Who Are Those Guys?
Here at MacKenzie & Marr Guitars, we design and build solid wood acoustic guitars. The guiding principle of our business (or, in over-used techno-speak, our "mission statement") can be summed up in two sentences: "Build the best acoustic guitars on the planet. Sell them for significantly less than competing models from the big guys."
Our production is limited to a few hundred guitars a year, so we sometimes (with apologies to Stuart McLean) refer to ourselves as "The World's Smallest Guitar Store." In 2009 we (John Marr and Jonathan MacKenzie) realized that the last bastion of actual artisan-crafted production acoustic guitars was - of all places - China. While most Chinese guitar factories were producing very crude entry-level models, a burgeoning craft movement built solid wood acoustic guitars almost entirely by hand - the way it was done here 60 years ago. What they needed was design and management expertise. We had a bit of both.
While other guitar companies were constrained by a creaky and costly dealer distribution system, nothing could stop us from using the 21st-century technology of the Internet to deliver old-world quality directly to musicians. The cost savings turned out to be significant.
We could have followed the herd for our first guitar – spruce top, rosewood back and sides, etc.... but does the world need one more Martin D-28 "me too" knock-off? The MacKenzie & Marr "Tofino," while paying tribute to the innovations of past masters with scalloped X- bracing and hand-carved, precision dovetail fitted neck, breaks with tradition in both body shape and wood choices.
We added some remarkable (our customers' word) models with the introduction of the Legends Series. In June of 2010, we introduced the Ian Tyson Limited Edition, a spruce top guitar that's been getting great reviews from early adopters. Production of the first shipment sold out in weeks (gratifying in one way but frustrating in another - it's not a lot of fun disappointing new customers). We've delivered the final batch of the 250 Ian Tyson Limited Edition guitars. They're now sold out. There won't be any more.
In 2011 we contacted one of our heroes - Tom Rush - and discussed possibly creating a guitar for him. Many samples later and a curve ball from Tom (How about an inlay of a snake wrapped around an art deco reclining nude?), we introduced the Naked Lady and astounded ourselves. This guitar (think Dreadnought 2.0) has musicians' jaws on the floor.
Playing a MacKenzie & Marr guitar for the first time is a revelation. But it's not going to happen in a guitar store. The only two places you can buy a MacKenzie & Marr guitar are at the company, by appointment, and over the Internet. Slightly inconvenient – it's true, but knocking out the costs of retail distribution shaves $600 to $1,000 off the price of one of our guitars. You can only buy our guitar over the Internet but, in the unlikely event you don't like it and send it back - we'll give you a full refund. So, in a nutshell: We're a small company that loves producing great acoustic guitars at an (almost) affordable price. We're committed to playing our own tune because we think that's what it takes - to stand out in the crowd, add value to our instruments, and have our customers embrace us as friends.