Rustic Copper paint which changes from a deep copper to green and gold depending on which angle you look at it from.

The back and sides have a satin finish with light texture, while the top and neck have a full high gloss polish finish. The X30 Artisan also comes with a Hiscox hard shell case.

Scroll on....

Emerald Guitars X30 Artisan 2005 Limited Edition

Scale length 25.5 650mm - Nut width 1 13/16 43.5mm

Overall length 41 1/2 1060mm - Bridge Spacing 2¼ 57mm

Max Body width 17¼ 435mm - Max body depth 5 1/4 130mm

Max body length 20 1/4 520mm - Weight 4.8lbs 2.2kg

Frets 21 medium stainless steel frets - Tuners Sperzel locking tuners

Pickup L.R Baggs LB6 /Acoustic Timbre

The finish is our Triple Flash Rustic Copper paint which changes from a deep copper to green and gold depending on which angle you look at it from.

X30 Artisan 2005 Limited Edition

keep on scrolling...

12 Months Emeralding

So now the 2 new Emeralds had arrived and like the rest of the family they are superb instruments with their own personalities - and individual qualities.

So as my first 12 months with Emerald Guitars comes to an end, to sum it up what would I say about my new friends? (not just the instruments, but Alistair and his wonderful team....)

Some photo's and quotes

A trip to the park
A lorra lorra fun!
fun with the amici
Amicus & Amicum
Amicus in action
X30 - Amber
X30 Ltd - Amber & Green
X30 Ltd- it's green!
Amicum & X30 Ltd
I'll be back........

I'll be adding more about the guitars, and their adventures, hopefully some videos and photos - this "Spark" will be updated (all links will automatically updated) so keep popping by. If you fancy hearing or playing an Emerald Guitar you're welcome any Tuesday at The Plough in Staining, Lancashire. UK (from about 9:00pm)

Always an Emerald (or 2) at The Plough!
thanks to alistair and the emerald team
what next?

Who knows? I known I'll continue playing my current Emeralds and appreciating every minute spent with them, and I know I'll be keeping in contact with Alistair and his wonderful team at Emerald Guitar .........

and maybe a new addition or two to the family ?


Moving towards 2017...

2016 was a big year for us, our 40th Wedding Anniversary, and both (Eileen & I) hitting our 65th year of being.

As part of the celebration we had a family gathering in Cheddar, Somerset UK, our second home, the family of course included some of our adopted Emerald Guitars, and of course we had to introduce them to the wonderful Cheddar Gorge.

"Clansfolk" in The Gorge Cheddar

Another event the Amicum came along to, was Singleton Cloggers Day of Dance in Poulton-le-Fylde, Eileen being the Squire insisted ;)

Emerald Amicum reflects on Singleton Cloggers

The next big day for me and my Emerald connection was my 65th Birthday, but I think that deserves a separate entry

so scroll on..........

Happy Birthday!!!

Alistair, Me, Simon

Somewhat a Happy Bunny :D

What a way to spend your Birthday!

Impromptu Session

17th December 2016

The morning of my 65th Birthday started with a directive to get up, get dressed and ask no questions

so I did!

Had a cup of coffee and a hand full of tablets, then was bundled into the Gigmobile

I was driven to a local cafe, The Solaris Centre, sat in a comfy chair and awaited my toasted teacake and coffee............. unaware of what would happen next........

Simon, our son, turned up out of the blue, and we sat happily chatting whilst awaiting our brews to arrived, the talk turned to Emerald Guitars and the fact that my Santa photo was on their website, at that very moment we were interrupted by a hand holding a mug, and the words "I believe you wanted a cup of coffee?" - the mug held out was not any mug though, it was an Emerald Guitar Mug and the waiter? Alistair Hay!!! Well I'm not know for having a lack of words, but the shocked silence would have filled the largest Black Hole. The next words I recall from Alistair were "Of course you know you only get an Emerald Mug when you get an Emerald Guitar", as he handed me my wonderful birthday present from my wife, Eileen, a Synergy Uke Artisan in Ruby Red (perfect for our Ruby Anniversary Year!)

We were then joined by several friends (and fellow Emerald Guitar owners) and Instruments, and much to the surprise of fellow diners, and cafe staff, proceeded to break into song and merriment and chatting (I had got my voice back by then but still in shock and disbelief ) - after some time we moved on to another local haunt for some refreshments and a bite to eat, and further chatting, reminiscing and general revelry. Sadly the day had to come to an end and Alistair had to depart to catch his plane home, so final farewells were said and we all went our separate ways, the day came to an end...... But what a DAY!!!!

So, once again, thanks to everyone involved with the day, my family, friends and Alistair Hay - who cares so much for the Instruments he makes and for the people who play them, that he takes the time and effort to be there.

Synergy Uke Artisan

so let's see what 2017 brings......

360° scrollable Time Lapse & Video of the arrival of the new Synergy Uke Artisan

(NB Not all browsers are capable of 360° Videos - if yours does scroll around and view from all angles)

Recorded and Edited by Simon Skinner.

with: Alistair Hay (Emerald Guitars), Eileen Skinner, Simon Skinner, Seamus O'Doherty, Kieran O'Doherty, Peter Weetman, Me and The unsuspecting Staff & Customers at Cafe Chico on the Green Blackpool.


Latest addition

Synergy X7

The Synergy X7 harp guitar is a modern adaptation of an ancient instrument which has risen in popularity again thanks to innovative musicians such as Andy McKee, Michael Hedges and Muriel Anderson.
Children of the stones - Synergy X7

Christmas 2017

Santa sharing musical fun with Young and Old alike

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Play along with Santa

2018 Ruby's Brother Barry joins the Family

Me: Hey Alistair I would like a Baritone Version of the synergy Uke, so I can play in Open G standard pitch, but I don't want a larger instrument
Alistair: OK Pete, that should be possible.
Me: great let's do it.
Ruby meet Barry
Barry meet Ruby!
Making plans to raise funds for Macmillan Appeal whilst making music and having fun
and now we're ready - just add "Tap to Pay" credit card payments
We even accept cash !
Out Making Music Live for Macmillan Cancer Care with Barry

To be continued

StereoDent New Logo for 2017
Created By
Peter Skinner

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.