IRIS Guitars: An Introduction

Published on 23 March 2023

Are you sitting comfortably?

Good, because we have a story to tell you. It’s the story of a new guitar brand steeped in the secrets of high-end boutique building and masterful tone. This is the tale of Iris guitars, and how they are some of the loveliest instruments we’ve picked and strummed for quite some time…

 

 

Who are Iris Guitars?

Iris guitars is the brainchild of Adam Buchwald, a luthier working out of Burlington, Vermont. Associated with ultra high-end brand Circle Strings, Buchwald found himself looking to venture out and create a new brand with its own identity. After years of repairing instruments and learning his trade in Brooklyn, Buchwald’s skillset demanded a proper canvas. Iris guitars are that opportunity.

 

 

Hand Made American Acoustic Guitars

Iris are a small team of builders and have been in business since 2018, so the company are by no means old. Each member of staff has accrued many years of experience, and the house preference is for classically styled acoustic designs: they are almost like a greatest hits of American guitar building in terms of their inspiration! We’ve got some lovely dreadnought models, smaller bodied (LG-styled, to our eyes) and jumbo models, all with a distinctively Pre-War to Mid-Century flavour. You know what we’ve talking about: distinctly American, as classic as you like, and also a fresh new brand. We love the vibe, and we are super-impressed by the sound and feel of these!

 

Details

Iris guitars are Adam Bushwald’s plan to create the ultimate ‘player’s’ acoustic. These are undoubtedly high-end guitars, hand made in the USA, but designed to be built as efficiently and economically as possible, so that players can get their hands on world-class instruments at slightly more-accessible prices. Hand-made American guitars will never be cheap, but Iris have packed in a bunch of innovations to their builds in order to pack as much value into their models as possible.

For example, things like the 25” scale length make for a comfortable slinky feel, but it’s also much quicker to measure and cut, believe it or not, so the build time can lessen somewhat. European spruce is used for the tops (some have upgraded Adirondack spruce), along with mahogany for the back and sides. The necks, also made of mahogany, are built from multiple pieces to avoid wastage. These necks are also bolted on, which is a preference that Buchwald has included in some extremely expensive Circle Strings instruments in the past, because of the future adjustability. It also speeds up the process, and if the join is expertly cut, then no loss of tone is incurred.

One of our favourite design/build choices is the finish. Iris guitars have a matte nitro finish, over open pore wood. No wood filler is used to smooth out the texture, and no lengthy polishing processes are required to get the gloss look, since they aren’t using one. The result is a beautiful old-worlde look that actually lets the timbers vibrate more and thus sound exceptional.

These decisions all point towards a build process that’s geared for efficiency and effectiveness. Lessons learned on more expensive brands have been carried across so that the player gets the end benefit: a less expensive guitar which looks awesome, feels great and sounds wonderful.

 

Iris Guitars

We have a few models in stock just now. To us, they are strongly reminiscent of classic ‘Kalamazoo’ acoustics in terms of their dimensions and visual inspiration. We currently have a dreadnought, a mini jumbo and a 00, and they are quite lovely things to interact with! Sonically, we’ve all come away impressed about how loud and rich they sound, across the board. There’s depth, clarity and lovely overtones to be had, along with a feel that is very inviting and encouraging to the player. The 25” scale helps with that ‘broken-in’ feel that makes an acoustic guitar feel more like a companion than a museum piece.

We fully think you’ll be impressed by Iris guitars. They are full-on hand made American guitars with a classic heritage look, and amazing feel and a touch response and dynamic that is the match of any top builder you can mention. We cannot wait for you to try Iris guitars at your earlier convenience!

Click to View our Selection of Iris Guitars

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About the author

Ray

Features Editor, Warehouse

I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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