Golden-Era Guitar Producers of Today
Sifting through the mass imagery thats Instagram you quite often stumble across guitar builders who are doing things a little different and I’ve been hunting down inspiring guitar makers of Instagram. Some of which look forward at design and some look back for inspiration – I am one of the latter that adores what is largely deemed the ‘golden era’ of guitar manufacture – 60’s Chicago. Think of those iconic names that came from that period; Harmony, Kay, Silvertone, Danelectro and others. Seems that back then they were all in competition to make the wackiest shape, the funkiest paint job, the most expressive pickup or the strangest arrangement and those designers just got it right (or wrong). For many those guitars are still holding their own today – kinda like they didn’t know what they were doing at the time.
They were department store, economy guitars that basically were not built to last, yet have, and with a handful of contemporary practitioners are still cutting making music. I love looking for those Inspiring Guitar Makers of Instagram and over the past year I’ve been looking towards my next guitar venture. Scouring the web I often stumbling across really inspiring guitars and Inspiring Guitar Makers of Instagram who are in some way in congress with my aesthetics. Therefore with this blog I intend to present the top few that I feel are bloody good at what they’re doing and the subtlety of their ‘nod’ to the ‘golden era’ guitars of the past.
1. Koll Guitars
So First up we’ve Koll Guitar Co. based in Portland Oregon. I love this guys guitars, they’re just so cool in every way. Check out the ‘Duo Glide‘ model – in this guitar model I see that beautiful Harmony style ‘f-hole’ and Curtis Novak’s faithful recreations of the Rowe Industries ‘gold foil’ pickups from Toledo, Ohio. I’ve not seen one guitar that isn’t so tasteful it hurts.. and thats why he’s one of those Inspiring Guitar Makers of Instagram.
This is the brain child of Michael King – Electro Stringed Instruments/ Cowbrand Design. Super cool and sleek designs unique from the ground up. Everything is designed by Michael and together his guitars hark back to that period that I love. Ot appears that all his guitar builds have a unique theme or colour scheme throughout even down to the hard case – looking at his work I’m reminded of Silvertones and Kays – and by the sounds of it he loved those old guitars way before anybody else caught on. His pickups are so unique and I love the boldness of their look – just like my favourite Kay ‘Gold’ pickups found on the Kay ‘Swingmaster’ 673 guitar. Check out The Luthierist podcast interview with him – really fascinating stuff and he’s got some story to tell… and check out his new bridge design!
Motor Ave. is a guitar company that is seriously rad – incredibly sleek and one of the coolest guitar companies in the USA for sure – previously based in Los Angeles, California but now resettled in North Carolina. The Bel Air is a really cool big bodied hollow body guitar thats owned by some big guitar players such as Josh Homme (who owns several). However all Marks guitars models are amazing and unique in different ways. The ‘Bel Air‘ model reminds me of those bigger bodied guitars of 60’s Chicago such as the Harmony H77/78 or the Silvertone 1429, which Josh can be seen playing on ‘Make it With Chu’ video. Mark also featured on The Luthierist podcast, which you can tune into here. He’s got a cool story too.
Veritas Guitar Co. are another cool cat on the guitar scene from Vancouver, Washington. With killer style and wicked lines the ‘Five O Three‘ model immediately caught my eye with those vintage Kay style ‘Speed Demon’ f-holes. -a feature I incorporated into my ‘DB100‘ guitar model. Casey Marvin of Veritas Guitars also appears on an episode of ‘The Lutherist’ podcast and again well worth a listen. Really beautiful guitars and worth following on Instagram.
Daddy Mojo started years back as a pair of cigar box guitar producers from Montreal, Canada. They produce a really sexy looking/sounding range of CBG’s, however with recent years it appears they’ve gradually started to move into super cool, retro styled full scale guitars under the ‘DM Electrics‘ guise. These guys are working with some really cool materials and have some really sharp hardware being produced along with pickups – the guts of which are wound by ‘Mojo Pickups‘, a highly regarded boutique pickup producer in the UK. My personal favourite guitar of this company is the ‘BeeKay‘ guitar model that they produce – a nod to the Kay ‘Thin Twin’ guitar of the 50’s, arguably the guitar that started rock’n’roll. A chambered hollow-body guitar produced years before the Gibson 335. The Fritz Brothers Guitar company currently produce a reissue of the Kay ‘Thin Twin’ under Vintage Kay Reissue but Daddy Mojo’s model is far cooler and no carbon copy attempt – an original guitar, just like the original.
From what I understand Nic who runs Island Instruments shares the Mile End Guitar Coop workshop with Daddy Mojo and a few others. Nic is producing some very original guitars that feature familiar shapes of some great ‘golden era’ guitars. His ‘Forty-Four‘ guitar model is my personal favourite as it has that original shape of the Harmony Stratotone H44 loved by so many players from the past and present. From following his Instagram feed I love watching the progression of his work and how he experiments with different colour schemes and materials, it’s like watching a great guitar builder become a master guitar builder. Each build appears to have a theme based on a specific material or inspiration – amazing guitars and super unique.
Theres a really insightful interview with Nic found on the Fretboard Journal Podcast 148
Hope you enjoyed my blog on Inspiring Guitar Makers of Instagram, follow the various links and finds something new from it. If you’re reading and you’re one the featured ‘Inspiring Guitar Makers of Instagram’, I hope you liked what Ive written because I really dig what you’re doing! So keep it up.
Until next time then rockers 🙂