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 true artisan crafted production acoustic guitars was - of all places - China. While most Chinese guitar factories were producing very crude entry level models there was a burgeoning craft movement building solid wood acoustic guitars almost entirely by hand - the way it was done here 60 yeas 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 there was nothing to 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.
For our first guitar we could have followed the herd – spruce top, rosewood back and sides, etc.... but does the world really 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 went on to add 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 adapters. Production of the first shipment sold out in a matter of weeks (gratifying in one way, bur 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 began discussing the possibility of 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 in the process. This is a guitar (think Dreadnought 2.0) that 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 – its true, but knocking out the costs of retail distribution shaves $600 to $1,000 off the price of one of our guitars. So in a nutshell: We're a small company that loves producing really 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, to add real value to our instruments, and to have our customers embrace us as friends. 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.