Atkin The Forty Three review

Alister Atkin makes superlative guitars inspired by classic heritage models. Here’s his 1940s ‘workman’ acoustic

Atkin The Forty Three review
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

The Forty Three is an artisanal slope-shoulder dread' with 1940s charm by the bucketload. Its bold voice will satisfy strummers and Delta blues cats alike, but also make fingerpickers alive to its charms.


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    Impeccable build.

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    Lovely attention to details.

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    Big and boisterous tone.

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    It's versatile.

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    Great playability


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    The Gibson it’s modelled after is still available.

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There’s no disguising the influence of Gibson’s ubiquitous J-45 on The Forty Three from Atkin. As any connoisseur of acoustic guitars will know, from the model’s outset Gibson never stopped tinkering with its appointments, until recently mostly to its detriment. 

But with The Forty Three, Alister has settled on what many believe is its finest incarnation. This particular set of features arrived a year after the model’s 1942 debut. 

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Neville Marten

In the late '70s and early '80s Neville worked for Selmer/Norlin as one of Gibson's UK guitar repairers, before joining CBS/Fender in the same role. He then moved to the fledgling Guitarist magazine as staff writer, rising to editor in 1986. He remained editor for 14 years before launching and editing Guitar Techniques magazine. Although now semi-retired he still works for both magazines. Neville has been a member of Marty Wilde's 'Wildcats' since 1983, and recorded his own album, The Blues Headlines, in 2019.