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It is almost 35 years since we issued our first mail order catalogue of guitar music and books. At that time our range of just over 100 titles catered mainly for the jazz guitarist. Since then our catalogue has expanded to well over 6000 titles and it now offers music, books, recordings and videos for guitarists of all styles. Our by-return service is now enjoyed by thousands of guitarists in over 80 countries world-wide. Our unique specialised range has been carefully selected and we are confident that it represents the best of its type in the world today. FretsOnly.com was launched in January 2000 and is the new internet mail order division of Ashley Mark Publishing Company. It is designed to give guitarists complete access to the entire Ashley Mark range over the internet.
Ashley Mark Publishing Company - A Brief History
In 1978 Maurice Summerfield completed the first edition of his book 'The Jazz Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1900' . The book was an immediate success. However Maurice received numerous letters from readers saying they were finding it difficult to obtain many of the books and music albums recommended in the book. At the time he was managing director of Summerfield Musical Instruments, a leading UK musical instrument distributor and, as the Summerfield family business had been involved in import, export and wholesale distribution since 1900, Maurice saw the potential for a new business, offering by mail order, specialist music books for the jazz guitarist. In 1978 the Ashley Mark Publishing Company was born.
Maurice Summerfield combines a passionate interest in music and the guitar, together with long business career. In his late teens he was a professional jazz musician. At the same time, inspired by the 1950s and 1960s recordings of Andrés Segovia, Julian Bream, and John Williams, he developed a great passion for the classical guitar. Over the years Maurice has enjoyed the unique position of knowing personally many of the great international guitarists of the day in all fields of music. This unique connection has often facilitated the purchase of many of the books and recordings the Ashley Mark Publishing Company now offers. In 1980 he completed the first edition of his book 'The Classical Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1800' . Both of his books, now in their fourth editions, have become standard reference works. After the publication of his book on the classical guitar Maurice added a wide selection of hard-to-get classical guitar music albums and books to the company's mail-order catalogue. Eventually the best books of other guitar styles were added to satisfy the demand of thousands of customers all over the world.
Concerned that many outstanding classical and jazz guitarists were not getting the recognition they deserved, Maurice founded Guitar Masters Records in 1980. He personally produced recordings by David Russell, Jorge Morel and others. Since that time Guitar Masters Records has become one of the world's most important distributors and retailers of fine guitar recordings with a catalogue of over 1000 DVD and CD titles. In conjunction with these activities Maurice has also been active as a concert promoter including a prestigious annual series held for many years at the Wigmore Hall in London. He has organized seminars and master classes by Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Stefan Grossman, David Russell, Juan Martin and many other world-class guitarists of all styles. In 1982 he published the first issue of Classical Guitar magazine. Now in its 31st year of publication this magazine is recognized as the finest publication of its type.
Maurice Summerfield still advises the team of buyers for all sections of Ashley Mark's world famous catalogue, adding his expertise to ensure the high standards of selection and service, set in 1978, are maintained.