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The latest from the workshop of the illustrious Bob Holo!
Read the full story here
Well... I digress... Lol. Anyway, yes, it's new.
Older guitars are better. In the first year (maybe more) of a new guitar, it's always a good idea to bring it back to the luthier for adjustments as everything settles. Looks like that's what Bob did, and I give him praise for that. This one's most likely ready for a new daddy (or mommy!).
That's pretty darn cool Bob.
Most professional luthiers would be very pissed off at my statement... It's a very tricky situation, because luthiers don't make much money, and they can only build guitars on commission. Luthiers get better by building more and more guitars, and learning from trial and error. In this world, they're basically asking money to get better, unless they spend years doing just that , or apprenticing under a master.
But the way I see it, it's like I'm learning to play Gypsy Jazz, and I walk up to Bireli, and say, hey listen, I've never played Gypsy Jazz before, but I'll play rhythm for you, you need to pay me 500$ a gig, so I can improve. Once I reach a good level, I'll charge you 1000$ a gig.
I say this because there are LOTS of horror stories that don't get shared in public for fear of reprisal. I have one friend who's guitar was messed up by a "renowned" luthier but he didn't dare speak up because he knew he'd be crucified by the musician community who idolize the luthier. He tried to go back to the luthier to have him fix his mistakes, but instead the luthier put a "hex" on the guitar; he literally put a sticker with a curse written on it.
I have one other friend who bought a guitar from a fairly well known luthier, after a year , the guitar had structural problems, when he asked the luthier to help out, the luthier basically told him "tough luck"
one of first gypsy jazz guitars was by a pretty well known luthier. It was actually a good guitar, but I sold it to a student, and while in paris, a hoodlum tried to mug him and he fell on his guitar. When he brought it in for repair by a local luthier, we found out that the guitar had already been messed up previously during construction and that the original had tried to cover it up rather than starting from scratch, to save money.
These are just a few stories out of many.
All this to say, I have big respect for people like Bob who experiment and get better at their own personal expense before selling it to customers. That's how you build a solid reputation.
That's why I always tell people to always try one before buying. If you really need to get a guitar on commission, be sure that you're able to either send it back to the luthier regularly for setup, or have a local luthier that's qualified to do it for you. Guitars in their first few years are totally different instruments than what they become later on and may very well need regularly adjustments in the beginning
Many many many years ago, I knew one guy who had never built guitars before, and started building Gypsy Jazz guitars. Upon building his first guitar, he made very bold statements, saying that pretty much all luthiers didn't know what they were doing, that he had found the secret formula. Back in the day, I tried out the instrument, I was so impressed and was shocked that he was right. The guitar sounded amazing, and so loud and balanced. A few months later, the top caved in... boom.. He had made the guitar so light, that out of the box it sounded incredible, but it was basically an ice cream next to a volcano... destined to last only a few seconds.
Moral of the story: don't judge a guitar out of the box. It takes a year if not even more before you know what it really is.
Seriously though - Thank you, Dennis. You know I return those sentiments to you tenfold.
Let me preface this by stating that I’m not a great or even good player, but I have a fantastic ear and I know what I like in GJ style guitars.
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical regarding all the incredibly wonderful statements about Bob’s guitars. After all, there are many great luthiers out there and I’ve not really heard a bad or offensive instrument in a long time.
That said, this guitar is a masterpiece of sorts and leaves no idea whatsoever that’s it’s a bastard child or unique anomaly coming from Bob. It plays like a dream, feels comfortable in your lap and as far as I can tell does not have a single untoward characteristic. At this point and in my opinion, Bob deserves all the accolades he’s getting for building great and very special guitars.
The midrange and upper registers are crisp, clear and without messy overtones. The bottom end is tight, full of punch and carries a bit of bark reminiscent of the “real deal”. Tonally it’s as close to the real thing (at least my real thing) as I’ve ever heard.
I find this instrument to be very aggressive in the best possible way. If you’re a bit tired out with the athletic component required to play this genre, you’ll find that this guitar provides exactly what you need and want with a lighter to moderate touch. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to get the most out of it.
I played it for a couple of hours last night with the Peche pickup and Peche amp and it was nothing short of fantastic. I’m a fan of the retro sound and this combination did not disappoint. Honestly it was everything you could hope for and more.
Workmanship is first rate; fit and finish is as good as I’ve seen and frankly at this price, there is no way anyone could go wrong with this instrument. Indeed, I’ve heard and played instruments at nearly three times the price and frankly, this guitar wins my mental competition hands down.
So as another reviewer has stated; run, don’t walk to snatch this instrument from the clutches of someone like me who will never do it justice.
Build me a short scale Bob, so I can have my very own Bobolo!