To say that it's been a financially challenging year for music venues, bands and sound engineers is like saying King Arthur quite liked hard-to-extricate sharp metal objects. So here's one man taking action – and you could win the beautiful guitar pictured above simply by buying a £5 raffle ticket (opens in new tab).
Lovers of hi-fi may already be familiar with Ashley Cox, registered blind guitar builder, audiophile and hi-fi reviewer. Now, the Devon-based founder of Audio Appraisal (opens in new tab) is raffling off his hand-made Strat replica in aid of the Music Venue Trust (opens in new tab) – a UK registered charity which acts to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues, many of which are currently facing permanent shutdown as a result of the continued ban on live gigs.
It's no small issue: the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have put over 400 grassroots music venues in the UK at risk of permanent closure.
#SaveOurVenues (opens in new tab) is a campaign set up by the MVT to help. Cox said, "I wanted to do something to support the campaign and so built the guitar in aid of the Trust’s great work for music venues. All proceeds will go to the Music Venue Trust in support of the #SaveOurVenues campaign.”
The handmade guitar Cox is putting up for raffle replicates a classic Fender Stratocaster with its instantly-recognisable tremolo bridge, modern-style tuners and single coil pickups. The guitar has a two-piece ash body with maple neck and ebony fingerboard. The electronics are a standard configuration with two tone, one volume and a five-way selector.
The plates and art design were produced by Gig.Ink (opens in new tab). Tim Allen, founder of Gig.Ink generously donated both his time and the plates. Crimson Guitars also supplied the finishing oil.
The winner will be drawn on 10th August, and will receive the guitar, a soft protective case, lead, strap and a small bag of accessories including a tremolo bar, two adjustment Allen keys and a couple of picks.
“I hope the winner enjoys playing the guitar as much as I have enjoyed building it,” said Cox.
Right then, all that's left to do is buy a ticket (opens in new tab) and remember to cross your fingers at just after 2pm (BST) on Monday 10th August. Good luck.