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#010 MS: Tiger Myrtle & Redwood


Review of the MS-Manzer Wedge #010 – Tiger Myrtle / Sinker Redwood with Sound Port

From Keith Koehler (CPABOLTING)
December 23, 2010

I wanted to take a few moments to give all of you my initial thoughts about the Burner #10 MS Cutaway that I just received from the Burners. First of all, I wanted to recognize their effort in undertaking a build of such personal significance to me and to my family. As many of you know, my younger brother Ken tragically took his life on December 24, 2009 in a period of depression. It was truly shocking to me and to most of us who were simply not apprised of where he was in his personal spirits. Ironic, because the day before when I heard that he was going to be spending Christmas in Jacksonville, I called and left him a message to come down and spend Christmas with us. He never called… guess he had other plans. In any case, the way that I chose to pay tribute to my brother came to me and it was honestly destiny of sorts that connected me with the Burners to initiate this build. They were kicking off their business and I wanted to be supportive of that entrepreneurial spirit and it turned out to be the perfect match for what I wanted to do.

The build was not without some artistic sparring (if you will) over design elements. And honestly, I am astounded at the ultimate outcome of this build and how it was absolutely a collaboration of my vision and the artistic direction and creativity of Paul and Kyle Burner. The Burners were honestly a treasure to work with from literally every aspect, including moments of artistic disagreements over elements of the build that were carefully negotiated and ultimately left us with a result that was what I feel was the best that three minds could contemplate. I mean the rosette alone had 5 different versions we worked on and at the end of the day, the rosette we ended in honestly could not be any more attractive and fitting to this build. There were definitely creative liberties that the Burners took such as the surfboard crack stops and interior surfboard label that by themselves, set this build apart from anything else I had ever seen. Their insight into choosing of the Madagascar rosewood bindings, fingerboard, bridge, etc. could not have matched up any more spectacularly to the sinker rosewood and Tiger myrtle they procured from Zootman. It was a situation where I had a vision in my mind, and they seemed to see that vision and then want to expand that vision to a greater degree which really kept delivering a higher standard of artistic quality. They listened and embraced my vision and expanded on it which I was open minded to. Just a perfect collaboration. The long and short of it, is that the guitar is 10 times more stunning in person than it is in pictures. For their effort and talent in the artistic elements of this guitar, I am truly and forever grateful and appreciative of what great listeners they were and how they were able to convert our collective vision to the art that is before me.

As you are all aware, my stable of instruments is full of exceptional instruments, primarily Olsons (#1301 SJC and #1325 Dread, both Brazilian, and built here on AGF) plus 4-6 other Olsons, plus Ryan SS#72 Brz nightingale, with a solid second string lineup of artist and limited edition Martins, including a few Brazilian ones. So what they were going up against was going to be intimidating to say the least. But they really went for it. This guitar to start with is comfortable to hold with its Manzer Wedge design, is very light and well balanced. When I started to play the guitar, the sonic properties of this guitar honestly blew me away. I will be the first to admit I don’t evaluate a guitar like it was a bottle of fine wine, by offering up complex statements in describing it. But what I do know is that from the very first strum, it was sonically powerful, tonally well balanced, and like a chorus of angels pulled up a chair. Warm and woody, with complex undertones (Woops… that is the wine I am going to drink tonight) LOL. Don’t know if it is the sinker redwood, the tiger myrtle, or simply these two guys really pulling out all the stops because of what I maintain in my stable, but the guitar is amazing to play and to listen to. It arrived setup perfectly in the Ameritage custom case. My brother was a FSU graduate so I went in his colors not mine!

The short version after all that, is the guitar is a stellar example of artistic and sonic effort by two of the nicest guys I could have worked with, and we worked tirelessly on the aspects of this build. I would highly recommend the Burners as luthiers on any of your builds from both sonic and artistic perspectives. I have very special thanks to not only Paul and Kyle Burner, but also to Joe White who all collectively “made it happen.”

The goal was to complete the guitar with time to spare to get here by the anniversary of Ken’s passing, so that we could all celebrate together on Christmas Eve after church at my house. And I will unveil it then. My Wife was the only family member that knew about this so I am sure everyone will be pretty floored, my Mom probably we will have to peel off the floor.

A special note of appreciation to Harvey Leach…. Who on his own and at his effort and expense, artfully created a pickguard for this guitar that despite the fact he was only building it off of the pictures that all of you could see, looked like it was created from the exact batch of materials that the guitar was made from. It not only matched perfectly, it thoroughly embraces the theme of this build. I am humbled to have such a highly esteemed artist so generously give to this build and so appreciate his kindness.

Tampa, FL