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  1. #1

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    I've seen lists here about Jazz-guitar builders (Elferink, Jaen, Sonntag etc.), and even some gypsy jazz builders (Dupont, AJL etc.) - but who builds those classic flat top steel string (nylon too, why not) acoustics in Europe? I know Dupont does, and at least one Finnish builder (Lottonen) - who else? I could imagine Spain has a lot of Classical/Flamenco guitar builders.

    At this point this is mainly out of curiousity, because currently I really can't burn thousands into a custom guitar.

    I did order a dirt cheap Ovation copy from Thomann just to go step by step closer to acoustic playing and to help me to continue progressing with the rest stroke technique. The guitar I bought has a electric style neck, and it's a shallow body so the transition is smoother. My old classical guitar (nylon string) neck and body depth have humbled me in my approach (plus the action is mile high, it's old and beat up)..

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hi TKO. If you don't mind my asking, why a flat-top acoustic?

  4. #3

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    George Lowden is probably one of the best European luthiers in the acoustic world today - many of his clients are in the folk world, but also builds guitars with jazz players in mind. You won't get much change from 4,000 euros but the guitars are exceptional....

    Knight Guitars in Surrey produces first class f-hole guitars if that's what floats your boat- founded by Dick Knight in the 1960s, with the flame now carried by Gordon Wells. Several standard models are available, but they will make to order. Be prepared to wait. I asked Gorden to look at the neck on my 1961 ES175D some years ago and the wait for the work to be done was around 18 months..... He gave me a good recommendation for someone elso to do the maintenance work where I got it done in only 9 months only

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    Hi TKO. If you don't mind my asking, why a flat-top acoustic?
    Not at all. Mainly because of sound and angles.

    I haven't really heard a cheaper Archtop/Jazz guitar that sounds pleasant unamplified, which my playing and rehearsing pretty much is nowadays. The other reason is that archtops usually have the strings higher (in relation to the body) than flat tops (ie. Les Paul vs. Tele/strat), and after playing mainly Teles and strats my hands are not used to the string height - it throws me off whilst playing. I'll have to see how using the rest stroke more affects this, but at this point I feel more at home with flat tops.

  6. #5

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    hi there,

    as already mentioned - Lowden is a sure bet. The guitars are first class - and would not only see those in a folk environment. A lot of the modern fingerstyle players like Thomas Leeb or Jon Gomm use one. Only thing is those do not come cheap but are worth the money you spend. And those have their own sound. I myself own a F35c - great instrument.

    Another European company that comes to my mind is Furch in the Czech Repeublic also really nice guitars and a lot bang for the buck. Lakewood in Germany might be another one

    Other names - Brunner Guitars, Launhardt, Dreier, Cuntz, Stefan Hahl, Stefan Sobell, .... there are a lot like these small scale workshops or independent luthiers.

    I have one on order from Nick Benjamin in Lewes UK, but the waiting list is long... well that leaves you with some time saving up the funds.

    Depends also what are you looking for and how much you want to spend.

    best,
    k

  7. #6

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    Henning Doderer in Germany

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by TKO View Post
    Not at all. Mainly because of sound and angles.

    I haven't really heard a cheaper Archtop/Jazz guitar that sounds pleasant unamplified, which my playing and rehearsing pretty much is nowadays. The other reason is that archtops usually have the strings higher (in relation to the body) than flat tops (ie. Les Paul vs. Tele/strat), and after playing mainly Teles and strats my hands are not used to the string height - it throws me off whilst playing. I'll have to see how using the rest stroke more affects this, but at this point I feel more at home with flat tops.
    I play an 18" Sonntag archtop (and - since recently - a Tele, too). I had no idea of the power and extent of its acoustic projection until I started playing rhythm next to a 150-year-old cello.

    Stefan (at the request of guitarist and teacher Trefor Owen, I believe) seems to have successfully 'designed out' feedback when the guitar's amplified - not a small consideration.

    (I've owned ('90s) Gibson Byrdland, L5 or L4, but I'm more than satisfied with my Sonntag. I got it over a decade ago, and I had quite a wait - but I'd definitely do it again.)

  9. #8

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    Lowden is great of course, and Irish Avalon is not bad, actually they are former Lowden employees.

    There is quite new and innovative luthier in Poland: http://rafalturkowiak.pl/


    I had his nylon but he started to build steel acoustic as well few years ago. What I can say about my nylon that the acoustic sound is really powerful.

  10. #9

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    Hello.
    You'll find a near enough complete list of British Luthiers here...
    British Made Guitars - British Guitar Makers Index and Contact Information


    I hope this helps.



    Music is the key that can open strange rooms in the house of memory.

    Llewelyn Wyn Griffith
    Last edited by Rhoderick; 04-28-2017 at 08:16 AM.

  11. #10

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    Lowden, Avalon, Mcillroy. For myself, I like Lowden so I stayed with Lowden. I bought a Lowden F in 2016. Happy with it.
    Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)

  12. #11

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    Sega Guitars – SegaGuitars – Gitary Lutnicze

    W very good Polish luthier. I'm not so much into acoustic guitars myself but a friend of mine just sold his Lowden and previously had among others a Larrivee and others (also from another luthier from Poland) and now he has just ordered one from Sergiusz / Segaguitars. I played two of his guitars and as far as I can tell these are great instruments and probably much more affordable than lowdens or Western-Europe made.


  13. #12

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    Two fine guitar-makers in Czech:

    http://www.rozawood.cz/workshop/
    http://www.bsguitars.cz

    A dealer in Germany who carries these, and other makers (inc. Avalon):

    http://www.gitarren-studio-neustadt.de/akustik-gitarren.html

  14. #13

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    Nigel Forster worked with Stefan Sobell and set up shop in Leipzig/Germany :

    NK Forster Guitars NK Forster Guitars - Leipzig, Saxony, Germay

    then there is Joe Striebel in Bavaria :
    Joe Striebel - Gitarrenbau

    in Hamburg :
    Andreas Seefeldt - Gitarrenbau, Hamburg St. Pauli

    Carsten Kobs Gitarrenbau - Konzertgitarren mit doppeltop Decke - Carsten Kobs guitar luthier - double top classical guitar

    Literally dozens of top-notch luthiers specializing in classical guitars , too many to list.

  15. #14

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    There are MANY acoustic flat top luthiers based in the EU. A few that I would recommend you look further into are:


    • For traditional guitars look into Rudi Blazer & Willi Henkes (Germany) or Per Marklund (Sweden).



    • For a more modern take on a flat top look up Ted Astrand (Sweden), Lars Rasmussen (Sweden) and Stefan Sobell (UK).

    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  16. #15

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    Thanks for all the input, I sort of knew that there were plenty of luthiers all around Europe and that was confirmed. Now I'll have to spend an afternoon going through all these sites, though. But that can be counted as pure leisure and fun.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    I play an 18" Sonntag archtop (and - since recently - a Tele, too). I had no idea of the power and extent of its acoustic projection until I started playing rhythm next to a 150-year-old cello.

    Stefan (at the request of guitarist and teacher Trefor Owen, I believe) seems to have successfully 'designed out' feedback when the guitar's amplified - not a small consideration.
    Wow - 18" is a large body, it must sound fantastic acoustically. I also know Trefor; he's gone through lots of guitars over the years and I know he had his own ideas on feedback reduction. He's also tried all sorts of amps but is now a big fan of the Mambo. A brilliant amp, but I can't justify the cost (so I use a DV Mark).
    Sorry to go off topic. I'm also looking for a flat-top acoustic electric at the moment, and I like the idea of an Ovation. So light and comfortable, and the back is resistant to bangs and scrapes! There are also lots of good quality brands out there, such as Yamaha, Tanglewood, Washburn, so for me it would depend on the neck dimensions.

  18. #17

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    Two UK builders worth checking out are Atkin Guitars, and Turnstone Guitar Company, though there are lots more.
    Enjoy the search!

  19. #18

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    Wout Bosma is a name to be mentioned in the art of instrument building in The Netherlands. He is located in Dordrecht in The Netherlands. He does impeccable repair work and as a master luthier, he makes some prestige archtop guitars, steel string guitars and classical guitars. I tried his D'Angelico New Yorker copy, and it looks and sounds exactly the same as the one made by D'Angelico. He can make some nice instruments for any price range, and fulfils one's desire to have a dream instrument built.

    Welcome at Bosma Guitars