acoustic guitars

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Dale Unger was born in 1954 and grew up in Nazareth, PA, home of Martin Guitar where in his teens he became inspired by meeting skilled guitar builders. He started building acoustic guitars in 1977 in collaboration with friend Dick Boak. In 1993 he began an apprenticeship with Archtop guitar builder, Robert Benedetto. Gradually, he started incorporating Bob’s secrets with his own ideas. In 1996, inspired by Bob and Cindy Benedetto, he began offering his own handmade Archtop guitars under the American Archtop Brand. Unger's world-famous instruments are built in Nazareth to custom order and he rarely makes more than 20 per year. He sells solid body electrics using the Unger Instrument brand name and also offers several workshops on the construction of archtop, flat top and electric guitars at the Nazareth Guitar Institute.


The Alvarez trademark was established in 1965,  and the mark was used on Asian-made guitars distributed by The St. Louis Music Supply Company. This company was founded as a violin shop in 1922 by Bernard Kornblum.  St. Louis Music also distributed the Electra and Westone solid body electrics, and manufactures Crate and Ampeg amplifiers.

The first Alvarez guitars were built in Japan during the late 1960s. The company was one of the first to offer Asian-made solid top acoustics. Later models were made in Korea.


The Adamas brand is owned by the Kaman Music Corporation. Adamas guitars were originally marketed as a high end series of Ovation guitars, between 1976 and the late 1990s. Since then they have been produced as a brand in their own right.

The carbon fibre production techniques pioneered in Adamas guitars were developed by Charlie Kaman after working in the aviation industry. Adamas claim their guitars are the most technolgically advanced ever built. These guitars have the typical Ovation style round backs, but have carbon fiber tops and multiple soundholes.


A.C.E. stood for Acoustic Classical Electric guitars. They were made by the Poly-Tech Company of Somersworth, New Hampshire. ACE offered classical, acoustic, archtop and solid body guitars as well as strings.


Northworthy is a handmade acoustic guitar brand. English luthier Alan Marshall makes around 20 Northworthy instruments a year. Custom wood, inlay and pickup options are available on all models which sell for between £1200 and £2000. Alan Marshall initially made guitars under his own name in 1982 but switched to using the Northworthy brand name in 1986.


Kimbara is the brand name used on a series of n classical, steel strung, and electric guitars and basses made for UK instrument distributer Fletcher, Coppock and Newman (FCN) Music. The brand name was first registered on the 2nd of January 1968 and the guitar production involved FCN Music commissioning guitars from various different factories across the Far East. Initially guitars were produced in Japan, then in the late 1980s guitars were sourced from Korea, and in the late 1990s instrument production moved to factories in China. The price of a Kimbara guitar puts it in the 'budget' range of guitars (The 8/Y model was available from 1977-1990 and its last UK RRP was £186.00). But they were nonetheless attractively designed, well made, and had surprisingly good tone for the price. In 2012 FCN ceased trading.

Source: FCN Music website (archived 2012)

Moon Guitars

Jimmy Moon is a famous Glasgow luthier who began his working life as an apprentice engineer in the 1960s, before establishing a guitar making workshop on a farm in Arran in 1979. Although not formally trained as a luthier his training as a toolmaker enabled him to lay out his designs accurately and how to use hand tools. His younger brother was an active musician and that got him exposure to various guitar designs. In 1985 he moved the business to Glasgow where he has been ever since. From 1985 to 1995 Moon made mainly electric instruments but after that he concentrated on acoustic guitars and mandolin family instruments.

Source: Jimmy Moon is a true industrial artist. Tristan Stewart-Robertson. Daily Record. 23 October, 2014.


George Lowden has been making guitars professionally since 1974. From 1980 to 1985 Lowden guitars were made under license by a small team of luthiers in the S.Yairi workshop in Japan. In 1985 Lowden relocated production to Bangor, County Down in Ireland. In 1988 Lowden went into receivership but was bought by a local consortium led by Andy Kidd. The new company was called The Lowden Guitar Company, and signed a licensing agreement with George who retained ownership of the Lowden designs and trademark. George Lowden provided quality control and new designs while remaining independent from the new company which moved production to Newtownards Co Down. This license lasted until 2003, when production stopped at the Newtownards factory. From 2004 onwards date Lowden guitars are made by George Lowden Guitars Ltd., under George’s direct supervision in workshops in Downpatrick, Co Down. Ireland.


Christopher J. Eccleshall is a maker, dealer and repairer of fretted instruments. He makes guitars, violins, mandolins, banjos and dulcimers to order. When he left school in Gosport the mid 1960s, Chris started an apprenticeship as a aircraft engineer but soon left to work as an assistant to a violin maker, John Howard-Lucy in Hastings for three years. He then moved to London to work with Hills of Bond Street before moving to Ealing Strings on Uxbridge Road in 1968. At Ealing Strings he had the opportunity to do some guitar repairs and eventually he left to set up a guitar business of his own in 1971. Before long he was doing work for Clapton, Townshend, The Sweet and Rory Gallagher. Eccleshall is now based in Devon.

Source: Eccleshalll Guitars website (6 April 2017)


Kramer was founded in 1976. It is best known for electric solidbody guitars (played by Edward Van Halen). The Kramer company went bankrupt in 1990, was revived in 1995 and acquired by Gibson in 1996. The current Kramer line includes electrics, acoustics and gear, made overseas since 1998 and sold though MusicYo.


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