Suhr: The Ranges Explained

Published on 16 February 2024


Suhr guitars have become a modern day byword for boutique, world-class quality. Ever since Mark Knopfler appeared in the late 80s with his stunning Pensa-Suhr MK1 guitar, the world’s eyes were turned in the direction of master luthier John Suhr.

Formally an amp and guitar repairman, then one of the top builders at Fender’s Custom Shop (after his time in New York with Rudi Pensa), Suhr then went on to create his own brand, delivering super high quality guitars of the types that he wanted to see out in the world. Innovation, good taste and building expertise all went into the fine broth that has resulted in Suhr guitars, and for decades now, they’ve been an aspiration brand for players of all styles.


Guitarguitar and Suhr

At guitarguitar, we’ve been fans, players and supporters of Suhr guitars for a long time. As such, I’ve not only had my hands on dozens of different models, but I’ve actually been lucky enough to chat with John Suhr on several occasions (sometimes accompanied by endorser Pete Thorn) to chat about guitars, amps and the whole Suhr story. That, then, puts me in a fairly good place to be able to talk to you about Suhr guitars from a point of access, authority and experience. 

That’s exactly what I plan to do today, as we breeze through the different guitar types offered by the brand, and perhaps some special editions of those guitars thrown in for good measure! We may also peek at some limited ‘guitarguitar select’ editions of Suhrs that have appeared over the years, just to fully round out the picture. 

Are you settled and ready to go on a trip? This way, please…


Suhr Guitars

Suhr started out as an outlet for John Suhr’s custom builds, and these have been distilled into a core number of recogniseable styles. Suhr are still very much a custom shop - and you can spec up your ideal design with us at your nearest guitarguitar - but due to popularity, the wait for a custom build can be pretty long! As such, Suhr do make a number of ‘off the shelf’ instruments, built to the exact same standards as the custom guitars, but with the choices also dealt with. Much of the Suhr stock you’ll see in GG is from these runs, though we also collaborate on a great deal of Suhrs specific to us, too. We wait just like everyone else, so when you see a GG Select guitar, we may well have ordered it a year previously and only just taken delivery of it! 

Since much of the appeal of Suhr is the number of options available, it can get a little confusing as to what belongs where. To make things simple, think of the different models as relating to the body shapes, because neck specs and even the headstock can change dispensing on a run or custom requirement. The broad brushstrokes take in Standard, Classic and Modern ranges, with S-types, T-types and more all used within those primary designations. Let’s dig a little deeper…

Suhr Standard

Ths Suhr Standard is John Suhr’s update on the S-type. It’s slightly smaller and sharper than a Strat, normally flat-topped (with contours and scraped binding) and has a pickguard. Available in an array of pickup configurations, the Suhr Standard often also has highly figured maple for the top, creating a beautifully up-market looking contemporary S-type.

Older Suhr Standards didn’t have pickguards, and are sometimes made available as Suhr Standard Legacy models, though these are generally limited editions. They can look pretty close to the ol’ Knopfler model if you see them in Sunburst or Trans Caramel with a black painted headstock, white EMGs and gold hardware!

Otherwise, the Standard Plus is the ‘regular’ Suhr and it took the reins from the previous Standard Pro. The differences between these two models are listed below: 

Standard Pro                                             Standard Plus

ML single coils                                          V60 single coils

Rosewood fingerboard (if not maple)     Pau Ferro fingerboard (if not maple)

No coil split on humbucker                     Coil Split on Humbucker

Maple neck                                                Roasted Maple neck (upgrade)


Suhr Classic

Suhr Classic guitars take all of the great neck specs, wonderful pickups and top-tier build quality, and just adopt a more ‘time-honoured’ body shape. You can have a Classic S, a Classic T (including an Alt-T which is semi hollow) and even a JM type for all you offset fans. Again, pickup configurations can differ but you’ll often see the S-type as an HSS model with deliberately mismatching black humbucker for that cool ‘modded’ look.


The Suhr Classic S, seen above, is easily one of the company's biggest sellers. The Classic T can be had with antique finishing to capture more of that fifties vibe, as well as curom surf-style 60s finishes.


In my own opinion (and not especially a Tele fanatic), the Alt-T models made by Suhr are phenomenal. There’s something wonderful about the chunky necks, the pickup choices and the semi-hollow body that just really works!


Suhr’s take on the Jazzmaster, the classic JM, is by no means a slave to tradition. I’d say that this model of all the Classic Suhr range best displays that bridging of two worlds: where the vintage past meets a resolutely modern present. Player’s like Big Wreck’s Ian Thornley are big fans of this design. Indeed Thornley is a huge advocate for the brand, as we’ll learn soon!


Suhr Modern

The Suhr Modern is, to perhaps over-simplify, the brand’s take on the Superstrat, or the T-style equivalent. The Suhr Modern S is a more aggressive looking S-type that lands somewhere between an Ibanez RG and a Wolfgang to my eyes, though it’s dependent on neither for its design. 

This is the shred machine for hard rockers who want the very best, most capable guitar that their money will buy, and the spec leans more towards high performance than even the Suhr Modern. You can have hot pickups, compound radius fingerboards, Floyd Rose tremolos and large frets, all in service of making your playing go like the clappers!

In keeping with the slightly more edgy design, Suhr often use more extravagant finishes with their Moderns, though you can most definitely still get more ‘sober’ examples!


Suhr Artist Signatures

As I’ve mentioned, Suhr have a raft of influential, amazing players on board as endorsees. Pete Thorn is a great example, with a couple of popular signature guitars. Mateus Asato is a contemporary guitar hero with his own special Classic S and T models.

I mentioned Ian Thornley earlier in regards to the JM guitar, but he actually has three different Suhr signatures! There’s a classic S and a classic T with his name on them, too, and they all feature his favourite pickup configuration, finishes and hardware. Epic tools for an epic player. Read more about his love for the brand in our exclusive Ian Thornley interview.


There’s More!

Today’s blog has hopefully lifted the lid on some of the more pertinent points on what’s going down over at Suhr. I’ve not even touched on their superlative amplifiers, their pedals or their basses today! Perhaps I’ll save those for another blog, so make sure you come back for another look soon! 


In the meantime, thanks for reading and click that button below to be taken to our entire Suhr collection!

Click to Browse All of our Suhr Guitars


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About the author


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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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