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Best Custom Guitars?

orangeslice 17 Jun 07 - 11:33 AM
kendall 17 Jun 07 - 11:52 AM
mrmoe 17 Jun 07 - 12:19 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 17 Jun 07 - 12:31 PM
Mooh 18 Jun 07 - 09:18 AM
dwditty 18 Jun 07 - 09:22 AM
Wesley S 18 Jun 07 - 09:35 AM
Midchuck 18 Jun 07 - 10:26 AM
mandotim 18 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Jun 07 - 11:41 AM
HipflaskAndy 18 Jun 07 - 12:29 PM
HouseCat 18 Jun 07 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Phil Williams 18 Jun 07 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 18 Jun 07 - 02:39 PM
kendall 18 Jun 07 - 02:45 PM
Wesley S 18 Jun 07 - 03:34 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 07 - 04:03 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 07 - 04:15 PM
orangeslice 18 Jun 07 - 05:01 PM
ollaimh 18 Jun 07 - 05:44 PM
HouseCat 19 Jun 07 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Texas Guest 19 Jun 07 - 03:33 PM
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Subject: Best Custom Guitars?
From: orangeslice
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 11:33 AM

I'm interested in custom guitars (though, they may be just out of my price range, heh), but who makes the best ones? I know Breedlove and Santa Cruz are reputable...and Alvarez can cook one up for you...who are some others?


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: kendall
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 11:52 AM

Apollo guitars. Rockport Maine


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: mrmoe
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 12:19 PM

Don Gallagher (J.W. Gallagher & Son) in Wartrace Tennessee......Mike Millard (Froggy Bottom) in Brattleboro, Vermont.....and (of course) there's always the Martin custom shop.


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 12:31 PM

McCollum Guitars - Dougie MacLean has a handful of 'em. Richard Leo Johnson plays a McCollum double-neck. An acquaintance has one he's quite pleased with. Said acquaintance has done a fair amount of guitar building himself and he sent McCollum the Brazilian rosewood used for the guitar's body and sides from his own private stash. It still cost him $6,000 USD.

And I've heard good things about Santa Cruz's custom work. A fellow who owns a music store that carries their guitars had a koa dreadnought custom built for himself (which he keeps in the shop along with a prominent "NOT FOR SALE" sign). He told me Richard Hoover (Santa Cruz's owner) called him almost daily during the guitar's production with updates and questions. The key to getting custom work done the way you want it done is the builder's willingness and ability to communicate with you, and it sounds like Mr. Hoover scores high in that regard.


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: Mooh
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 09:18 AM

The notion of "best" is a bit misleading. Best is what suits the intended purpose of course, but it's more complicated than that.

Once a guitar has reached a certain very high level of refinement in fit & finish, playability, design, quality of wood and other parts, it's basically a comparison of apples versus oranges. How all those and other factors combine will create a guitar worthy of "best". Some builders can produce great guitars every time, some not. We will often cite our favourites around here depending on taste, exposure, use, etc, but a true guitar slut club member (I have a membership card) will grant lots of builders the "best" award.

Among those guitars belonging to friends I really like a particular mahogany/spruce Thompson, a walnut/cedar Breedlove, a rosewood/spruce Taylor, and guitars by Oscar Graf, Sergei deJonge, Fabrizio Alberico, Jim Moon, and Marc Beneteau. But there are many others like them. As for me, I've waxed poetic too often about Beneteaus, and there's a local young upstart named Joshua House who's beginning to produce some very nice guitars.

I suggest a tour through the ads in Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Fingerpicking Guitar Magazine, The Fretboard Journal, and other periodicals.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: dwditty
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 09:22 AM

Pick ip a copy of Acoustic Guitar magazine - there are dozens advertised in there.

If I were to order a custom guitar, I would contact Collings. Of course, I would likely have them "custom" make their standard 000-2H - the best guitar for me that I have ever owned.

dw


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 09:35 AM

Mooh is right. A lot will depend upon what you plan to use the guitar for. Having said that I'm pleased with my Collings too. I just received a 000-3 a few weeks a go and I'm very happy with it. I have a Collings OM too - so you can tell that Collings makes guitars that appeal to my ears. What's important however is what appeals to YOUR ears - and wallet.


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: Midchuck
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 10:26 AM

I would contact Collings. Of course, I would likely have them "custom" make their standard 000-2H - the best guitar for me that I have ever owned.

Mine was for me also, from '02, when I got it, until a couple of months ago. When I got a used Mario Proulx OM/D.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: mandotim
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM

This side of the pond, Rob Armstrong in Coventry. Rob will sit you down with a cup of tea, talk about your music, get you to play a few, ask about your preferences, make a few suggestions...and then produce a masterpiece in his shed at the bottom of the garden that will blow your socks off.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 11:41 AM

There are quite a few luthiers over here in the UK who make nice toys!

I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Rob Armstrong stuff, and the two I have met are both very loud, round, present, and nice, but neither of them sings shimmering harmonies at you. I imagine that's the thing with one-offs, he would build a shimmerer for one user, and a rounder sound for another user.


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 12:29 PM

I own two guitars by this lot oakwood instruments
I won't make claims they're the 'best' - but they made 'em exactly like I specified - and I love 'em!

As they are 'local' to me (West Yorkshire) I can pop in any time and get a tweak whenever required
(such as when I decided on a major string gauge re-think and needed a re-set).
Working closely with a local luthier has many such benefits.

Just to show no bias...
I constantly hear good reports about...
pete barton
....also local, but not known to me at the 'time'.
Close friends have 'used' him and find his work exceptional too.

I also read, a while back, in the foreword of 'Direct Roots' (Vol Two)
- a strong recommendation from 'Show of Hands' for seeking out yer local craftsmen.
It's a path I subscribe too wholeheartedly.
Cheers - Duncan


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: HouseCat
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 12:45 PM

I played a Peter Barton once (UK maker) that I still have wistful longings over...sigh. Who needs men when there are such guitars to be had...
HC


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: GUEST,Phil Williams
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 01:12 PM

Brook Guitars Devon merit consideration.
Especially the finish.


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 02:39 PM

Try Avalon Guitars, Northern Ireland. It works for me (and Van Morrison)


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 02:45 PM

But, Housecat, even the best guitar can't mow the lawn.


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 03:34 PM

Or open a pickle jar.


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 04:03 PM

Vince Hockey 10/10
Robin Greenwood 3/10


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 04:15 PM

I'm quite partial to my Running Dog, made by Rick Davis of Richmond, VT (http://vtguitars.com/). I have the Jumbo model in sycamore (Rick prefers American woods, such as cherry, walnut, sycamore and maple, so even mahogany is an upcharge), but his other models are well worth checking out, too.

As the others have said, once you reach a particular level, you start looking for instruments that "talk to you" in individual ways. I like the tone and feel of the Running Dog, but others might prefer the Froggy Bottom or the Apollo (Nick does make some sweet instruments, I'll agree). Even the custom shops of the bigger makers, like Martin, turn out some honeys, and with the bigger makers, you do have a little more name-recognition when you find something nicer and have to sell the first to get the second.

Whatever, good luck. It is a never-ending search, you know.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: orangeslice
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 05:01 PM

Oh yeah, heh...I had the pleasure of talking to Kristin Hersh for a bit through e-mail, because I wanted to know about the guitar she used for The Grotto (totally acoustic album, and I absolutely loved the sound of the guitar), and she told me had a Collings, when I pissed myself when she told me how much it cost :o

But then, guitars like that aren't for shallow pockets...


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: ollaimh
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 05:44 PM

ted thompson from vernon british columbia makes one of the best.

so does albert hosakawa from courtney british columbia , and in ontario mark beneteau's guitars are up there with the best


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: HouseCat
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:35 AM

OK, fellows, I get your point. I guess even if I ever acquire a Peter Barton I'll keep the TomCat around. He's very handy about the place, likes my singing and eats anything I cook.
HC


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Subject: RE: Best Custom Guitars?
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 03:33 PM

Well, I've mentioned my "bestest" guitar in several posts, so what's one more? My sweetheart guitar is a C25/K Breedlove that just roped me in with the very first chord - it's that simple. Mine was not new when purchased - I couldn't afford it without a major adjustment in my life; and, since I'd probably never buy an instrument without playing it first, it may be the case that I'll never own a "brand spanking new" custom guitar. Having written that, however, I don't expect that I'll need another one - at least in this life.

Just for the record, though, before the guitar was purchased I took down the serial number and called Breedlove - they were very happy to give me every bit of information they had about the instrument before I made the purchase. Since that time they have answered several questions of mine and insist that they will be there if and when I need them. Hey, good luck with your choice - may it be the best one for you. Cheers.


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