Tell me about US Masters

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by TaylorPlayer, Jan 25, 2008.


  1. TaylorPlayer

    TaylorPlayer Member

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    Hi... Newbie here. I've been playing acoustic guitar for over 30 years. Recently I traded a nice acoustic and great acoustic amp for a US Masters Sportster Skinny made by US Masters. I have to admit, I don't know much about electric guitars, but I did what research I could find and feel that this is a very nicely built guitar with excellent quality materials. The neck alone sold me on it. It has some propritory finish that makes it feel as if there is no finish on the neck, just real nice wood feel. I want to learn some blues riffs and take myself back to the 60's and 70's to play some of my old classic rock favorites. Not knowing much, will this kind of setup allow me to get the tones I am looking for? Currently I don't have a tube amp, but hope to get a small one soon. For now, I am using my little Roland MicroCube and a Genz Benz Shenandoah 200 Watt acoustic amp (think mini PA system) combined with a Dod FX-7 multi effects box.

    What is your opinion on US Masters guitars?

    Here are some photos:

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  2. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    They manufacture a quality instrument. They seem to sell at very reasonable prices used, good for the budget minded musician who can't afford boutique stuff.
     
  3. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    I have a few of their instruments (LeGrande, Sportster Skinny, 5 string Bass) and an amp. I live near the factory so it can be dangerous to the wallet.

    You can call and talk to the owners/builders (Dick and Dave) directly, and buy through dealers and direct (for now). Many of their features are subtle, but they add up to making a great instrument.

    They have a new line of instruments that are being made in China, along with their amps. The import thing is new to them as of late last year. They are good instruments for the money.

    But they still make their own USA instruments -- which are excellent. I find I play my USA US Masters guitars way more than my others. I think they are on par with other well respected boutique makers.

    The 30 Watt class A combo for $700 was my last purchase. It really is a fun amp.
     
  4. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    Hey Lex:

    I just noticed your Fatboy amp tribute site. Those amps look interesting.
     
  5. TaylorPlayer

    TaylorPlayer Member

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    I agree about the quality of the parts used. I expect this guitar will last a lifetime. Mine seems to be one of their early sportster skinny models being built in 2003. Are all of the necks the same finish on yours? I love the feel of the wood. Prior to owning this guitar, my Taylor 612C was the neck I judged all others by. Now I think it may be the Skinny's neck that is my favorite just for the feel and playability.

    I wish I lived closer to Madison or I would pay the brothers a visit and check out their facory. Maybe next time I drive to Chicago, I will stop in.
     
  6. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    The feel of the necks are the most obvious feature once you try them. I have the oil finish on all my USMGW necks. I got my first one about 12 years ago, the Sportser over a year ago, and the bass several years ago.

    The new Avada model (and I think the Hornet) have mahogany necks with a maple core. The two I tried sounded amazing. They had a a different neck finish, which you can see in the pictures on the website. I am not sure of the specs, but I think there are some differences in the neck specifications of the newest models.
     
  7. Phineas

    Phineas Member

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    Had the old sportster too and i was amazed about the feel of that neck. i was flying on that neck. compound radius, great neck shape (don't know how to classify it), and above all the neck finish was smooth and silky. sold it bc the older model just couldn't give me the tone i wanted. i think bc of the body being all silver maple, there wasn't anything i could do about that tone. plus it was a boat anchor. all i can say about my exp. was that it was one of the best necks I ever played.
     
  8. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    I call it their "factory", but it really is more of a large shop. The two owners and three employees I met make the instruments are great guys, and they all play guitar. The owners are hands on with all the instruments.

    "Factory" sounds automated with robots or a lot more people involved. These guys just work hard, and have innovated in the building process wherever possible.

    I almost got the original Sportster, as I really liked it. But the Sportster Skinny is really a great lighter weight. Mine is a mahogany body with a flame maple top, maple neck, and strings through the body at the fixed bridge (whatever that is officially called). It is my only non-Floyd Rose whammy bridge right now. I have no problems with my Floyds, but it sure is nice to change the strings or tunings on a non-trem guitar.

    If you like lighter instruments, their Hornet (SG style) is really nice. I only tried it unplugged, but it had a great vibe unplugged. Mahogany body and neck -- but a maple core in the neck.
     
  9. Phineas

    Phineas Member

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    whoa their prices went up from only about 2-3 yrs ago. that skinny w. all the bells and whistles i remember being ~!1400-1600. Anyone else remember that price range? The thing is, the guitar is killer but the resale value blows imo. for that price, well....dunno.
     
  10. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    The prices defeinately have gone up. But, the prices on their site are MSRP (lsit price).
     
  11. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    I have one of the early ones (A127 I think) and it is my favorite "strat" I've ever had. (ash dinky-strat body, three pickups... the old sportster legend I think) Stays in tune great, sounds great, the neck is to die for. WONDERFUL instrument. Only strat I've kept.
     
  12. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    My USMGW LeGrand has been my favorite "strat" for 10 years. With HSS pickups and a Floyd Rose, it covers a lot of sonic ground. Their necks are my favorite so far.

    Resale is a difficult obstacle for most smaller builders. It makes buyers hesitate to pull th trigger -- especially if they know they are the type to go through a lot of gear. The big brand names tend to resell better regardless of quality.
     

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