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McElroy Learn More +

A guitar that looks beautiful but is challenging to play, just doesn't feel good in your hands, is not the answer. A guitar that sounds great, but lacks in aesthetics is not the answer. A guitar that sounds great but doesn't hold up over time is not the answer. I seek balance between tone, strength, playability and beauty. This is my approach to guitar building.I am a self taught luthier and began building around 1995. Through my years of learning – and I am sure there will be many more to come – I focused first of the voice of the guitar. I wanted to achieve a tone that was rich and balanced, with strong bass response, fat trebles and a good mid-range to fill out the overall sound. It's the tone that is pleasing to my ears. My bridge is designed with the same fundamentals in mind. It is an integral part of the toneI use Cumpiano's theory in bracing which I've tailored to maximize the tone I want while maintaining strong structural integrity. Cumpiano's theory (which I believe is of the Gurian camp) was the one that made complete sense to me given my background in woodworking and my experience in structural design.I also build my guitars with playability in mind. I want a guitar that feels good in your hands, so I carve the necks with this in mind. I mainly use mahogany for the necks for it stability, and an oil finish because it has a natural feel to the hand and avoids the sticky feel a lacquered neck can sometimes have. I also build my guitars with a stacked heel for the same reason – it's stronger – and that's important to me. I stack the pieces in sequence from the same board as the neck for aesthetics. It also saves wood! To my way of thinking a guitar should look beautiful, but it also needs to be strong and give years and years of enjoyment. I want my guitars to be around long after I am gone.Each piece of wood has its own personality. As I see it my job is to respond to this and allow the wood to tell me what it wants for rosettes, binding, etc. I find myself in awe as I select the various woods, and as I am finishing the guitars. The challenge here is to remain humble – and let the wood speak. The end result is what I hope is not only a work of art, but also a musical instrument that sounds and plays as beautiful as it looks.I suppose I am on a never ending quest for balance in tone, strength, playability and beauty.Brent McElroy
Seattle, Washington
Perla Batalla, Bill Mize, Joel Tepp, Jamie Stewart, Justin Davis
Standard, 000, OM, 00, Classical
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