Barebones NZ herald photo Jan 2014

Welcome to Barebones Folk Instruments. Thank you for taking the time to view my site and work.”
I was born in London and emigrated to New Zealand with my family in 1974. Educated in Auckland I worked for 20 years off and on in sales, marketing and customer service. Originally starting out in percussion (Bones and Bodhran) a number of years break from full-time work as a house dad led me further down the musical path.
Playing and setting up Mandolins, Banjos and working part time in a music shop, I began building some of my earlier prototypes in teardrop shaped instruments. Producing a good sound, popularity of these grew encouraging me to experiment into fixed bridge designs. Quitting my full time job in early 2012 I designed the “Crown” model in an Octave Mandolin.
Currently based in Waterview, Auckland, where I live with my wife Kath, daughter Morgan, Chip the Labrador, Swirl the cat, four chickens, three goldfish and a southern bell frog.
Why the name “Barebones Folk Instruments”, you ask? Well, my nickname is “Bones” and I build great sounding reliable instruments without the fancy inlays, sound-hole rosettes, bindings etc. Decorative enhancement increases the price, not necessarily the performance, playability or sound. I rely on a selection of quality timbers, combined with my designs, to create original, musical, works of art.
In 2013 Tenor and Baritone Ukuleles and Guitars were also developed and added into the Crown range.
A passion for Tenor Banjos steered me to re-furbishing old instruments and re-building others into hybrid, short scale Tenor banjos, Tenor/Concert Banjo Ukuleles and 8 string Banjos. My “Phoenix” Banjo models are resurrected from older well made instruments and parts. We can also refurbish/ rebuild yours into a new instrument in it’s original form or as a reborn Phoenix.

Concept instruments (weird stuff you can’t buy) …….please ask me. Barebones has produced, over the years, Appalachian Mouth Bows (with features such as a WAH-WAH bar), Bass Kalimba (Thumb Piano but BIG), Talk Boxes and various percussion instruments.

My popular Cajons, now also available fitted with an internal kick pedal for versatility, these are a more than the basic Cajon. A compact version for Junior players without the kick pedal but with added tone surface is also available, making these another great Barebones product.

We can also make stage and movie “prop” instruments, both imitation and playable.

Most models are available to order in a variety of custom options. By arrangement you can select type of woods to be combined for your special instrument. If possible, we can also let you select the piece to be used from our stock of timbers. Various woods for pick-guards and overlays can also be chosen along with type of finish, pick-ups, straps and buttons etc.

Also offered are some repair and refurbishment services for stringed, fretted instruments, subject to inspection.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for further information or to place an order and …………..


Best regards,


“Such is Life”  – Ned Kelly.