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Old 10-26-2010, 10:03 PM
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Cornerstone Guitars Cornerstone Guitars is offline
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Congrats John! Tim will make you a fine guitar!
Peter M.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:05 PM
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cotten cotten is offline
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I've exchanged messages with Tim and Mary McKnight, and though my budget is a bit below their base price, they assure me that with whatever I can add to the pot, they will be able to create a very special guitar.

Their guitars have garnered such demand that their normal waiting list is pretty long, for me anyway. But because they are starting a few to take to the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in Sonoma County, California next August, they think they can work this AGF Award guitar into the schedule.

Why would I choose McKnight Guitars? There are a number of good reasons of course, many of which also apply to our other fine luthier Sponsors. In no certain order, here are some of the factors that led me to choose Tim and Mary.
  • They were probably the first of our lutheirs to believe in this community enough to help support it as a Sponsor, back when such support was critical.
  • Tim and Mary's ongoing participation in our forum discussions would no doubt lead many of us to nominate McKnight Guitars as our 10th Anniversary Outstanding Sponsor Award, if we had one.
  • As a husband and wife team, each with complimentary duties, they produce some truly outstanding instruments, based on their tone and balance, their wide dynamic range, their fit and finish, their impeccable craftsmanship, their "feel" and their elegantly classy yet understated good looks.
  • I had opportunity to play an amazing example of their guitars. This factor loomed large, as I have not played many of our Sponsors' guitars. Among those I have, each was in my final group of possible builders. A recommendation of trusted friends, beautiful web sites and nice recording clips are very helpful of course, but it was important for this newbie to actually get to play at least one good example of a luthier's art. (Here is where I want to give special recognition to Simon Fay and Peter Marreiros of Cornerstone Guitars, both of whom included me in their Road Trip Guitar plans, so I got to try outstanding guitars that these two had built!)
  • Tim and Mary have been most gracious in working with me price wise. They know the $5000 limit, plus what I can add, and they've already pledged to help me get a very fine guitar using less expensive materials and techniques. I wish I could publicly recognize other luthier Sponsors who also made some very gracious offers, but I would not want to do anything to hurt their businesses. Just know, friends, that I remain VERY grateful for the kind offers!

Now let me shoot straight with you. Many of you know that I am a Christian minister, one whose primary tool is music in a wide variety of forms. Tim and Mary McKnight are very open with the fact that they, too, are Christians, as are several of our other luthier Sponsors. Early in the process, a wise friend asked me if I were going to consider only Christian builders, or give them some kind of advantage. That's a fair question, one that I want to address.

You'll have to trust me on this: the answer is no. Yes, I appreciate, even admire fellow believers, but as I told the friend who asked, "I'm commissioning a guitar, not buying a Bible." I honestly believe I gave each builder equal opportunity regardless of their religious or political leanings. For most of them, I have no clue what they may or may not believe, or where they might fall on the political spectrum. Further, I believe that Christians should have to compete on a level playing field. Many do. In the past, I've known some in other businesses who could not. I'm glad that the McKnights are believers, but, no, their religious faith was not a factor in their selection.

I hope my fellow moderators will forgive my brief excursion into a topic we do not discuss on the AGF. If anyone would like to comment on that, please contact me via PM or email. Thanks!

Old 10-26-2010, 10:30 PM
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cotten cotten is offline
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To my other luthier Sponsor friends:

Don't hate me! Please don't think that I consider you in any way to be a second class builder! I am confident that I would enjoy a guitar built by any one of you, from those with the lowest base price to the highest. I mean that! And if I ever have opportunity to put in a good word for you, based on my limited, very fast "education," you know that I will consider it an honor.

If fact, I've been pointing people your direction all along - now I just know a bit more of what I'm talking about! I am VERY grateful that you help keep the AGF "on the air" with your financial support, and I love seeing so many of you sharing your wisdom and experience in our threads. Even the finest of guitar magazines can't give the kind of nearly real time conversation that happens here every day, and your participation makes the AGF a more enjoyable, informative place to hang out.

To my friends who have never considered a custom guitar:

I really think you owe it to yourself to get to know our luthier Sponsors, what they build and how much more affordable they are than you may have assumed. We all hear about those builders whose guitars cost enough to live in or ride around on, but in the right hands, a wonderful instrument can emerge from a small shop for about the same money as we could spend for a quality factory-built guitar.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not disrespecting guitars by the "Big Boys" or the smaller, "boutique builder" companies. They produce some absolutely wonderful guitars. I still love my Taylors, and still would love to own an example of a number of fine "factory" guitars! I've just been pleasantly surprised to learn that sometimes a fine custom guitar can be had for about the same price range as one that is being produced in large quantities.

Old 10-26-2010, 11:00 PM
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theEdwinson theEdwinson is offline
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Congratulations, John, you've made a very wise choice! You'll have a guitar that will be a beloved companion for years and years--and will probably become a family heirloom. Tim's guitars are the best of the best, and you are eminently worthy in every way.

This has been the feel-good story of the year! A good man is recognized for his goodness, and what does he do? He spreads the love around to everybody else. He inspires all of us to be better. We all share the joy that this event has brought.

And soon, that new McKnight guitar will be broadcasting rainbow hues of heart and soul, from Tim's hands, to John's hands, far and wide, for all to hear! Well done! WELL DONE!
Old 10-26-2010, 11:07 PM
coldshot coldshot is offline
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Congratulations John,
I'm sure whoever you picked to build your fine custom guitar will make it a pleasure you will relive for a lifetime.
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:29 PM
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D.Kwasnycia D.Kwasnycia is offline
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Congratulations John, Tim and Mary are a great team. I saw a couple examples of there fine work at the Montreal Guitar Show this year, great choice!
Old 10-26-2010, 11:44 PM
Ilovetaylors Ilovetaylors is offline
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you deserve the best, and tim and mary makes guitars I wish I can afford to play...

They seem pretty chill......

btw are you going to post specs of your guitar ?

or do we have to wait longer with anticipation.....
selling it all...
Old 10-26-2010, 11:47 PM
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hnuuhiwa hnuuhiwa is offline
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Congrats John, Tim and Mary...this has been a fun journey to watch (the luthier selection), and I certainly look forward to watching the build.

John, I know how tough the selection must have been, but you have certainly selected a fine builder in Tim, and I'm pretty sure that no one else has a "secret weapon" like Mary. She brings her openess and humor to complement Tim's expert lutherie skills, resulting in a dynamic duo that's AGF legend

Make sure you get the McKnight custom plane upgrade with your build!


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Old 10-27-2010, 12:39 AM
dodadedadude dodadedadude is offline
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Congrats Cotton...
Tim and Mary are truly wonderful people and I was lucky enough to play 2 at the past Montreal guitar show. Enjoy the process...

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Old 10-27-2010, 12:55 AM
akivisuals akivisuals is offline
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Congrats Cotton! Can't wait to read the build thread that you are obligated to post here! Will you let us in on the specs? Inquiring minds are dying to know!
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:05 AM
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Congratulations, John! Thanks for sharing your exciting news. Thanks also for sharing your explanation about the level playing field. I'm sure Tim will be a great choice of builder for your special guitar, and like many others I look forward to reading all about the specs and watching your guitar take shape.

Congratulations once again on this fantastic and well-deserved award

Old 10-27-2010, 01:27 AM
harvl harvl is offline
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Congrats to both of you!!!

Cotton, I'm sure this is going to be a great ride for you, I look forward to hearing what the spec's are and watching it unfold (OH, wait... that would be a Voyage Air
By the way, my offer for a bit of commemorative inlay work still stands but having seen some of the inlay on Tim's guitars you won't be needing me!

Now the fun begins!
Harvey Leach
Old 10-27-2010, 01:57 AM
jeastman jeastman is offline
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Congratulations, John! I so look forward to seeing this beauty coming together and hearing how it is used. I'm sure after what is approaching 24,000 this is completely superfluous to say, but keep us posted!

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:54 AM
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Forensicguy Forensicguy is offline
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Congrats to John and to the McKnights as well. This will be an exciting adventure for all.

Like John, I don't look too closely at custom guitars as I can't really afford one either, but I will definitely be watching this one. I hope we can get some photos of the process of this guitar build to see its progress!

Well deserved award and a well deserved selection on a builder!
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:06 AM
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cotten cotten is offline
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Originally Posted by akivisuals View Post
Congrats Cotton! Can't wait to read the build thread that you are obligated to post here! Will you let us in on the specs? Inquiring minds are dying to know!
Yes, of course! We'll do a build thread on this one, so those interested can watch it's gestation from inception to delivery and beyond. I've already told Tim & Mary some of the basics that I will be looking for, and will be discussing with them how best to achieve my goals. Rather than posting those early specs here, though, I think it would be better to wait until we're ready to kick off the build thread.

Thanks, everyone. No, that doesn't say it emphatically enough.


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