The story of the Morgan guitar of Vancouver, BC, Canada is, according to their website (excerpted, paraphrased and edited) the continuing story of a great guitar-making dynasty that stretches over 150 years from 1860s Madrid to a small workshop on Canada’s rugged west coast. Since 1985, guitar builder David Iannone has upheld the traditions of a long line of expert craftsmen. His is the result of a tireless search for the finest materials and the endless pursuit of a outstanding attention to detail; an intricate convolution of conscientiousness, technique and diligence – using knowledge gained by 26 years of experience. The result takes the physical form of fine handcrafted instruments sought by a discerning musician (and you know who you are, bubbe). He produces fewer than 100 guitars a year, each one hand-signed by the maker himself, a personal process (signing the label) that assures the player/purchaser of unmatched beauty and uncompromising sound. In a world where, as Don LaFontaine might have said, so many products are made by heartless robots -- no – really, we’ve seen ‘em toiling away at their work stations getting no break for a late mid-morning smoke, lunch and lubrication, or a even a late afternoon beer -- it’s comforting to know each Morgan is made by a caring set of experienced human hands – hands that are deeply connected to the guitars, guitarists and guitar makers that have passed through before.
About his OMM (mahogany and spruce) the maker says that Morgan’s OM is bit smaller and a little more versatile than its dreadnought brothers; even though it is not as large, the OM responds favorably with considerable volume and perfectly balanced tone. As articulate as Van Morrison’s biographer, or perhaps Pliny the Elder, guitars like this one are sought by mainly modern fingerstyle players seeking to excite both themselves and their audience.
This OM has, of course, 14 frets to the body, a long scale of around 25.6”, a 1 ¾” nut width and 2 2/16th” string spacing at the bridge. This is a tasteful and well-appointed instrument having flame maple body bindings, crème celluloid neck binding on a black ebony board that, itself, hosts 7 litty bitty mother of pearl dots in 6 positions, a glossy black headstock overlay bearing the stylized mother of pearl “M” in a pearl and abalone square, having a four-scallop headstock shape plus a center indent at top. It sports around the soundhole, herringbone with blue-white-blue trim on each side, and around the top border of the face black-white-blue top purfling, plus blue and white side and back border, a rectangular ebony bridge with six pearl dot ebony bridge pins and a drop-in bone saddle. The pickguard is an added component, but it appears high quality, in the tradition of the prewar. The end graft appears to be maple and the triangle heel cap is ivoroid. Tuners are sealed back, chrome-plated, ebony-buttoned and each bears the “M” symbol that was first introduced on the headstock. The condition of this guitar is quite remarkable. It may show a few infinitely small indications that it was held and played but nothing in the way of “normal signs of wear.” It sparkles with newness and refreshing punch, clarity and euphonic expression.
Our workshop has performed its lauded set-up and restring, and the guitar plays without any effort whatsoever, and sounds as full, bold and rewarding as guitars that cost twice as much! This is one you need to try to believe how good it is. It’s just wonderful.