Luthier Recommendations

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by musicbox, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. musicbox

    musicbox Member

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    I know people hate these threads, but I would really appriciate some input and ideas to help me. My grandmother recently passed away, and left me a reasonable inheritence, so I thought instead of blowing the money on something, I'd invest in a beautiful instrument to honour her love of music. Seeing that the current trend is musical tonewoods slowly becoming endangered, CITES listed, or almost harvested to extinction, I figure theres no better time to act then now.

    I hope to commision a luthier to build an instrument to my specification, but there are just so many out there, and I have no idea where to start! If you've had a great experience with one, or have suggestions please share them.

    I currently play and love a Martin d-15, and love its warmth, bottom end, and richness in tone. Goodall guitars have caught my eye recently, for their shape and the exotic woods he uses, but I have never had the opportunity to play one. Any input will be very much appriciated.


    Thanks
    Andy
     
  2. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    Sure came to the right place. Are you interested in a electric or acoustic guitar?

    Do a search on the small builders and I'm sure a ton of responses are going to pour in as well.

    Thorn, McNaught, Driskall, Heatly, Suhr, Briggs are just a few that come to mind off the top of my head.
     
  3. chicknpickn2

    chicknpickn2 Member

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    Sounds like you are leaning towards an acoustic. Goodall is a great guitar, but limited in terms of custom options. There are too many lutheriers out there to name, but perhapse if you can let us know what type of guitar you want, we can better suggest something.
     
  4. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    I own a Goodall and it is a remarkable instrument.

    If I had the loot, I'd talk to Kevin Gallagher at Omega Guitars.
     
  5. Chun13

    Chun13 Member

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    Kevin Ryan guitars ! Or Mike Doolin's !
     
  6. John Bell

    John Bell Member

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    Depending on how much.....<and it's none of my business> you may want to consult with some of the vintage experts here.There are still some nice investments to made with 6 strings on them.
     
  7. kovachian

    kovachian Member

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    Acoustic luthiers can be harder to find, but there's no shortage to choose from. There's Larrivee, Tacoma, Santa Cruz, Breedlove, Collings, Lakewood, Doolin, John F. Mello, Kathy Wingert, Burrell, Perlman, Ervin Somogyi, Granata, Webber, Traphagen, Running Dog, etc etc etc. I'm jonesing for either a Rainsong or an Emerald. Rainsong doesn't do custom but I'm pretty sure Emerald does. I honestly know next to nothing about Goodalls, guess this post isn't much help!
     
  8. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    A big +1, on all counts. Steve's acoustic guitars are extraordinary.
     
  9. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

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    Never played his acoustics, but the electrics are quite cool.
     
  10. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    Goodall builds wonderful guitar. I've played a bunch and they were all consistently stunning.

    There are some great acoustic builders out there , both production and custom, depending on your budget and how long you're willing to wait. The one that has my attention is Oskar Graf. His guitars seem to have a wonderful balance and clarity that I found just remarkable.

    http://web.ctsolutions.com/grafguitars/
     
  11. mattc41

    mattc41 Member

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    i would second the vote for Kevin Ryan guitars. The worship director at the church i frequently play at has a Ryan, and he is good friends with Kevin. I've had the opportunity to play a few of his guitars, and they are simply incredible. I've played some other great guitars at my local store Buffalo Bros(Goodall, etc), but I haven't played anything that can quite touch the Ryan's.

    Just my experience though, im sure there's dozens of other fantastic luthiers that could make you happy. the main thing i would suggest is to take your time, do a lot of research, talk to the luthiers on the phone, ask a lot of questions. If you're really going to make a significant investment, you owe it to yourself. good luck, and let us know what you decide!!

    matt
     
  12. musicbox

    musicbox Member

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    Thanks very much for all the recomendations! I can see I have alot of research ahead of me, and this is a great place to start. Oskar Graf looks particularely interesting as he is a fellow canuck, although it seems to be quite difficult to find much information about his guitars beyond his website.

    If anyone has any further information or has experiences with a particular luthier, I would greatly appriciate it.

    As for budget, I've been looking at some of the froggy bottom, goodall, bourgeois stuff, so right in the middle of their model ranges...

    As for what kind of guitar, something for fingerstyle and occasional flatpicking. Emphasis on warmth, responsiveness and harmonic overtones, but clarity as well as I enjoy complex chord shapes and arpeggios more then lead playing. I play with just a touch of nail balanced with the flesh of my finger.

    I much prefer the warmth of my d-15 over the boom and chunk of a d-18, so perhaps redwood or ceder with a rosewood? Although the look of the goodalls with the mascasar ebony and adriondack spruce is just stunning...
     
  13. hemlock

    hemlock Guest

    If you're thinking about staying in the Martin camp look at Wayne Henderson who is a great luthier and a fine human being.
     
  14. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    Thompson (Ted?) out in Vernon, BC makes extraordinary guitars, will build to suit, is reasonably priced (for a custom builder), and is by all accounts a good guy. He is also in your home province! Nothing to lose by just talking to him, possibly in person. There is also an excellent luthier in North Van, who's name is escaping me at the moment. David Weber? Joe Yanuziello (Toronto) builds and awesome L-00 style instrument, and is excellent to deal with. Marc Beneteau in St. Thomas.,Ont.


    Heavy Hitters (long waiting lists, large reputations and prices, which are justified)
    -Linda Manzer in Toronto
    - Judy Threet (Calgary) extraordinary inlay, mainly out of wood.
    - Grit Laskin (Toronto) " " , " " " pearl. etc..
    - That guy in the Maritimes (NS?).

    You could call the 12th fret in Toronto and ask their opinion. At various times they have carried all these maker's guitars in their shop.

    I would start with Ted Thompson, for what you are looking for. There is really no reason to go outside of Canada for a custom maker, especially if it's for a flat top, or an ornamental type guitar. Laskin and Threet are at the very top in the latter category. Of course, if you've seen work by someone else who's work appeals, then investigate them, wherever they live. If i had a ton of $$ i would get Paul McGill to build me something. If his guitars sound half as good as they look then they'd still be worth it.
     
  15. joek86

    joek86 Supporting Member

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  16. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    and the wait is? 10 years, 12?
     
  17. musicbox

    musicbox Member

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    This is fantastic! Exactly the kind of information I'm looking for. I like the idea of staying within Canada, and love the tones bruce cockburn plucks out of his manzers....

    Thanks,
    Andy

     
  18. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    Mike, go out to Sonoma and visit Steve's shop...

    ...and yeah, the electrics are OK too! [grin]
     
  19. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

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    Be worth a drive.

    Or not..I'm SOOO broke!!! LOLOL
     
  20. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    Linda's guitars are remarkable but before you get your hopes too high, just realize that she not only has a waiting list, she also has a waiting list for her waiting list.
     

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