Great Acoustics: John Prine’s 1939 Gibson Super 400N

From the November/December 2020 issue of Acoustic Guitar | By Greg Olwell A few archtops were larger and some were glitzier, but all were trying to top the standard set by the stunning Gibson Super 400. Having an 18-inch lower bout and decorated with Gibson’s most premium appointments and hardware, the Super 400 surpassed the L-5…


Ask the Expert: Vintage vs. Modern Instruments—Do Blindfold Tests Really Work?

Over the years, a number of blindfold test have been conducted, including a pair of widely reported tests administered by a trio of researchers in 2010 and 2012. In the first experiment, 21 contestants from the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis were asked to rate six violins: two Stradivaris, a Guarneri del Gesu, and three violins made by highly regarded contemporary luthiers.




dunlop national resonator guitars

Great Acoustics: Ca. 1927 National Style 1 Tricones

These two Nationals display age and use in a way that museum curators treasure. These guitars were meant to be used, and their accumulated wear and patina reveal a lot about the lives they have led and the people who have played them.


nylon string guitar

Brave New World: A Guide to Navigating Online Guitar Auctions

Today, virtually everyone who wants to sell a guitar—even a brick-and-mortar store—lists it on public internet auction sites. The result is that almost every guitar for sale in the world can be seen on your screen, and the potential buyers are practically limitless. If you are not already addicted to online guitar auctions, here is a pragmatic introduction to navigating this brave new world of musical commerce.
Joan Baez guitar

Great Acoustics: Joan Baez’s Circa 1880 Martin Style 0-40

Aside from the association with Baez, the 0-40 is a remarkable instrument in its own right. Martin only made a dozen or so examples of this deluxe parlor-sized guitar, with its Brazilian rosewood back and sides, bound ebony fretboard, abalone purfling and rosette, and brass (or sometimes German silver) engraved tuners with bone buttons.


1925 Weissenborn Style 4 guitar

Great Acoustics: 1925 Weissenborn Style 4

The Weissenborn Style 4 is the high-water mark of the acoustic steel-string guitar for lap-style playing. The 1925 example seen here features an all-koa body and a hollow, square neck that contributes to the guitar’s volume and tone.


buendia guitar

Great Acoustics: Leonardo Buendia Mod.D Cutaway

A couple of years ago, guitar maker Leonardo Buendia was at the Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration when he met a retired Southern California luthier who had a stash of rare wood sets from a fallen mahogany tree known for its intense figuring. (Search “The Tree” at “The luthier had bought the…