- acoustic guitars
Garrison is a Canadian based company, whose innovative ideas concerning acoustic guitar design started as a rough sketch on an airline napkin. For founder Chris Griffiths it was the product of an interest in guitars that started when he was just 12. By the time he was 17 he was working as a guitar repairman at his local guitar shop - but after a while found himself unemployed.
At 19 he started his own company in St. John’s Newfoundland - Griffiths’ Guitar Works - with a simple but effective ethos, building custom guitars at budget prices. It paid off, and now Griffiths’ Guitar Works is one of the largest custom guitar stores in Atlantic, Canada.
His big idea though - the one sketched on the napkin - was the Active Bracing System. It was an idea that took six years to finally get to the prototype stage, but promised a unique production method. It was finally unveiled the NAMM show of 2000 in LA, where it received compliments from many in the music industry and other guitar manufacturers. Garrison Guitars was awarded a “Golden Axe Award” for Best Value by Harmony Central in 2000. In addition, Garrison Guitars and its founder have won over 14 different awards for innovation, business planning, export growth, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
The Active Brace System (ABS) is a projection moulded, mass produced frame that essentially replaces conventional wooden bracing systems usually found in acoustic guitars and claims to make the guitar stronger due to the fact that both the neck and bridge are connected to it. Garrison also claimed that because of its one-piece, lightweight moulded construction, it makes the guitar vibrate better, and over a wider area, than a normal wooden bracing system would allow.
Whether or not this is true there are other benefits to consumers. Garrison claimed that the whole construction process for the ABS takes no longer than 45 seconds, due to unique moulding technologies. This will cost a lot less than paying a skilled craftsman to construct a wooden one, so production cost savings should mean a cheaper instrument.
In early 2001, Garrison Guitars opened an acoustic guitar manufacturing company in Canada tooled with the latest robotics, laser cutting, cnc milling, and UV finishing. The 20,000 square foot factory produced orders for distribution in North America, Australia, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, China, Japan, and Canada.
On July 3rd 2007 the Garrison brand was aquired by Gibson.For more information on Garrison Guitars and Gibson Guitar, go to
References and sources:
Music mart magazine 2001