I'm down from Portland to the bay area on business and on Saturday decided to visit Gryphon Guitars, since I've heard so much about them.
When you get to the store there is nothing impressive about it. From the outside it looks more like a shoe repair or welding shop. Go on in.
While I was there, there was a steady stream of about 8 customers at any given time. I think they had about 5 people working there at any given time. Frank was working the floor, I did not bother him.
One of the things I wanted to look at was a Cervantes Crossover 1. I've been thinking about a nylon string and knew I didn't want a true classical. After looking around for a while, I didn't see one, but they listed one on their website. I asked one of the guys telling him the type of guitar I was looking for without specifying the Cervantes. I wanted to see what he would recommend. He immediately recommended the Cervantes.
Unfortunately it was being looked at by customers, Tammy and Bob. They were very friendly and invited me to look at it with them. Tammy played the Cervantes for a few minutes but hated the 1 7/8 neck. She wanted something with a thinner neck and something with a pickup. Tom, the sales guy told her there were no good pickups for classicals and wanted her to look at a Turner nylon string solid body. I'm not sure I agreed with 'no good classical pickups', but its not my place to say, he should be the expert.
I played the Cervantes for a while. The neck did not bother me. The strings were floppier than I was used to, but I suppose you'd get used to that. The sound of the guitar was very nice. It sounded very good on 'In the Bleak Midwinter Morning' and 'This is my Father's World'. The fact it had no fret markers was frustrating. I suppose you'd learn.
After that I played some steel string OM/OOO size. I played a SCGC H13. I have to admit I have yet to play a Santa Cruz that really speaks to me. They always sound tight. I played 3 Collings, one 000 short scale, one OM and an OM with a mahogony top. I liked them. They played and sounded good. I played a Martin OM-28 Marquis. I think I liked it better than the Collings.
I went then and looked at his used guitars. He had a 1969 Martin 000-18. It was in pretty good shape, didn't appear to have any cracks or major scratches or rash, still it looked 40 years old. I sat down to play it. Oh my. From the first strum this guitar was magical. What a great full sound. Whether strumming or picking it was killer. I played it for about 4 minutes and knew I had to put it down or bad things would happy.
I walk back to the wall and there is a guy putting up a D-45. I tell him he needs to play this 000-18. He takes it and I turn my back. When I turn around he is gone, with the guitar. I find him later in another room with the guitar. He agrees it is special. Asks me why I don't buy it. I tell him I'd like to stay married
I look around a little more before leaving. Very nice shop, especially if you are looking for mid to high end guitars. They have a great selection of Martin, Colling, Santa Cruz and Bougios (sp).
Yes, that 000-18 is going to haunt my memory for a while.