I spent about 90 minutes playing this guitar this morning. What a fantastic guitar!
The Guhl top with the compression wood, the 13 fret bridge location, the contribution of the “P”, the JB/2 multi-scale and double elliptical neck profile just allow for making music so transparently. I played Darn that Dream, Embraceable You, In a Sentimental Mood, Moonlight in Vermont, My Funny Valentine and Over the Rainbow and the guitar seems to elevate me.
I know that I have many other guitars from you (and others) that we talk about more often because they are newer, but this one is truly special to me. I can’t thank you enough for making it for me.
March 25, 2018, unsolicited: #2420814
One of my pernambuco guitar, a Lefty, changed hands recently (April, 2015) and the new owner sent me this email:
Just a few days of ownership of the JB15C and I have never been so content with a guitar purchase. I feel like I have wasted so much money trying to get the right guitar and tone. I wish I had come across your work sooner.
Here's something a little different that happened at NAMM/2013, from an admirer rather than a customer:
Bruce, my name is Bruce. I'm an Anaheim Policeman who was patrolling the floors last night about 4 AM in the Convention Center. I saw "The Artifact." I sat down with it for a bit. I cannot afford it. But I also couldn't afford not telling you that is best sounding/best looking/best feeling steel string guitar there will ever be. I could barely drive back to the station.
You should keep it.
I work again tonight if your guitar needs more security!
#214112 (available at Gruhn Guitars)
I got home later than usual but have been playing my new guitar for the last hour. Bruce, I don't know why or how, but your guitars, if my two are representative, just sound completely broken in from the minute the strings go on. I'm amazed by how good this guitar sounds and I've never played a new Adirondack topped guitar that didn't take a long time to play in and open up. You were right about the 45 not getting the playing time it once did, as hard to imagine as that is. Very strong fundamentals and big round trebles on this guitar. Huge sound for a guitar this size.
Love the neck profile, maybe a little more V and a little less shoulder than the 45. Finally, the finish is really done well and has just the right level of age to look authentic. Great work and another gem. A privilege to own it and know that it will be played, treated well and cherished.
Thanks very much
Just received your FT-14 Cocobolo/Engelmann from Schoenberg, and it has surpassed every expectation I had about the guitar. It's so light...and ever so resonant. Absolutely amazing -not only in tone and playability, but lovely to look at (something to be very proud of) I've owned some really good guitars in the past, but they have never met my expectation -from a deep soul/spiritual level, I just never really connected emotionally w/ those other guitars. I've always had "the one" in my head (a great expectation), hoping I would find it one day, and well...I found it. It's funny, because I've had my eye on this guitar for the past few years (ever since it arrived at Schoenberg's), and initially it was out of my price range, but I just kept coming back to it and was amazed that it hadn't sold. I know this may sound crazy to some people, but I honestly believe that the guitar was made for me to enjoy...and maybe that's why it didn't sell immediately. It was just waiting for it's "rightful owner". Awesome how the universe/God works sometimes -much gratitude.
I thank you Bruce for your passion, expertise, clever insight, and most importantly, for bringing joy to us privileged folk who happen to own one of your instruments. You do exceptional work.
Dammit Bruce, this thing makes all of my other guitars sound like they were
being played inside of a duffle bag. How in the heck do you get this kind
of sensitivity, projection and vibrancy? How much of it is the care you
take in the top / bracing versus the material itself in the sides/back?
I really like this amount of brightness and personally prefer the slight
upper mid range boost that is presently in this instrument -- the bass is
definitely there when you want it though......
This Camatillo Penngrove is absolutely beyond my highest expectations -- it
is the tricked out Ducati I was hoping for; thanks again for all of your
help and insights!!!!! I just hate that I have to sell all of these other
instruments cause they sound so bad...........
Greg bought the Penngrove that languished at Different City Guitars for 5 years.
The price was good as it was an '06, and he is a lucky man.
April 4, 2011, #1390906
I left a voice mail for you on your shop phone, but wanted to shoot you a quick email to let you know that the guitar arrived today in perfect shape. I've spent the last hour playing it, and as I said on the phone, it is truely an amazing instrument. I can't thank you enough and am honored to be its guardian for the rest of my life. It is a heirloom instrument, unlike any new guitar I've ever played for maturity of tone, playability and feel. Wow in every respect! Have a safe new year holiday.
Your humble servant.
I've had my new guitar now for a few months and I wanted to let you know how things are going.
We spoke with and emailed each other for over a year about specs and tone targets before I put in the order. I had initially settled on an FT15, in keeping with my love for OMs. But after awhile, having owned one of your FT16s, I got to thinking that I could not relinquish the depth and power of such a large guitar. Yet I needed a smaller guitar and desired more tonal focus.
When I called to asked if you could build a trimmed down 12 fret dread, a guitar that was not already in your line, you did not hesitate to say yes. At first I was elated that you agreed to such a thing. But then, as production began, I began to wonder if it was a wise decision, on my part, to have gone with a new, untested design.
This guitar is from Plato's "realm of the Ideal". Overall, the guitar has a very lightweight and well-balanced feel. The C-shaped neck profile is super comfortable, and the string spacing, as well as the action, is perfectly suited to my style of playing. I could go on all raving about the tone, but I'll sum it up to say that it has everything that I wanted, in spades; the articulate focus of a 000 with the authoritative depth of a dread, but without a trace of boominess. The warmth and clarity are stunning; sharing crisp, woody fundamentals with clean harmonic overtones. Not a trace of harshness, yet alive to the point of having a pulse; with an incredibly expansive dynamic range that is responsive to the lightest touch, yet growls when you want to make a serious point.
Visually, the guitar oozes simple elegance. I love the rosette and the snakehead headstock with the "S". The dots are understated, yet accentual. And the varnish just ices the cake with warm hues that eschew any hint of plastic glossiness. The Carpathian spruce over Honduras mahogany make a dream combo in a guitar with these dimensions. In fact, Carpathian has now trumped Adirondack for my favorite top wood.
Working this closely with a well-known luthier was, for this long-time acoustic guitar veteran, the experience of a lifetime. You hit the bull's eye with hair splitting precision, exceeding every expectation.
Heres' a toast to the Stradivarius of the American acoustic guitar!
Thanks and Best regards,
Sepetember 21, 2010 #1890310
Here is Larry Clyman's story. Larry bought the JB-15-WRX Pernambuco I had been playing as my main instrument through all of 2009. He is a talented writer IMO, and this is a fairly lengthy review of his buying process and the guitar intself.
May 4, 2010 #1690908
People say the Darndest things:
There are not words in our language that can describe the state of perfection you attained in Sinker. I truly believe that only a Buddha could understand it.
It moves beyond captivating, beyond intoxicating it takes one to a different musical sphere and I am so honored to be its keeper. Thank you for this wonderful and transcendent creation.
September 23, 2009 #1790509
I bought your guitar no: 1750309. It is a Schoenberg 000-C. I'm sure you remember the guitar.
I am a good friend of Vic Manual, who worked in Eric's shop a while ago, and for whom you crafted a unique mahogany 000. I had been playing this recently, and it has opened up beautifully. I have several Santa Cruz models, including a Brazilian Rosewood Firefly, which you should play if you get the chance.
Anyways, after playing Vic's guitar one weekend recently, I noticed Eric had your 000-C which had just arrived. It seemed similar so I bought it on the spot, as they say. I bought it unseen, unheard and unplayed, Crazy, huh?! But I live in Australia, and Vic convinced me to have faith in you.
I have played it for 3 weeks now. Bruce, it is simply beautiful. The tone's are already superb. I'm still working out which strings are best suited as I'm a flat-picker mostly (singer/songwriter/vocal soloist)
It looks very similar to the one Eric is playing on the Youtube video linked from your website.
I intend to fit a Baggs iMix set-up but with the passive M1 replacing the underbridge Ibeam (ie the undersaddle 'Element' will combine with the M1 via the iMix DI). I'll let you know how it sounds.
I'll post something again in the near future for your testimonials, once I have had some more time with your lovely guitar.
August 12, 2009
Good evening Bruce,
Spent most of today with Bro K and some other players. He rings like a bell and plays well with others too. You have out done yourself. A voice clear and clean and at the same time big when needed and quiet in a second.
When combined with another seasoned guitar he joined and harmonized. When combined with singers, my own voice and others, he supports, and lifts.
He is a gift.
Bill (5/24/09 - #1720209 is Bro K)
I am the proud owner of the above guitar which I purchased a few months
back from Eric Schoenberg. I'm 60 years old and been playing since I was
12. I've owned Martins, Gibsons, Gallaghers, Guilds, Taylors, Santa
Cruzs, Froggy Bottoms, Collings, and more. I can say without doubt that
this all Koa guitar is the best, most incredible guitar I've ever owned.
Every night I check it closely to see if there is some little monster
living inside to give it the magic. There isn't, so I guess it is you
that gave it the magic. I've built six acoustic guitars. All look
good, but only two really sound good. I can truly appreciate your
talent. Thank you for building something that brings me such joy.
Greg Jones (#1650808)
I received my JB-16 this month and have been playing it exclusively for the
entire time. I forgot that I also owned nine other acoustic guitars, all very good
ones but your latest guitar allows me to play anything and any style I want and
does it better than just about anything else I've ever played. The only other guitar
that competes with it is also one of your creations, my single O model that I have
named "Blackie". When I purchased "Blackie" I had the same reaction that Bryan
Sutton had when he found his single O model at the Guitar Gallery. I thought it was
the most amazing and most responsive guitar that I had ever laid my hands on. Your
single O model is very unique and I think any serious player that hasn't played one
is really missing out on a mind boggling experience. I would have been happy with only that
guitar at the time I brought it home. This was true UNTIL I received my JB-16 with it's
beautiful Pernambuco back and sides and amazing German Spruce top, now I know I would
have to have both of these guitars to be completely satisfied. The JB-16 maintains the
sensitivity of the single O, but adds a gorgeous piano like low end and a fullness that is hard
to describe. Both of these guitars are different but both are definitely Bruce Sexauer !
There is a bell like clarity to the sound that has to be heard to be understood. As far as the
wood selection on your guitars is concerned, a great luthier once told me (when I was couldn't
decide on what wood combination to use for my next guitar)
"Give up your hopeless speculation and look forward to the moment of truth. I am not the victim of any woods tendencies, but rather the shaper of its possibilities".
That luthier , in case you forgot, was you ! This statement has proven itself to be very true and I believe
you could make a guitar out of any wood and make it sound fantastic. I could go on and on but I'll stop
here and just say "thanks for giving me another incomparable instrument with that Sexauer soul in it"
Sincerely Tom Tsouris (Red is #1701108 & Blackie is #1561107)
My name is Bryan Sutton. I just bought the little 0 #1670808 today from Robin at the Guitar Gallery above Nashville TN. I just wanted to let you know that it's one of the best guitars I've ever played. I've been looking for a small guitar for a little while and was happy to run across yours. I had never been to Robin's shop and stepped in there a couple of weeks ago. I've spent the last two weeks trying to either find a better guitar, or talk myself out of it and was unsuccessful on both accounts.
I've played a lot of guitars built by Dana Bourgeois over the years. I called him up and told him about the 0 and he said he wasn't at all surprised I had run across a guitar of yours that was so impressive.
The thing really is amazing. There's something about the voice that is so focused and precise but yet it can change according to my dynamic. I appreciate the Martin style no logo headstock. Very classy.
Bryan Sutton (#1670808)
I love playing your guitar. It is very responsive, has a wonderful sound, and is the perfect size.
Susan Freydberg 9/08 (#990104)
Hello, Bruce. I bought one of your dreadnought guitars in Vancouver in the spring of 1977, when I was flush with money from treeplanting, and I still have it. I love the big voice and warm tone. Back then you didn't even have a company stamp as it were for the inside of the guitar; you simply wrote your name in on a square piece of paper, in black ink, with the date ("Spring 1977"). I had to have its top steamed back into shape a couple of years ago, due to buckling, and a new bridge, but otherwise it's still in good shape. I happened to be playing it today and did a web search and there you are. I am glad I bought this guitar from you, and glad that you are still building them. I've bought other guitars since (including a Taylor), but this one by you still has a very special place in my heart and my musical life. It's the one that I chose to bring to the church for accompanying hymns.
Rev. Geoffrey Simmins 5/05 (#36?)
Al Moss 10/04 (450482)
Eric Sampson 11/03 (620300)
-Michael Milham 6/02