The Guitar List

The Guitar List

Last Updated on 08-Dec-2000

i. Purpose of this resource is to provide

  • guitar maker synopsis and contacts
    includes address, phone numbers and internet contacts

  • general guitar pricing and quality guidelines

  • basic resources on building your own guitar

  • general comments
    comments on the guitar compaines, guitar buying, and guitar building do not reflect any sort of endorsement by any usenet news group, listserver or website.

ii. Recent Changes

  • Added Eduardo Alan Moreno Moore (4-Dec-2000)
  • Updated info for Marc Silber (9-Nov-2000)
  • Updated Lowden contact info (13-Sep-2000)
  • Fixed entry for Manzer (12-Sep-2000)

iii. Contents

1. Guitar Companies

1.1 Large Companies

1.2 Luthiers

A list of the more popular and respected names in the art and business of producing hand-made acoustic guitars.

1.3 Resonators

And then there are the Resonator guitars, which vary in construction. Some are metal bodied, while others are wood.

1.4 Archtops

There is more to guitars than flattop steelstrings. Here are some makers of archtops.

1.4.1 Larger Makers

1.4.2 Luthiers

Here are the names of a few builders of archtops from an issue of Acoustic Guitar (1995)

Partial List

1.5 Classical and Flamenco

Most of the companies that make acoustic guitars in Asia also make classicals of similar quality. This includes Yamaha, Takamine, and Alvarez-Yairi. Gibson used to sell some decent Korean-made classical guitars under their Epiphone brand, but [they may have] all been discontinued.

2. Guitar Buying

The question of price and model is a constant. New guitarists, people buying for the first time in 10 years, etc. all need to know what models fall into what price ranges. I have attempted to build a list of characteristics and companies that fall into a few different categories in order to make searching for the right guitar a bit more concise. Most of the guitar makers listed below make only steel string guitars. Some of them make classical, and some make only classical. Following is how to tell the difference:

        (SS)   Steel String Only
        (S/C)  Steel String and Classical
        (C)    Classical Only

Please note that sometimes guitars in a higher category can be bought for prices that are much lower when they are either put on sale, or are bought used. These prices reflect new guitar prices and are ballpark figures at best.

Briefly, the way to tell if the top is solid or laminate is to look at the edge of the soundhole. If you see laminate lines, or there is some sort of paint or wood detail covering these edges, it is a good bet that the top is laminate. The sides and back are more difficult to determine. From the inside of the guitar, look for distinguishing grain patterns on the sides and back. If you see these same grain patterns on the outside of the guitar, that piece is solid. This technique becomes difficult for even-grained woods like mahogany. When in doubt, do not drill a hole, just ask a trusted dealer to tell you if they can.

2.1 Beginner

These guitars are priced for the person unsure if guitar playing is suited for them. They also make great beach or camping guitars. Features:

        Price:      $100 - $300
        Top:        Laminate with few using solid wood
        Side/Back:  Laminate
Here are some of the brands that I can think of. There are *loads* of guitars off the Asian market, and they probably are comparable to any in this list.
        A&L             (SS)
        Fender          (SS)
        Charvel         (SS)
        Ibanez          (S/C)
        Norman          (SS)
	Washburn        (S/C)
        Yamaha          (S/C)

2.2 Mid-Range

In this range, the issues involved in buying a guitar are fairly simple: price, playability, and 'bang-for-the-buck' are usually foremost consideratoins. There are several brands that have guitars that suit the bill. Following is a list of features that usually are associated with new low-end guitars:

        Price:      $300 - $800
        Top:        Split between solid and laminate
        Side/Back:  Mostly laminates with a few that have solid sides
Some of the guitars have solid tops. The sound for these instruments is good. Finish on the guitars are usually glossy. Any exceptions to the above comments will be noted.
        Charvel         (SS)
        Dauphin         (C)
        Fender          (SS)
        Guild           (SS)
        Ibanez          (S/C)
        Ovation         (S/C)
        Seagull         (SS)    (most w/ solid tops)
        Simon & Patrick (SS)    (all w/ solid tops)
        Takamine        (S/C)
        Washburn        (S/C)
        Yamaha          (S/C)

2.3 High-End

For just about any player, guitars in this range should satisfy some to all of your guitar-playing needs. Features these guitars should all have:

        Price:      $800 - $1,500
        Top:        Mostly solid a few laminates
        Side/Back:  Split between solid wood and laminate
Depending on model, maker, or a sale, you might get a real beauty for alot less than expected. The use of a variety of tone woods is important in this category. Combinations of woods for a variety of effects determine the sound and feel of a guitar. These guitars are usually mass produced, but there are probably a few that have some hand-detailing, and finishing.
        Alvarez         (S/C)
        Gibson          (SS)
        Guild           (SS)
        Martin          (S/C)
        Ovation         (S/C)
        Seagull         (SS)
        Simon & Patrick (SS)
        Takamine        (S/C)
        Taylor          (SS)

2.4 Concert

These guitars are usually hand made from the finest tone-woods available. Individual luthiers or apprentices work on each model, and attention to detail is critical to the making of every guitar.

        Price:      $1,500 on up
        Top:        Must be solid
        Side/Back:  Must be solid
Expect to pay a pretty steep premium for Brazilian Rosewood, although there is an unsupported rumor that Thompson Guitars will make one from Brazilian for under $3,000. (anyone have better facts?) Many (all?) of these dealers will accept custom orders to mix and match different dimensions and woods.
        Breedlove       (SS)
        Collings        (SS)
        Franklin        (SS)
        Gallagher       (SS)
        Gurian          (SS)
        Larivee         (SS)
        Lowden          (S/C)
        Olson           (SS)
        Santa Cruz      (S/C)
        Schoenberg      (SS)
        Silber          (S/C)
        Thompson        (S/C)

3. Guitar Miscellany

3.1 Building and Repairing

3.2 Other Resources

4., Thanks millions, RMMGA and RMCG

If you see your name here and want it removed , let me know. If you see your name here and want the email updated let me know that too.

        Alex S.          
        Allen Kaatz     
        Arabella Clauson 
        Bill Nail       
        Bruce Tiffany   
        Chris Peckham   
        David (D.C.) Cromwell 
        David Kaatz     
        Dennis ONeill           denio@seismo.CSS.GOV 
        Douglas Asherman 
        Eric P. Salathe, Jr 
        Eric Schoenberg 
        Garrett Lau     
        George Kaschner 
        Grant Alvis     
        Jason Nieh               nieh@CS.STANFORD.EDU 
        Jim Smith       
        John Gorsky     
        Joseph A Pescatello 
        Kim Passarella  
        Leslie Hall     
        Linda Manzer 
        Lothar Dornieden 
	Lyn Hardy 
        Malcolm Barker  
        Mike Neverisky  
        Paul Mitchell   
        Paul R. Leach   
        Peter Rayner             pjr@atmos.dar.CSIRO.AU 
	Richard Levine 
        Robyn Landers   
        Ross Bethel     
        Sean Morin 
        Stephen Sano             sano@leland.Stanford.EDU 
        Steve Ganz      
        Roy "StringSing" 
        T. Redmond 
        Tim Falk 
        Tom Morley      
        Trevor Strohman 

5. Updates and Suggestions

If you have any questions , updates to the list or suggestions on how to make this list any better, send it on over.. I want to know.

Please be as complete as possible with the information you supply. Bear in mind that anything sounding like a sales-pitch, or is too gassy and brassy will be cheerfully replaced with more pedestrian text.

Tim Maggio