Let me first discuss my experience in purchasing a MacKenzie and Marr Dionisio guitar, and then discuss the attributes of the guitar itself.
In early 2016 I purchased an LTP Dionisio (in MacKenzie & Marr lingo, an LTP instrument is “less-than-perfect,” and sold at a discounted price). Early on, I noticed one of the tuning machine knobs was falling apart. Upon emailing M & M I reached one of the owners(!), John Marr, who was very apologetic that somehow the guitar had been shipped with older knobs (which apparently suffered this problem). John immediately sent me a new set of knobs which were easily installed, and are working fine.
The guitar did have some fret buzz, but I figured that could be rectified with a routine setup at my local, trusted luthier. However, upon taking the guitar in, my luthier determined that the fret buzz arose not from a simple adjustment, but a twisted neck – a serious issue that requires major repair, or replacement of the instrument.
At this point I grew concerned – I live in Arizona, while MacKenzie and Marr is a Canadian company, without retail dealers. If M & M was a less than reputable company, they could easily dismiss my concerns, it would not be worth me pursuing the problem across an international boundary, and I would be left with some very expensive firewood.
I returned the guitar to M & M, hoping for the best. John wrote back saying that they had inspected the guitar, that the neck was indeed twisted, that this was the first time they had run across this problem, and that they would be sending me out a replacement guitar at their expense. I was greatly relieved, and impressed, that they did the honorable thing. Indeed, John sent me a *first-quality* (non-LTP) replacement Dionisio to compensate me for my troubles.
Yes, the guitar I purchased was defective. But even new iPhones and Toyotas can occasionally have problems. My local luthier told me that *all* guitar manufacturers – Gibson, Martin, whomever – sell a few guitars with twisted necks. The important point is not my purchase of a defective instrument, but MacKenzie and Marr’s response as a company – a company I now trust and would do business with again.
Regarding the instrument itself, it has become my “go-to” standard guitar (i.e., non- baritone, non-resonator). I find that guitar reviews sometimes sound a bit like wine reviews -- if you can detect all the supposed nuance and subtlety in a glass of wine, or a guitar, great, but I don’t think I can. I do, however, know what I like, and I like the Dionisio. But let me relate what others have said about my Dionisio.
I play original, solo, singer-songwriter material. I recently played the Tucson Folk Festival, and the Dionisio was my “standard” guitar for the 30-minute set. Before the festival, my trusted local luthier set up the guitar, including installing a new, bone nut with slightly wider string spacing (I've done this on many of my guitars -- like many fingerstyle players, I prefer the wider spacing). These are quality, experienced luthiers whom I have dealt with for years. When I picked up the guitar, the guy who had done the work was almost raving at what a nice guitar it was! He said that he and another guy in the shop just loved playing it! He even joked around that they would like to rent it from me sometime (actually, I think he was only *half* joking). I've never had anything like such a reaction before from these luthiers, despite the many guitars of mine that they've worked on.
Also in preparation for the festival, I purchased a Fishman humbucking soundhole pickup for the guitar (I had purchased the guitar with the standard, baseline Fishman Sonotone pickup). Now, please realize that the Tucson Folk Festival is a quality event, and the sound engineers are experienced, competent people. The sound engineer at my stage was a guitar player himself, and performed a set at the festival. After my first couple songs with the Dionisio, the sound engineer *stopped me between songs,* and (with the audience listening!) asked what kind of guitar I was playing -- because, he said, "it sounds ridiculously good." Yup. Those were his exact words: "ridiculously good." Now, the pickup (and, I hope, my playing!) could have had something to do with that assessment. Still, lots of players no doubt had good pickups in their guitars, and lots of them are good players. But despite watching a number of performers play with this particular sound engineer, I never saw him make comments to any of the performers during the performance.
I said to him (again, this was between songs) that it was a Canadian guitar, and I would show it to him after my set. When I did so, he seemed certain it was a custom-built guitar, made in Canada. When I said No, it's Chinese, he said "No way!" Yes ... way.
Anyway, that's high praise for the Dionisio, and from people who know what they're talking about. There are countless wonderful acoustic guitar choices out there. I can’t say what others should buy, but I’m very happy with my Dionisio.
a really fine instrument can enable you to play better, and it's neat that the average listener can hear there's something special going on with this guitar. Very light, easy to play, sounds great recorded, holds tune well, the Baggs pickup system is the best I've had. A real treat to spend time playing it, I'd hate to be without it!
The Canadian Songwriter
This is an exceptionally light, loud guitar.......great for fingerstyle or flatpick. Responds well when played hard or soft. As advertised, I find it to be perfect for vocal accompaniment. Neck is a bit more of a handful than my Tofino, but very comfortable. A high end guitar with a great case at an affordable price, it's as good and better than lots I've tried costing 4 to 5 times more.
Guitar arrived perfectly intact. There was a little difficulty and delay due to the fact that the guitar is left handed. I can understand the difficulties in production for left handed models. This is not new to me, I have been living with it all my life. Having said that, the construction and finish of the instrument are flawless. Frets are level and true with no protruding ends. The tone is superb, the cedar top of the Tofino seem to give a slightly warmer tone compared to a spruce top, although it is plenty bright when it needs to be. I really like the less "boomy" sound of this size body compared to a Dreadnought size. The L.R.Baggs Anthem pickup is also superb once one gets the feel of it. The setup and action were perfect as delivered from the shop, also the intonation was spot on. The guitar also performs well with alternate tunings, I tuned it to a C Wahine tuning where the low E string drops to C, this can kill the intonation of most guitars, but the Tofino sounds wonderful in this tuning delivering clear , tight low end. All in all I would recommend this guitar, it is equal or better than many higher priced and "name brand" instruments. Thank you Mackenzie Marr for your excellent service.
I had been thinking about getting a Tofino guitar since I first became aware of them several years ago.Finally I took the plunge and ordered one back in the spring. There was a long delay but I got the call about a month ago that they had, at long last, arrived. Fortunately, I live near enough that I was able to go to the "loft", and meet John and check out the guitar. I have to admit that it was a nice looking instrument and the set up was great. The finish was beautiful and the quality of the wood was excellent. I prefer to play alone, so after a quick check I took it home where I would feel more comfortable.
I've had it for a month now and there never was any question as to whether I would return it after the "play me" week was over. It's just so nice to play. It feels good and sounds good and the more I use it the better is seems to get. I have never played a $3000 guitar so, unlike others, I have no way of comparing it to that, but I really feel that I got good "bang" for the buck.
Thanks John it was nice meeting you and talking to you and I am still considering taking a cutaway also!!
The Tom Rush Signature Dreadnought
After buying a Tofino guitar in 2015 and being so pleased with it, I started looking at the larger bodied Tom Rush Signature guitar. I have been wanting to get a solid Rosewood guitar for quite a while but really couldn't decide on what to buy. Playing the Tofino made up my mind for me. Seeing the quality of the Mackenzie Marr brand I felt really comfortable ordering one. When I received it I was really pleased!! The finish on it was excellent and the set up was perfect, no tinkering needed. Side by side with the Tofino they are two impressive looking guitars but two different sounding guitars. I found the Tom Rush Signature to have a much more "mellow" sound and the Tofino a "brighter" sound.............a perfect pair. I cannot comment on the electronics as I prefer to play unplugged but playing it unplugged the sound is lovely. One thing I did notice was when playing the G,B and high E strings on the 14th+ Frets, the sound is clear and pure, not the case with other guitars I have. The only negative is the fret edges are just a tad rough but nothing that detracts from the playability and that could well be caused by the dryness in the house this time of year. All in all a super guitar and another "keeper".
Thanks again John for quality instruments at affordable prices. Keep them coming!!
The Tom Rush Naked Lady
I ordered the Tom Rush Signature guitar almost a year ago. I currently own a Martin and a Larrivee guitar. Both have beautiful sound and are a joy to play. When I called to order the Tom Rush guitar, I asked John if, because of no middle man, superior materials, and skillful luthiers, the Tom Rush guitar would be noticeably better in sound and playability. John thought that was a reasonable expectation. Quite frankly, I was skeptical. When I got the guitar and played it, I was impressed. The guitar was set up beautifully and when I compared its sound to the Martin and Larrivee, it did sould better ... better resonance ... richer sound quality ... and the Martin I have is 25 years old. I liked the Tom Rush Signature guitar so much that I just had to have the Naked Lady. It's every bit as good as the Signature guitar and I now reach for one of the two Tom Rush guitars when I sit down in my living room to play. They're the last two guitars I'll ever buy.
I've tried many high end acoustic guitars over the past few years. I finally
decided to try a Tofino, so I purchased one online. Why not? They have a "7
day love it or leave it guarantee".
In my opinion, the Tofino is at least as good as, or better than any high-
end guitar I've ever tried. The Tofino is possibly the best guitar I've
ever played. The feel, the playability and the sound are amazing!
I highly recommend the Tofino!
I finally got my Tofino after waiting 5 months. Sometimes things happen and nothing can be done but to wait. I did not realize that Mackenzie and Marr did not have the instruments in stock. That became apparent as soon as they missed the first delivery date.
After opening the Cardboard Box and removing the guitar case, I carefully inspected the outside of the case. The case was in pretty good shape with the exception of a small ding on the outside, top. I checked out the guitar and there was no damage or scratches. So Fed-Ex did a great job and the packing by the shipper was adequate.
After letting the guitar sit for a few hours to let it get used to its new environment I sat down and played it. It sounds really great. I have been playing it for several days and I will not return it. It is really worth the price. I have guitars that cost a lot more than the Tofino and while they do sound better than the Tofino, it has its own distinct, sweet sound.
I had requested that the pick-guard be installed before shipping, but they forgot to do that. I decided not to put it on. I love how it looks without it. One thing I felt irritated by was the lack of a battery installed on the Anthem pick-up. I had to remove the strings to put a battery in. Makes me wonder if they tested it. One last thing, there is no such material as Ebony Plastic. There is Ebony and Plastic, and perhaps Ebony colored Plastic. But, there is no such material as Ebony Plastic.
I am hoping to enjoy the Tofino for a long time. We shall see how it is 10 years from now.
When My Brother -in-law came for a visit he seemed smitten by my Tofino. So I got him one..this was his responce when he opened the package and played his LTP Tofino.
Unwrapping the Mackenzie reminded me of helping a beautiful woman take
off her clothes. And once she was out, I wasn't disappointed either.
Nice cedar smell too.
The tuning pegs were smooth compared to my 50 year old Epiphone Texan.
The Mackenzie is clearer, fuller than the Texan. Just so sweet. I'm
going to have some fine moments with her. The neck is wider than the
Texan and will take some getting used to. When you can get your
fingers in the right place, that full chord rings just right.
What a nice gift. Many thanks to you!