I spent a number of years playing for Laura Marling both in the studio and on the road. As well as releasing my own records, I've been out and about with Willy Mason and Ben Howard.
from songwriting to inventing
Back in 2013 I was the solo support for a band much louder than me, with an audience to match. Struggling through the first show of the tour, I realised I had to find a way to make a much bigger sound. One aspect missing from my songs was bass. With no room in the van for a bass player friend, I hatched a plan. What if I could fit a bass player in my pocket?
tinkering, tailoring and soldering
I started winding a one-string pickup using a magnet and some enamelled wire – one wrapped around the other. 3000 times. Once fitted to my guitar under the low E, I plugged it into an octave pedal. The idea was to pick out the signal from just one string and make it an octave lower. Did it work? No. No it did not.
But it was a start, and the next attempt fared better. I conducted one experiment, then another, and another. And it's fair to say I was hooked. I spent a year locked away in a makeshift workshop surrounded by bits of guitars, magnets, and spools of wire. Propelled by a dream to design and manufacture a device that anyone could use.
After more than a dozen prototypes utilising the latest techniques in 3D printing and CNC coil winding the design was finalised. A successful crowdfunding campaign in June 2015 raised enough funds to pay for the expensive tooling costs like die casting, as well as many of the custom manufactured magnets and coils that can be found in a Submarine. With some elements of the design requiring accuracy of up to 1/100th of a millimeter the Submarine is a piece of precision engineering.
Now the Submarine is shipping all over the world. It is being used one the road and in studios big and small. Singer-songwriters, small bands, big bands, one man/woman bands, leftfield experimentalists, noise rock, indie, folk, electronica musicians have all found a use for it.
I'd love to hear what you'll make.
Thanks for listening.
All the very best,