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  1. #1

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    Steve Holst be Da Man!-img_2272-jpegI am the happy owner of one of Steve Holst's first guitars, built in 1995. It is the only one I haven't sold in the last 20 years, because it's the best guitar I've played.

    After roughly a million gigs, I finally managed to wear (eat) through the finish on the top where my (sweaty) arm comes over, and the guitar was down to bare wood. Not wanting to eat through the top as well, I contacted Steve and he agreed to touch up the top. For $100.

    Being a Craftsman of Conscience, Steve decided to refinish the entire body, made a new pick guard, installed a new and improved saddle, replaced the nut, improved the binding profile, reworked the output jack and dressed the frets. Pro bono. And he was darn nice about it.

    At $5K for a brand new, fully carved, completely customized instrument, his guitars are a bargain. On top of that, they are wonderful instruments. What a guy.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Great customer support - and beautiful looking work. It would be great to hear from more Holst owners so we can all learn more about his instruments.

    Thanks for sharing the experience - I didn’t realize he was making guitars for 20yrs.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #3

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    I gotta support Steve Holst with an order someday. A Mensch to archtop guitar players!

  5. #4

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    Really great guy to work with.

  6. #5

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    That's quite a nice looking guitar! Interesting to note that it has only a neck pickup, which seems to fly in the face of "conventional wisdom," whatever that is. I would think the placement of the control knobs might get in the way, but perhaps that's just because of the way I play.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    That's quite a nice looking guitar! Interesting to note that it has only a neck pickup, which seems to fly in the face of "conventional wisdom," whatever that is. I would think the placement of the control knobs might get in the way, but perhaps that's just because of the way I play.
    that guitar was built in 1995, styles and preferences change. Innovations like Schatten hidden controls came along. I believe M Campellone now uses Schatten controls on his current floating pickup models

  8. #7

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    Steve can install whatever controls the buyer wants. Having tried the "stealth" controls, I find that I like a top of the pickguard mounted volume control and a "stealth" tone, as I have a hard time finding the stealth volume control quickly, and I can never remember which way to turn the darn thing when I do find it. The tone I usually adjust once or maybe twice over the course of a gig, and never mid-tune, but the volume I use a lot and really appreciate being able to find it quickly.

    If you think the top of this guitar is pretty you should see the back and sides!

  9. #8

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    Steve Holst be Da Man!-10bae815-007a-4f2f-9c9d-fe2c90502947-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-4b83865d-b0e5-4101-8d3c-5653ffedd774-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-41458b8b-2909-4e1e-ac81-a50bd53bcc41-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-3960dc3a-853b-44ef-8847-42b7e5dc1176-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-36a7c3b0-3233-436a-9375-c6d06ebedfb0-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-470c610c-a492-436b-b555-267219872aa7-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-1c28f84d-b495-45e7-9597-d366801a3ec2-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-1bf3bac9-6af2-4906-bf1c-7d2f362ee2d2-jpeg
    Attached Images Attached Images Steve Holst be Da Man!-ea0df47d-c41e-4303-a3c3-d93c6c764f7a-jpeg 

  10. #9

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    Steve Holst be Da Man!-57d8d342-071c-4d39-b87b-eca750a5b6ed-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-3051604e-be11-43d7-b68d-6168a8cfc8e7-jpegSteve Holst be Da Man!-cf3660a3-7f77-4aae-aacf-0d575bd13c65-jpeg

  11. #10

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    I have two guitars from Stephen, and yes he is very humble and a joy to work with!

    Holst 17 X 3" Carved Top--Sourced From Old Growth Spruce In the Style Of A Wes:



    Holst 16 X 2.75" Laminate-Stephen's Own Pressed Laminate Top In The Style Of A Borys B-120


  12. #11

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    OK, I'll play: my new birthday gift (for the next few years!): 16" laminate, Bareknuckle pickup; 1 3/4" sides -- plays like a dream!

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-hardware-jpg

    ["Steve, can you please add strings?"]

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-front-jpg

    ["Thank you!"]

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-back-jpg

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-inlay-jpg

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-img_2221-jpg

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-img_2222-jpg

    Superb instrument, great guy to work with!

    Marc

  13. #12

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    The thing about Holst is he will build your guitar in any style you want. You call it and he will build it. Most builders just offer there specific models. This guy gives you a blank canvas to paint your dream guitar.
    I wanted mine kinda plain with just white binding. 9 ply or wood binding was the same price.

  14. #13

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    Oh my.. this is a beautiful guitar. Wow!
    Joe D
    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    OK, I'll play: my new birthday gift (for the next few years!): 16" laminate, Bareknuckle pickup; 1 3/4" sides -- plays like a dream!

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-hardware-jpg

    ["Steve, can you please add strings?"]

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-front-jpg

    ["Thank you!"]

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-back-jpg

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-inlay-jpg

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-img_2221-jpg

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-img_2222-jpg

    Superb instrument, great guy to work with!

    Marc

  15. #14

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    After visiting Steve Holst's web site and viewing his gallery, my wallet is groaning and my breath is panting. My problem isn't the cost as much as it is the room: I have simply run out of space to put another guitar. COVID has made selling an issue for me (and truthfully, my hesitation on attempting a "blind sale"). If I could divest myself of five or six guitars I never play anymore, I think I'd approach a Holst.

    But that begs the question: How do they sound? I know that every guitar player has "the sound" that they play, or attempt to play, so how do I gauge which model and features? I get the sense that Steve sits down with you (figuratively speaking) and through an interview process, gets to know the specifics and idiosyncrasies of the purchaser. Am I right?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    After visiting Steve Holst's web site and viewing his gallery, my wallet is groaning and my breath is panting. so how do I gauge which model and features? I get the sense that Steve sits down with you (figuratively speaking) and through an interview process, gets to know the specifics and idiosyncrasies of the purchaser. Am I right?
    Yep!

  17. #16

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    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holst-jpeg

    My Holst...

  18. #17

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    Can some Holst owners discuss how these guitars sound -both acoustically and plugged in.


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  19. #18

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    Mine is a 16x3.25 24.75 laminate. Acoustically very loud but not bright.
    Plugged in very warm, dark, but with great note and chord definition. Not bright like a Eastman laminate. Very nice natural reverb. Neck profile like a L5. Great laminate tone.
    It sounds like a super great 175. It is a light 6lbs.build.
    Jescar Gold 47105 frets. The finish is water based I believe. Too shiny and smooth to be nitro.
    He gets remarkably nice maple and has a great source for old growth spruce.

    When he tells you 4 months that means a year. He lives deep in the bush with constant power outages. Very nice guy.

  20. #19

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    Yup,
    All that


    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Mine is a 16x3.25 24.75 laminate. Acoustically very loud but not bright.
    Plugged in very warm, dark, but with great note and chord definition. Not bright like a Eastman laminate. Very nice natural reverb. Neck profile like a L5. Great laminate tone.
    It sounds like a super great 175. It is a light 6lbs.build.
    Jescar Gold 47105 frets. The finish is water based I believe. Too shiny and smooth to be nitro.
    He gets remarkably nice maple and has a great source for old growth spruce.

    When he tells you 4 months that means a year. He lives deep in the bush with constant power outages. Very nice guy.

  21. #20

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    Beautiful guitars!
    Am I the only one that has a problem with the title of this thread?

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Mine is a 16x3.25 24.75 laminate. Acoustically very loud but not bright.
    Plugged in very warm, dark, but with great note and chord definition. Not bright like a Eastman laminate. Very nice natural reverb. Neck profile like a L5. Great laminate tone.
    It sounds like a super great 175. It is a light 6lbs.build.
    Jescar Gold 47105 frets. The finish is water based I believe. Too shiny and smooth to be nitro.
    He gets remarkably nice maple and has a great source for old growth spruce.

    When he tells you 4 months that means a year. He lives deep in the bush with constant power outages. Very nice guy.
    Great description Vinny! Its a shame we don't hear more about his instruments.
    His workmanship and price point seem like a tremendous value - especially for a US Luthier built guitar.

    Sent from my SM-P610 using Tapatalk

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    He gets remarkably nice maple and has a great source for old growth spruce.

    When he tells you 4 months that means a year. He lives deep in the bush with constant power outages. Very nice guy.
    I ordered mine pre-covid, and he quoted "about a year;" with covid, it was just over a year, so not bad at all, given 2020. [and yes: worth the wait!]

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Steve Holst be Da Man!-57d8d342-071c-4d39-b87b-eca750a5b6ed-jpeg
    Awesome color, looks a lot like "viceroy brown."

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    I ordered mine pre-covid, and he quoted "about a year;" with covid, it was just over a year, so not bad at all, given 2020. [and yes: worth the wait!]
    Did you pre-pay? 50% down deposit? What are his terms? Sounds like I should get started now if I want one while I'm still alive.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    Did you pre-pay? 50% down deposit? What are his terms? Sounds like I should get started now if I want one while I'm still alive.
    Hi, check out his website; he asks for 30% down. He uses a very detailed spreadsheet to go through all your specs, to make sure you're getting what you want!

  27. #26

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    Well, you guys (and the photos) sold me. I reached out to Steve today and he already replied. We've started the process. I'm going to fill out his spreadsheet and then we'll start talking details. The good news (good for me, not for him) is that he is only working on three orders right now, with one nearly complete, one beginning the finishing stage, and the third about 50% completed.

    One-third down isn't a problem for me, so I anticipate the specs to be done soon and the work shortly after that. I'm very excited! Incidentally, the model that "sold" me was "ch1" on his web site:

    Steve Holst be Da Man!-holstguitar1-jpg

  28. #27

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    Wow, congrats, Fred!! You will be thrilled!

    One tip, if you don't mind: listen to his suggestions.

    And have fun with the process!!

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Wow, congrats, Fred!! You will be thrilled!

    One tip, if you don't mind: listen to his suggestions.

    And have fun with the process!!
    I'm old enough to know well enough to listen to the experts. I've looked at the spreadsheet, and after un-crossing my eyes, thought to myself, "Wow, this almost looks like work!"

    Example: lower bout width, binding style, bracing style... heck if I know. I'm going to fill in the specs that I know (fingerboard: ebony), and then hope the conversation begins. I expect to be putty in his hands.

  30. #29

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    Mine (sold in 2013) was 16 x 2.25" deep, laminate with mounted pickup. Excellent plugged-in sound; not deep enough for much acoustic tone but through the amp you could definitely get that. It had a KA smoothtop (not adjustable 12-pole) wide pickup, the same ones KA makes for Buscarino. Steve is a super nice guy.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    I'm old enough to know well enough to listen to the experts. I've looked at the spreadsheet, and after un-crossing my eyes, thought to myself, "Wow, this almost looks like work!"

    Example: lower bout width, binding style, bracing style... heck if I know. I'm going to fill in the specs that I know (fingerboard: ebony), and then hope the conversation begins. I expect to be putty in his hands.


    Exactly!!

    [Edit]

    Something he asked about that I had never explored before was the "neck/fretboard width at the 14th fret." The nut width is 1 3/4", so he gave a "typical" width for the 14th fret. I was curious, though, and checked my other guitars, including my "favorite" neck that I had played for about 10 years. I also started thinking about other guitars I've owned recently, and how some seemed "too wide" in the upper range. It turned out my fave was slightly narrower than his numbers, and since I liked this feel, it was no problem for him to oblige -- and it feels great! Funny how even a slight measurement can "make or break" the feel of an instrument ...
    Last edited by marcwhy; 01-26-2021 at 08:45 PM. Reason: addendum

  32. #31

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    The process has begun. We have now agreed to use Swiss Spruce on a carved top.

    That's all for now.

    I'll be sending him a deposit as soon as I receive his info.

    Should I start a new thread for this? I hope to be kept apprised of the progress (with pics!) as the build takes form.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    The process has begun. We have now agreed to use Swiss Spruce on a carved top.

    That's all for now.

    I'll be sending him a deposit as soon as I receive his info.

    Should I start a new thread for this? I hope to be kept apprised of the progress (with pics!) as the build takes form.
    Congrats!! [the first pics won't be for a bit ... it's a practice in patience!]


  34. #33

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    This is mine
    With SS frets and Bare Knuckle Manhattan P90 pickup.

    There is a screw at the back that you turn to make a soundpost lock on to the top to make it semi hollow. Very nice acoustic tone even at just 16x2.25, so comfortable to play. The stainless steel frets doesnt change the tone at all which was my concern at the start.

    Steve is a joy to work with, he is open minded to entertain any design or feature you would want to incorporate even if he has not done it before.



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  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    The process has begun. We have now agreed to use Swiss Spruce on a carved top.

    That's all for now.

    I'll be sending him a deposit as soon as I receive his info.

    Should I start a new thread for this? I hope to be kept apprised of the progress (with pics!) as the build takes form.
    I'd love to follow the progress of the build in a thread.

  36. #35

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    Steve Holst be Da Man!-b41b4f2f-080e-4a67-8921-e44089f93683-jpgSteve Holst be Da Man!-f94ecfb2-2b6f-4b6f-8d35-bddefce49b78-jpgSteve Holst be Da Man!-362ba64f-d08f-44d7-b892-fb210ebfbd67-jpgSteve Holst be Da Man!-16b1d964-e3ee-4157-bc4d-65bac9233c4e-jpgSteve Holst be Da Man!-dd0e2a71-1aa0-4b54-bca3-a7aff5c2cac5-jpgSteve Holst be Da Man!-1939d458-056e-4731-b049-99d07549175b-jpgSteve Holst be Da Man!-1a6c8654-97b5-45f8-99c5-b2e4bac16fce-jpg

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    The process has begun. We have now agreed to use Swiss Spruce on a carved top.

    That's all for now.

    I'll be sending him a deposit as soon as I receive his info.

    Should I start a new thread for this? I hope to be kept apprised of the progress (with pics!) as the build takes form.

    "The Builder's Bench" would be a nice place for such a thread.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by limjaz


    Steve is a joy to work with, he is open minded to entertain any design or feature you would want to incorporate even if he has not done it before.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Oh, and another thing ...

    If you tell him, "I want to use (Lollar/SD/KA/etc) pickup," he'll say, "OK." If you ask him, however, "Hey, what pickup do you recommend for your guitars in order to get ___ sound?" he'll give you another answer! (and maybe even one that will surprise you!)
    Last edited by marcwhy; 01-30-2021 at 05:35 PM.

  39. #38

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    Steve is a great builder and a stand-up guy. I had an issue with one of his guitars nine years after buying it and he totally stood behind it. All the good stuff you've heard is true.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Oh, and another thing ...

    If you tell him, "I want to use (Lollar/SD/KA/etc) pickup," he'll say, "OK." If you ask him, however, "Hey, what pickup do you recommend for your guitars in order to get ___ sound?" he'll give you another answer! (and maybe even one that will surprise you!)
    Thanks for that. Truthfully, I don't have a pickup preference. I'm coming pretty much from playing acoustically 90% of the time, so I was hoping Steve would recommend one. After all, he knows the tonal quality of the guitar he's building. I've told him of my playing style and song choices, so I'm hoping he can use that as a guide (I'm a latecomer to electric guitar playing, and quickly soured on pedals, effects, boards and tubes/transistors).

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Oh, and another thing ...

    If you tell him, "I want to use (Lollar/SD/KA/etc) pickup," he'll say, "OK." If you ask him, however, "Hey, what pickup do you recommend for your guitars in order to get ___ sound?" he'll give you another answer! (and maybe even one that will surprise you!)
    If I am not mistaken, I think mine was the first time he used bare knuckle pickups. He liked the result so much that he decided to officially offer BK pickups in his future builds

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by limjaz
    If I am not mistaken, I think mine was the first time he used bare knuckle pickups. He liked the result so much that he decided to officially offer BK pickups in his future builds
    Nice! I'm loving mine!

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by helios
    I have two guitars from Stephen, and yes he is very humble and a joy to work with!

    Holst 17 X 3" Carved Top--Sourced From Old Growth Spruce In the Style Of A Wes:



    Holst 16 X 2.75" Laminate-Stephen's Own Pressed Laminate Top In The Style Of A Borys B-120

    Nice! Can I ask what kind of pickup you used?

  44. #43

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    I've had a couple of Steve's guitars. The man does beautiful work.
    Steve Holst be Da Man!-61981871_2282420368502658_8056712366387101696_n-jpgSteve Holst be Da Man!-jg1-jpg

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan0996
    Steve is a great builder and a stand-up guy. I had an issue with one of his guitars nine years after buying it and he totally stood behind it. All the good stuff you've heard is true.
    I just had another luthier (on another forum) tell me,

    You have one of the best luthiers in the country working on your guitar. I've been making since '88 and I'm quite good at what I do, but if I had 5 minutes in a coffee shop with Holst, I would ask him what kind of frets he likes for me- and I would listen very closely.
    High praise, indeed!