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About Ginkgo Guitars

Malcolm Spencer - Luthier

Malcolm has been an accountant and worked with large finance systems, but has always longed to return to his teenage pastimes of woodwork and model making. After retiring from finance, Malcolm attended a guitar making course at European Institute of Guitar Making in Andalucia in Spain to learn the Granada techniques from maestro Stephen Hill.

Matth Veck - Musical consultant

Matt is only 22 and has been playing classical guitar for over 13 years. He is studying for a music degree at Birmingham Conservatoire, and gives advice on the design and tone produced by the guitars created by Ginkgo Guitars.

Matt is also interested in jazz and electronic music

Vegan guitars

What makes a guitar vegan? Many of the cheaper factory made guitars are vegan because some of the non vegan components can be expensive and difficult to work with.

In bespoke hand made classical guitars a luthier will usually use the following:

  • Nut and Saddle - these will usually be made of animal bone. At Ginkgo Guitars we use a composite material that has been engineered to pass the right tones from the string to the guitar body. We think this is a better solution, and it is vegan. 

  • Glue - Animal hide glue is used a lot in construction. This is usually made of animal skin or bone. Ginkgo Guitars do not use any glue that contains animal parts or has been tested on animals.

  • Decoration - mother of pearl or other shells can sometimes be used in decorations, although this does tend to be on steel string or electric guitars. Gingko Guitars do not use this as the animal will usually die as part of harvesting.

  • Finish - a shiny finish on a classical guitar is usually achieved through french polishing, which uses shellac, derived from the Lac beetle. As many beetles die during harvesting it is widely avoided by vegans. Ginkgo Guitars use a different seed oil based finish which gives a great result, and without harming any animals, and some people will prefer the result to that of a french polish as it enhances the natural beauty of the grain of the wood.


The Ginkgo tree is an ancient tree that still lives today. It has a very simple but beautiful leaf structure that is the inspiration of the shaping of the headstocks on all guitars made by Gingko Guitars. The leaf picture in the header of the site is of a leaf from an old Ginkgo tree in the Botanical Gardens in Granada, Spain.

We do not yet use Ginkgo wood in our guitars, but we will always explore new materials.

Support for promising students

Matt Veck, our musical consultant, has taken the initiative to award a concert classical guitar from time to time to a promising student for just the basic cost of the materials. This is our way of giving future generations of guitarists a helpful nudge in the right direction, as it will hopefully enable them to take their playing to a new level. The student will be someone put forward to us by one of our teacher contacts who is in great need of a hand built concert guitar to help them progress.

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