The Acoustic Revolution

   Nowadays the world of music is saturated with talent in all styles and genres. To be a great guitar player means different things to different people. To some... it means being able to shred like Dimebag Darrell, Kirk Hammett, Eddie Van Halen, or some of the newer generations of rock guitarists. To others, it may mean to be smooth and full of tone like Andres Segovia, Paco De Lucia, Vicente Amigo, or Wes Montgomery. Some may associate guitar talent with tone and the kinds of tones and sounds one is able to achieve with this single but diverse instrument.

   The debate lingers on... acoustic or electric? Which is your mode of preference? Some have not wanted to decide and have gone the acoustic/electric route, and some have maintained their preference with an almost religious fervor. For convenience sake -- we can call them the 'purists'.

    There are many articles on the subject I am sure -- and I would imagine the purists of the electric camp would be in the majority when it comes to modern day music and the popularity of alternative rock and indie genres -- but there is a breed of musicians who have stood by their trusty acoustic instuments and have remained true to on organic, acoustic sound.

    There has seemed to be a resurgence, or a revolution if you will... of acoustic stylists who know just how to get the right tone and sweetness out of their guitars. Many have mastered percussive techniques that even allow them to be a form of one-man-band or to play as an accompaniment to dancers such as in the world of Flamenco.

Paco de Lucía at the PLAI Festival in Timişoar...

  These artists have evolved and so have their instruments. What was once a very narrow field of competition has blossomed into a full-blown industry thanks to the pioneers like Taylor, Martin, Gibson, Godin, and Guild. They have developed acoustic guitars to such precision and have even engineered electronics to amplify those sweet tones without modifying the acoustic sound too much.... to allow the guitars to shine in larger and larger venues and environments.

    The world of guitar lutherie seems so mysterious in ways and in ways it certainly is mysterious. It is somewhat like the making of a fine wine or sculpture -- where science and art meet with a precision touch to form a craft worthy of some of the finest musicians all over the world -- with tones that seem like they are made in Heaven.  The past 20-30 years have seen a boom in the amount of acoustic guitar makers and it doesn't seem that this boom is slowing down. Many people are opting for the sweet soft or percussive and bright tones of acoustic steel and nylon string guitars.

   Some of the top steel string acoustic guitar makers of the modern age are Taylor, Martin, Guild, Gibson, Collings, Santa Cruz Guitar Co., Larrivee, Seagull, Breedlove, Froggy Bottom, Olson, and the list goes on and on. Some of the top nylon string guitar makers are Conde Hermanos, Godin, Cordoba, Takamine, and many many more as well. Those are just some of the big boys. There are plenty of small name luthiers out there who make some fantastic guitars (although many of the lesser heard of make less in quantity which makes the price tags out of reach for some).

    For many out there who are not familiar with some of the top acoustic guitar stylists of our time... it is definitely a genre of music worth checking out. The music has progressed and evolved and the tones of these sweet guitars are something Heavenly. Have a listen to some of the best acoustic stylists of our time --


Taylor steel-string guitar.