Bourgeois Guitars – New Factory, New President

Dana Bourgeois will continue to build guitars in Lewiston, Maine, at a new location

Forced to move, a fortuitous reunion led to a unique solution, and a new President of Bourgeois Guitars

As described at the official Bourgeois website, Dana ran into an old friend at a college reunion, who has considerable experience with upper-level management. That friend, Bob Smallwood, has been retired for some time, from business, but was keeping busy as a volunteer fireman, instructor, and musician. But now he has joined forces with Dana Bourgeois and along with his wife, has relocated to Maine to take over as President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. He has already been responsible for locating the site of the new guitar factory and oversaw its creation.

“The Smallwood home is located in the glorious rocky mountains outside of Estes Park, Colorado. Bob was the Assistant Fire Chief and Medical Training Director of the Glen Haven Volunteer Fire Department. Sonjia, a 100lb firefighter and emergency medical responder, was decorated with Bob for heroism during the floods of 2013. Bob and Sonjia volunteered at the same food bank in Estes Park when they met and fell in love 6 years ago. Together they were part of the music entertainment scene in Colorado’s northern mountain communities. Now, they have stepped from one adventure to another by relocating to Maine to join Dana at Bourgeois Guitars. They are excited to help write the next chapter for this venerable brand.”

We very much wish the Smallwoods and Dana very good luck as this new chapter unfolds!

Martin Guitars Now Shipping With Untreated Strings

A String Change on Martin Guitars

About time too!

As of the introduction of the new Summer NAMM models, C. F. Martin & Co. is no longer shipping guitars to dealers with Martin Lifespan strings, treated to increase longevity.

They will now arrive at Martin dealers with their SP – Studio Performance strings. All the guitars at the NAMM show and appearing in my reviews (of the guitars debuting in July 2017 and thereafter) have SPs.

The Lifespan strings are actually the exact same strings as SP strings, but the windings have been treated with a substance that resists corrosion.

Martin does not consider Lifespans to be “coated strings,” like those made by Elixir and similar brands, since the treatment happens to the alloy windings before they are wrapped on the wire. But they do change the tone of the strings and therefore the guitars they go on.

The goal of shipping Martins with Lifespans was to keep the tone of new guitars from getting dull in guitar shops from all the many people playing them, and because shops rarely keep up on wiping strings down, or changing them on a regular basis.

But Martin has decided to heed the call from players who feel treated strings never have the same level of vibrancy as untreated strings.

I wonder if it mean a difference in guitar sales in this questionable economy. Here’s to hoping so.

Bill Collings Died on July 14, 2017

Bill Collings has passed away

Very sad news from Austin, Texas, where he built a world-renowned stringed instrument business from scratch

From the Collings Website:

We lost our dear friend and mentor Bill Collings yesterday. He was the amazingly creative force behind Collings Guitars for over 40 years. Through his unique and innate understanding of how things work, and how to make things work better, he set the bar in our industry and touched many lives in the process. His skill and incredible sense of design were not just limited to working with wood, but were also obvious in his passion for building hot rods. To Bill, the design and execution of elegant form and function were what mattered most. Perhaps even more exceptional than his ability to craft some of the finest instruments in the world, was his ability to teach and inspire. He created a quality-centered culture that will carry on to honor his life’s work and legacy. He was loved by many and will be missed. Our hearts are with his family.

William R. Collings
8/9/1948 – 7/14/2017

Martin D-28 2017 vs. 2016

Sneak Preview of My Summer NAMM Martin Reviews

This supplemental video was shot just after I recorded the new D-28 for One Man’s Guitar’s exclusive review – which will be the first one published

The following audio was mixed quickly and synched to video on a tablet at the hotel last night, and the video was put together on the bus back to NYC this afternoon.

The mix and synch of the actual video will likely be somewhat different.

While at the Martin Guitar Factory, it was my hope to not just test drive the newly made-over D-28, but to do do a direct comparison with the previous version, which remained virtually unchanged for 30+ years. And that did come to pass.

The two guitars were recorded back and forth in one continuous session. I just picked up one and played the first thing that came off my fingertips and then tried to repeat it on the other one, after placing the first on the same guitar stand. That is why the guitars are sometimes shifted toward the large diaphragm mic, as I kept turning that way to switch the D-28s.

In addition to some cosmetic upgrades, the real game changer is the top bracing, which has been moved to the “Forward Shifted” position, while retaining its non-scalloped shaping. This is the first time forward-shifted non-scalloped bracing as appeared on a cataloged Martin guitar, let alone a D-28.

The full review should be out in two or three days.

The thumbnail for the video was supposed to be of the 2017 model. I expect Youtube will change it eventually.

 

Martin D-28 John Prine Review

An American Original Honored by America’s Premiere Guitarmaker with the D-28 John Prine

The composer of Angel from Montgomery has earned his wings from C. F. Martin & Co. along with an angelic signature model

Specs include: All solid tonewoods including Madagascar back and sides, Engelmann spruce top with Antique toner, ebony fingerboard and bridge, scalloped 5/16” Adirondack spruce braces; high gloss nitrocellulose finish; long-scale, satin finished genuine mahogany neck with Modified V profile, 1-11/16” width at nut, 2-1/8” string spacing; bone nut, compensated saddle, and bridge pins; Vintage Style 45 abalone snow flake fret markers; ‘50s style rounded headstock corners, enclosed chrome tuners with large buttons, pearl angel wings inlay; Antique White binding; custom cream tweed case with red interior; signed and numbered interior label

“With twinkling trebles, warm clear-cut mids, and a succulent bass, its distinctive fundamental notes front a subtly complex harmonic array, filled with delightfully sweet overtones and a roomy translucent undertone awash with whispery, ethereal hues. In other words, the John Prine signature model is an absolute charmer.”

Full Review with Video

Martin D-28 John Prine in concert

Martin 00-28 Review

The seldom made Martin 00-28 in a triumphant return

Marvelous rosewood tone from the grand concert powerhouse 00-28 is first rate

Specs include: Solid tonewoods with Indian rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top, ebony fingerboard and bridge, scalloped 1/4″ Sitka spruce bracing; high gloss nitrocellulose finish; short-scale, satin finished mahogany High Performance neck, with 1-3/4″ width at nut, 2-1/8″ at the 12th fret, 2-5/32″ string spacing; bone nut and saddle; open back nickle tuners with “clove” knobs; mother of pearl dot fret markers, black pickguard, white biding.

“Singing with silvery purity up high, commanding mids, and full-bodied lows, all riding atop the lush and lovely depths saturated with what I call that “smoky rosewood presence,” the new 00-28 provides classic, nay even legendary Martin guitar tone.”

Full Review with Video Here

Some Clarification from Martin on the New Models

I have gotten some confirmation from within Martin on the following:

Typos on the spec sheets – All instances of 2-3/16″ string spacing are incorrect.

All models with the High Performance taper have string spacing of 2-5/32″. The change was universal when they first made it. If you see 2-3/16″ on the spec sheet of a current model it is a typo. I saw at least three models listed that way in the past couple of days.

 

The new D-28 (2017) – it is NOT a typo that it has forward-shifted non-scalloped braces.

I had expected this makeover to go with scalloped bracing, as the D-18 had.

But after the sonic success of the GPC-28E, they decided to add forward-shifted bracing to the D-28, but keep the braces non-scalloped. I can’t wait to hear the results in person. I liked the sound of the GPC-28 a lot.

The GPC-28E, OMC-28E, 00-28, and soon to be released GP-28E and OM-28E are all moving to this new styling, with the aging toner and tortoise guard, antique white binding and mother of pearl dots of the new D-28. This decision came pretty late, so the latter two were not ready for the show.

The 00-28, and all OMs are retaining their scalloped 1/4″ bracing. But we can expect to see all large guitars made in Standard Style 28 to have non-scalloped bracing from now on.

I got a “probably soon” as to if the current OM-28 was going to lose the herringbone, short pattern diamond fret markers and grained ivoroid binding.

I got silence regarding the 000-28. But may learn something soon.

Likewise nothing on the HD-28, but I assume it is safe for now since the D-28 did not get scalloped bracing or herringbone.

 

The Jason Isbell model – spec clarification

Tim Teel confirmed this guitar has Golden Era style bracing and bridge plate – except it is rear-shifted. That is a first that I know of, unless someone has ordered customs like that. I bet it is a monster. Can’t wait to see and hear for myself.

It has High Gloss thin finish, not the Vintage Gloss of the Authentics. The spec sheet currently says “Gloss.”

That’s all for now.