Who is number 1

BaliGod

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
600
If you’ve had your hands on many vintage pieces then you also know there were tons of inconsistencies with guitars made in the 50s, 60s, etc. Some were great. Many weren’t.

The GCS and FCS are turning out plenty of great guitars. And this is coming from a guy that has boutiques only.

As I said, my friend gigs his vintage gear. He’s not simply some rich guy. He’s achieved his wealth in the music industry - on both sides of the mixing board. They (his vintage pieces) are not for show, though they’ve been written up in various music publications. First thing he did when he got his ‘59 V? He gigged it the same night.

The only reason he doesn’t buy new, is he has the original “real deal” guitars. He speaks very highly of current GCS and FCS pieces.

BTW - most of the builders named in this thread’s first post don’t remotely approach 1,000 guitars/year.

I’ve got some great boutiques; and I’m now ready to actually get a few pieces by the OG builders. Gibby Custom Shop and Fender Custom Shop … here I come!!

There is a good chance I know who he is and a client of mine with initials ML sounds a lot like him and his collection. I became one of the top entertainment lawyers in the US for 26 years after losing a record contract in 91 and have found myself in some unreal home studios/music rooms of clients and friends filled with stuff these guys have had since the 60s and 70s when they were touring hard. The surprising factor was much of this stuff seemed untouched for many years and you would never know it was there unless being invited in and rooting around.

Yeah, you nailed it. The imperfections, personality to some, was the turn off to me and most did not actually play that great. Then again, many of the great guitar players are not bothered or hindered by things that impact my playing. I retired last year to Bali at 55 and am out of the US rat trap and left 90% of all my gear behind in the US and LA as it just does not make sense economically to move it over here. I instead use it as an excuse to purchase all new stuff and in the process went from a die hard Fender Custom Shop guy (had my pick each year of a new CS picked from the factory) and Gibson fan to shelving all things American and buying stuff I used to look down on because it is that much better than what I have been playing since the 80s. From the 70s until last year, I refused to purchase or play anything but American and Custom Shop. I then became open minded and educated last year and my bull headed closed minded thought process vanished.
 
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dnrohr

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
271
I’ve had a very difficult time finding a company that makes higher quality guitars than Collings. In fact even among builders who are only making a handful a year, you can count on your fingers the ones who match Collings quality.
 

killer blues

Member
Messages
4,339
So of all the manufacturers like PRS, who do you think is the number one builder in terms of quality, fit and finish, design and just overall playability.

Let’s try to keep the list to people who make at least 1,000 guitars a year. My list doesn’t include Fender or Gibson. I don’t think they come remotely close to the following in quality, these are not in any specific order:

ELECTRICS. Acoustic

Suhr Collings
PRS. Santa Cruz
Collings Lowden
Knaggs
Nik Huber
Anderson
Grosh

Next on my list is a Suhr semi hollow and a Lowden acoustic.
Collings man. they are perfect.
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
20,470
There is a good chance I know who he is and a client of mine with initials ML sounds a lot like him and his collection. I became one of the top entertainment lawyers in the US for 26 years after losing a record contract in 91 and have found myself in some unreal home studios/music rooms of clients and friends filled with stuff these guys have had since the 60s and 70s when they were touring hard. The surprising factor was much of this stuff seemed untouched for many years and you would never know it was there unless being invited in and rooting around.

Yeah, you nailed it. The imperfections, personality to some, was the turn off to me and most did not actually play that great. Then again, many of the great guitar players are not bothered or hindered by things that impact my playing. I retired last year to Bali at 55 and am out of the US rat trap and left 90% of all my gear behind in the US and LA as it just does not make sense economically to move it over here. I instead use it as an excuse to purchase all new stuff and in the process went from a die hard Fender Custom Shop guy (had my pick each year of a new CS picked from the factory) and Gibson fan to shelving all things American and buying stuff I used to look down on because it is that much better than what I have been playing since the 80s. From the 70s until last year, I refused to purchase or play anything but American and Custom Shop. I then became open minded and educated last year and my bull headed closed minded thought process vanished.
Sorry brother, the initials are not ML.

Second, I have gone the reverse of you - I’ve played nothing but boutique for the past 20 years. Now, all of a sudden, I have a huge Jones for a few pieces by the OG builders.

It’s only in the past year or so that the GCS and FCS pieces have my attention. I’ve had a metric tonne of each in my hands the past 30 years or so. None of them ever spoke with me. Now they do.

And - congrats Re: retiring to Bali. I haven’t been to Indonesia since the 90s (was there several times on biz).

I retired early myself after a couple very successful turnarounds. But stickin my toe back in the water after tearing my hair out of my head from boredom (the mind never struts down….).
 

BaliGod

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
600
Sorry brother, the initials are not ML.

Second, I have gone the reverse of you - I’ve played nothing but boutique for the past 20 years. Now, all of a sudden, I have a huge Jones for a few pieces by the OG builders.

It’s only in the past year or so that the GCS and FCS pieces have my attention. I’ve had a metric tonne of each in my hands the past 30 years or so. None of them ever spoke with me. Now they do.

And - congrats Re: retiring to Bali. I haven’t been to Indonesia since the 90s (was there several times on biz).

I retired early myself after a couple very successful turnarounds. But stickin my toe back in the water after tearing my hair out of my head from boredom (the mind never struts down….).

Haha, doing the same. We are in the process of opening a studio and the largest live music venue and nightclub/bar here in Uluwatu that will be 3 stories with a music school that we run for the local kids and children here to teach them how to play in band settings, engineer and record. No small undertaking, especially doing this in a foreign country. Cannot see myself never doing anything, just want to do something I love and that makes others happy. I hope to have some retail space in there to sell high end and boutique guitars to the tourist from Australia and etc. who can take back on plane without customs killing them.

I have tried a fair amount of boutique stuff that I honestly did not like at all. So far, I have been happy with ESP CS/Original, Mayones Reguis Pro, Anderson and looking at a Steve Stevens Knaggs. PRS, Caparison and Suhr just did not appeal to me. I wish they did as those are the few brands I can actually get on here on the island without having to do sketchy as ffuuuucchhhh shipping from anywhere to here.
 

bluegrif

Member
Messages
5,671
The idea of a “#1” is all kinds of silly. These are musical instruments, not entries in the pie competition at the state fair. I get how evolution has baked in a natural tendency to make everything a contest, but seriously…(?)
 

Maguchi

Member
Messages
2,245
So of all the manufacturers like PRS, who do you think is the number one builder in terms of quality, fit and finish, design and just overall playability.

Let’s try to keep the list to people who make at least 1,000 guitars a year. My list doesn’t include Fender or Gibson. I don’t think they come remotely close to the following in quality, these are not in any specific order:

ELECTRICS. Acoustic

Suhr Collings
PRS. Santa Cruz
Collings Lowden
Knaggs
Nik Huber
Anderson
Grosh

Next on my list is a Suhr semi hollow and a Lowden acoustic.
Based on the 15 or 20 new guitars I've bought in the last 3 years or so:
Fender (budget & higher end)
Gibson (budget & higher end)
Gretsch (Players Edition)
G&L (USA)
Guild (mid level)
 

Malapp

Member
Messages
175
While I do agree that PRS guitars are well built, I've yet to find one I actually like. So are we talking about number one purely in the build quality department or in the well built and makes you want to play department?

From my experience, every Knaggs I've ever laid hands on beats every PRS at any price. Never played a Collings or Huber. The others are nice, just not for me. I'm a plain Jane guitar player and my favorite guitar I've ever played is a LsL, so I bought it. Now I don't even look at other guitars anymore because I can't see how I could possibly enjoy anything else more.
It just goes to show you, “different strokes for…”
 

Malapp

Member
Messages
175
Lowden makes a great guitar.
Oh yesterday they do. My wife bought me a new guitar for my retirement present. She let me choose. I wanted the OM size Lowden so bad but, there wasn’t one anywhere so I took the Colling’s OM2H with the terrified top and I am not at all disappointed.
 

Malapp

Member
Messages
175
If you’ve had your hands on many vintage pieces then you also know there were tons of inconsistencies with guitars made in the 50s, 60s, etc. Some were great. Many weren’t.

The GCS and FCS are turning out plenty of great guitars. And this is coming from a guy that has boutiques only.

As I said, my friend gigs his vintage gear. He’s not simply some rich guy. He’s achieved his wealth in the music industry - on both sides of the mixing board. They (his vintage pieces) are not for show, though they’ve been written up in various music publications. First thing he did when he got his ‘59 V? He gigged it the same night.

The only reason he doesn’t buy new, is he has the original “real deal” guitars. He speaks very highly of current GCS and FCS pieces.

BTW - most of the builders named in this thread’s first post don’t remotely approach 1,000 guitars/year.

I’ve got some great boutiques; and I’m now ready to actually get a few pieces by the OG builders. Gibby Custom Shop and Fender Custom Shop … here I come!!
Good info and not in anyway wrong. I’d probably would buy a CS ES Strat.
 

Malapp

Member
Messages
175
I’ll ask a long time friend of mine. He has about $2.5M in vintage guitars, including three Bursts, two Vs, a bushel basket of ‘50s and early 60s Gibson Hollowbodies, about a dozen original LP and SG Juniors, original Reverse Firebirds, a dead mint ‘57 Gold Top, one of only 12 3-pickup ‘59 Les Paul Customs to ever leave the factory with a cherry body and black neck, early 60s Teles, 50s, etc.

He’s a pro and gigs them all. Seems to be pretty happy with the Gibsons and Fenders he has.
If ever you want to see the real collection of vintage, you have to find away to get invited into Rick Case’s Museum. That is the collection hands down. Problem is, he doesn’t let anyone I. Unless your a friend.
 

Strummerfan

Member
Messages
8,173
I've always been happy with my Fenders. All these boutique brands are about the extra touches that don't really add much to the playability of the guitar. PRS make great quality guitars, as do Suhr and Anderson. The price to quality ratio isn't enough to draw me in though. Schecter and Ibanez do great things at reasonable price points. Like it or not, for 99% of us cost is a factor. You don't have to bludgeon your bank account to get a good guitar.
 

_7NationArmy_

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
296
I was told Shijie makes 200-300 guitars a month. Although the highest serial number I've seen a picture of was in the 800s.
 




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