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.