Ade Holland

 Ade (Adrian) Holland
– Jazz Guitarist and Luthier 1943~

Ade63 Gibson 330.

Adrian with his vintage 1963 Gibson ES-335 with dog ear pick-ups


Above is a Picture of Ade Holland a fine exponent of Manouche Swing taken in the early 1960,s (only a short period after Django’s death) in Corby with his original 1930‘s Maccaferri’s – not one but two – Petite and Grande Bouche.  Life was far from simple then. Ade now lives in Reading and is available for teaching both Jazz Guitar and Manouche Swing Techniques – he now wishes he had kept both Macca’s instead of almost giving them away.

I bought the Oval Hole #281 from Selmers in Charing Cross Road on 7th Aug 1963 for £126. and sold it for £325 on 2nd August 1971 to a guitarist called Stan Adleman, tho’ he was known as Stan Gordon….(I still have the receipts).  Years later I did several gigs with tenor saxist Clem Adleman and didn’t twig until a few years ago that they were brothers!  I’ve lost touch with both of them now and there doesn’t seem to be any sign on the internet although I remember Clem once telling me that his brother still had the Mac and he thought that it had had a new fingerboard fitted. – Ade

Ade60CorbyMacca's (2)djangovert

Ade Holland born in Llanberis, North Wales at the foot of Snowdon were the railway starts, attended Dolbadarn school in the village then, Bryn’refail Grammar School in Llanrug before going into music exile in Corby Northants.  A fluent Welsh Speaker now a Reading based exponent of Manouche Swing.  Above is an picture taken in the early 1960′s (only a short period after Django’s death) while living in Corby with his original 1930’s Maccaferri’s.- DSCF0195.  The oval hole guitar is a converted Eddie Freeman Special tenor guitar which Ade used as his working guitar and his Maccaferri D hole, model  #281 dated 13/03/1934.  Life was far for simple then.- but did nearly matched the eerie image echoing through time with this artistic portrayal of Django in a similar pose.

Early Associations


Ade’s 1st guitar with endorsed bridge logo ‘AH’ was made mainly from tea chest plywood by his father who was himself a well respected pianist and musician.  Ade’s Early influences were Bert Weedon, Les Bennetts, and Hank Marvin, ….Hank still has a wonderful touch and feel to his playing  – Dig that 14″ TV and the Herring Bone infills!


His father is seen here holding an example of a Plastic Mac Guitar – Mario Maccaferris venture into injection moulding and plastic guitars

GParryEFrGeorge Parry also from Snowdonia, North Wales…..he’s now an excellent Luthier, of Gypsy Guitars!  He first started reproducing them in the 60’s after taking copies, measurements and photos of both Ade’s original Selmer Maccaferri and his converted Eddie Freeman Special (shown in the b&w left) this shot is the earliest of George perhaps contemplating making one.  The two main 4 string models offered then by Selmer included a regular tenor guitar, with a 23 inch scale length, tuned CGDA, and the Eddie Freeman Special, with a larger body and a longer scale length, using a re-entrant CGDA tuning. The Eddie Freeman Special had been designed by English tenor banjoist Eddie Freeman to have a better  sonority for rhythm guitar work than the normal tenor guitar with its very high A string. However, it was still tuned CGDA so that it could still be played by tenor banjoists.  The Eddie Freeman Special was based on the 6 string model and it had a larger 6 string body and a 6 string scale length of 25.25 inches, rather than the tenor’s smaller body and normal 23 inch scale length. The CGDA tuning used was re-entrant with the C and D tuned in the same octave and the G and the A tuned in the same octave, lowering the overall tone. The tuning and scale length give this very unusual 4 string guitar a sonority that is very close to that of the 6 string guitar, compared to a regular tenor guitar.  Unfortunately, this guitar was not commercially successful in the 1930s due to concerted resistance by the British 6 string guitar fraternity, particularly Ivor Mairants. Many were subsequently converted to much more valuable 6 string models because of the Django Reinhardt connection. Originals of the Eddie Freeman Special are now very rare and are consequently highly valuable.

Eric Cec and Ade late 60's

In the colour shot are George sitting centre (Ade knew him then in the 60’s as Cec.) and showing off 2 of his guitars.  The one he’s playing is left handed!  and Ade sitting Right had the Eddie Freeman Macca – sitting Left  was George’s brother Eric.


The now Mature Craftsmen pose as both players and Luthiers displaying the Macca copies (1 Left Handed).

Recently, modern Maccaferri-style Luthiers, such as the late David Hodson in the UK and Shelley Park in Canada, as well as others, have started building the 4 string model again due to demand from their customers. Many have now been made

 and they are becoming more widely played. They are considered to have a beautiful sound and offer a very broad range of tuning possibilities including CGDA, GDAE, DGBE, CGBD, DGBD and ADGB.

As the 6 string guitar eventually became more popular in bands in the 1930s and 1940s, tenor guitars became much less played, although some tenor guitar models had been made in very large numbers throughout this period and are now still common. Tenor guitars came to prominence again in the 1950s and 1960s, possibly due to the effects of the Dixieland Jazz revival and the folk music boom. At this time, they were made by makers such as Epiphone, Gibson, Guild and Gretsch as archtop acoustics and/or electrics, as well as a range of flat top models by Martin.


Martin Taylor, Ade Holland, & Tom Anderson
Wallingford’s Corn Exchange was packed with an enthusiastic audience for a jazz and blues night starring internationally acclaimed guitarist Martin Taylor. The 1st half of the show featured local group The Fat Chance, whose style and infectious enthusiasm had the audience shouting for more. Their 45 minutes just flew.  The Fat Chance comprises Adrian Holland (guitar), Saffron Young (double bass), Geoff Hawkins (saxes) and Tom Anderson (guitar)   In the second half, Taylor displayed his incredible skills, including the “3 guitarists in one” technique which became a favourite with audiences worldwide.  Martin’s has been to  many exotic places where he has amazed jazz lovers — and that now includes Wallingford. The Corn Exchange, with its excellent sound qualities and intimate atmosphere was the perfect venue for this musical evening,   Jim Cane – Feb 1995

Martin Taylor with FAT  CHANCE in support


Fat Chance ‘variation’ Geoff Hawkins – reeds and Flute, young Phil Berry on Contrabass, Tom Anderson – vocals & Rhythm Guitar,    Ade Holland Seated with Maccaferri

Review by Chris Harris
After all these years one doesn’t expect originality of small jazz combos. Yet Adrian Holland’s Fat Chance seemed to me to achieve it. Bass, two guitars, and more often than not the soaring of a soprano saxophone on top. The result was an extraordinary combination standard ‘mainstream’ infrastructure with a vibrant, highly modern solo voice. I found this irresistible. The band certainly sent plenty of excitement across footlights. Maybe ‘Ornithology’ didn’t quite suit the line up, failing to soar and tending to chug, though it sounded fine when it became ‘How High the Moon’ and the traded fours at the end were great. Otherwise,  a simply inspiring set – great variety of tunes including a Brazillian thing towards the end, for which Mr Hawkins got his flute out), Saphon Young’s unfailingly swinging bass playing, contrasted the equally inventive guitar playing by Adrian and Tom Anderson. Which leaves Geoff Hawkins.  Versatile or what? Vibrato-drenched tenor playing on balIads like ‘September in the Rain’ one minute, then dazzling hard-toned wall-of-sound soprano the next. Wonderful stuff.

Having toured America with Grappelli, starred in Nashville and so on, Martin Taylor doesn’t need some Wallingford hack to rave about him. He’s the ultimate virtuoso of course, and yes, it was understandable (and really rather thrilling!) when he showed off the ‘bass, rhythm, tune, improvisation. all at once’ trick on ‘I got Rhythm’.  He told us that his early influences were pianists including  Fats WaIler, though the one I thought of instantly he began his first selection was Bill Evans. The same quiet bits, the same intense exploration of the tunes possibilities. (This may be partly because I thought he opened with ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’).
Technique is fine. But Martin Taylor gave us much more. One never lost the sense of a man in love with his instrument, feeling privileged and happy to playing it – whether re-inventing Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Somewhere’, enhancing ‘Taking a Chance on Love’ with a subtle new arrangement, or swinging like Brian Lara’s bat on ‘Cherokee’. Perhaps this rhythmic gift what struck me most. Although playing solo he almost seemed to have the drive and shifting accents of a great jazz drummer behind him. Maybe playing jazz, with its technical demands allied to limitless chances for self-expression delivers the ultimate creative buzz? We could ask Martin Taylor ……….

Tom Anderson, the joint solo voice in Fat Chance, was born in Edinburgh. He started playing the guitar at the age of 9, influenced by Hank Marvin, and acquired the blues from listening to masters like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Tom went on to play the blues rock scene around the Scottish Capital and the West Coast, and moved to Southern England in 1985. Having joined various rep. and production theatre companies he has been much in demand on the English Theatre circuit.  Tom, a guest artist at the ‘92 Edinburgh Five Band Blues Festival, is a brilliant musician with roots firmly planted in blues and soul, present influences include Robben Ford and Albert Lee.

Ade & Diz Disley Encounters


When I lived in Corby, I remember Diz Disley was booked to play at the Nag’s Head in the old village, having played there myself on a few occasions, I asked him if I could sit in.  Diz , at the time was doing his solo folk club thing but called me on during the second set.  It must have gone ok as he invited me to his next gig in Market Harboro’, I turned up feeling quite nervous, however I felt a lot worse after the interval when he announced me as “boy wonder” !  after the 1st number I got up to go and he told me in no uncertain terms to “sit down” so I ended up doing all the 2nd set with him,  he then invited me to do a concert with him on the following Saturday in Leicester.  At the time I was a member of quite a successful local band called “The Midnighters” run by 2 brothers, Pat and John Casey, and I had a gig with them on the same night so I had to decline his offer, Diz was not the type to accept such a futile excuse so I remember him saying to me “this is not a pub gig dear boy, it’s a Concert in a Theatre, it’s your big chance” !  Sadly it was a chance I missed, as much as I wanted to do it I felt I had to honour the 1st gig with the boys.  When he was in the area Diz called on me a few times after that, he had a big influence on my playing and certainly kept you on your toes,   – playing with Diz was a great experience. – Ade Holland

Below Ade playing his Petite Bouche Maccaferri and his 1963 Gibson awaits his caress


Django’s Modele Jazz #503

Ade’s Parisienne Anecdote…………….

In 1990 I went with my son Nathan to the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois-Sur-Seine near Fontainebleau about 40 miles south of Paris.  I read that Django’s guitar was in the Paris Conservatoire, so a train to Paris was on the agenda.  We bought our tickets which covered the metro as well, on entering the centre of Paris we thought it would be a good idea to get a taxi to the Conservatoire.  The cab driver said which Conservatoire? There are 16 conservatoires in Paris!!  After choosing one only to find they had never heard of Django let alone his guitar!! We called into a small hotel to ask for advice; the receptionist phoned every conservatoire in Paris for us only to find that his guitar had recently been taken away by Django’s son Babik!  That receptionist was wonderful, she didn’t charge us a penny (or a franc) for all she did, a fine example, and to anyone who don’t like the French – she was great.  After a day roaming round the music shops we decided to make our way back, and at the last metro station that took us to the overland train station, the machine swallowed our tickets!  Thinking no more of it we jumped on the train which started to pull away, after a short while I spotted an armed guard at the far end of the carriage checking the tickets!  Ironically my son gave me the same advice as Ian did years before in Maidenhead – pretend that you are asleep!  I looked behind and there was another guard checking tickets starting from the other end!  We were doomed! – the Bastille beckoned – or worse still the Guillotine!  We happened to be sitting right in the middle of the carriage and as the two of them met we were the last to be checked  – fate took a hand as the family opposite us didn’t have any tickets either! They carted them out of the carriage and didn’t come back, goodness knows what happened to them, but on our part it was totally un-intentional, the tickets we bought which included the metro stops did not include a return fare.  Perhaps Django was smiling down on us that day after all.

YouTube – Shadow of Your Smile – Ade Doodlin’

Ade now lives in Reading and is available for teaching both Jazz Guitar and Manouche Swing Techniques – his swing music skills may also be experienced at various gigs in the Thames Valley and Chilterns zone –

Email Ade Holland

0118 9507610 mobile 07711 030 391