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October 21, 2008

Suhr guitars are fantastic

I recently went to RKM Music in Sherwood Park and Mill Woods (Edmonton), and I had the opportunity to play 3 Suhr guitars. I have read about Suhr guitars, partly because guys like Scott Henderson, Mike Landau,  Guthrie Govan, etc, work with John Suhr. Look the list of Suhr artists - quite a few killer players there!

A Suhr guitar is one fantastic instrument. I am a Strat guy as you probably know, and a Suhr strat is really the best strat you can possibly buy, from my perspective. These guys are fanatical when it comes to detail and quality. A guitar from Suhr Guitars won't be shipped out if it doesn't meet the stringent quality tests, so you can be certain you will get a fantastic instrument.

Suhr Strat

Just from strumming the first chord, you can tell this is a GREAT guitar. The ones I tried all oozed quality and finesse. Without plugging in the guitar, it was very resonant and inspiring to play. Then when you plug it in, oh my gosh! These Suhr pickups are fantastic! Well, the guitar just sounds fantastic, and I'm sure there's more to that than just the pickups, but I was floored by the strat tones I could get out of it. Very, very addictive and I really did not want to stop playing these guitars. Apparently, a lot of time is devoted to picking out the best possible wood for the guitars Suhr make. All is hand-built, assembled by one guitar builder. Quality is what Suhr is all about.

The Suhrs I tested were all different. The first one was a Strat with humbucker/single-coil/humbucker configuration. It had a fairly fat neck, but still fun to play. The frets were so nice. The intonation all over the neck was impeccable. Sounds was great, even the humbuckers made me smile. The Buzz Feiten Tuning system seems to be a great tool for perfect intonation. Next, I tried a Suhr strat with all single coils. Wow, the sound was a dream. The guitar was very light, and extremely easy to play. It had a beautiful birds eye maple neck, but I hear it's a soft wood and I would prefer a hard maple neck for durability. The last Suhr I played was a butterscotch Tele. It has a chunkier neck but still not hard to play. The sound again - fantastic tones all over. Tele lovers, take a close look at the Suhr telecasters!

So why don't I have one then, if they are so good? Well, all this talk about how fantastic these instruments are aside - they are expensive. Most of them are around $3,000 USD and above. Compare to a Fender Strat - the American Strat Deluxe is less than half of that. Now, I have played several Fender Strats, including the Custom Shop ones, and none of those were anywhere close in feel, looks and sound compared to the Suhrs I tested. The Suhrs are just in a different league, in opinion. Thereby the price... I don't have that much money to spend on a guitar at this point. However, I am still looking at ways to fund such a purchase. I am trying to sell off some things in order to raise funds.

I have been playing guitar for, well let's see now - over 26 years now I think. I have had some nice guitars over the years, Hamer, Steinberger but nothing close to  a high quality guitar like a Suhr. So, I'm considering ordering a Suhr. Yes, they do design the guitars according to your specifications. Pick and choose the parts and specifications so you get exactly the guitar you want. No need to compromise. Can't get anything like that with a Fender!

Suhr Telecaster

For me, there is no immediate hurry though to get a new guitar of this caliber. I don't play that many gigs these days anyway. There are also other options for good strats. Anderson, Grosh, Nash come to mind. I'm sure there are others too, but I can tell you that after playing those Suhrs, my current guitars seem like firewood!

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on October 21, 2008

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