“A good brand is a good story,” says Daisy Tempest, chief luthier of Tempest Guitars. A good story is precisely what you get when you play Tempest. After training as a craftswoman in her early twenties, she received the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, soon to be followed by the Newby Trust Craft Excellence Award. Working alongside another revered English guitar maker in Rosie Heydenrych, Daisy quickly realized the importance of precision and dedication to crafting high quality guitars.

Now running her own independent workshop, she focuses solely on one model – the aptly named The Model – small-scale acoustics to ensure her focus and expertise are maximized, which benefits both build quality and to the customer. Each guitar comes with a photo book, photographed and curated by Daisy, which documents the building process from start to finish.

With intriguing wood choices, celebrity endorsements, and a history of craftsmanship and woodworking that stretches back centuries, a shining history is guaranteed with a Tempest guitar.

You started with an award from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and enjoyed mentorship with Rosie Heydenrych of Turnstone Guitars. How did this develop your early years as a luthier?

“I actually had another apprenticeship prior to my time at Turnstone, but I attribute my love for violin making to Rosie. She was a wonderful influence and taught me how to fall in love with the hardest thing to grasp. for me, precision and patience. I’m lucky to have been able to study with someone like Rosie, for whom I developed a real respect. It was important for me to have a standard to live up to being in his studio really gave me high expectations for myself and my work when I started on my own!

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Design and craftsmanship are also rooted in your family, which has been practicing woodworking and tapestry for centuries. How does this ancestry influence your work?

“I didn’t realize that many of the women in my family worked with wood until after I started making guitars. So in that sense it didn’t. However, when it came to naming my company, it felt like a nice nod to the legacy before me in the Tempest family of women going against the grain (if you’ll excuse the pun). My father also influenced my decision to become a luthier, as we spent many hours playing music together when I was a child, as he is a composer and pianist. I learned that music was deeply rooted in me and that I wanted to do something around it. it just took me a while to figure out what.

Your process is based on a model, which is open to various specifications for the player. Why did you choose to base your business model on this interesting approach?

“My theory behind this is simple; I’m a brand new luthier, and if I spread myself too thin trying to do lots of different things, I don’t believe the quality will be as high as I expect or my customers should be paying. I just don’t think I can personally deliver a dreadnought with all of its different requirements – for example, it’s braced – while at the same time trying to think about how to do justice to a smaller body. So, I make a model, and I hope I do it well; it’s a little small so it’s comfortable in all hands, and most importantly I know how it works after exploring it for a while.”

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Elsewhere, we see long-lasting, left-behind wood choices, like 5,000-year-old fossilized black oak for example. Why is this important to you and the industry as a whole?

“Besides the other glaring reasons, after training with someone like Rosie at Turnstone Guitars, renowned for their ‘E-series’ – guitars made entirely from native English tonewoods – I can’t help but wiggle when ultra-exotic tastes, bloody woods are put on a pedestal. There are so many amazing alternatives that don’t come with a corrupted past. Fossilized oak is a great example of an amazing high-value tone wood. aesthetic and historic, and I’m very much looking forward to building with it for a client who has some reserved for the relatively near future.As my knowledge grows, I’m looking forward to discovering other more responsible woods for my company.

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Each instrument is documented throughout the construction process and shaped into a book as…

“A good brand is a good story. It was obvious to me when I started thinking about shaping my customer’s experience. How could I separate my business from the many others in the industry? The answer has been to tap into my passions and take my clients with me through the parts I really love about building guitars. I find so much beauty through the lens of a camera that I often stop at the processes and take a snapshot of that moment, maybe if the light is interesting or if some wood shavings have fallen in one soft pattern around what I rout or carve. It made sense for me to share those moments of a client’s guitar with them in a presentation at the end that they can always enjoy.

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When did you first realize you had a viable business?

“I think I always took a pragmatic approach and knew I had to make it work no matter what. Looking back, it was incredibly difficult, and I certainly couldn’t go through that again. Fortunately, I got through those first few days without giving up. It always depended on how much I wanted it, and I wanted it enough to make it happen. I’m also wholeheartedly supported by my friends and family who have never doubted that I could do it and honestly I never want to admit to them that I couldn’t which probably contributed to me pushing so hard My mental health was terrible at first but I got a lot stronger through it. after.

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Did you have any external investments at the start?

“I have amazing customers who placed orders as soon as my books opened; and I used my deposit money wisely to prepare a workshop in which to build their dream guitars. I had one client in particular who prepaid his guitar in total, and with that I was able to buy just about all my gear in my little workshop. I also received a free workshop grant for a year, which was invaluable. On top of that I had the help of my partner at the time – a fantastic musician – who kindly gave a free demo of my first guitar. I also do all my PR, photography, social media, etc. so I don’t have to outsource it. This means I can spend every penny developing my workshop and tools accordingly, which is exhausting, but still hugely rewarding.

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Your studio is based in South London alongside other Cockpit Arts artists and designers. Why is the intersection of music and design so essential to your practice?

“Music is what sustains me, craftsmanship is what keeps me hungry. The music is truly confusing; it manages to creep into the deepest parts of me and leaves me feeling everything I need to that time. It never fails. But my craft never fails to be unsatisfactory, no matter how perfect this miter; I will always strive to do whatever I do to be better or more advanced. The combination of these two elements coming together in something like violin making is really very powerful for me, and my working day is often a mixture of frustration, vulnerability, exhaustion and euphoria, whatever the order in which they appear!It’s nice to be around other people who have their own battles with aspects of their craft, and to be offered a cup of tea and a legitimate “I understand” on a bad day Of course, there are also beautiful days, and they are priceless in a community of friends like Cockpit. We are very close.”

To learn more, visit tempestguitars.com.