Owner Reviews

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MacKenzie & Marr guitar owners' reviews

Please note: We publish all reviews exactly as they are submitted. Occasionally we may correct an obvious typo but that's it. The opinions you read are the owner's own words.

paal from Dollard Des Ormeaux

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 19:05

I love this guitar! It's made with the attention to detail normally seen in custom work; maple binding, a profusion of abalone, and a great, blemish-free finish which allows for the wood grain to scintillate under light. The Western Red Cedar top, often paired by luthiers with one of the several available mahogany woods, (The Tofino X uses the African mahogany, Khaya Ivorensis) gives a warmth of tone and a mid-range punch which is a departure from the boomy, somewhat trebly sound of a Sitka spruce and rosewood instrument (which I still love for playing Bluegrass tunes). This is my first mahogany back and sides, cedar top guitar, and it's a real pleasure to play. (The iconic Martin D-18's made in the seventies used Khaya Ivorensis, and Doc Watson's Gallagher dreadnought was built with the same African mahogany.) I By the way, a high-gloss finish yields a brighter tone, and looks better on stage (and up close too!) than the so-called “satin” finish, which I equate with a mere primer coat. (but if you're playing this guitar, or any guitar, on stage, under lights, remember to first wipe off those smeary-fingered contrails!)When I ordered the Tofino X, I had assumed I'd have to take it to a luthier for a fine-tuning, but this was unnecessary – the set-up is great, right out of the packing box! I play up the neck a lot, and the playability is totally fine the way it is. The neck has an adjustable truss rod, for any future time when and if adjustments are called for. Tonally, the volume is even across the strings, up and down the neck. There's no flat spots. One thing about mahogany back and side construction – it'll fit in with other instruments more easily than, say, a guitar which may turn out to be better for solo work. (However, this point may be less of an issue than, say, with violins, which must be chosen tonally for how they're to be used – orchestral, baroque ensemble, string quartet, or solo.) One thing about cedar topped guitars – one school of thought says that they respond well to light to medium pick action (and finger-picking) but their acoustical ceiling is reached more quickly than a guitar built with topboards of Engelmann, Sitka, or Adirondack spruce – which means harder playing yields more volume than their cedar-top cousins – that being said though, one of the first things I noticed with the Tofino X was how loud it is! Another thing: the instrument case that the Tofino X came in is beautiful! The guitar fits snugly, and the deep maroon plush lining is a pleasure to behold. The latches and hinges all work smoothly, and the case is rigid, light, and strong. Based on the quality of this guitar, I've ordered the Riverboat Dreadnought for a projected January delivery. One more additional note - The neck feels great, and I'm happy it's not in a gloss finish - varnish can make your hand stick when making fast position changes in a hot room, or in sticky summer weather. Good job here!

Thomas from Colonia

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:27

I have had my Dionisio over 5 months and am very pleased with it. Workmanship is first rate. It plays very easily, almost like an electric. Sound is clear. I play alot of single note runs and this guitar is well suited for my style.

Jozef from Mississauga

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:22

In my opinion gypsy jazz guitars are the best looking acoustic guitars on the planet. BUT Tofino X 10th Aniversary Limited Edition stands out of the crowd. Neck is of the electric guitar, Gibson LP like, action really low little higher than electric guitar. Sound fully professional, after the 12th fret you do not have to work hard to get good sound. Variety and quality of sound I could compare to Gitane gypsy jazz guitar 2400 CAD made in China without hard case or gig bag, or over 3000 or even 4000 CAD American made guitar with hard case. Great gitar for playing melodies, and solos, for Blues, Rock, and Jazz. Shuffle, and power chords sound decent. The price unusual, and I don't have to worry too much, what I will do if I break it or lose it. Solid ,and fully professional guitar for unusually magnificent price, and only 50 CAD FedEx shipping. Thank you.

James from CONWAY

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:09

I've had my Tofino X for a couple of months now, and it's truly a superb instrument. I would have responded sooner, but the only time I've put it down is to swap it out with my Ian Tyson, which I bought a little over a year ago. This is in fact my third Mackenzie and Marr guitar, counting the Opeongo I bought for a friend. Actually, I emailed John awhile back and asked him to talk me out of buying the Tofino, since I'm an average player at best, and knew I didn't need another fine, handcrafted instrument. Thankfully, he declined to do so. I can't say enough about it. The balance, the clarity, the intonation, the materials and workmanship are all without compare. I almost feel bad about leaving my Taylors in their cases. since I retired, I have a little "nest" on my sofa, with the Tofino to my right, the Ian Tyson to my left, and my music stand, tuner, picks and capo right in front. Some days I barely get up. These guitars make me a better player than I am. If I have any regret, it's that I didn't spring for the pickup on this one, and that I didn't find out about M&M sooner. If you play, and care about sound and playability, get you one of these.

Stewart from Colorado Springs

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:03

As a new guitar player you will, as you might expect, find a plethora of guitars to choose. From smaller bodies, dreadnauts, jumbos, 12 strings, sitka spruce, Adirondack spruce, koa, mahogany, rosewood, pure acoustic, acoustic/electric, the list goes on and on. But if you have been playing and collecting for over 50 years you pretty much know what's out there, what you like and the best value for your spendable budget. I knew I wanted a new guitar to celebrate my 70th birthday as I did for my 50th. I've had all of the big names, Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Guild and many others including a couple of custom guitars sporting all the most popular woods available. So, what did I want, what didn't I have and which company could provide what I was after? Originally I was looking at a different guitar maker whose ads would appear from time to time on FB when I saw my first ad for MacKenzie & Marr guitars. Damn, these looked too good to be true. I started to look for any information I could find about these guitars, I watched the segment on "Dragon's Den" and being a fan of the U.S. "Shark Tank" series I figured if Mr. Wonderful wanted a piece of the action then perhaps this guitar company was worth considering. I had my own checklist in my head; Solid top wood - Check Solid Back & Sides - Check Quality Tuners (Grovers) - Check Attractive and functional guitar shapes - Check Acoustic/Electric as an option - Check Beautiful Appointments (Trim/Inlay) - Check Outstanding Warranty - Check Quality Hardshell Case Included - Check Price - Wow... I mean Check Now, which one to choose? I had recently bought my first cutaway and loved it and the only wood combination I hadn't tried was cedar top with mahogany back & sides. The Dionisio fit the bill. They offered the Dionisio X 10th Anniversary model at a special summer price so I jumped on the offer. Upon arrival I gave the guitar a very close inspection to see if there were any flaws in the workmanship. Flawless. The choice of wood is beautiful, the abalone trim is gorgeous... this is one stunning guitar. The sound as I would expect from cedar was velvet smooth and mellow but not dark yet this guitar still has bite! I like this guitar (and company) so much I've created a Facebook page called Friends of MacKenzie & Marr Guitars. So, my advice to you? If you're seriously considering buying one of these guitars, I'd jump on the chance before management decides they want to make more money by raising prices.

John from Riverside

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:01

The review of any new guitar suffers from the fact it is new.  Hauling out a lookalike from 1934 or even a high quality import from a half dozen years ago isn't exactly a level playing field.  Maybe it's best to start with the things which are obvious. The Tofino is the only guitar with a wonderfully sleek matte finished neck.  The shape resembles the vintage instrument but it is much, much thinner and comfortably less wide.  Ebony bars are no match for a modern adjustable truss rod.  The square and diamond position markers are vintage copies in a colorful abalone rather than pearl and spaced perfectly to match the light gauge strings.  This attention to detail can be found everywhere on the Tofino.  The Tofino appears to have the thinnest frets of the three instruments. The body shape is not a direct copy of an "auditorium" body style.  The body is notably deeper and slightly more curved.  The tap tones of all three tops fall closest to the fifth string A.  The tops are all carefully chosen.  The vintage top is uniform in color compared with the younger sitka but neither compare to the tight pattern and uniform color of the Tofino.  Is this more of MacKenzie and Marr's legendary high altitude cedar? The finish on the African mahogany is warm and clearly shows the natural beauty of the wood - a real plus.  Despite the larger size, the Tofino appears to be the lightest of the three instruments Almost all aspects of the finish and trim of the Tofino are superior.  The body is bound in curly maple with a tasteful b/w accent while the top and rosette are trimmed in a rich colored shell design that is or resembles Paua abalone. The neck and headstock are also bound in maple.  The tuners are gold Grover Rotomatics.  The headstock size is identical to the other guitar with a simple gold decal. The old guitar came with a pickguard, the Tofino and the other guitar came with an optional guard in the case pocket.  They are pretty well tied for ugly.  My Tofino black guard will make a fine template someday for something nicer. Time to put the rosewood guitar away and see how the mahogany guitars compare.  The strings are heavier on the sitka guitar.  It is loud and every note has a bite.  The lowest two strings don't match either the volume or sustain of the top four.  On the Tofino all six strings are equally well balanced.  The volume and sustain are excellent.  The initial slap of the hard pick doesn't sound percussive, it's musical. The Tofino is beautifully balanced at all volume levels and equally at home with flat or finger style playing.  The neck is the most comfortable shape I own or have ever played.  I'm looking forward to getting out and showing it off.  I can only imagine what the review will say a few hundred songs and a half dozen sets of strings from now.

Greg from West Chester

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 11:51

Have owned for about a month and love it. I had been looking at guitars for quite a while and just happened to run across M&M. Other than a rather lengthy wait, everything was thumbs up. Whenever I send a note for a status update, I received a timely response. Now that I have it in my hands, I could not be more satisfied. Sounds great, and is easy on my fingers. I have been plinking a guitar for about 60 years and am far from accomplished, but it gives me great pleasure to play. I have two other guitars, a classical and an Ibanez acoustic that I purchased new in 1977. Still play it but the Tofino X is my favorite. I feel I am finally progressing in my ability, and will consider the 12 string in the future.

Robert from Scituate

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 11:50

My first M&M guitar. The guitar is really beautiful and very well made. No extra glue inside, finish is perfect and the appointments are really classy. In terms of the sound, it is excellent for fingerpicking and easy strumming. If you've not owned a Cedar top guitar, you are in for a treat as long as you know what you're getting. Cedar is wonderful for emanating beautiful tones with just a very soft touch. Combined with the solid mahogany back and sides and you get a guitar that is warm and rich but well balanced - i.e. solid bass but not boomy, great mids and highs. Having said that, the one thing you have to know about Cedar is that it breaks down a bit if you hammer on it - i.e. the sound gets muddy if you strum it really hard. If you are heavy handed or you like to really strum all out, then you would be better off with the Spruce topped dread M&M offers. For me, the size of the guitar combined with the beautiful tones make it perfect for my use. I give it a four instead of 5 for two things - first, there were several left over wood bits inside the guitar which I had to work on getting out and second is the lack of direction for how to connect the battery cable for the pickup. That's not necessarily a limitation of the guitar as much as a suggestion for M&M to include instructions along with the guitar when they ship. Last REALLY positive thing I will say was the set up was fantastic! I requested that they drop the action as much as possible since I mostly fingerpick and light strum without a pick and they really came through on the setup. So easy to play, it is a joy!

Bennett from Elkins Park

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 11:44

My new Tofino X arrived a few days ago, and I am thrilled with it. It sounds good, feels good, and looks good. It is comfortable to play using the finger picking style I favor. I'm very glad to have this instrument.

Jerry from Davison

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 11:39

The Guitar is more than I expected! It looks amazing and sounds great! The case, although it was free, it has a six inch cut on the outside cover, which someone attempted to glue?

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