The story so far
Chapter 1: Martin's first bass build and the glowing garden shed [Sims LEDs]
1992, Whilst playing regular gigs as a bass player with his 6-piece band across the Isle Of White, company founder Martin Sims, decided to build his first bass guitar for fun using the knowledge of construction and timbers that he has gained from working alongside his father in the offshore powerboat industry. Once the bass build was complete and saw it's first few gigs/shows Martin noticed that it could often be difficult to see the fret markers under dark or harsh stage lighting.
Upon visiting The Bass Centre a short while later, Martin noticed an early Warwick bass that had LEDs in the fretboard. He asked if there was an LED installation kit with the intention of attempting to install some into his bass build and much to his disappointment, he was told that these types of LED kits did not exist.
Martin then set out to find his own way of retrofitting his bass build with fretboard LEDs. After many hard labouring hours experimenting in his garden shed, the first ever Sims LEDs were fitted, without removing the fretboard or any frets. This method that Martin developed could not only be fitted in any guitar or bass without damaging the instrument but were also designed to be fully serviceable in the event of any issues. This was revolutionary at the time as no other fretboard LEDs on the market could be fitted after the neck had already been produced which meant they were usually near-impossible to service if there was ever a problem with them.
After some vigorous problem testing, Martin proudly took his bass build with LEDs to the bass centre to show them what he had achieved. They were impressed and asked him to set up a small permanent display so that the they could sell the retrofit LED service through their store.
Chapter 2: Expansion and the birthing of Sims Spray Shop
1994, After furthering business through guitar exhibitions in London and Birmingham and a review in bassist magazine by Roger Newell, business grew to such a point that Martin needed to expand into a new industrial workshop. This led to his big move to Kent in 1994 and taking on the workshop premises at Surrenden Manor where the business still operates today. The coming years were spent building up the business and growing a large and respectable client list which led to many enquiries for spray work and custom pickguards etc, which were being outsourced to other companies at the time.
By 2002, after suffering many frustrations with the companies he was using for refinishing & CNC-ing, Martin decided to set up his own spray booth and CNC facilities. This would bring all elements of the business thus far, in house so that he could control the quality and timing of the work going out.
Consequently, this resulted in even more demand for the business which led to Martin's first full time employee, Rob Fleet, who started in 2003 and still remains with us as the master of the spray booth & CNC.
Chapter 3: CNC experimentation leads to Sims Custom Shop
2004, by natural progression Martin began experimenting building necks and bodies for guitars and basses which resulted in the beginnings of the Sims Custom Shop which allowed customers to prototype and build their fantasy guitars, from the heavily experimental to more straight forward traditional shapes.
Chapter 4: Cure to singular bass tone syndrome is created - the Super 8 Pickup
2006, Martin began experimenting with bass pickups. Being a bass player he always thought that it would be great to be able to achieve the three most iconic, classic pickup sounds using only one bass. The concept of the super-8 was born, but it would take yet another couple of years to come to life.
By 2008 Sims launched their first line of basses under the brand name Enfield Guitars, taken from his fathers class 1 offshore powerboat company called Enfield Marine. These basses were called the Cannon range and featured the now revolutionary new concept in bass pickup technology, the 'Sims Super-8 Pickup'. These basses were favourably received amongst the bass playing fraternity/community, aided by good press, reviews and exhibitions around the world. This then led to many requests to sell the super-8 on it's own to manufacturers and private customers which led him onto develop the Super-Quads which were designed as a one size fits all twin pickup system to emulate the super 8 but with more traditional aesthetics and easier to retrofit into new or existing basses.
Chapter 5: Cure treatment is given funding, leads to creation of Super-Quad Pickup and Enfield Guitars
In 2006 Martin started work on his idea of a multy coil, multy funktioning bass guitar pickup and needed an instrument to demonstrate the technology which led to the creating of the first line of Enfield basses - 'The Cannon'.
Enfield Guitars are based in Kent in the UK and are part of the Sims Custom Shop family.
Enfield Guitars started out as a personal project run by Martin to build a totally new design of high end professional bass guitars bringing out many of the developments he had thought about over the following years with the Custom Shop.
The name Enfield was taken from Martin’s previous time working for his father’s business (Enfield Marine) building class 1 offshore power boats on the Isle of Wight during the late seventies and early Eighties.
After Enfield Marine was sold and Ernie Sims (Martin’s father) retired from the business leaving Martin to work for some years in the F1 industry until starting the Sims Custom L.E.D business in 1994.
The first range of Enfield branded basses was the Cannon. Followed by the Avenger. Both were later discontinued. Next was the Fusion which went on to adopt it's predecessor's name so then became known as the Avenger. As an evolution of the former Avenger range, which was has since been discontinued from our production and is now only available as a special custom order and currently with 12-18 month waiting list.
Also came the Lionheart, a refinement of the former Cannon bass.
Later came the Avenger II which was a Sims take on modernising the classic Avenger style design. Essentially a 'super Jazz bass'.
Most recently is The Alchemy bass. Designed by and for Nick Smith, our longest running Super-Quad demonstrator.
After 5 years with Sims Custom L.E.D. Martin launched the Sims Spray Shop, building a new spray shop facility after seeing a specific need in the guitar industry for this service.
Once the Spray Shop was established more expansion was taken on with the introduction of a fully functional CNC manufacturing plant for making guitar and bass bodies and necks.
As well as making complete guitars Sims also make component parts for other UK guitar makers along with it’s guitar prototyping department.
With all this it’s no surprise that the time would come when Martin would turn his attention to building his own range of branded guitars which is where Enfield Guitars come in on the scene.
Over the years Martin and his team have made many developments in the guitar industry which has inspired him to bring out this new bass range.
One of these developments is the revolutional new "Super 8" pickup. With it’s 8 separate coils which allow for horizontal splitting as well as vertical splitting. This enables the player to simply switch between split coil, single coil & parallel hum canceling with just the flick of a switch whilst still maintaining the same volume levels regardless of the position chosen.
Other developments for the basses include a totally new bespoke bridge, Staked and single control knobs as well as Enfield’s own and original body and neck designs.
You are invited to check out the various options and developments available and please feel free to contact us with any questions & comments you have.
You are invited to check out the various options and developments available and please feel free to contact us with any questions & comments you have. Kind regards, The Enfield team.
How it all started: After working in the Power Boat & Formula 1 industry Martin Sims wanted to start a new & fresh business in the guitar industry. The beginnings of the SimS Custom Shop started in 1994 when Martin Invented his now world renown L.E.D. retro-fitting fiting service.
Martin had been building guitars & basses on a personal level for some time and after just finishing his latest creation Martin found himself in the situation where he needed better fingerboard visibility under the extreme lighting conditions the band was playing under. So as they say “necessity being the mother of invention” Martin set about working out a way of retro fitting the L.E.Ds without removing the fingerboard thus maintaining the guitars original feel & tone.
During this period Martin realised that there was a need in Europe for a specialist guitar spray shop facility so in 1999 he opened the “Sims Spray Shop” offering custom spray workfor other guitar companies well as private customers. Sims has continued to go from strength to strength and now offers much more than just L.E.Ds. & custom paintwork. In 2004 Sims invested in a bespoke CNC machining facility offering custom built bodies, necks & pickguards also for the guitar industry as well as for private customers alike. Ever moving forward & now with a workforce of 6 employees Sims have focused there attentions to building the very best in custom built guitars & basses. These instruments can be based on the trusty guitar standards of yesteryear as well as being a completely new & original build project. So if you want some custom paint work, L.E.Ds, custom guitars, necks & bodies or fancy having your very own custom built guitar then please feel free to get in touch with the SimS Custom Shop.