Atkin Guitars was founded in Canterbury, England, in 1995 and have since grown steadily from a one-man operation building a handful of one-of-a-kind instruments each year to become one of the UK’s leading acoustic guitar makers.

Alister Atkin (centre) with Hamish Stuart and Chris Wood

The Guitars

Essential D

This is definitely one of my favourite guitars in the shop. It has a rich and full deep bass whilst retaining clarity and definition.

The Essential D offers 100% Atkin tone – stripped down to the bare essentials! Each Essential D sports a North American Sitka spruce top and braced with pre-war scalloped bracing, all of which is baked in house at Atkin. Mahogany back and sides are complimented by a lightweight mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard – just like some of the finest Pre-War guitars. This is a time proven combination, extremely popular with songwriters, a work horse that never gets tired!

Essential OOO

A Fingerstyle guitar with pre war appointments.

The Essential OOO offers 100% Atkin tone – stripped down to the bare essentials! Each Essential OOO has a North American Sitka spruce top and pre-war scalloped bracing, all of which is baked in house at Atkin. Mahogany back and sides are complimented by a lightweight mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard. If you are looking for sweet sounding, mid-sized guitar with a wider nut, the Essential OOO is for you.

The Fourty-Three

This was a guitar that David bought for the shop from the London Guitar Show in 2018 after being blown away by it. According to David, it was easily the best guitar at the show.

The Forty-Three is both direct and powerful, but with an easy-playing shorter scale length, it’s easy to see why this guitar has been favoured by so many singer-songwriters over the years. The big-bodied slope shoulder shape, combined with a Baked Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, delivers warm mids, solid lows and great definition. It’s a timeless acoustic guitar tone.

The Finishes

Atkin have been pioneers in the art of acoustic finishes for years, making guitars that feel warm to the touch, whilst letting the sound of the instrument come through. They offer two finishes, Aged and Mirror, each with it’s own unique Nitro Cellulose Lacquer.

Aged Finish

Atkin started to develop their aged finish in 2010. It was the result of an accident with a Buddy Holly J45. The guitar got a bad scratch during the build so they had the idea to age it to look like Buddy’s original guitar.

That guitar sold instantly so more were built. Atkin realised they were onto something when the Martin Custom shop bought one of their White Rice models. Although Atkin started out making heavier relic versions, they soon realised most people like their guitar to look a little cleaner. So now their aged finishes look like a guitar that has been looked after since day one. Think of it like your Grandfather’s prized possession. Each aged guitar has 8 coats of Nitro and yellowing tints. The result being a super thin finish with grain sinkage. This is now the choice finish for 70% of Atkin customers.

Mirror Finish

Perfect Nitro Cellulose finishes are one of the most time consuming parts of guitar building, it’s an Art and Atkin have been using Nitro since day one.

The Mirror finish is a four day process spread over three weeks. There are no short cuts, it just takes skill and patience, but the results speak for themselves.

The development of Atkin Guitars owes just as much to the players who have used their instruments. 15 years ago, Andy Mitchell and Boo Hewerdine were among the first to discover Atkin Guitars and since then the list of pro players who choose to play an Atkin has grown – purely through word of mouth and personal recommendations – to include Eddi Reader, Elbow, Chris Difford, Nick Harper, Callum and Neill MacColl, Amrit Sond, Richard Hawley and Graham Coxon.