Albert Josef Deakin (Reiner Guitars)

Born in Solingen Germany/Austrian parents. I was evacuated to Austria during the war and my mother and I went to live with my grandparents on their farm in Carinthia, where my sister was born. I spent many happy hours watching my grandfather working with wood. He could make anything and his carving was superb. I suppose he's always been my inspiration.

My father was killed a few days before the end of the war and my mother later married an Englishman. We emigrated to England when I was 12 years old and when my grandfather passed away I inherited some of his woodworking tools which I treasured.

On leaving school, I wanted to follow in my grandfather's footsteps but was told I wasn't suitable to be a joiner so instead I became an apprentice jeweller in the Shambles York. The skills I picked up there from designing and making jewellery, also learning how to hand engrave, served me well and enable me to create my own pearl inlays for the guitars I produce now.

I was given my first guitar when I was 18 years old. It was a utility American guitar, which was not to my liking, and so I dismantled and rebuilt it. I was hooked and since then have dedicated all my spare time, little as it may have been at times, to honing my guitar making skills.

In those early years I made 2 acoustics and was told they looked like sideboards but the sound was good. So my goal has been to produce something that looks as good as it sounds.

After jewellery making I became a self taught camera mechanic and an instrument fitter before in the 1970s taking up the position of Audio Visual Aids Technician at York University. Among the many artists with whom I worked were Tom Paxton, Cliff Richard, ELO, Errol Brown and Ralph McTel.

I returned to Germany a few years later as a gold technician to the dental trade but on my return I found that my workshop had been emptied and my grandfather's tools were gone. Starting from scratch I built up my collection of equipment and started producing guitars again. When deciding on a name for my guitars I thought of using my Grandfather's name Reiner as a tribute to him for introducing me to the love of working with wood.

I have always worked with my hands and have been lucky to pick up or teach myself to do practically everything. I am lucky to have a patient wife who understands my passion for creating a perfectly unique sounding instrument and the hours dedicated to that aim shut away in my workshop. I cannot describe the joy I feel to hear a good guitarist (not me) bring out the best in my guitars.

Reiner Guitars