Win this hand-built Strat replica and support live music venues

(Image credit: Music Venue Trust/ Audio Appraisal)

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.

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 is raffling off his hand-made Strat replica in aid of the Music Venue Trust – 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 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. 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 and remember to cross your fingers at just after 2pm (BST) on Monday 10th August. Good luck.


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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.