Pre-War Guitars: Modern reproductions of iconic guitars
Scott just got another guitar
Scott Wackerman sees a lot of great guitars everyday, in fact Scott probably sees far more great guitars than just about anybody. Why? Because Scott handles the shipping, receiving, and data entry for Gryphon. Whether it’s the latest Traditional model from Collings, a custom Santa Cruz, or the newest update to Martin’s Authentic Series, Scott usually gets to check them out before the rest of us even know they’re here.
But Scott isn’t content to just play lots of great guitars as they go by, he’s also stepped up and bought some fine ones, both acoustic and electric, to take home with him (he doesn’t work here every day, you know). A-list reissues are his favorites, and include a Fender Custom Shop ’52 Tele and a ’56 Strat, a 1958 Les Paul reissue, plus a Collings Traditional Series OM with baked top. The list doesn’t stop there, as Scott also has a ’60s ES-175 and a PRS Custom 24, plus others, but you get the idea.
Scott doesn’t fall in love with a particular guitar as often as he used to, but it still happens. The last time was when we got in three guitars from the Pre-War guys, Wes and Ben, in North Carolina. One was a mahogany Dreadnought, pretty much like the guitar Pre-War made for Molly Tuttle. After playing it a bit Scott got that far away look in his eyes and asked us to put it on hold, then brought in a check and took it home. Since Gryphon’s profit margin on Pre-War guitars is slim to begin with, and they take forever for us to get, he didn’t get much of a deal but he didn’t seem to care.
When you consider all the mahogany Dreadnoughts that pass through Scott’s workstation, it says a lot that he chose this one to take home. In that same batch was a Brazilian rosewood herringbone D and a Brazllian rosewood AJ model. The fact that they are new but look like an old guitar is what catches your attention, but how they sound and play is what you’ll remember.
The Pre-War Guitars Co. is two guys, Wes Lambe and Ben Maschal, who build instruments based on the classics from the 1930s. A big part of what impressed us about their work is that both men have spent years repairing and setting up both new and vintage guitars, and this shows when you play their own creations. Their attention to detail is impressive and they use hide glue, ultra-thin lacquer, and torrefied tops and bracing to capture the sound, feel, and look of 80-year-old instruments.
They also add signs of play wear, a technique that has been part of the electric guitar world for a couple of decades and the violin world for centuries. They offer three levels of distressed finish so you can choose a look that mimics a lightly played guitar that spent most of its life in a living room or go for one that has the battered appearance of an old road warrior.
We’ve been lucky to have had our hands on a number of great original pre-war instruments and the guitars of Wes and Ben really capture the elusive blend of powerful bass and clear, sparkling trebles that characterize the old classics. The new instruments from Pre-War Guitars are made one at a time so our supply will be limited.
All Pre-War Guitars Co. instruments feature:
– Dovetail neck joints
– Natural or Shade top finish
– Hide glue construction
– Ultra thin, aged Nitrocellulose lacquer
– Torrefied Adirondack Spruce tops
– Hand carved torrefied Spruce brace wood
– Two way truss rods for adjust-ability, and reliability of a modern guitar
– Hand made in the USA
Wes Lambe and Ben Maschal of Pre-War Guitars [PODCAST] on Fretboard Journal