The Traugott Five: From 1994 to 2016

The boutique guitar industry is chock full of unique experiences, and we’ve certainly had our fair share of them take place in these very showrooms. Recently, we found ourselves with no fewer than five Traugott R models at the same time (some have already sold by now). When Al rolled in on Wednesday for our regular recording session, we seized the opportunity to taste test the five Traugotts (from a 1994 Koa model all the way to a 2016 with Adirondack Spruce) and get Jeff Traugott’s own feedback on how he heard his individual sound manifested in each individual guitar. It was a pleasure both to analyze the common threads of Jeff’s voicing, and to delve into the minute idiosyncrasies by which each model R stood out from its siblings. Below you’ll find the The Traugott Five: From 1994 to 2016 compilation video, and each Traugott’s individual video with Paul and Jeff’s commentary. Tell us what you think!

1994 Traugott R (R.009.07.024) Flamed Koa & German Spruce

Paul: This doesn’t sound like your dad’s Koa. The bass is tight and defined, which I expect of Koa, but the brightness in the trebles has a roundness that’s something else entirely. This one is well played in, and responds accordingly. I’d describe the energy as wide open, but precise.

Jeff: The Koa guitar has a beautiful range with bright lows and mids and fat highs, but the overall tone is less complex than the Brazilian. Not in any negative way, just that to me it’s not as deep and varied as the sound I can I get with Rosewood. Like the 6-12 string guitars, the Koa has a smooth, warm, sweet character, and they are all getting better with age.

2004 Traugott R (R.000.130.104) Brazilian Rosewood & German Spruce Matched Pair

Paul: This one has a mature, seasoned voice. Strong trebles, and a little more warmth in the lower mids than others. Both this and its 12-string twin have lots of headroom. This one in particular has that glassy top end you only find with Brazilian Rosewood.

Jeff: The 2004 pair of 6-12 strings sound so rich and smooth with a balanced range and super thick highs. They’re getting better with age.

2004 Traugott R 12-String (R.000.126.064) Brazilian Rosewood & German Spruce Matched Pair

Paul: Just like how the Koa Traugott isn’t your usual Koa guitar, this R 12-String ain’t a regular ole jangly strummer. The voice is much more focused and doesn’t suffer from the harsh brightness of other 12-strings. It’s tough to describe it other than it’s more musical, more nuanced and dynamic, than what you’ve been conditioned to expect from a 12-string guitar.

Jeff: The 2004 pair of 6-12 strings sound so rich and smooth with a balanced range and super thick highs. They’re getting better with age.

2012 Traugott R (R.000.202.082) Brazilian Rosewood & German Spruce

Paul: Ah, now that’s some gorgeous Brazilian. Old school, nice and straight-grained. The bass is a bit more prominent in this one than the others, and there’s great note separation and clarity. The tone is focused with bright trebles, and I’d describe the energy as forward-voiced.

Jeff: The 2012 and 2016 have a notable boost in the low end and low mid range with some wild overtones and killer volume while still maintaining the strong mid-range and fat high end which I try for in all my guitars. I made an effort to get this kind of sound in 2006 when I made some significant bracing changes including my design for the floating back brace.

2016 Traugott R (R.001.230.086) Brazilian Rosewood & Adirondack Spruce

Paul: Rich sonority was the first thing I noticed. The lower mids are particularly rich as well. This one the Brazilian glassiness just like the 2004 6-string. The notes have that elusive bloom, where there’s a kind of overtone swell that blossoms after the initial attack starts to fade. It’s a rare thing, but I’ve seen it in a number of Traugotts.

Jeff: Both the 2012 and the 2016 started life big and bold and to me have a huge tonal range and a complexity that is stunning. This is the case with all my current guitars and I’m loving that. I just strung a new Model R Fan Fret today with the sister set of Brazilian to that of the 2016 R and it is crazy good! I hope I can hear the 2012 and 2016 in 10 to 20 years and see how they have developed like these others.


Further, Jeff had this to say about the collection: I believe strongly that the more a guitar is played and the older it gets, the better it gets. When someone owns a guitar and plays it year after year they mingle their DNA with the guitar’s DNA and this can create something very special! In truth I would love to own any one of these guitars. I’m very pleased to hear this mini retrospective of my work and thankful to Al, Paul, and Logan at Dream Guitars for putting together such a lovely soundscape! Thanks also to everyone who has bought or may buy one of my guitars, many of you have become friends over the years and that has been a wonderful experience for me! Anyone with questions about these or any of my guitars are free to contact me!

Dream Guitars is also here to talk with you about Traugotts past, present, and future. We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Paul, Jeff, and Al’s respective ears–and we hope that this compilation can help establish both a thread of continuity across Jeff’s guitars and a greater understanding of the subtle nuances that makes each of these hierloom-quality guitars distinct.