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Who's making the best new acoustics these days?


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#1 lowden

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 04:30 PM

Who's making the best new acoustics these days?

Kevin Ryan, Froggy Bottom, Lowden, Linda Manzer, Olson, Santa Cruz, Bourgeois, Collings etc or Gibson, Martin.

Or, is there a cheaper option that measures up to say 90% of a Martin, Gibson. just new guitars, no pre-war martins or gibsons, just who is building great guitars out there today.

Who'll age better?

Who makes the best all-rounder, finger/flat picker and strummer combined.

Who gives great value?

Who gives a great tone to cash ratio?

Who is putting all their work into fancy woods and inlays, but getting no tone for big bucks?

I'd buy a Lowden everyday if I had the cash....(have one already so not doing too bad).

This is purely an exercise to see if there are builders out there I haven't heard of yet, and might be of interest to you all.

#2 tenn_jim

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:30 PM

Wayne Henderson

http://www.fretboard...wayne-henderson
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#3 lowden

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 02:46 PM

I should have mentioned him in my 1st post...don't know how I missed him out.

#4 dadfad

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:41 AM

Wayne Henderson

http://www.fretboard...wayne-henderson


That's probably true. I was on Wayne's waiting list (which is approximately ten years long). He won't move anyone up the list no matter how famous or what they offer to pay. (Clapton had to wait until my friend's guitar was finished!) I know Wayne personally, which doesn't count, but he will occasionally move someone up if he thinks it might be an interesting project, so my wait was only about five or six years. I got to the point on his list where he wanted to confirm my specs, wood selection, etc on the phone before he started building. When he called me, my income had dropped by over 40% (I'd been Obamasized!) and I asked him if he'd slide me back a bit if he could, which he did, and said when I called back again I'd be put near the front once more. (Things have improved a bit for me financially, and depending on the next election I might give him another call.) He's not cheap, but he's extremely reasonable for what you get and it's usually no more (often less) than what you'd pay for an upper-end quality-brand guitar, with an added "plus" that a Henderson guitar is actually worth more than you paid for it the day you pick it up (due to the extremely long wait.).

(My specs were basically, Adirondack spruce top, mahogany side and back, body-size and shape of a J-200 but with the depth and bracing of a pre-war Advanced Jumbo. I wanted a 1-13/16" nut with a fan-spread to 2-5/16" at the saddle. I wanted an un-bound neck, the scale-length to be the same as a J-45 capoed at the first-fret. Simple dot or diamond fret-markers (or at least not too fancy) with the usual Hendersonesque headstock inlays and purfling.)

Wayne's health is not the greatest. While he still builds, he has been training his daughter Lizzie as his apprentice (since she was a kid) to be able to take his place. (He says she's as good as he is now.)

Wayne's only fault (if you want to really call it a fault) is that (like a lot of old bluegrass-pickers) in his soul he's a Martin-guy! And that influence tends to get into his guitars! :lol:

.

Not so famous, GTU's "adds" has been a builder for a while now, probably over ten years. From communicating with him over the years he sounds like he's an extremely painstaking and conscientious luthier. He'd even asked me once for specifications, templates and the bracing pattern from my own 1934 Gibson "The Jumbo" (which I was happy to provide) to use for building his own personal guitar. And from the photos he sent me it looks pretty nice.

I've never had the chance to play one of Adam's instruments, but if I was in the UK or reasonably close to him, I'd check out his work.

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#5 Matt B

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:51 PM

My favorite company right now is Collings, every guitar of theirs that I've played has been amazing and if I could even remotely afford on, I'd buy a D2HG in a heartbeat. I really like the German Spruce on that vs the Adirondack in the other D2s. The biggest reason I like that guitar though, is the Indian Rosewood, which I prefer to mahogany. I prefer the boominess from the rosewood (which is what my guitar has).

Another guy I like is Roy Noble. He's been building for 50+ years. One of the local shops here has his stuff in and they play and sound great. Apparently Clarence White did most of his recording with a Noble. Thirdly, I really dig Bourgeois guitars, but they are in the same price range as Collings, and if I'm gonna pay that much, I'd rather get a Collings.

Now, for lower priced stuff, I'm 110% sold on Epiphone Masterbilt guitars. For ~$450 - ~$799 depending on the model and whether it has electronics or not (mine does not), they are about the best value solid wood guitars out there. I've compared my AJ500R that I've had for 5 years (I bought it new) and several Martins from the late 70's and early 80's (some 90's and up too, but those don't count) and would hands down pick my guitar over theirs. If I buy another acoustic guitar in the next 5 years or so, I doubt I'll buy anything else.

#6 johnnyguitar

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 02:02 PM

Takamine are great guitars for both beginners and advanced alike and don't cost an absolute fortune for a beginner. :yes:



#7 adds

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 01:41 PM

Wow John I haven't been here in along time and just having a brows. I'm don't know what to say really I'm touched. I'm merely a man with a small workshop that does his best. I don't make a living from it. I wish I could. I do what I do when I have the time. I'll never be in Hendersons leage that's for sure. But cheers for the mention.

For what it's worth to answer the original question I'd agree Henderson is the finest maker there is. There are many great luthier all over the world making guitars that surpass modern Martins, Gibsons, taylors etc. We do t make them on a production line we make it personally from scratch. Every process gets a personal touch. Our heart goes into it it has to because we sure as hell don't do it for the money. When you build on a production line a man that just sits there doing the same process day in day out looses all passion it just a job. Sat there all day doing that same part of the guitar and passing up the line to the next guy. Everything gets made to a universal size/measurement. It's just standard the same as the one before that and the one before that. It's not the same. You may say I'm biased or have an ultra motive but our guitars are better. It's made for you how you want it out of what ever timber you want. And the truth is you pay a lot less. Go to Martin or Gibson and ask for a custom job and see what price they give you. Because when you buy from an independent maker that's what you get. You are better of buying one from them than a big corporation and you help. The everyday bloke trying put food on the table than giving your money to a multi million pound/dollar corporation that just wants to make money really.

#8 sixgunsound

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 11:12 AM

I heard Gibson's top guy is a real dick to employees and the quality has dropped in recent years. Know anything about that?


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#9 adds

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 11:58 AM

I couldn't tell you. But what I can say is they certainly ain't what they used to be. But they arnt alone in that. Martin have been riding in the name for a long time. As I said they are made on a line, everything to a universal standard. As much done on a cnc as they possibly can do. Every piece of wood is different one soundboard might be best slightly thinner for example but it will just be left as standard. You'll have a bloke just running tops through a sander all day. He won't care if it could do with a bit more taken off. He might not even know. They will have these factory tours videos with here is Herbert who's worked here for the last 600 years and each piece of the guitar is personally checked bla bla bla. It marketing. It's just a factory like any other. I couldn't comment on how he treats his employees but like anywhere if they arnt happy they won't care and quality will suffer for it.

#10 sixgunsound

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 09:12 AM

well, my acoustic guitar is 21 years old and plays just as well as when I was 10 ha! ill keep my money unless you're still luth'in


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#11 adds

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Posted 14 April 2016 - 11:01 AM

Oh I still build. I have a day job but I still build. I've not long started another 34 jumbo that dadfad sent me plans for all those years ago. I've not made one of them in years. This one is not flashy just a nice bit of Indian rose wood with mahogany neck and maple binding. I had a bit of a break from it life getting in the way etc but and starting to get back into it. I've been really setting up the workshop lately with more jigs etc so I glean build four at a time.

#12 sixgunsound

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 02:12 PM

how many hours do you typically take for one?


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#13 adds

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 10:55 PM

how many hours do you typically take for one?

hard to say exactly because I don't do on a full time bases and fit it round my other job which is not as good or cool as guitar building I have to say but it really does depend on a lot. Id say probably a couple of weeks to a month if I keep things on the simple side . A month+ if it's more flashy. Once you start going in the down the fancy inlay and laminating this and that then the time all adds up. I'm. Currently working on ways to cut time down by building lots of jogs etc. My plan is to start building 4 or 5 at a time so I'm not setting up tools and packing them away so much.

Ive got this thought in my head now that there are lots of people that would like a hand made guitar who's only care isn't what's written in the headstock. But they just can't afford the 3+ grand other builders are charging for fancy handmade guitars with flashy top grade woods and decoration. All these fancy figured woods and inlay etc dont make it sound better. For example if you used master grade quilted maple for the back and sides it will cost hundreds just for the wood before any work has even been done. It looks beautiful sure but you can get a straight plain maple back and sides for about 40 quid and that sound wise will sound just as good. So my goal in my head is to cut the time down I want to achieve one in a week and I want to keep everything simple. I want to offer a good hand made guitar for around the 1000 mark which to some may still seem like a lot but not when you compare it to buying from these other makers making flashier guitars or even top of the range factory made guitars. I'll probably start selling them for less to cover my costs just to get them out there and my idea may just fall flat on its face but if I don't try it definitely won't work. We will see.

The other night I was sat thinking how it's a shame this place isn't what it once was because I thought to myself I'd have built one for GTU and raffled it off. But nowadays I'd probably only get about three pound fifty in ticket says and loose money on it lol

Edited by adds, 16 April 2016 - 10:57 PM.


#14 sixgunsound

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 04:53 AM

haha, maybe that's true. but if people (like us) keep posting in the "useful" forums, they will start to come up in search engines again which should drive new people into them. 

 

Maybe., 


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#15 adds

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 09:33 AM

haha, maybe that's true. but if people (like us) keep posting in the "useful" forums, they will start to come up in search engines again which should drive new people into them.

Maybe.,

maybe. If it happens I'll do it. Though I like the idea of it going to one of us not some newbie who I don't remover for a by gone era lol.

Maybe if I build it they will come :-)



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