Hitting the right note

Landlord of the Wickham Arms Stephen Hey with his three Harley Davidson-branded guitars. (d07021102)
Landlord of the Wickham Arms Stephen Hey with his three Harley Davidson-branded guitars. (d07021102)

A PUB landlord is hoping to hit the right note with a series of bespoke guitars inspired by American motorcycle giant Harley Davidson.

Regulars at the Wickham Arms, in Cleckheaton, can often see landlord Stephen Hey’s Harley Electra Glide bike parked outside the hotel. Now he has taken his love of bikes and combined it with his passion for music to create some extraordinary guitars.

He has written to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, based corporation for permission to use the distinctive screaming eagle on his hand-crafted instruments.

Stephen creates the design using tracing paper to transfer the eagle crest onto the body. He also carves a woodern gecko, which is fast becoming his craft mark or signature.

“They probably take between 10 and 12 weeks to complete and get the drawing design right,” he said.

“Once I have the design sorted there’s a lacquer finish that goes over the top of the guitar and brass around the edges. It’s there to make sure there are no chips in the body.

“I can carry on making these guitars for myself but if someone asks to buy one, then I can’t do it. I can’t sell them with the badge on so I have applied for a licence from the company.”

If Harley Davidson grants him permission to use the design, Stephen believes it would be fairly easy to market and sell the instruments.

He said: “I wanted to make three of them before I contacted the company so they’d realise this isn’t a one off. It’s taken about 18-months to get this far and I’m really serious about it.

“I don’t know how much one of them would sell for, but they’re very good.”

To protect his labours of love, which are a little larger than normal guitars, Stephen also makes heavy duty cases to keep them safe. All together, the results are really impressive.

“Now I’ve just go to wait and see what the company says. They’re a massive brand and need to protect that, but if they allowed me to produce more then I would love it,” he added.