Carruthers Guitar Alert!

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by stark, Feb 15, 2006.


  1. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    I got to play a most excellent guitar yesterday. Carruthers CSA. One of the most touch sensitive guitars I've ever played. Super light and resonant. A little background info; John Carruthers along with the late Steve Bolinger created the design for the original Fender Robben Ford model guitar. A little heads up for a cool guitar. (Check out the neck heel!)
    http://carruthersguitars.com/
    [​IMG]
    Adam Stark
     
  2. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Wow - THAT looks like fun ...

    Dana
     
  3. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I used to have a Carruthers chambered mahogany/maple top strat that I often regret getting rid of....
     
  4. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    John just did a great job refretting my 53' Esquire.

    Adam Stark
     
  5. gomez1856

    gomez1856 Member

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    They're down the street from me. I had some work done to one of my Jazzboxes there. They did a great job.

    The shop is interesting. I'm assuming they do most of their new guitar business online, as there were no displays or marketing material. There was just a bunch of used guitars and a ton of Luthier stations.

    I was pleased with them though and have heard great things about their guitars.

    Rick
     
  6. carruthers

    carruthers Guest

    Greetings gomez1856,
    we didn't have any new guitars on the wall because somebody bought our custom models! We have a few really cool new gits in stock come on down since you're in the neighborhood.
    -Rick
     
  7. gomez1856

    gomez1856 Member

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    Great to hear. Thanks for the heads up. I'll definitely swing by and take a look.

    Thanks!
    Rick
     
  8. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Adam, you dog (GRIN)

    When did you get an Esquire older than mine? (GRIN)

    They're sure cool with new frets. When I got mine, it had the original frets - they may be low, but they're narrow ... (GRIN)

    I'm glad to see John's cool guitar(s) He was always one of the best, and I'm sure he's even better now.

    Dana
     
  9. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    I'm in Esquire heaven. 53', 59', 63'

    Adam Stark
     
  10. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    It turns out that Carruthers is about two miles from where I live. I had no idea that they were there until I saw Adam's post earlier this week. My curiosity got the better of me today, so I had to stop by the Carruthers shop to check out there guitars and see what they do.

    Their guitars are really something. I asked to try a CSA and they happened to have one, though it was already spoken for. The guitar was phenomenal. Very light weight and basically effortless to play. It was the 25.5" scale guitar and strung with .011s, but it felt like .010s. The guitar is capable of a wide range of sounds, as the pickups are splittable. The straight humbucker sounds were great - they reminded me of my 335, but the guitar has more clarity. I'll confess that I'm usually not a fan of split humbuckers, but these sounded better than anything else I've tried. The wiring of the controls is also more useful than normal. With both pickups selected it is wired in such a way that the volume controls are more independent than is usual on a Les Paul or a 335. You can, for example, turn the bridge pickup volume all the way off without killing the output of the guitar, at which point the sound is the same as the neck pickup on its own. That make it faster and more intuitive to dial in blended sounds. Anyhow, the CSA is really a great guitar. It has wonderful ergonomics, plays great, and is capable of many useful tones. Very well done.

    After trying the CSA, John told me to try one of his T6 guitars, which is based on the tele design. These guitars are also light weight and have nery nice necks. Very easy to play and it sounded great. John then brought out his acoustic electric, which has a piezo bridge pickup, as well as a magnetic pickup at the neck. It also sounded and played great and is capable of a wide range of sounds from the EQ and blend controls.

    Next up was a real treat for me - John gave me a full tour of the shop. They are equipped to do basically everything to build a guitar. They do all of the woodworking and finishing, as well as construction of components, such as truss rods. I got to see a number of guitars in various stages of completion. A detail I hadn't seen before is the way that they do binding. Instead of binding from a roll, they basically paint it on. John said it attaches to the wood better than the traditional method.

    They also seem to do a lot of repairs, including working on amps. There were a number of employees there, all working on guitar manufacturing or repair. Very cool!

    I'm glad Adam mentioned the Carruthers shop, as I don't think I would have come across it one my own.

    Bryan
     
  11. mondodave

    mondodave Member

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    I've been going to John for refrets and maintenance for a few years, now. Always quality work. And he always lets me play some of his own instruments. Knowing that I'm more of a jazz guy, he plugged me into a T6, tele style, but chambered. One top was sycamore, and the other was spotted maple, I believe. I was pretty impressed at the depth of jazz sound from their single coil pickups. Each guitar sounded slightly different, as well. As always, the playablity with his guitars is perfect, with jumbo frets and even fingerboards.

    Then he hooked me up with a CSA, which has two humbuckers, and can be split into single coils, etc. I'm not too hip to all this, but the range of sound was pretty kick ass. Endless variations from another chambered guitar that was lightweight and ergonomic. I dug the tele's, but this CSA was totally like a hotrod -- those pickups had some output. It's also twice the price of the teles. Truly, that damn guitar can do it all.

    It also doesn't hurt that his shop amp is a silverfaced Fender Super that has dreamy tube complexity. Everything sounds beautiful through it. John and his team service amps, too -- they know their ****.

    I haven't bought a new guitar in a while. But I would totally consider John's stuff. His price might be comparable to a factory built American made ax, but the difference is quality and playability. I've heard more nightmare stories about paying big bucks for custom shop Gibsons, and they're set up like ****. You'd never have that problem with John's instruments. There's alot of heart and TLC in his shop. Check it out if you're in the area...

    dave
     
  12. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Classy looking ax with an excellent endorsement. How much does it weigh?
     
  13. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I think he said the one I played was 6.2 pounds. Very lightweight. I thought it balanced really well when I was seated, as I could let go of the guitar and it wouldn't move. On a strap, I think I would prefer a bit more weight at the body, but that is probably due to the guitars I'm used to. It certainly isn't neck heavy, but it hung a little more horizontal than I'd prefer. Alternatively, I'm sure the strap pin could be moved to make it hang differently.

    Bryan
     
  14. fatback

    fatback Member

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    whoa! It's like a Stephens cut X2!
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Srini

    Srini Guest

    Great site....what do these things go for?

    Srini
     
  16. Cobra

    Cobra Supporting Member

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    The CSA is $4995, with a 6-8 week lead time. I'm digging the double cutaway look & design alot.
     
  17. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Jeez Adam, you're 'swimmin in 'em.

    I LOVE Esquires.

    Playing an Esquire only, all night long at a gig, is one of the best experiences you can have as a guitar player. It forces you to know your guitar - all you get is Volume and Tone, and your fingers and mind.

    It's good for your soul! Plus, they sound and play GREAT!

    Pretty soon you're thinking, " Who needs all these pickups and gizmos - I can cover all this with just a 1 pickup guitar." Good for your confidence!

    Dana
     
  18. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    Someone get one of these CSA's so we can all hear some clips. The 53' had a 60's neck pu when I got it. The 59' had a neck pu. The 63' is totally untouched original single pu wiring and sounds super fat.

    Adam Stark
     
  19. dividedsky

    dividedsky Member

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    Wow...that looks amazing.
     

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