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The best small builders - your opinion

tsar nicholas

Member
Messages
8,673
Hey guys, I posted this in the "Guitars in General" forum too, but I thought it might also be prudent to post it here.



So I'm doing a research project on guitar builders.

I'd like to know which small builders folks esteem as being the best.

Specifically, I'm interested in the one-to-six-man shops. The folks who've grown to factory proportion (Suhr, presumably Anderson) are great, but beyond the scope of my question.

If you can flesh out your answer with a little info on what makes the builder(s) so great, that will be mucho rad!


Thanks, guys!
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,184
I think that when you get to the level of, say, a Thorn or Schroeder, you are really talking more about the customer's personal preference. The materials and workmanship are pretty stellar with these guys, so it comes down to what you like visually and functionally.
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,079
Not sure how many folks work for Don Grosh, but they are fine instruments.

I know Collings doesn't fit your criteria, but they are also top quality.
 

slpayne

Member
Messages
518
Check out Shad Peters...Hes relatively new, but his work is pretty awesome...alsp check out Andy Elliot
 

burnbritney

Member
Messages
225
I now own 2 Nik Huber's and his work is just outstanding. Grosh is putting out some fine instruments too though. It's really a matter of preference...
 

Quinny

Member
Messages
1,307
In terms of someone knowing how you like things to sound and building something to please your ears my vote goes to Heatley. I'd also say Jason Schroeder has to be up there - someone else who knows how a guitar should play and sound, based on a load of playing experience.
 

stashman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
943
some of my favorites are:
artinger
thorn
driskill
jet
schroeder
auerswald
turner
myka
koll
mcnaught

in no particular order
 

Chrome Dinette

Senior Member
Messages
14,372
I can only comment on builders whose guitars I own or have owned and I am going to say that, so far, Uli Teuffel is the "best" aka my favorite.

His craftsmanship is as good as anyone else's whose guitars I have tried and he is willing to pursue his own vision without worrying about his instruments looking like anything anyone else has made. After reading and watching assorted interviews with him, it is clear that he is also one of the most articulate builders out there.


Even though he has scaled back his operation, I should also give a nod to Scott French. The guitar he built me still plays as well as it did the day I received it. The guitar he built for a friend of mine a little later is even nicer. He no longer takes custom orders, but one of these days I would like to get one of his current guitars, the SF3CO. I couldn't link the pics, but they are here:

http://blog.scottfrench.com/



I should also mention Terry McInturff. I had a Glory Standard for a couple of months and it was one of the most impeccably constructed guitars I have ever seen. Being that it wasn't 25.5" scale, I could never bond with it 100%, but but for someone who wants a guitar with a scale between Fender and Gibson, I can't imagine finding too many better builders. As anyone who has read his posts here can tell, McInturff has devoted a lot of time to finding out how every aspect of guitar construction affects the finished product.
 

Phil M

Shapeshifting Member
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,658
I don't think I've ever seen anything more beautiful or well put together than the Melancon Custom Artist I had. I would love to look into getting something new from him.
 

clemduolian

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,420
My personal favorite one-man shops are Ken Parker Archtops and Michael Stevens Electric guitars (and basses). Both of them are consummate craftsmen with uncompromising attention to detail and playability AND both are incredibly wonderful human beings.

There are many other hugely talented and unique luthiers around here that are worth mentioning...Sam Evans, Rick Turner, Doug Kauer/Jim Soloway, Chris Forshage, etc. etc. and many, many more.

No disrespect meant to anyone I know or whose instruments I've owned/palyed who I haven't mentioned by name. I have deep admiration for all who pursue instrument making as a livelihood...y'all know that.:bow:bow
 

trucks

Member
Messages
1,160
Lentz Guitar. 2 men Scott Sr and Scott Jr, excellent guitars!
+1

I own 3 Lentz and highly recommend them. Undoubtably there are a lot of excellent builders, but Lentz should be on everyone's short list. They are at the top of mine.
 

RayRay

Member
Messages
2,506
Thorn.

An amazing and truly innovative builder (not just another pretty maple top guy). Plus he understands the business and customer service side of things better than anyone I've worked with (which is a number of folks already listed).

Add Scott Heatley, though I don't own one of his guitars (yet!)

Also talk to Jerry at Luxxtone. Kick ass instruments and downright great guy.
 

RonH

Member
Messages
2,303
There are many, many amazing small builders out there but my favorite is Frank Hartung. He builds the most beautiful guitars I have seen and his build quality and attention to detail are outstanding. He is a pleasure to work with, innovative, and his guitars play and sound amazing.

Check out his website here...
Frank Hartung Guitars

Here is my Frank Hartung Embrace....







Other guitars from builders I have played or owned that I absolutely loved...

McNaught
Schroeder
Maguire
Turner
 
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frquent flyer

Member
Messages
2,587
I have been very happy with my Soloway Swan built by Jim Soloway. Although it is not a traditional strat or tele design....it is well suited to jazz and can wail with the best of them. Most everyone who owns a Soloway guitar is very happy with these guitars.
 




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