FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions | MACKENZIE AND MARR GUITARS

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FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions

We bill pre-orders at the time of order. The reason we do this is based on past experience. Our production is very limited. We're unable to supply all the guitars customers want. When we run out of current stock or introduce a new model, we make it available as a pre-order. If we use the standard - pay when we ship - two things happen:

  1. We cut off pre-orders before they exceed available stock. 
  2. Most people who preorder follow through with a purchase, but a small minority do not. That creates a problem.

Some serious purchasers who want to pre-order can not, even though, in the end, there might have been an available guitar.

We've found that asking for payment upfront eliminates that problem. People who pre-order and pre-pay are serious. They take delivery when stock arrives.


At this time we cannot offer any customization of the models we sell. They are available only as specified. We cannot make one-of or special order guitars. Again, what we show on our site is what we have available.


  • All guitars bound for the US are shipped by UPS or FedEx - duty (if applicable) paid.
  • All guitars bound for Canada are shipped by either Purolator or FedEx.
  • All guitars are shipped from our Montreal office after being inspected and set up by Jerry, our luthier.
  • Guitars inside cases are packed securely in double wall cartons.

A signature is required for every delivery so no guitars are left unattended. If there is no one available when the driver attempts a drop off a door tag will be left explaining how to arrange pickup or later delivery.

We cannot ship to a PO box. Our courier drivers require a street address.

Our standard shipping cost to most destinations in Canada and the continental USA is $50. We can ship to Alaska, Hawaii, Yukon, Labrador, etc, but the rates are significantly higher. If you live in a state or territory that our system doesn't recognize we can quote shipping by phone. Give us a call at 514-833-8352.

MacKenzie and Marr Guitars ships worldwide.

In-stock guitars are shipped within 3 working days of an order unless an electric pickup is ordered with the guitar, in which case shipping may be delayed by as much as 10 days. When your guitar ships you will receive the tracking number by email.

The cost of shipping to most Canadian provinces is $50CAD.

The cost of shipping to the lower 48 US states is $50USD.

For rates outside of the Continental US and the 10 Canadian provinces please contact us.

Once we receive an order we pull a guitar from stock and schedule it to be tuned and checked by our luthier, Jerry. We have a very extensive quality checklist that every guitar we ship goes through. Over and above an examination for quality there is also a full set-up procedure that can only be performed immediately before shipping. String action adjustment, neck relief, and saddle height, fret polishing, etc are critical to the playability of a new guitar and we go to great lengths to ensure our guitars are perfect before they are shipped.


FedEx (or UPS) sent me an e-mail with a tracking number and an expected delivery date. When my guitar failed to show up on that date I called them, only to be told they had no package matching that tracking number.

Both FedEx and UPS send notification emails as soon as we generate your shipping label. The initial notice states something like "billing information received" or "pickup information received". It's deceptive if you're not familiar with their system in that it quotes a delivery date and leaves the impression the package itself has been picked up. We generate a shipping label as soon as pack the guitar for delivery. That triggers the email with the tracking number. But until the carrier picks it up, scans it, and prepares the carton for shipping the message you receive on their tracking site is confusing. I

In many cases we indicate the pickup date will be a day or two after the label is generated but some customers miss that detail.

This can be even more aggravating if you live in the US. Guitars are delivered from our Montreal warehouse to UPS in Plattsburgh NY. by a cross border carrier. Occasionally a carton gets held at US customs before going on to UPS, but generally the delivery takes place a day after the label is created.

For reasons we've never been able to figure out UPS doesn't update the tracking information for at least 24 hours after they receive the carton. Your guitar could be on its way to you before the tracking number update goes live. Please be patient. It's not a perfect system but in the end it works.

Meanwhile you're chomping at the bit for your new guitar and getting upset every time a delivery truck passes your driveway. Being able to advise a customer of the location of their guitar by email is a great tool. You get a notice at every stage of the delivery cycle. But we wish the courier companies would re-word that initial e-mail to make it a whole lot clearer!

Keep checking their tracking site. Within a day or two the status will update so you know when to anticipate delivery.

Please tell me how MacKenzie & Marr Guitars stands behind the guitars they make.

All MacKenzie & Marr Guitars come with a limited lifetime warranty. If something goes wrong with your MacKenzie & Marr Guitar due to the way it was made or the materials used, we fix it or replace it at no cost to you. You can view a copy of our warranty here.

I'd love to try one of your guitars for a week if I can return it should it not be the one for me. Can I do that?

Our "Love It or Leave It" promise allows a potential owner to buy one of our guitars and try it for a week before committing to keeping it. Should the guitar not be perfect for you we'll happily take it back...no questions asked (well, almost no questions...we value feedback so we would like to know why you didn't fall in love, but if you choose not to share that with us we'll accept your decision). If you decide to return a guitar within the first week, just let us know, and we'll send you a pre-paid return label. You'll need to pack it securely and drop it off or arrange for the carrier to pick it up. We'll need to inspect the guitar once it arrives in our warehouse. If it comes back in the same condition as it left - same strings, no pick marks, no dings or scratches, etc - we'll issue a refund within 48 hrs.

The refund of shipping charges and prepaid return shipping portion of the  "Love It Or Leave It" return policy covers guitars delivered to addresses within Canadian provinces (except Yukon, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, parts of Newfoundland and Labrador and some northern areas of some provinces) ) and within the lower 48 US states. It is offered at the sole discretion of MacKenzie & Marr Guitars Inc. Guitars shipped outside those areas are eligible for return at the owner's shipping cost, provided a return authorization number has been assigned by MacKenzie & Marr Guitars. 

We understand that ordering something as personal as a guitar over the internet is a pretty big leap of faith. Not only haven't you played it - you probably don't know a whole lot about MacKenzie & Marr Guitars, the company. From our side of the fence we don't see either one as a problem. We love our guitar and think you will too. But if you don't - if you play it and, for whatever reason it isn't the "one" for you - send it back. We'll even pay the return shipping charges. When we get it back in our warehouse in the same condition as when it was sent we'll issue a full refund. All we ask is that you make your decision within a week of receiving your guitar and hold onto the shipping materials until you're sure you no longer need them.

If you're returning a guitar within the 7 day Love It or Leave It period, please adhere to the following guidelines: Inspect the guitar carefully. If there are dings, marks or scratches (including pick scratches) that weren't there when you received the guitar, or you've attached the pickguard, or changed the strings, sending the guitar back is not an option - Congratulations on your new purchase.

If, on the other hand, neither the guitar nor the case shows signs of wear, please contact us. Let us know the guitar is not for you, and we'll have a courier retrieve it.

Pad the headstock as it was when you received it - both above and below. Place the guitar in the case, making sure all the latches are closed. Place the case in the carton. Make sure there is cardboard padding at the bottom of the carton and slide the guitar into the carton. Place the additional cardboard or bubble wrap padding firmly against the body of the case and insert the neck holder carton over the end of the neck in such a way as to completely immobilize the case within the carton. Seal the carton with packing tape (Do not use duct tape!) and, as a final test, shake the carton sideways. If you detect movement, reopen the carton and start again. You need to make sure the contents of the carton cannot shift!

We'll send you a prepaid return label. Please make sure it is affixed to the carton on the same side as the original shipping label (now removed) was attached. Inspect the carton to ensure it has sustained no damage and is in good shape for the return journey.
Drop the carton off at the courier's office or arrange for a pickup within the 7-day return window. We can't insure guitars we don't pack so the onus is on you to do it very carefully. When the guitar arrives in our warehouse it will be inspected. If there are no issues such as signs of wear we'll issue a refund.

If you are returning a guitar for evaluation and or/repair and it is beyond the trial period: Before sending a guitar back to our warehouse, you'll need an RA number which must appear on the outside of the carton. (the best place to place the RA number is in the shipping label as a reference) You'll need a double wall carton suitable for an acoustic guitar in a case. Most music stores will be happy to supply one at no cost. Pack the guitar snugly in the case, placing some padding beneath the headstock. Make sure there is padding at the bottom of the carton and slide the guitar in the case into the carton. Place the additional padding on either side of the neck of the case in such a way as to completely immobilize the case within the carton. Seal the carton with packing tape (Do not use duct tape!) and as a final test shake the carton sideways. If you detect movement, re-open the carton and start again. You need to make sure the contents of the carton cannot shift!

Contact your carrier and arrange to ship the guitar to us (our address is on the contacts page). Make sure you place the label on the narrow side of the carton (not the wide side or the end) PLEASE NOTE: WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT USING CANADA POST. ANY SHIPMENT SENT BY CANADA POST WILL EITHER BE REFUSED OUTRIGHT OR WILL INCUR A $50 SERVICE CHARGE.  Send us the shipping information (carrier, tracking number, etc) once the guitar has been turned over to your carrier. PLEASE DO NOT USE FOAM PEANUTS TO PACK THE GUITAR. They do nothing to cradle the contents and make a huge mess in our loft.

Our 7 Day "Love It or Leave It" 100% refund policy is a great way to try one of our guitars in the comfort of your home. It kicks in when you sign for the guitar delivery but if you're giving the guitar as a gift the recipient may have far less than a week to enjoy the benefit. We can happily extend the guarantee for an additional period for guitars given as gifts. Simply use the "comments" box on the order form to tell us who the lucky owner will be and what date they will be receiving the gift. We'll make sure the 7 day period starts on that date. For Christmas gifts, we routinely move the end of the trial period to the end of the first week of January. Again. Just make a note on the order form that the guitar is a Christmas gift and we'll look after the rest.


We get lots of requests to hold guitars in our loft until close to the gift date. That's especially true at Christmas. We're happy to do it since it ensures that the guitar is well humidified and no lucky recipient spots the carton before they should. Use the "comments" box on the order form to let us know you'd like us to hold it and what date you need the guitar. We'll look after making sure it leaves our loft in time to arrive on the requested day.

I've heard that Grover tuning machines are among the best tuners available. Whether that's true or not, they seem to be standard on very high end guitars. I find it surprising that you would use such expensive hardware on a sub $1,000 guitar. Please explain:

You're very observant. Those are indeed genuine Grover tuners on MacKenzie & Marr guitars. And yes, you're very well informed. Grovers are usually only found on very expensive guitars. We love the smooth accurate tuning and the 18:1 ratio. Perhaps using Grover tuning machines is a bit frivolous but in keeping with our philosophy of putting the money we save on distribution into building a better guitar it made sense to us.

A bit of history - In April of 2011 we  changed - switching from Gotoh 381s to a new tuning machine from DerJung. We liked the increased 18:1 (or in one case 20:1) tuning ratio. The fact that the factory that made our new tuners was across the street from our guitar factory seemed to be an added plus. We expressed some concern about the appearance of the buttons on the new tuners. They didn't look as smooth or well made as the ones on the Gotohs. As it turned out they weren't. We've had multiple reports of crumbling and cracking buttons and have sent out dozens of acrylic replacement sets. We now retrofit any guitars equipped with DeJung tuners still in stock with the new buttons before shipping.

Luckily one of the legendary tuning machine makers rode to our rescue. As long as I remember the name Grover has been synonymous with precision craftsmanship. When we learned that they had re-engineered their famous tuning machines with a new high ratio (18:1) gearing we jumped at the chance to use them. Our Opeongo now comes with Grovers, as does the new Grand Manan and Ian Tyson Inspiration. Tofino will follow in early spring and by the end of 2020 every guitar we sell will be "Groverized" with beautiful die cast tuning machines.


It would be great to drop in and try some of the MacKenzie & Marr models. How can I do that?

We're always happy to meet new customers. Our regular hours are from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. However, we're not always in the warehouse, and when we are, we're not set up as a retail store, so before you arrive, we ask the following:

  • Please let us know when you want to come and which guitar you'd like to try. We need to schedule someone to look after you, and because we usually don't set up guitars until they are ordered, we want to make sure the model you're interested in trying is available.
  • Should you find a guitar that suits you, we ask that you come prepared to make a purchase. While it's always fun to show off our guitars, we don't have the luxury of high dealer markups that would allow us to cater to musicians who aren't in the immediate market for an instrument.

Occasionally someone who purchased a guitar is close enough to Montreal to pick it up at our loft. Doing so eliminates the shipping cost and allows us to meet and thank a new owner in person, so we enjoy it. Again please let us know of your visit in advance and keep in mind we're not open on weekends. We've emailed or spoken to many of you over the last few years, but nothing replaces personal contact. If you're going to be in Montreal, drop us a line. Let's see if we can arrange a pickup time at our office. 


Don't look for a MacKenzie & Marr guitar in a music store - either bricks and mortar or online. We have no dealers or distributors which means we charge no dealer markup. Buying directly from us is a great way to keep a lot of money in your pocket and get a superb solid wood acoustic in the process.

You can scoop up one of the best values in music - either by dropping by our office (with an appointment) or by ordering a MacKenzie & Marr guitar right on this website or by phone at 1(514)833-8352. 


We don't produce left-handed guitars. What we do instead is offer serious buyers the option of having us convert one of our standard guitars to left-handed play. We fill and re-rout the saddle slot to accommodate a compensated left-handed saddle, change the right-handed nut to a left-handed one and move the pickup controls to the other side of the soundhole. This can only be done with full-body guitars - not cut-a-ways - but it works very well. The cost to complete the conversion is $50 for guitars under $1000 and free of charge for guitars over $1000. Please call us by phone during business hours to order or discuss left-handed conversions.

Our current six-string guitars are strung with D'Addario EXP16 strings. They're a light gauge (12s) phosphor bronze-coated series set.

Future guitars will use the new D'Addario XS light gauge phosphor-bronze strings.

The Algonquin 12 is strung with D'Addario EJ38 light gauge (10-47) phosphor bronze strings.

Most of our guitars can handle slightly heavier gauge strings, but the nut may have to be re-filed to widen some slots. Changing the string gauge can also affect neck relief, which could necessitate a slight turn of the truss rod.

If you add medium gauge strings to the Algonquin 12, we recommend tuning it down a tone and evaluating how the top of the guitar responds over a few weeks before tuning up to standard pitch.

Yes, in fact the quality of the case we supply at no additional cost surprises users. We ship all of our guitars in a premium quality arch-top hard shell case.


I notice your office is in Montreal Canada. I live in the US. If I order a guitar from you I'm concerned about currency conversion, shipping costs and import duty. Will I end up paying a whole lot more than the calculated price on your website?

The short answer is NO. If you live in the US you'll pay the guitar price plus the shipping costs as calculated when you place an order but there will be no other hidden charges or fees. You'll be billed in US dollars, all duties, if any,  included. Your guitar will be shipped from our warehouse in Champlain NY.

PLEASE NOTE: We're a Canadian company and therefore not required to charge or collect any US city, state or federal sales taxes. 


I've plugged the guitar in to an amp but can't get any sound. I expect that the battery bag I found in the guitar case needs to be attached but have no clue how to do it.

To think that when we started MacKenzie & Marr Guitars, we didn't have a single guitar with an electric pickup. Now we offer electric sound enhancement as an optional upgrade for every guitar we produce. Don't get us wrong: We still think that cutting into the solid wood sidewall of a guitar to add an unsightly black plastic battery compartment is about as tacky as it gets. Thankfully L.R. Baggs offers alternatives. The amazing L.R. Baggs Anthem also adds an acoustic microphone to the undersaddle pickup. The battery of both is contained in a bag and also concealed inside the guitar. It's held in place by a patch of velcro. Getting the pickup to work requires 1. Connecting the battery to the terminals on the twisted red and black wire you should see inside the guitar. 2 Putting the battery back in the battery bag and attaching the battery bag to the Velcro patch. That patch will be inside the guitar - either beside the volume and tone controls or glued to the neck block. 4. Test the set-up by plugging into the amp using the jack at the endpin. Don't forget the old saying, "If you can't play well - Play loud!" Have fun. You'll need to loosen or remove the strings to do all that high tech stuff, so why not take the opportunity to change them?

The pickup and preamp we use in all MacKenzie & Marr guitars require a 9-volt battery. The most common reason for not getting audio output is that the battery is either not installed or still covered with the protective clear plastic casing. Because we refuse to cut a chunk out of the guitar's sidewall we've elected to use the L.R.Baggs Anthem system which has a battery bag inside the guitar - usually attached to the neck block just forward of the soundhole. Check to make sure there is a battery in the bag, the battery still has a charge and the red and black twisted pair wire is securely attached to the terminals. If the battery is fine the problem may be as simple as raising the volume. Both tone (bass to treble) and volume are controlled by small wheels on the control module located inside the top half of the soundhole.


There was a loose pickguard inside the gear compartment of my new guitar's hardshell case. I assume it's for the guitar but I'm unclear about how to attach it. Why didn't you do that before delivery?

Many guitarists prefer a guitar without a pickguard so we feel it makes more sense to give users the option of attaching one or leaving their guitar as it is. We do ship pickguards with every guitar though. They're very easy to attach. Remove the paper backing, Lightly position the pickguard under the soundhole so it sits just below the rosette. Rotate it so the top edge is approx horizontal (or parallel to the strings) and press it in place. If you have a clear pickguard the backing material is a thin sheet of clear film rather than paper but the procedure is the same - with one small caveat: The pickguard should be pressed into place working out from the centre making sure that no is trapped. Any air pockets will be visible. If you choose to attach a pickguard please do so after you've used your 7 day "Love it or Leave it" trial period to make sure the guitar you ordered is right for you. Once you modify the guitar it no longer qualifies as being in the same condition as when it left our loft.


I want to replace the light gauge strings that came with my MacKenzie & Marr guitar with a heavier gauge in order to get more power.

Replacing the factory-supplied light gauge D'Addario EXP strings with medium gauge strings adds additional tension to the neck. Thicker strings will change the playing characteristics of the instrument. The nut slots may need to be filed wider - especially on the base side - to allow the strings to sit as low as the light gauge ones. The truss rod may need adjusting to remove extra relief caused by the pull of the heavier strings. Although the guitar should suffer no ill effects you should keep a close eye on the neck and bridge. There is a slight possibility under certain humidity conditions that you will experience a lifting of the top wood behind the bridge. 
The above information is really aimed at worst case scenarios. In our experience moving up to medium gauge strings on any of our guitars has no ill effect whasoever.

I'm looking at either Tofino or Dionisio but can't make up my mind between a full body or a cut-a-way. Please help!

It seems that every performer you see is using a cutaway guitar on stage leaving the impression must be significantly better than full-body acoustics. Not so fast pilgrim. What you see is not what you hear. Cutaway guitars have one significant advantage but also one noticeable drawback.

First - the advantage: If you're playing style calls for a lot of finger work high up the neck a cutaway gives your hand a few extra frets. That's great for reaching the really high notes but no benefit at all if you play primarily below the 10th fret.

The drawback? Acoustic guitars rely in part on the interior body characteristics to deliver sound. Changing either the size or the shape alters the sound. Either the timbre or the volume will be different. Cutaway guitars, ours included, have slightly less bass response. Some musicians see that as more balanced. Others find the sound too bright (too much treble).

So why are so many professional musicians playing cutaways? In a word? Electrics. Back before pickups, pre-amps and on-stage amplifiers were the norms for acoustic players you never saw pros using cutaway bodies. But the ability of modern electronic sound enhancement to boost bass and alter the sound profile of an instrument pretty much eliminates the downside of a cutaway in a performance situation. If you play on-stage, do a lot of lead guitar stuff and rely on your amp to shape the sound of your guitar a cutaway is a great body style and our Dionisio is a superb choice. On the other hand, if you rarely electrify (onboard pickups are available for all of our guitars, either as standard equipment or as an optional upgrade) and want a bit more bass response we suggest Tofino or the Tom Rush Signature. If you really want bass you may want to take a serious look at the one and only Naked Lady.

Here are the links to the guitars themselves:
The Ian Tyson Inspiration cut-a-way

I've heard that dry weather, the kind we get in the winter, can cause damage to guitars. Do I need to do anything to protect my MacKenzie & Marr acoustic?

You bet you do - at least in the colder months! Come October the relative humidity where we live (Eastern Canada) starts to drop and by mid November it can be far less than the 40% required for safe guitar storage. In northern Alberta it plunges into the single digits. That means trouble. Wood moves as it takes on and gives off moisture. That movement is across the grain. But bracing strips inside the guitar running at angles to the wood grain of the body constrain any movement of the top and back. In extremely dry conditions, as the wood contracts and begins straining against braces it has nowhere to go and eventually cracks. This phenomenon is not unique to guitars or other wooden musical instruments. Look at an antique table. You'll likely see one or two cracks running along the length of the top. Either the leg braces or the end caps, both running perpendicular to the grain of the top, have prevented seasonal expansion and contraction and eventually the table split. Caring for your guitar in winter and keeping it humidified is not difficult. Follow a couple of simple rules and you'll be fine. We have an extensive article on guitar humidification here A couple of caveats: Don't count on a furnace-attached humidifier to keep your guitar above 45% relative humidity. It won't happen despite what the company that installed it told you! You need in-room or (as a backup) in-case humidification. Spend $40 and buy a full room hygrometer - and then calibrate it! Knowing the exact humidity in your guitar room is critical to controlling it. Small hygrometers are not expensive and the Internet has dozens of sites that show how to calibrate them. The best investment you can make!


Almost 15 years ago, we began looking for a workshop that could produce world-class guitars with a significant amount of handwork. We quickly ruled out North America. Automation had superseded craftsmanship in all but the most expensive models. Ultimately, we were fortunate to discover a small violin workshop in southern China that still practiced hand craftsmanship. It took a few years of trial and error to recalibrate to acoustic guitars, but the effort was rewarded with Tofino, introduced in 2010, followed by one great guitar after another. Two years ago we relocated our artisans to a village in the north where the climate is similar to that of North America. Where our guitars are assembled is only part of the story. The quality of the wood we can deliver to our artisans depends on relationships we've built with wood lots in Bolivia, Western Canada, New York and Gabon.

We designed our Algonquin 12 string guitar with an extremely strong neck so it can be tuned to standard concert pitch with no ill effects.


We're often asked for low action but no buzzing. That's understandable. Who wants strings vibrating on frets or, alternately, set so high the guitar is almost unplayable?

But every player has their own style of play and a different idea of low. As Jerry, our luthier says: If you're wailing away like Keith Richards you want space between the strings and the fretboard. But if you're a light fingerpicker, especially one who plays well up the neck, you want them close to the fingerboard.

In the process of setting up thousands of guitars, we've developed standards and measurements for string height.

We begin with a quality control inspection, assuring frets are level, the neck is straight and the angle where it meets the body is correct.

Using the truss rod, we set a very marginal amount of bow to the neck.

Next, the saddle is adjusted (either lowered or replaced with a higher one) so the bass E string is 2.3mm (.09") above the 12th fret and other strings conform to our standards at both the 12th fret and the nut.

Finally, Jerry players the guitar, listening for any string/fret contact where it shouldn't be and making adjustments accordingly. The result is a very playable guitar, one that pleases the vast majority of our customers.

Occasionally someone will ask for an even lower set-up. We can accommodate the request, but we're reluctant to do so for two reasons:

  1. If a guitar is set to an action below our standards and then returned by the customer within the 7 day trial period we have no choice but to charge the customer for the setup to return it to our standard.
  2. It's incredibly easy to lower the action of a guitar - something any customer can do - but not so easy to raise it. We'd rather walk you through the process than have you running all over town looking for a higher sdddle.

When you place an order with us we send you confirmation of the order and, if it's your first order, we also send a temporary password in a separate email. If one or the other doesn't arrive in your inbox, the first thing to do is to check your spam folder. If there's nothing there, the chance is your ISP blocked the message as possible spam at their server level. To create a new one-time login visit https://www.macmarr.com/user and click on the "Request new password" link. Enter the email you used to create the order when prompted. Check your inbox. The link in the inbox should allow you to access your account. PLEASE - make sure you reset that one-time password to something different. It only works for the initial login. IF you don't reset it you'll end up going through the whole process again. Should that not fix the problem please use the contact form on the site to let us know details, including the time you made the attempt, so we can check the log for possible issues.

Fall In Love In Less Than a Week

Try any of our guitars in the comfort of your own home. If you don't fall head over heels in love within a week we'll arrange to take it back and issue a full refund (including shipping).
*certain conditions apply.

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