Why Buy Boutique?
Published on 08 July 2022
A Ford Fiesta and a Ferrari will both get you from A to B, but the experience each one will offer on the way will be worlds apart. This is what it is like to buy a boutique guitar.
You can use pretty much any guitar on the planet but what if you want the best of the best? This is where the boutique guitar comes into the limelight. On par with some of the most famed guitars throughout history, our boutique section is where you find the crème de la crème of guitars currently being produced worldwide.
Time is money
First up is time. Time is money as they say, and this is exceptionally true for the handcrafted nature of boutique builds. Some boutique builders, such as Seth Baccus, offer two lines of instruments. As you can imagine, if you want a guitar built by Seth himself, demand is high, and the man only has so many hours in the day. This simple issue of supply and demand makes a Seth Baccus built guitar a pretty hefty purchase. So, Seth decided to take everything he loves about the guitars he creates and entrust a specially selected team of builders in the UK to put together a team-built version. This team-built version is still handcrafted to a meticulously high level and the process to build is a lot longer than a production run guitar, but many hands make light work. This means the team-built guitars can be sold for a good few meal deals less than a guitar built by the man himself. Let us be clear though, these guitars are by no means cheap instruments.
The good stuff
Not every piece of wood is equal. Filtering out the best quality materials is a key component to ensuring the end guitar is operating on an entirely different level to its counterparts. Perhaps the best example of this is PRS’s famous wood library. The wood library is actually a place within PRS’s Custom Shop where all the exceptionally stunning wood is sent. As wood is a naturally occurring resource, you will never get two pieces the same. So companies like PRS have a specialist on hand to individually earmark the best pieces for their boutique builds. This means the materials used for boutique builds are consistently exceptional.
But it is not only how good the wood is; it is what you do with it that counts. These builders have developed many techniques to bring out the best woods. Whether it be an ultra-thin poly finish or the classic nitrocellulose finish which has been tastefully aged, achieving the correct finish for each guitar is an art form in and of itself.
You will also notice that the hardware chosen is top-tier stuff. You will be treated to the highest level of pickup manufacturers, such as Bare Knuckle, Cream T, or Lollar, to name a few. Companies such as LSL Instruments proudly hand-wind and produce all their pickups in-house.
The finer things in life.
So what makes a boutique guitar so special? Where do all those extra pennies go? Unfortunately, they don't all end up in our back pocket. Safe to say, we would have hired our own team of on-site baristas to fuel our staff's incessant need for caffeine if we did. No, instead there are a few common themes that run through the genre of boutique guitars that add a premium to their price tag.
Some people have art; we have guitars!
Guitars are a great talking point and can offer a slightly unusual feature for your home. Displaying something a little extra special on the wall, especially when a world renowned guitar build is a great way to display your devotion to the guitar world. These guitars might be some of the best playing available but they are also some of the best looking and highlighting them for that purpose alone is completely justified. As discussed previously on some of these guitars you are getting the best cuts of the worlds most rare woods and their exceptionally eye-catching grains can be deemed an artistic work that should be displayed appropriately.
So who are these Boutique builders? Let's introduce you.
PJD is one of the newer additions to the prestigious brands found at guitarguitar. Founded in 2010, PJD has been passionately built from the ground up by founder Leigh Dovey. Leigh first learnt his craft from his father, who built props for London's Royal Opera house. Hardly the usual way to get into the craft, he quickly developed a unique skill set that he transferred to guitar building.
His instruments are built-in a workshop in York and are one of the leading boutique builders flying the flag for the UK.
Another UK builder and one whose name is already well established. Seth Baccus learnt his craft under his stepfather Andy Manson, another hard-hitting name for those in the know.
As mentioned before, due to the high demand for his instruments, he has now set up a UK team to put together his team-built line of guitars. Seth popped into our Birmingham store to deliver the first batch in person, and we instantly fell in love. Both with Seth and his guitars. These are not your run of the mill spec guitars. Seth was adamant that Obeche was used for the body wood as this has always been his favourite throughout his career. It is easy to understand why! As soon as you start playing, the guitar springs into life. Extremely resonant and in the goldilocks zone of weight, we are struggling to see why we haven't seen it used more often. Attached to this incredible body is an equally impressive Roasted Maple neck. Extremely stable and sculpted to precision, these instruments are a must try!
Hopping over the pond to our first US builder, LsL. Founded by husband and wife Lance and Lisa S. Lerman. Lance has music running coursing through his veins. His early life saw him teaching Banjo in Berkley. Later he would pursue a number of roles working as a guitar technician in a music store and founding his own furniture company. His combined knowledge of wood, woodworking, and guitars makes him the perfect pool of knowledge to run a boutique workshop. Operating from the home of guitar building in California, the small team works hard to do everything in-house. The only components not made in-house are the high-grade bits of Gotoh hardware.
John Suhr is one of the heroes of the boutique guitar world.
John kicked off his guitar building career strongly by working in the famed Rudy's Music Store in its heyday, the kick-ass '80s. The relationship between Rudy Pensa and John Suhr led to the formation of Pensa-Suhr guitars, and it was under this name that John built guitars for the likes of Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Lou Reed, to name just a few.
Suhr guitars can now be seen in the hands of some of the world's greatest players and are also popular with session guitarists. If session musicians love them, then you know they are a solid instrument. Suhr have incorporated modern technology into their manufacturing process, offering a more streamlined end product. Some people are in love with the imperfections of a hand-crafted guitar, but for those seeking precision Suhr is your brand.
So there you have it, a brief introduction to the wonderful world of boutique guitars. We are proud of the vast array of builders we can offer in our stores, and we are always looking for new builders and brands to bring on board. So, if you are looking for something with a little extra hot sauce, then we hope you join us in-store to explore our ever-growing collection of awe-inspiring guitars.