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The Gratitude Canada 150

The following reviews have been left for this content:

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 11:51 by brad1

Once I made the commitment to learn guitar, to be really serious, to put in the time and effort, a couple questions inevitably arose:  Should I spend the money to get a good guitar or should I just put up with the guitar I already have? And, if I opted to upgrade, what brand good guitar should I get?

I got serious about guitar about three years ago, at age 65. It’s never too late to start! I got myself a decent used Yamaha, signed up for weekly lessons, committed to daily practice and three years later am so glad I did. Not only is it a pleasure to make music, I also hear music in a different way now that I am making it myself. My music experience is much richer. I know I will never be a good guitarist, but I am good enough for myself and friends, especially for myself. Since I still work, running my own granola manufacturing business (, my commitment to practice varies with the days of the week. I do my best to get in a good hour of practice Monday through Thursday and two to three hours per day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That is enough practice to get better week by week, but it is also enough practice that I feel it in these old hands. Barre chords are, of course, the killers. My left thumb now has an ache that is just part of my life. It is also an ache I have to listen to so that I don’t injure it more. That limits my playing time.

I began to wonder, if I had a better guitar, would it make a difference? Looking at various blogs, there were two points of view. One is to simply stick with any old guitar, so long as it’s playable. The other is that a good guitar does make a difference. Nearly three years into it, I decided to take the plunge. I decided to upgrade to a new, better guitar.

Now the second question reared its head:  which guitar brand to buy? Again, looking at blogs, the universal answer was that you simply had to go into stores or shop second hand and try a bunch of different guitars by playing them. The problem I had was twofold. First, I am very self-conscious. “Trying” out a guitar in front of someone – whether the seller is a store or individual – intimidates me. I cannot make a good judgment because I can’t relax enough to really get a feel for the guitar. The second problem was time. Playing a guitar for 15 minutes does not give me a good sense of what a guitar is really like. I need to try it for a more extended period of time, going over more of my repertoire to get a really good feel for the guitar. Then there is the problem of what brand? Am I paying for a name? For fancy inlay? Or am I paying for a better sounding, easier to play guitar? I remember my first guitar from the early 70’s – a Gibson. Boy, was it pretty! And it had that Gibson name. But, as it turned out, it was a piece of crap. After twenty years, I finally gave it away to someone else to wrestle with.

I’m a big Ian Tyson fan and, one day, poking around on Ian’s website, I saw him mention that MacKenzie Marr was making an Ian Tyson Inspiration guitar. That got my interest. So I logged on to the MacKenzie Marr website. They claimed that they could offer the best guitar for the price because they didn’t have to factor in middlemen’s costs. They also made a commitment to using solid woods rather than cutting costs with laminates or other materials. And they made the offer to keep the guitar for a week after receiving it so that the I could truly evaluate whether the guitar was right for me. That’s the “Fall in Love in Less than a Week” marketing pitch.

I ended up buying a Gratitude Canada 150. It seemed like the best choice among their models, particularly since MacKenzie Marr claimed it is “An Acoustic That Plays Like an Electric”. I made the plunge, and I am glad I did.

The hardest part was the wait. Yes, it was in stock, but it was also in Montreal, Canada, and I live in Eugene, Oregon. That meant a week just waiting for the guitar to travel from Montreal to me. On top of that, my timing was not ideal. I ordered it just before Quebec National Day, so that introduced nearly a week’s additional delay.  Darn those Canadians and their holidays!! But, finally it arrived, getting to me on July 3. That meant I would have a nice long weekend to try it out. Darn us Americans and our holidays!

I was not disappointed. First, it is a really pretty guitar. The picture on the website does not give it credit. The maple veneer on the head stock is really striking, and works well with the light color of the spruce sound board. The attention to detail is evident. The maple binding is flawless and so much prettier than most bindings you will find. The mahogany back, sides and neck are handsome and offer a nice aesthetic contrast to the light spruce sound board, the maple binding and the maple head stock veneer. All in all, it is an elegantly simple look that suits me fine.

But what about the guitar itself? How does it sound? How does it play? I am very satisfied. The guitar is a bit smaller than my Yamahas (I have two). That makes it lighter and easier to hold. It also means it is not quite as loud as my Yamahas, but that is OK. It is plenty loud enough. And its sound is just sweet, balanced perfectly from lows through the midranges and into the highs. Wow! I like my Yamahas’ sound, but this is just so much better. Especially the mid-ranges. They fill out the sound without the bass or treble dominating. The sound is great.

What about playability? That is the best part. Finally, I do not dread barre chords! That about says it all. In fact, my thumb is feeling noticeably better after a couple weeks playing the Canada 150, and I have been playing more hours per day than I would have been playing the Yamahas. I now wonder what I will do with them. Good guitars. I figured that I would use the Canada 150 for home where it wouldn’t get battered and use the Yamahas as travelling guitars, but I can’t bring myself to go back to them. The Canada 150 just feels so damn good to play.

So, yes a good guitar does make a difference. How would I compare the Canada 150 to a Martin? How the heck would I know? The Martins are too dreadfully expensive for me to even pick one up. On the other hand, I don’t really care. I am satisfied with the Canada 150.

Brad Averill

Friday, April 27, 2018 - 11:32 by rmcintosh

Great looking and great playing guitar. I love the neck and the action is indeed like an electric. This doesn't sacrifice sound though. Very balanced, low, mid, and high!

I had the Anthem pickup installed as well. Since I play live with a full band, this is a must and unlike other pickups, the Anthem is true to the acoustic sound, giving a natural fullness.

Excellent product to showcase Canada 150!

Monday, March 26, 2018 - 22:00 by brentbrockerville

Quite happy with it. Chords ring very loud, and the guitar is simply easier to play than others. It's a good looking guitar as well, and the hardshell case is clearly made for the guitar. Would recommend.

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 09:38 by bowhonk

Well, all i gotta say is I am very impressed once again!!! Great bass, yet rings like bell. The neck feels alot like my less paul neck. Awesome volume. I stopped goin by the music store to try the Martins/Gibsons. LoL, these play as good and sound better!!! I will be recomending Mac&Marr guitars to everyone I hear looking for a new one. Great job.

Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 14:13 by Art Boebinger
Canada 150 #3 arrived....And I love it! Well made, fine finish, perfect intonation on all the frets and well balanced tone. Did I mention it is LOUD? It has a big booming sound like a Dreadnought, but better balanced between the highs and lows. I will be recommending MacKenzie and Marr to others. Thanks so much!
Friday, April 14, 2017 - 19:05 by

While I have not played one of this edition, I do have an Ian Tyson model, upon which the Canada 150 is based. I love it! For a start, it's beautiful to look at and hold, with immaculate craftsmanship and attention to detail. But what really hooked me is the ease of playing -- once you pick it up, you feel you could play forever! The tone is so rich and responsive and totally balanced throughout the entire range, with great sustain. It can be as brilliant or as soft as you want it to be. Whether playing a single string or full chords, you hear every note clearly and distinctly, and they blend beautifully. I do feel as though I'm neglecting my Taylor, though, because I play the MacKenzie and Marr so much more! Eric Clapton is quoted as saying "Buy the best guitar you can afford. It will help you play better." My "Ian Tyson" is certainly doing that!

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