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European guitar (or general gear) builders?

starvinmarvin

Member
Messages
430
This thread's inspired by the "Foreign Sellers On Reverb & Their Outrageous Prices" thread, which mentions that US-made gear is much more expensive in Europe, for reasons explained there.

But I'm thinking that we also have some builders here, in Europe, that should, at least in theory, be cheaper than importing from the US. Would it be worth it to collect information about them? I hope so. We can add them to the list, discuss their workmanship, or any other aspect of this that can be politely debated.

We can also add luthiers as in people / shops that do a good job with neck resets, refrets, etc.

I did post this in "Guitars in General", but we can discuss any kind of gear made in Europe. If this makes my thread ill-placed, I would kindly ask someone who can move it to move it in the appropriate section. I've not been able to figure out a better one, sorry.

Of special note is that now with Brexit, buying from the UK has become complicated. I've noted to my dismay that sometimes it's cheaper to buy from the US than Britain with added VAT + customs.

I'll start:

Guitars:

Haar Guitars in the Netherlands build S and T-style guitars.
Duesenberg in Germany.
Nik Huber in Germany.
Deimel in Germany.
Leewald Resonators in the Czech Republic.
The Loar acoustics in the Netherlands.

UK:

Atkin guitars.

Pedals:

JAM pedals.
Crazy Tube Circuits.

Amps:

UK:

Cornell.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,670
Off the top of my head...

Electrics:
Gordon Smith (UK)
Patrick James Eggle (UK)
Maybach (Czech Rep)
Hofner (Germany*)
Framus (Germany*)
Duesenberg (Germany**)

Acoustics:
Fylde (UK)
Atkin (UK)
Brook (UK)
Lowden/Sheeran (Northern Ireland)
Sobell (UK)
Moon (UK, semi retired now)
Lakewood (Germany)
Furch (Czech Rep)
BSG (Czech Rep)

Classical:
Ramirez (Spain)
Raimundo (Spain)
Rodriguez (Spain)
Alhambra (Spain)
Burguet (Spain)
Admira* (Spain)
Contreras (Spain)
Almansa (Spain)
Conde (Spain)
Hofner* (Germany)
Kremona (Czech Rep)
Strunal (Czech Rep)

*Brand is shared between EU and Far East factories
*Assembled in EU rather than built from scratch
 

Hierophant

Member
Messages
38
Not cheap but the French builder Vigier comes to my mind. They seem to go the extra mile with their specs, attention to detail and more importantly, improving classic designs. (I am thinking individual zero frets, needle bearing vibrato that never dies for example).


 

Capstan Philips

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,013
Since Brexit, does it make any sense to include UK builders in this list? Are they really any more desirable for importing into Europe (or more specifically, the European Union) than for example U.S. builders?

(the OP to be fair makes this point)
 

starvinmarvin

Member
Messages
430
Since Brexit, does it make any sense to include UK builders in this list? Are they really any more desirable for importing into Europe (or more specifically, the European Union) than for example U.S. builders?

(the OP to be fair makes this point)
I think so, because there are some builders there that might do some unique work. For example, Roger Mayer, which I forgot about, or Cornell (who used to do a great 5W Marshall).

It's also usually faster to get things from the UK to Europe so a guitar, for example, is in the hands of DHL / UPS / DPD / Post, etc. for a shorter period.

EDIT: I would also think (though I've not bought a guitar from anywhere since 2015, and thus will have my TGP membership revoked soon after this announcement) that shipping a guitar from the UK will be cheaper that from the US (last time I checked shipping a guitar from the US was about $500 with the cheapest option).
 
Last edited:

Capstan Philips

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,013
It's also usually faster to get things from the UK to Europe so a guitar, for example, is in the hands of DHL / UPS / DPD / Post, etc. for a shorter period.
Fair enough. That is a consideration I suppose.

It's cool that you're raising awareness of European builders (even if some of them reside outside the customs union therefore may not be able to offer much financial advantage vs. other non-EU builders).

While we're celebrating European equipment makers, I'd add IronGear pickups to the list - not manufactured in the UK or the EU, but based in the UK and make great good-quality budget pickups (£75 for a set of Strat PUs!).
 

starvinmarvin

Member
Messages
430
Fair enough. That is a consideration I suppose.

It's cool that you're raising awareness of European builders (even if some of them reside outside the customs union therefore may not be able to offer much financial advantage vs. other non-EU builders).

While we're celebrating European equipment makers, I'd add IronGear pickups to the list - not manufactured in the UK or the EU, but based in the UK and make great good-quality budget pickups (£75 for a set of Strat PUs!).
Thanks! Yep, some great pickup makers in the UK. I have a Bare Knuckle P90 in my Les Paul Junior that has ousted not only the original Gibson pickup, but also two different Lollar models.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,670
Since Brexit, does it make any sense to include UK builders in this list? Are they really any more desirable for importing into Europe (or more specifically, the European Union) than for example U.S. builders?

(the OP to be fair makes this point)
It's not so bad because you can take UK VAT off and per the interim trade agreement there's no duty to pay on items manufactured in the UK or EU (goods made in the US or Far East incur 3.9% duty going between the two). It's a faff getting it through customs and there's a small handling charge that's pretty negligible on a £2k guitar but if the EU country's VAT is 20% or less you're not paying more than a few pounds/euros more than you would have done before.

On used guitars it's a disaster because VAT on used goods is taken only on profit if the goods were originally sold in the trading zone, but in full of the goods are being imported. In addition to this sellers shouldn't be expected to reveal their profit margins to a customer, so it's not practical to take VAT off at the point of sale as you would selling a new guitar - that means if I buy a used guitar from a dealer both the EU country and the UK get VAT on it. It's really frustrating for me because I like older German instruments and mainland Europe is by far the best place to find them, but not at 20% more than I was paying last year, I'm out when it comes to that market.
 

C-4

Member
Messages
14,125
Not cheap but the French builder Vigier comes to my mind. They seem to go the extra mile with their specs, attention to detail and more importantly, improving classic designs. (I am thinking individual zero frets, needle bearing vibrato that never dies for example).



I bought a one-off Vigier and it beat any Fender Master Build I had hands down. These are the best bolt-on guitars I have ever played.

I'm sure there are other builders around the world which may be better, but I have not played one.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,670
Wait, I thought Maybach was a German company? Their website is https://maybach-guitars.de/en :confused:

Are they in reality being built in the Czech Republic?
Yes, Czech factory. I became a dealer for them a while ago before Covid started so we've barely actually seen any but the ones we've had are some of the best vintage style guitars I've played, I'm completely floored by them.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,379
This thread's inspired by the "Foreign Sellers On Reverb & Their Outrageous Prices" thread, which mentions that US-made gear is much more expensive in Europe, for reasons explained there.

But I'm thinking that we also have some builders here, in Europe, that should, at least in theory, be cheaper than importing from the US. Would it be worth it to collect information about them? I hope so. We can add them to the list, discuss their workmanship, or any other aspect of this that can be politely debated.

We can also add luthiers as in people / shops that do a good job with neck resets, refrets, etc.

I did post this in "Guitars in General", but we can discuss any kind of gear made in Europe. If this makes my thread ill-placed, I would kindly ask someone who can move it to move it in the appropriate section. I've not been able to figure out a better one, sorry.

Of special note is that now with Brexit, buying from the UK has become complicated. I've noted to my dismay that sometimes it's cheaper to buy from the US than Britain with added VAT + customs.

I'll start:

Guitars:

Haar Guitars in the Netherlands build S and T-style guitars.
Duesenberg in Germany.
Nik Huber in Germany.
Deimel in Germany.
Leewald Resonators in the Czech Republic.
The Loar acoustics in the Netherlands.

UK:

Atkin guitars.

Pedals:

JAM pedals.
Crazy Tube Circuits.

Amps:

UK:

Cornell.
Haar was the first one I thought of, and the first one you listed.
 






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