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McPherson Guitars Perfecting the Art of ‘State of the Art’

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Issue Articles
• Created: January 26, 2017

Long known for the employment of cutting edge techniques in the design and production of their acclaimed acoustic guitars, McPherson Guitars – easily and instantly recognizable thanks to the brand’s distinctive Offset Soundhole Technology – are the go-to instruments for a number of high profile acts. Between the more “traditional” (though still very state of the art) wood models crafted by the brand’s Custom Shop to the high tech carbon-fiber Kevin Michael models, McPherson has a wide range of meticulously assembled, quality instruments for the discerning musician.

MMR recently spoke with co-founder Matt McPherson about the company’s history, mission, and future.

Matt McPhersonFor any of our readers who may be unfamiliar, can you briefly outline the origins and evolution of McPherson Guitars? Who started the brand – where and when?

McPherson was started in 1979 by Mander and Matt McPherson in Edina, Minnesota. The original McPherson guitar used three soundholes around the edge of the top instead of one in the center of the soundboard allowed the top to resonate more freely.

Let’s talk about the carbon-fiber Kevin Michael Guitars: What are some of the sonic, ecological, and other benefits to the design?

The tonal qualities of the McPherson carbon guitars are impressive. By engineering the guitars as we do, we have been able to bring out more rich tones, mids, and brightness. They sound more like a wooden acoustic guitar without the worries of heat and humidity. Also with no wood being used the guitars are Eco-Friendly and easy to travel with worldwide.

As it pertains to the traditional, wood-based McPherson Guitars, what’s the current top seller?

Being that McPherson has become more of a custom shop it’s hard to select just one model that would be considered a top seller. However the most popular wood combination is Indian Rosewood with a Redwood top. The combination of these two woods is the perfect blend of what most people look for in an acoustic guitar.

To your mind, what most makes McPherson acoustics unique compared to other, competing brands?

The one thing that sticks out to everyone is our Offset Soundhole Technology. It’s easy to note a McPherson in someone’s hand or on a store rack just by the appearance of the soundhole in the top. There are so many features that we are proud of on our guitars. We also have a Cantilever neck, which allows for a larger surface on the guitar top, our patented Overpass/Underpass brace system does an incredible job transferring energy throughout the guitar body, our carbon truss rod which keeps the neck from needing adjustments.

You have a fairly impressive roster of McPherson artists. How important are artist relations to the brand’s image and promotion?

Artist endorsements are needed in this business for brand recognition. When you see one of our artists on TV or stage our product is instantly connected to them.

Currently you have a relatively small dealer network – for example, I’m in Boston and there’s not a single authorized McPherson dealer in Massachusetts. Do you have any plans to expand your distribution model? Are you actively seeking new dealers and, if so, how would interested MI retailers go about partnering with McPherson?

McPherson wood guitars are hand crafted in Sparta, Wisconsin by a small group of master luthiers. Each guitar takes approximately six months to complete. Due to this fact, we have chosen to keep our quality as high as possible and create only a select amount of guitars per year. Many of our guitars are custom ordered directly from the consumer to our shop. We work with them is selecting the proper woods, model, inlay, et cetera for them. Due to the fact that many boutique guitars shops have gone out of business over the past years we are always looking to the one special dealer who understands our product and who has the demographics that will allow for the purchase of high end guitars. The McPherson carbon line is expanding rapidly and we are looking for new dealers aggressively. The product is more of a “Lifestyle” guitar that can be taken most anywhere without the fear of damaging your wooden guitar. Those interested in learning more about becoming a dealer for the carbon fiber line can contact Laurie Abshire at laurie.abshire@mcphersonguitars. com or call Laurie at 337-255-4890.

Any upcoming product introductions, events, et cetera that you’d like to share with our readers?

McPherson guitars will once again be attending the Winter NAMM show. Stop by and see us in Hall E Booth 1300.

Finally, what are your expectations – both for McPherson and the guitar industry as a whole – for the coming months?

McPherson guitars sales are consistent year to year and we expect that to stay the same. However the carbon market has been growing and with our new full size “Sable” that is now available we are expecting great sales for the remainder of this year and great growth into the future.

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