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Acoustic Soundboard

A 1921 A2 Gibson mandolin is reunited with a 1921 L2 Gibson guitar after an entire century.

For archtop lovers, there are few subjects more fascinating than the legacy of Orville Gibson.

One of my greatest inspirations as a guitar maker comes from my hope that the guitars I build will roam the planet long after I’m gone. Sometimes, when I’m on my some-hundredth hour of working on a guitar—sanding lacquer and chasing a flawless mirror finish—a vision of the instrument one hundred years from now will flash before my eyes. It’s a powerful reminder that along with a century of battle scars and music comes a certain beauty that only time will bring. With all the hustle and bustle of building brand-new guitars, sometimes I forget: I want to build guitars now, so that someday they will be old.

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Rig Rundown: Ariel Posen [2023]

The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.

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The CAT scanning process helps luthiers better understand the material properties of the tonewoods used almost a century ago.

When reconstructing the sound of a vintage instrument, a data deep dive may be in order.

My interest in the science of sound stemmed from my inability to understand most modern luthiers’ theories or philosophies. One issue I’ve struggled with is why so many of the best examples of vintage guitars that are awesome on so many levels are now approaching 100 years old. Why doesn’t the same abundance of excellent sounding instruments exist in the modern era? Something was definitely spot-on with these older guitars. But when the tonewood stars are aligned, modern makers do occasionally come close to hitting that mark, so I don’t think it’s totally a question of those older instruments maturing through aging. I feel these guitars were good from the start.

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This clean 1938 Martin 00-18 is the sort of checks-all-boxes, bucket-list vintage guitar that only comes around once in a blue moon.

Sure, the economy isn’t what it was a few months ago. But what do you do if you find the one?

Guitar shopping is certainly different than it was 18 months ago. And we’re all grateful that manufacturers like Martin and Taylor are shipping more new guitars. That means your favorite music store probably doesn’t have as many empty hooks as it did during the crazy days of Covid. Stores that sell new instruments are also moving inventory more slowly as recent Wall Street jitters over inflation and the economy filter down to dinner-table talks about family finances. Even worse, personal budgets for music gear have to compete with vacations, events, and dining out. As a result, some guitar shoppers are wondering if that new guitar purchase should be postponed, especially considering that most new models will be available in the future when the world will hopefully feel at least a little more secure and predictable.

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Linda Manzer (right) and Maegen Wells play one of the guitars assembled in the “Nickel Wound Chef” competition at Fretboard Summit 2022.

After several years away, luthiers and enthusiasts gathered across the country in 2022. Here’s how it went down.

After two years of being locked up in our shops, guitar makers everywhere were eager to be reunited in 2022, when many beloved industry events returned. These guitar shows allow qualifying luthiers to showcase their work and connect with players and buyers. More importantly, they’re a wonderful opportunity for the guitar-building community to come together, and I couldn’t wait to see what my friends had been gluing up.

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