David - Carson City, NV
I have now had my TDK #242 for 2 years. A lot has happened to this guitar (and me) in that period of time. I have grown to deeply love this guitar, but I have to tell you that I have mistreated her badly. I have dropped her. She has had the case slam shut on her beautiful Sitka Spruce top. The latest was a fall from a stand placed on a countertop, ironically to avoid having the dog accidently knock her over. As I rushed to answer the door, I heard her fall. I just knew it was the end. She survived it with a small indent in the top of the fretboard – hardly noticable. My point is that this guitar is not only beautiful, but it sounds amazing and is wonderfully crafted.
I am not proud of my ownership record but I am grateful I crossed paths with this builder. Like most of you out there, the choices are overwhelming of what we can buy. This guy builds a serious guitar. When I bought the guitar unseen and unplayed from the seller in B.C, he told me to play the sh*t out of it.. I didn’t understand that statement at the time but I did and she opened up nicely. This guitar continues to get better and better. The fact that she is so durable is a testament to it’s craftmanship. What a joy it has been for me to own this instrument. Thank you Trevor, it’s been a great adventure, and just so you will know, I take very, very good care of her now.
Scott Martin - New Hampshire
I recently picked up a Kronbauer TDK (# 293) mini jumbo on whim through a direct trade for a Huss & Dalton 00-Custom on Acoustic Guitar Forum. The TDK was nothing like what I was looking for as I prefer short scale, small-body guitars with wide nut width fret boards. But the guitar was beautiful so I figured I’d give it a shot. I am SO glad I did. I cannot put this guitar down! The detail and workmanship that went into this guitar is incredible.
Trevor is not a luthier – he’s an ARTIST! My TDK is Engelmenn over Ziricote, maple bevel, 7 piece neck, custom Orca inlay on the 12th fret, flamed maple binding, mahogany ‘stripes’ on the body sides and fret board edges, spalted maple rosette and bottom strap with a K&K Pure Mini installed. It is nothing short of STUNNING to look at. But it’s when you play it that it really shines. Tone all day long!! Responsive to the lightest touch and through my Fishman SA220 sounds better than any guitar I’ve ever heard amplified. Since receiving this guitar I cannot put it down. My beloved Martin 00-28VS just sits on the wall like an abandoned lover tossed aside for a new one. I wish I could post photos in this comment.
All I can say is if you are thinking of having Trevor build you a guitar, DO IT! Trevor is at the top of his game and only getting better. Trust me when I say that Trevor is well on his way to being one of the finest guitar makers in the world. His prices will only go up. Get your Kronbauer now and it will surely be a classic worth twice what you paid down the road. Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have to go play my Kronbauer TDK!!!
Scott Martin - New Hampshire
Hello again! I’m back less than two months from last review, the one directly below this one. Why? Well, to give a second review – on my second Kronbauer! As I stated in the review below, my Martin 00-28VS was gathering dust on the wall because the TDK was getting all my love and playing time. That didn’t change. I decided to keep an eye out for a Kronbauer SMB – Trevor’s small-body guitar. As luck would have it, one popped up for sale on AGF and I jumped on it. This one is a Kronbauer SMB (#288), so just 5 builds from my TDK (#293). Like the TDK, the SMB is an exceptional guitar with incredible detail, workmanship and most importantly, TONE!
This particular model was heavily customized by Trevor from the original owner’s specs with an Engelmemm spruce top over Trevor’s best rosewood back and sides. The rosewood grain is nearly perfectly straight. The binding around the body, fretboard and headstock as well as the heel cap is a gorgeous flamed Koa. The bridge and fretboard are ebony and the head stock has an ebony overlay with no logo. There is no fret board inlay and the tuners are gold Gotoh 510’s with ebony buttons. The whole combination gives the guitar a very classy look. The rosette is a beautiful custom wood inlay with three different types of wood blocks that look to be walnut, rosewood and mahogany, although I’m not positive. The fretboard has the usual mahogany edge strips and inset stripes that look awesome. The beveled arm rest is a nice figured walnut which is a great contrast on the Englemenn spruce top. The tone is great, full of that classic Kronbauer ‘shiver’. It responds to the lightest touch. The tone is different enough from the TDK due to the size difference and the wood difference on the back and sides (Ziricote vs. Rosewood). The TDK has deeper low end while the SMB is more lively and, surprisingly, louder. I know the previous owner did have it on a Toneright and it is a little older so that might also be part of the reason for the increased volume. But mostly I just think it’s that incredible piece of Rosewood! The neck is a 9-piece neck vs. the 7 piece on the TDK and it’s just a tiny bit thicker. The guitar was ordered with an LR Baggs I-Beam which I’m not crazy about. The guitar sounds great plugged in but I’m a K&K Pure Mini guy (as is Trevor) and I will likely be swapping out the Baggs for the K&K very soon. But even as it stands, the SMB sounds wonderful through my Fishman SA220.
The smaller body size coupled with the beveled arm rest makes the SMB the most comfortable guitar to play that I’ve ever owned. A/B’ing the two guitars I currently favor the TDK by the slightest margins. The deeper low end and the slightly thinner neck make the TDK my go-to guitar for performing. I also just adore the highly figured Ziricote back and side tonewood and I really like the single Orca inlay on the 12th fret. For home play/practice I almost always grab the SMB for it’s comfort. I might have the neck shaved down just a little bit to make it more similar to the TDK and I’ll amost surely swap out the the LR Baggs I-Beam for the K&K Pure Mini. Once these two things are done then it will surely be a toss up between the two. As I said in my last review, do not hesitate to buy a Kronbauer if you come across one. For their asking price, there is no better value in custom-build guitars right now – period! If you want to see a longer review with a lot of photos of my two guitars as well as some other great examples of Trevor’s work click here for a direct link to my review over on the Acoustic Guitar Forum.
Mark - Atlanta, GA
I ordered my second Kronbauer MJ about 2 months after taking delivery of my first back in Jul 2014. Anyone who knows me would know that is about as good an endorsement I could have given on the first guitar. It is still an amazing guitar.
My second MJ is a Baritone with neck joining body at the 14th Fret. Scale length is 28 5/8th inches. This is the equivalent of adding two semitones to the low end if I kept the same strings as my first MJ. It also moved the bridge to where it would be on a 12 Fret MJ with a 25.5 inch scale. Having never played a guitar even close to this configuration, I got a little worried towards the end. I should not have worried. I love it.
The guitar has a Cedar Top, Mahogany Back and Sides, Rosewood Binding, Ebony Headstock Veneer, 1 7/8th inch nut width, 2 3/8th inch saddle spacing, nine piece laminated neck (Mahogany, Rosewood, and Bloodwood), K Headstock Logo in Bloodwood, Gotoh 510s, K+K Pickup.
Trevor was once again very easy to work with and made the exact guitar I wanted. It looks and sounds amazing. The craftsmanship is outstanding. I love this guitar. I can’t stop playing it. I am glad I got the longer scale length, and opened up the saddle spacing a little bit more. Again, I was worried about all these decisions, but end the end, the guitar is amazing. Even though the guitar is noticeably different in scale length, I have yet to come across something that I play that I can’t play on the Baritone. Certainly there are pieces that I could play on one, and not the other, but I have not hit any yet. I am surprised how everything just kind of work and my fingers pretty much get where they need to.
With the 28 5/8th inch scale length, and D’addario Baritone strings (I think they only make one type for acoustic), I can tune it to B flat standard. Pretty sure B might damage the guitar with the current strings, and it does not feel right to me at A. I also play in the B flat standard equivalent of DADGAD, and CGCGCD (which takes the lowest string down to F#, which seems like it should not work, but does for me… this also completely contradicts my not liking the tension when tuned to A standard, maybe I will re-visit that).
If you are on the fence about a baritone guitar, I would say just get one. If you are on the fence about a Kronbauer, I would say get one. I got two, and love them both. Having played the 28 5/8 inch scale, knowing how easily it fits under my fingers, I would not recommend the 26 ½ and 27 inch scale guitars I have seen as baritones. Not saying they are not baritones, and not saying they could not be awesome guitars, but for me, I wanted the longer scale length to reinforce the lower pitches, and it is working very well.
Anyway, I wish you luck with whatever you get, and if you do get a Kronbauer, I am sure you will love it.
Thanks again Trevor for another fantastic guitar.
Larry Cooper - Florida
Having owned my Rosewood Kronbauer SJ nearly a year, I decided to come and post a review.
Trevor and I decided on a custom rosette, koa binding, a 9pc neck, and a walnut arm bevel. The guitar was built in 4 months and delivered on time just as Trevor had stated. Upon arrival I noticed the artistry in the design and the world class build as compared to say, a Goodall.
The guitar has exceeded my expectations in all facets, including the tone, the playability, the finish, and the overall joy this guitar never ceases to impart every time i pick it up.
Do yourself a favor and order a Kronbauer. Get with Trevor and create your dream guitar and he WILL deliver it.
Mark - Atlanta, GA
My Kronbauer MJ has been home for about three weeks. Cedar top, Rosewood Back and Sides, Flamed Koa Binding, Laminated neck (Mahogany, Koa, and Walunt), 2-5/16th saddle spacing, 1-7/8th nut width, no cutaway, simple rosette. Exactly how I wanted it. It is an absolute work of art. It sounds and plays great as well. I could not be happier.
Trevor was great to work with. He answered all my many questions to help me get to the exact guitar I wanted. Well done Trevor. Everyone who sees this guitar is amazed at the craftsmanship. I hope to get another in the future. I cannot recommend Kronbauer Guitars highly enough. As I said, the guitar is an absolute work of art that sounds and plays great. On top of that, it is an amazing value as well. I had high expectations. This guitar exceeded them by a long margin.