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Old 04-25-2020, 09:58 AM
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bho bho is offline
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Default How many have more than one guitar from the same builder?


I see signature lines, and read stories on the AGF, indicating that many of us return to the same builder(s) for a second or third or fourth etc. custom commission. There must be something about the build process, relationship, and finished guitar that brings builder and customer back together again.

I commissioned a OOO from John Greven several years ago. The experience included driving down to Portland several times to visit during the build process, getting to know John, and receiving a superlative and stunning guitar. I later ordered a OO from him as well.

What made you return to the same builder? Would love to hear your stories.

Martin D-28 (Sitka/Brazilian)
Martin OM28 (European Spruce/EIR)
Collings OM3A (Adirondack/EIR)
Greven OOO (Lutz/Brazilian)
Greven OO (Lutz/Maple)
ARK Senorita S6-12 (Adirondack/Mahogany)
Circa OOO-12 (European Spruce/Mun Ebony)

Last edited by bho; 04-25-2020 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:33 AM
FormerFoodie FormerFoodie is offline
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I am fortunate to have a stable that punches well above my weight class.

Within that, I have two Froggy Bottoms, three Circas (one of which I will ultimately sell), a Tippin and a Blazer & Henkes. I am a pathetically loyal sap. Once I find something I like, I do like going back to the well, ideally with different flavors. In general, a given luthier has a tonal DNA that I either gravitate towards or not. Within that, there is a spectrum of variability that is driven by the body size, wood combos, and other factors.

In regards to the Frogs, they are each different sizes - but same wood combos.

With the Circas, they are all OMs, all adi topped. Two of them are Braz, and one of them is Maple. The Maple would be the guitar that I would rescue if there was a fire and I could only take one. The two Braz, though they have the same wood combos, are voiced so differently. One is insanely dry, the other really has more of the traditional rosewood chime. I love them all.

When I commissioned my Maple Circa, the entire process was such a positive experience that I could see myself with another Circa but in a different wood combo or size. The ultimate compliment we can provide an artist is repeat support.
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:35 AM
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Michael Watts Michael Watts is offline
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Both my concert steel strings were made by Jason Kostal. If I need another one I know where I'll be going.
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Guitars by Jason Kostal, Strings by Elixir, Gefell Mics and a nail buffer.
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:50 AM
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TomB'sox TomB'sox is offline
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I also have a few from the same builders, namely Steve Kinnaird, Ben Wilborn, and John Kinnaird. For me, of course, they build guitars which appeal to me tone wise and just as importantly, the personal relationship to the builder. Someone can build the best guitar ever, but if we don't hit it off on a personal level it would be very unlikely that I would order again.

Another aspect of this question, not all of my repeats were commissioned. Once I know a builder and their likely tone, I am much more apt to pick one of their guitars up on the used market. One of my favorite guitars is a quilted maple from Steve Kinnaird that I "stole" from the used market and I would Never get rid of that.

Looks like you and I share an affinity for Maple!
PS. I love guitars!
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:50 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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I've had customs from both Collings and H&D, but I've had a few more with Collings. I like their attention to detail, craftsmanship and clean, distinct sound. Their customer service for me has been unmatched. It helps that I've been to the factory so many times, I have a good feel for their process. But I think the best factor may be the help I receive, and the input I'm able to provide, ahead of time.

I've read a lot of comments that we don't know what we're getting when we place an order, but I have found that to be false. There are several people at Collings over the years who have provided me endless information about guitars, sound, wood, construction, etc. That help gave me a lot of guidance in shaping the guitar. Best of all, I've always been able to share as much information as I liked about what type of end product I wanted to receive. And I knew the more opinion and information I provided, the more likely I was to get the guitar I desired. And it worked every time.
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:13 AM
Martz911 Martz911 is offline
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I have quite a number from James Goodall. Once I found the tone I was looking for, it became difficult to match it anywhere else - - evidently, each set of ears likes what it likes. Plus, there's the consistency of the builds, an appealing design (to my eye), and not having any problems down the road.
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:32 AM
Rwpierce Rwpierce is offline
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Two Kim Walkers and two Bruce Sexauer guitars for me!
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Old 04-25-2020, 12:46 PM
B Chas B Chas is offline
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I have two pairs, each pair from a different builder, bought used. Really liked the cedar top, then later bought a spruce topped for the tone variety of the same voice.
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Old 04-25-2020, 01:14 PM
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Ccmassey1 Ccmassey1 is offline
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Originally Posted by Rwpierce View Post
Two Kim Walkers and two Bruce Sexauer guitars for me!
Awesome. I have always wanted a Walker! I have a couple nice Sexauer guitars myself. A Preston Thompson and just added a John Kinnaird. Would love to see a pic of two of those Walkers. Jealous!!
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:17 PM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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In terms of steel stringed flat top luthiers, it has to be Bruce Sexauer. I own 4 custom instruments that Bruce has built for me over the years and I am actually lined up to get guitar #5 from him this year.

The reason that I return again and again is he simply makes some of the best sounding/playing guitars that I have ever played bar none.... I also appreciate the generous style of his interactive communication while planning a custom guitar, during its construction and after he delivers it.

Bashkin | Blanchard | Brondel | Buscarino | Chasson | Klepper | Kukich | Sexauer
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:19 PM
ericcsong ericcsong is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Watts View Post
Both my concert steel strings were made by Jason Kostal. If I need another one I know where I'll be going.
You are a good influence! I own a few Kostals as well!

FOR SALE: 2015 Kostal OM for Brazilian/German

Omega Braz MJ, 2011 Omega MJ Braz Baritone
Ryan Cathedral ABW/Bosnian
Build thread: 2011 Kostal Mod D Brazilian/German
Build thread: 2019 Kostal MDW Brazilian/German
Build Thread:2019 Bigfoot Mod D
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:28 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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I found my perfect guitar in 1999, stock config, by Collings. Had five for some time, down to four.

I also have a Santa Cruz, a Martin and an Eastman among my flat tops. All of them are fine instruments, but Collings ... just perfect - highly susceptible to temp and humidity, but great instruments when the environment is right.
Silly Moustache,
Elderly singer, guitarist, dobrolist and mandolinist.
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:33 PM
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_zedagive _zedagive is offline
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Currently 3, but 2 are for sale due to unemployment situation.

If you play it right the first time, it's not hard enough.

2009 Breedlove Focus SE Redwood/EIR (SOLD)
2014 Breedlove Crossover OO Mandolin
2015 Breedlove Exotic Fingerstylist Sinker Redwood/Ziricote
2017 Breedlove Exotic CM Classic E Red Cedar/Black Walnut

Last edited by _zedagive; 05-17-2020 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 04-25-2020, 03:25 PM
coopman coopman is offline
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For me, the repeat builder is David Wren. I started off with a used "washed out, hung out to dry" 1978 concert model of Davids from his early years. It had been beat to death by a popular Canadian folk artist who had dragged it all around the world for it's first 20 years. The headstock had been broken off, gouges galore, multiple cracks, a quarter epoxied on the bridge plate !?, abundant finish crazing, ... etc.

But guess what? The neck was still as straight as a railroad tie and as comfortable as any I'd ever played. After a refret with stainless steel it's ready for another 40 years. More importantly it is one of the sweetest sounding guitars I've ever played ... it also doesn't hurt that it was built with some of the most beautiful sets of Brazillian B/S and Cedar top that I've ever laid eyes on ... underneath all the wear and tear.

In the intervening years, David sold me more guitars than I care to admit during his years at the helm of The Twelfth Fret shop in Toronto (all other builders instruments). I came to implicitly trust his G.A.S. inducing instrument descriptions and personal recommendations. Never an unworthy instrument ... though several came and went over the years. My first Wren however stuck with me.

Imagine my surprise and joy when David 'retired' to full time building again. I knew I had to have another. Although it took several years on his (well deserved) wait list a slot finally came up! I jumped at the chance. The design and material choices were a wonderful collaborative process .... with much left to David's decision as his tastes are impeccable. He delivered! The guitar couldn't be more visually and sonic-ly different than my first one, and yet in a strange way very similar - especially in the realm of comfort, inspiration, and an indescribable "mojo" that never fails to transport me to a happy place when playing either one.

So OP - short answer is "it's definitely about the relationship" ... but it doesn't hurt when the outcome is a world class lifetime instrument

Sorry for rambling on ...
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Old 04-25-2020, 03:27 PM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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Smile John Kinnaird...

I have had 5 from John Kinnard over the last six years.
The first was gently used. The seller was ordering a custom from JK. When he told me he was ordering another I put my first order in.

I have a LOT of features I want for comfort and playability, and John always delivers TONE and volume in spades.

We have worked together on FOUR CUSTOMS now and I still have three of them.

I am contemplating selling the first one and ordering one more, even though I now have NO GIGS. Sheesh....

They keep getting better and the first smoked anything else I had owned.

It is interesting how we keep getting better. Yay John


2 John Kinnaird Customs 😃
My JK Custom #5 coming...
R.T 2c 12 fret custom
94 LKSM 12 string
A few more 90s Taylors
Still Too many more...
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