Bedell Guitars Bend Oregon
Vacation comes both to the worthy and contemptible. While ability to produce this week’s article exists, deeply rooted summer lethargy blooms upon my imagination. But all is not lost. An opportunity for a roundup of recent posts presents itself. A perfect time to spotlight American-made acoustic instruments!
A FEW WORDS ABOUT my favorite luthiers (more later this year!)
Reviews of instruments from Jeff Looker’s Acoustic Vibes Music:
Just thought I’d mention these . . .
Angels’ share: The amount of alcohol which evaporates from the casks during maturation.
My thoughts came back to this phrase over and over. Angel’s share. An Angel’s share of music coming from my chosen mandolin. An Angel’s share which would go unnoticed but for the resonant room lined with dozens and dozens of high-end mandolins, guitars, banjos.
Continuing our series on the American-made instrument inventory of Acoustic Vibes Music, this week we turn our ears to WEBER FINE INSTRUMENTS of Bend, Oregon. Fortunate was I to want a truss rod adjustment on my Guild D-4 a few months back. Bernie welcomed me into the cool interior of Jeff Looker’s shop. Eventually I discover the mandolin room.
Most stores would call one or maybe two mandolins in the $800 range a high-end inventory. Jeff has a few like this; that is just the start. I had a unique opportunity to play mandolins of increasing quality (and cost) undisturbed. A dozen visits over a year sharpened my appreciation of the better instruments.
Eventually I came back to one mandolin only, a mid-priced offering (list price $3600) that fit like your favorite jeans. A spritely tone, almost etherial sometimes. Giving me happiness to play, the mandolin had energy left over to play with the instruments around me. In time, dozens of instruments were gently resonating along with the mandolin’s song. When I stop, they continue for a time. It is, I think, what heaven sounds like.
When I’m ready for an heirloom-quality instrument, increasingly it looks like I will choose the Weber F-Style Bitterroot mandolin. For looks, sound, playability, resale value, workmanship, materials, you name it. An average musician, which I am, will play better, sound better, and feel better. Well worth the investment. What cost a smile for life?
AFTER HEARING ABOUT BEDELL guitars for a few years, occasionally hearing the guitar itself, always played proudly by it’s lucky owner, I finally got myself into one of the rare handful of dealers scattered across several continents. A little stonework brought me within a mile of “Arizona’s Premier Acoustic Music Shop”. Of course we speak of Acoustic Vibes Music.
Favoring a smaller guitar, perhaps a 000 with attractive wood, my eye and hand choose the Bedell Coffee House Parlor- Natural top. PLENTY of volume from this artistic meld of wood and metal. PERFECT fretboard under my fingers. Better balance than I would have guessed, perhaps the result of a 12-fret neck? The sound was deep and full. As melodies flowed from the lower strings, clear frequency response and rich sustain greeted me with every note. Higher tones punched through with life and vigor. With a Bedell like this, I’d be ready for quiet couch time, outdoor picking with the bluegrass circle, or the stage!
Adirondack Spruce with East Indian Rosewood. Ebony fretboard. Koa binding. Everything I want in an artisan-built guitar. Recently added to my short list.