James Westbrook is a British-based organologist whose particular interest is in guitar construction. He is a graduate in music performance and a noted guitar tutor of various styles. His lecturing positions have included The London College of Furniture (Guildhall University) world renowned for its guitar making course. He has given papers for The Classical Guitar Festival of Great Britain, European Guitar Teachers Association, The American Musical Instrument Society, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Guild of American Luthiers.
He has written articles for Classical Guitar and Soundboard. He is also the author of two popular books: Guitars through the Ages (2002) and The Century that Shaped the Guitar (2006) as well as co-author of The Complete Illustrated book of the Acoustic Guitar (2012). His broad knowledge of guitars is often called upon by other authors and James was consulted for the first Eric Clapton Guitar Auction held at Christies, New York.
After working as a specialist for the auctioneers Bonhams (London), organising numerous successful guitar sales and valuation days, James went on to work for Mick Fleetwood’s internet based auction team as their foremost authority on guitars and American fretted instruments. One of the many instruments he helped authenticate is now in the Experience Hendrix Museum in Seattle.
In 2001 James created the Guitar Museum, which specialises in the 19th century guitar. Since then, many students and scholars have travelled from afar to inspect his rare collection of guitars and manuscripts. His private collection is in much demand by publishers and film studios. Guitars have been loaned to Colin Firth, for the filming of The Importance of being Earnest, as well as for prestigious exhibitions, such as Travelling Guitars at the Musée de la Musique, Paris. He also supplied a guitar to the C. F. Martin Guitar Museum in Pennsylvania.