About the Builder:
Patrick Eggle is one the finest examples of british guitar luthiers. This is specifically true for his guitar designs made in early 1990. Produced between 1991 and 2000 under the various ownerships that began with Patrick Eggle and Andrew Selby forming a new British company to make superlative quality electric guitars and ended with the sale/closure of the company when Patrick Eggle Guitars owner Dave Quill sold his Musical Exchanges business to Sound Control in 2000.
The comprehensive range of Patrick Eggle Guitars began with a design based upon one of Patrick's early models, the Climaxe. The Berlin, which originated from those early efforts, was made available in various configurations beginning with a basic model, the Berlin Standard, then the higher specification Berlin Plus, followed by the Berlin Pro, Berlin DLX and Berlin JS Legend models.
In order to serve a wider market Patrick Eggle Guitars introduced what might undeservedly be described as a budget model, the New York — better described as a fit-for-purpose workhorse!
There was also Patrick's interpretation of the "Strat" named the Los Angeles.
The remaining models of the period encompass 4 ranges: the Vienna, the Boston or Tony Iommi Artist, the Stratford (acoustic flat-top) and Milan (bass).
To discover more about Patrick Eggle Guitars check out: http://patrickeggleguitars.org/
Patrick is still building guitars and examples of the different periods can be found in the TYS collection. Today he is building acoustic guitars. More information on: http://eggle.co.uk/index.html
About the Guitars:
Here you can see two of the early Patrick Eggle Climaxe guitars. Different in shape and finish they are early example of how Patrick experimented to find his way to his master piece the Berlin.
Interesting is also to read extracts of the article published in the 1991 January edition of the magazine Guitarist. In this article written by Neville Marten, much is already discussed about the Patrick Eggle copying PRS guitars:
The Eggle has landed — Patrick Eggle ‘Climaxe’ Guitar
“This is probably the first you’ve heard of Patrick Eggle, or Climaxe Guitars, but if luck goes his way — and it certainly deserves to — it won’t be the last”.
Patrick Eggle is 25 years old. He fought his way onto the London College of Furniture’s prestigious, 2-year luthier’s course and came out determined to build quality, production guitars and shake off the ‘old hippy’, ‘dulcimers made to order’ image which British guitar builders have been saddled with to an extent since the ‘70s. To that end this review looks at the first fruit of his endeavors, a handsome 6-string which is doubtless going to bear the burden of some comparison.
In fact, what riles Mr Eggle more than anything is that everyone, but everyone who sees this guitar says ‘Oh, isn’t it like a Paul Reed Smith..!’ But as Patrick sees it — and not surprisingly, since he swears he didn’t even pick up a PRS until after he’d built his guitar — if you decide to go down a particular design avenue, many of the finer details will more or less dictate themselves. For instance, the heel of a glued-in neck, with such a body shape, will inevitably tend to look something like this — or a PRS. Then the headstock; that simply echoes the body styling. And the recessed control knobs; on a small bodied instrument you’ve got to recess them, otherwise they adopt the tower of Pisa attitude. And so on and so on …
Looking at the instrument dispassionately, it’s a quality guitar with none of that ‘I made it down the bottom of my garden’ feel. He’s used jigs and machinery to shape the body and neck, so radii are even, edges are square and the impression is that the instrument has been custom made, as opposed to home made. Whilst not being fanatical about it, Patrick is giving a nod in the direction of the environment by using, where possible, timbers from temperate climates, such as maple and ash. When mahogany is called for, he tries to source supplies which he knows have been forested in sympathy with the regional ecosystem.
So, what do we have, apart from a PRS-ish, arch-topped solid with a glued-in maple neck? Well, for a start it’s finished in polyester. Patrick does not yet have the facilities for a full spray operation, so rather than compromise he’s farming the work out for now. Although the finish itself is excellent, some thought needs to be given to preventing the build-up of lacquer where the neck joins the body. The problem is that this area is hit with at least double the dose from the gun, receiving coverage not only when the back of the body is sprayed, but also during lacquering of the cutaways and neck. It’s obviously not detrimental to the instrument as such, but it is unsightly and — though I hardly dare say this — you won’t find on a PRS.
Patrick is moving towards the use of cellulose for finishing, a decision of which I highly approve. Okay, it’s more expensive and slightly trickier to apply, but there’s no finer finish for a quality guitar because, unlike synthetic lacquers, it ages along with the instrument. If old Gibsons and Fenders had been draped in acrylic or melamine lacquer instead of nitro-cellulose, there’s no doubt in my mind that they would have nowhere near the appeal that they do.
The body of this particular instrument is ash, faced with anegree — just as highly figured as a good piece of maple but a touch less brash. Of course, not all Eggle guitars will feature such exotic looking woods, and the prices of the instruments will reflect this.
Patrick Eggle has two problems; the first is whether to name his guitars eponymously, or to adopt the ‘Climaxe’ title. As I hate ‘number’ guitars (i.e. PE-100 or whatever he might choose to call it) may I suggest that he keep ‘Eggle’ to the forefront and use ‘Climaxe’ for this particular range. Then we can have the Climaxe Custom, Climaxe Standard etc.
His second, and more immediate millstone is going to be the ‘PRS Copy’ tag which is in danger of attaching itself to his guitar. Whilst Patrick takes the pragmatic approach, saying, “Well, if you’re going to be compared to something…” I know he’s not pleased about the constant comparison. But surely he can’t be too surprised?
As it happens, the differences substantially outweigh the similarities, and in fact there are certain styling details which are more elegant on this than on the PRS; for instance I find the top’s carving slightly more graceful.
A guitar builder’s lot is not necessarily an easy one. It’s an uphill struggle from the outset, and a V reg Datsun Cherry will be a more likely mode of transport than a Merc or a Porsche — at least for a while. But with this guitar — and remember it’s a production instrument, not a one-off hand-built affair — Patrick Eggle has achieved what many British makers have failed to. He’s managed to produce a credible guitar which looks great, comes with a good, workable design concept, plays well (with potential to play even better), and stands a better chance than many of finding itself a respectable niche at the mid to top end of the market. I wish him all the best — he genuinely deserves it …
Both Patrick Eggle and Paul Reed Smith were exhibitors at the London Guitarist Show. Inevitably they met up, and Paul put it to Patrick that the similarities were too great and apart from the ethics of one company ‘stealing’ the other’s design, there are laws in America which cover the rights of a designer over elements such as shape. In short, this would mean that Patrick is automatically excluding himself from the American market — his guitars just wouldn’t be allowed in!
The upshot of this is that the guitar is undergoing a slight redesign — nothing drastic, but hopefully enough to take it out of the ‘PRS copy’ bracket. Paul Reed Smith acknowledged that Patrick’s instruments were among the best at the show, and agreed that competition is a good thing. But his words to me were, “I’m happy to be competed against by original ideas, but it gets a bit much when the competition is actually coming from your own designs!”