Every year, we see some of the greatest guitars ever made come through our doors - including one-off custom guitars, signature editions, vintage classics and iconic models from Martin, Taylor, Maton, Gibson and more. But what guitars stood out among the pack? Here's what our staff picked as their favourite guitar of 2021.
Dan - Social Media / Sales
My favourite guitar that passed through the shop this year would be the European Spruce / Sassafras Maton Custom Shop 'Traditional'. With a highly figured Blackwood neck and striking Blackheart Sassafras on the back and sides, this was a stunning guitar to look at. Master luthier, Andy Allen, spec'd this guitar out beautifully with tasteful appointments such as a thin Abalone rosette and narrow rope purfling. But it was the sound of it that really drew me in. It had everything I look for in a small guitar - deep bass, a warm midrange and sweet trebles. Being a flatpicker I love a small body guitar that sounds like a dreadnought and this was it. Whoever nabbed that guitar should be very happy indeed!
Ben - Repair Tech
Working in a guitar retail environment for someone who loves guitars of all shapes and sizes, it is challenging to choose just one guitar from a year of beautiful instruments. One of the guitars that impressed me was the Collings OM1 Custom Blacktop with Doghair finish back-and-sides. It sounded amazing and looked unlike any top end acoustic I’ve ever seen. Unforgettable t one and looks - the complete package!
Dennis - Sales
One guitar that really piqued my interest in the store this year is the Furch Orange OMc-SW. Furch have made this guitar stand out thanks to the thoughtful and subtle design choices, from the maple binding to the gorgeous paduak rosette to the flower inlays. I also dig the spruce-walnut tonewood pairing which creates a really pleasing tone with ample depth to each note, and it's effortlessly playable thanks to the modern neck and cutaway. All in all, it's a great choice for anyone looking for a modern spin on the versatile OM guitar.
Hamish - Sales
Occasionally we get a few one off Martin Custom Shops come into the store, and it’s always an exciting day getting to try a guitar that’s not been made before. Early this year a 0000 12-fret Martin CS with figured maple back-and-sides and a Carpathian spruce top arrived. What a sweet thing of beauty it was! Warmth to die for and an evenness across the whole guitar that was astonishing. The best part however was that it looked and sounded like nothing I’d ever heard or played. I never wanted to put that guitar down, and the owner of this guitar is very lucky to have such a unique instrument by one of the world's best makers.
Bella - Sales
As a lover of small bodied guitars, I found the Taylor GT 811e to be the most impressive and exciting guitar that has come through the store this year. It's an absolutely stunning guitar, featuring East Indian Rosewood back-and-sides, Sitka spruce top and Mother Of Pearl embellishments. Where the GT 811e really shines is it's playability - this little pocket rocket is one of the most enjoyable guitar I have played all year; full of character, and it packs a punch!
Josh - Demos / Sales
For me the revelation of this year was the guitar maker Furch. It is great to be pleasantly surprised by a builder that was previously unknown to you. They all have a quality of finish and tone that is difficult to match at their price point. It is difficult to name just one as a favourite, but two models in particular really had some extra wow factor.
First of all ,the Furch Green D-SR Masters Choice is an excellent modern take on the Indian Rosewood / Spruce Top dreadnought. It gives you everything you know and love from that type of 'D' style instrument with modern clarity, perfect intonation and incredibly presented timbers. Number Two on my list is the Furch Orange OMc-SW. This is an incredible take on an OM style guitar with a soft cutaway, beautiful neck profile, perfect intonation and extra top end sparkle. Did I mention it has Walnut back and sides? It's no secret that I love Walnut for its aesthetic and tone, but I feel we just don't see it enough! I give Furch the big thumbs up, and these two instruments a perfect score of five chefs hats out of a possible five for extra tasty guitars!
Ryan - Manager
I feel like it's been a banner year for guitars - we've had so many guitars this year that could be contenders for Guitar Of The Year. I'm going to have to cheat a little here!
My shortlist this year included the Martin David Gilmour D-35 Signature (one of the greatest Martin guitars I've every played, even if it was just for 5 minutes before it went to it's rightful owner), a particularly great Collings D2H (which is saying something, as they're all great), and a Santa Cruz OM with Style 42 purfling. Oh, and the USA-made Epiphone Frontier. And the Taylor 314ce LTD with Torrefied Sitka! There's been more than a few truly special guitars this year.
But as I can only pick one, there's a clear choice: the Collings OM1 Blacktop / Doghair Finish, a custom order that we waited patiently for for over a year. I've never seen anything quite like it, and the sound was pure Collings: rich, complex and clear. Maybe it's time to order another?
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Dating back to the 1930's, was honed in the seedy bars of post-WWI Paris by travelling musicians, including the spectacularly talented Django Reinhardt - often thought of as one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.
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