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  #1  
Old 04-13-2019, 10:39 AM
roberts roberts is offline
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Default Bethany Guitars

For those of you who've never been to the Woodstock show, let me give a little geography/history lesson. The show is split between two buildings - the main floor is the Bearsville Theater, opened by Albert Grossman (Dylan's manager) in 1969 and used in the ensuing years as a recording and rehearsal studio by all the folks whose photos adorn the walls - The Band, Van Morrison, the Stones, Joe Cocker et al. Directly across is the old Utopia Sound Stage, where Todd Rundgren (remember Todd Rundgren and Utopia?) presided. If the weather is rainy, as it seems to always be on that last weekend in October, the path between the two buildings is a mud river like the streets of Deadwood. Because of the layout and space requirements, the Utopia is where the large manufacturers like Martin, PRS and Bourgeois - who bring a lot of guitars and their own display stuff - usually set up. It's also where the special exhibits - this past year the Doctorow and John Thomas collections - are housed. There are also usually a couple of tables set aside for individual luthiers who I always guessed were late entrants.

No matter, it's elbow-to-elbow in both buildings and this past year I was looking at the Doctorow guitars when I was engaged by a guy with an English accent holding a cute little Gibson-ish LG. Recently I've realized that the Gibson sound is kind of what I've been searching for, and I started sampling the guitars at his table, Bethany Guitars, which were definitely Gibson replicas with just enough flourishes to set them apart. I played a couple of J35/45s and a jumbo - they were astounding. Took me back to when I came in back in the 60s, when anyone who had a good guitar had a Gibson, with those weird pick guards and magical sound and yes, that smell . Then he held up the little LG and asked if I wanted to try it. I said "Should I" and distinctly remember him saying "I think you should"....







Bethany Guitars are built by Phil Brunwin in Bethany, CT. Connecticut, with Kim Walker, Dale Fairbanks, and now Phil, may be a bit of a hotbed for guys who build Gibsons. His guitars are reasonably priced and if you check out his website you'll find it filled with modesty and understatement. But this little LG is the total deal. The sound is fat, crisp, and explosive. It has a concussive depth you feel in your hands. Full-body burst, light as a feather, chunky neck like it should, and yep, the smell! Fretboard and h/s inlays with the exception of the stylized B are taken from a '20s Gibson Recording King.

I doubt that Phil will see this post and if he did he'd probably give me a casual "Thanks for that, mate". I think he's a guy who might appreciate the endorsement but is not out there actively seeking one. All the more fun to post this and I invite anyone who may be familiar with Bethanys to join in. I don't think I've seen any other posts so am happy to welcome him to the board.

https://www.bethanyguitars.com/
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:08 AM
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ChuckS ChuckS is offline
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Hey Robert,
I see the LG is in your signature; that's the real endorsement.

I looked at the Betheny website and saw the L-00. Is the LG different and if so in what ways?

Thanks
Chuck
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:18 AM
roberts roberts is offline
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Hey Chuck, long time since we spoke. Hope all's well with you....! I don't recall him having an L-00 at the show. If he did I surely would have played it because as I was posting I was dabbling with the idea of having him build me a Lucas. That would be spectacular!
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McAlister C Makore/Adi
Martin OM-42SB
Martin CS 000-28 12 fret
MJ Franks 000-12 Brazilian/Carpathian
Bethany LG
Bourgeois Custom OMS Redwood/English Walnut
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:28 PM
bmh1 bmh1 is offline
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Congratulations Robert! What a beautiful little guitar! And I'm sure it sounds amazing. I hadn't heard of Bethany guitars before. Thanks for the link!

My best to you. Happy playing!

beth
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:07 AM
roberts roberts is offline
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Thanks, Beth. It definitely helped me satisfy my Gibson itch....
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Martin CS 000-28 12 fret
MJ Franks 000-12 Brazilian/Carpathian
Bethany LG
Bourgeois Custom OMS Redwood/English Walnut
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:37 AM
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TomB'sox TomB'sox is offline
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And I trust your opinion, you turned me to the Morrissey guitar at Woodstock in '16 that is one of the best sounding I own.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:13 AM
jt1 jt1 is offline
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I'm also a fan of Phil's guitars!
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:49 AM
roberts roberts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jt1 View Post
I'm also a fan of Phil's guitars!
A SERIOUS endorsement!
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McAlister C Makore/Adi
Martin OM-42SB
Martin CS 000-28 12 fret
MJ Franks 000-12 Brazilian/Carpathian
Bethany LG
Bourgeois Custom OMS Redwood/English Walnut
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:33 AM
jt1 jt1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roberts View Post
A SERIOUS endorsement!
Not so sure about that, but I do really like Phil's work.

I love the 1940s LG with the way cool and way rare Recording King style fretboard inlays. Very cool.

Earlier, someone in this thread asked about Gibson's LG model. Gibson introduced the model in 1942, shipping the first in august of that year. Like many of Gibson's models, the number designates trim level, with the LG-1 (the wartime, Banner model was X-braced with multiple purflings) having a mahogany top, the LG-2 a sunburst spruce top, and the LG-3 having a natural spruce top. Otherwise, the guitars were the same.

The LG replaced Gibson's earlier "L" model (with the same numbering system: L-00, L-0, 1, 2). Lots of folks have speculated that "LG" stood for "little guitar" or "ladies guitar," but I'm confident that those suppositions are wrong. The LG is larger than the Robert Johnson era L-1 and Gibson did not marked it to women. Indeed, early ads depicted it with Robert Junior Lockwood, and certified Blues icon and supposed stepson of Robert Johnson.

I theorize in Kalamazoo Gals that "LG" stands for "L, gut string body size." Gibson used the same body mold it had been using for its classical guitars, the "G" models, and adapted it to a 14 fret, steel string guitar.

In any event, the LG is one of my all time favorite guitars and I really like what Phil is doing with the concept.
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