European guitar (or general gear) builders?

starvinmarvin

Member
Messages
366
Has anyone had great experiences with luthiers performing non-trivial work on their guitars (refrets, neck resets, etc.) in Europe? Could you recommend some?

I've had a single neck-reset + refret done by a luthier in the UK about 7 or 8 years ago but it was a pretty bad experience (took too long, got the guitar back scratched, with part of the binding visibly re-glued by the luthier and part of it just unglued).

Hopefully somebody/someplace in the EU proper? TFOA might be a good place, not sure.
 

Raymond Lin

Member
Messages
3,388
Has anyone had great experiences with luthiers performing non-trivial work on their guitars (refrets, neck resets, etc.) in Europe? Could you recommend some?

I've had a single neck-reset + refret done by a luthier in the UK about 7 or 8 years ago but it was a pretty bad experience (took too long, got the guitar back scratched, with part of the binding visibly re-glued by the luthier and part of it just unglued).

Hopefully somebody/someplace in the EU proper? TFOA might be a good place, not sure.
Feline Guitars in the UK, they also make their own guitars.

Jonathan is the owner there and he does great work, the fretboard forum is where he resides and many happy members there who owns his guitars and used his services.

 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,308
Has anyone had great experiences with luthiers performing non-trivial work on their guitars (refrets, neck resets, etc.) in Europe? Could you recommend some?

I've had a single neck-reset + refret done by a luthier in the UK about 7 or 8 years ago but it was a pretty bad experience (took too long, got the guitar back scratched, with part of the binding visibly re-glued by the luthier and part of it just unglued).

Hopefully somebody/someplace in the EU proper? TFOA might be a good place, not sure.
Dave King is Martin's go to for major structural stuff. I used to use a guy called Bill Dinsdale who was great but last I heard he'd stopped repairing and retreated from social media. Roger at Fylde did one or two things for me but I doubt he'd have time or enthusiasm to do any repairs with Fylde's current lead times.

The UK will be off limits now for older instruments with Brazilian rosewood on them, so there's that to bear in mind.

I don't have any first hand experience but when I used to be active on the UMGF vintage board these guys were highly thought of for high end instruments: http://www.antique-acoustics.de/

@slimdave , any suggestions?
 

starvinmarvin

Member
Messages
366
I don't have any first hand experience but when I used to be active on the UMGF vintage board these guys were highly thought of for high end instruments: http://www.antique-acoustics.de/
Got excited there for a moment that they're in Germany, then read "repair work can be offered only on a limited base and for vintage guitars – so please inquire for availability" and sat back down. :)

No vintage guitars here.
 

Surfreak

Member
Messages
2,470
As we are talking gear in a wider context, can I name two of my favorite companies and brands?

- Teenage Engineering, and the amazing OP-1 synth sampler

- Nord Keyboards
 

andvari7

Member
Messages
85
Diezel amps - Germany
BassLab - Germany
Emerald - Ireland
Status Graphite - UK
Teuffel - Germany
Crimson - UK
Strandberg - Although the company is based in Sweden, the guitars are made in Asia.
Sandberg - Germany
Mark Bass - Italy
Darkglass - Finland
Le Fay - Germany

I am surprised that Italian luthiers aren’t as prominent. I can’t actually think of any Italian luthiers, except for Stradivari.
 
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01011001

Member
Messages
45
Are The Loar really built in The Netherlands? Did not expect that given their price point.

The thing about European gear is that they are mostly boutique builders, so their prices are actually still pretty high, or at least not any cheaper than USA imports.

Anyway, here's one that hasn't been mentioned yet
Zaletelj Guitars, Slovenia

Here are some pickup winders
Amber Pickups, Germany
Kloppmann Electrics, Germany
NOwaxx, Germany

Pedals
Nordland, Germany (made by the original designer of the Nobels ODR-1)

Speaker Cabinets
Toob, Finland

For repair work there's Gerry Haze in Ireland (the EU one). I've never used him, but he has a lot of detailed repair and maintenance info on his website, so he seems like a potentially good option.
 

stratlt

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19
A few:

Jolana guitars (Czech republic) - Yes, it still exists
Fret King guitars - U.K.
"Vintage" guitars brand - U.K.
Siggi Brown guitars - Germany
Sandberg guitars - Germany
Solar guitars - Sweden
Eko guitars - Italy
Ortega guitars - Germany
ULRICH TEUFFEL guitars - Germany
Stanford guitars - Germany
Marleaux bass guitars - Germany
Johan Gustavsson guitars - Sweden
Stankevičius guitars - Lithuania
Ran guitars - Poland
Witkowski guitars - Poland
Blade guitars - Switzerland
Faber guitars (and guitar parts)
- Germany


Laney amps - U.K. :)
Ashdown Amps - U.K
Hayden Amps - U.K
Laboga amps - Poland
Kemper amps - Germany

Carl Martin pedals and amps - Danmark
T-Rex pedals - Danmark
TC Electronic - Danmark
G-LAB - Poland

Wilkinson guitar parts - U.K.
Shaller guitar parts - Germany
Behringer - Germany

Rotosound strings - U.K.
Galli strings - Italy
Aquila strings - Italy
Savarez strings - France
Thomastic strings - Austria
Lenzner strings - Germany
Optima strings - Germany
Hannabach strings - Germany

... more
 

Capstan Philips

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,600
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.
Yes, my mistake for mentioning builders - I guess I was thinking about the used scenario (as per the thread quoted in the OP) which, as you point out, makes for much less desirable trading between UK and EU than previously.
 

starvinmarvin

Member
Messages
366
Are The Loar really built in The Netherlands? Did not expect that given their price point.
Now that you're asking, I'm not sure. That's what somebody at TFOA told me a while back about a guitar I was looking at, but it may just have been that guitar and not all of them? It wasn't cheap either. But long story short, I don't know for sure.
 

Ray175

Member
Messages
879
Post Brexit, the only musical items I have bought out of the UK are parts (bridge, tremolo arm, nut blanks), simply because they fall below the level where duty/VAT is applie when imported into France? It's a shame because ther are some great shops in the UK which will no longer get orders from me unless I happen to be over there and buy during a trip.
The last import was a nightmare. After spending 46 years sourcing a particular guitar, a friend in the UK collected it locally and posted it on to me - 5 weeks instead of the 3-day guaranteed delivery for which I had paid. The UPS tracking had 46 lines of events, some of which contradicted each other - first a "cleared french customs" remark, then "awaiting french customs clearance"..... The guitar sat in the French Customs warehouse about 5 miles from me for 3 weeks until it was finally released. On items that are just above the duty/VAT cutoff, the additional charges can add nearly 50% to the final cost. I ordered a pullover for £47 but shipping was delayed and it fell into the brexit trap. I paid UK VAT when I placed the order before Brexit, and French VAT on UK total cost + shipping +£15 "customs processing charge" AFTER Brexit. 4 months later I am still awaiting a refund from UK Customs.
 

RFire

Member
Messages
144
A bunch of russian brands
Guitars:
Lepsky
Padalka
Adversary
Inspector

Amps and effects:
AMT
Yerasov
Myasnikov
Shift Line
AZG
R&R sound

Loadbox:
St.Rock - Ukraine/Russia

Microphones:
Soyuz

Pickups:
Fokin
ARB Pickups
 

Ray175

Member
Messages
879
Are The Loar really built in The Netherlands? Did not expect that given their price point.

The thing about European gear is that they are mostly boutique builders, so their prices are actually still pretty high, or at least not any cheaper than USA imports.

Anyway, here's one that hasn't been mentioned yet
Zaletelj Guitars, Slovenia

Here are some pickup winders
Amber Pickups, Germany
Kloppmann Electrics, Germany
NOwaxx, Germany

Pedals
Nordland, Germany (made by the original designer of the Nobels ODR-1)

Speaker Cabinets
Toob, Finland

For repair work there's Gerry Haze in Ireland (the EU one). I've never used him, but he has a lot of detailed repair and maintenance info on his website, so he seems like a potentially good option.
+1 on Toob speaker cabinets. I have 2 and am absolutely delighted with the quality - and more importantly the compactness - of the equipment.

PS Let's not forget Hôfner in Germany
 

Eireguitar

Member
Messages
332
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)
Worth noting here that those high end acoustic builders McIlroy, Lowden/Sheeran are technically in the UK (Northern Ireland) but still in the EU free trade area.
 

slimdave

Member
Messages
663
Dave King is Martin's go to for major structural stuff. I used to use a guy called Bill Dinsdale who was great but last I heard he'd stopped repairing and retreated from social media. Roger at Fylde did one or two things for me but I doubt he'd have time or enthusiasm to do any repairs with Fylde's current lead times.

The UK will be off limits now for older instruments with Brazilian rosewood on them, so there's that to bear in mind.

I don't have any first hand experience but when I used to be active on the UMGF vintage board these guys were highly thought of for high end instruments: http://www.antique-acoustics.de/

@slimdave , any suggestions?
Most people that I know who have vintage Martin do the heavy stuff (neck resets, etc.) in the States. This kind of work is very specific and you have to do it right. That’s why most people buy their vintage guitars with the necks already reset.

Although it’s kind of surprising as we have great luthiers here in Spain... It shouldn’t be too complicated for a guy who has Ben building Spanish guitars for the last 40 years.
 

starvinmarvin

Member
Messages
366
Most people that I know who have vintage Martin do the heavy stuff (neck resets, etc.) in the States. This kind of work is very specific and you have to do it right. That’s why most people buy their vintage guitars with the necks already reset.

Although it’s kind of surprising as we have great luthiers here in Spain... It shouldn’t be too complicated for a guy who has Ben building Spanish guitars for the last 40 years.
Well okay, but if you keep it long enough after you buy it you'll still need a neck reset - do people just UPS their guitars to the US for that? Seems expensive and risky.

There was R.F. Charle's shop in Paris that did some of that work but I see that it's now been passed to somebody else, hopefully just as skilled. I've visited it once in 2008 and spoke to R.F. Charle himself, who was manning the shop then went upstairs where all the vintage Martins and Gibsons were - it was one of the highlights of visiting Paris.
 






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