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The Music Link Acoustic Instruments

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The Music Link Acoustic Instruments

For those who own or are interested in these fine recreations of vintage instruments. Includes: Recording King; The Loar; Antonio Hermosa Guitars; Lucida Guitars; and Savannah & Koloaukuleles.

Members: 16
Latest Activity: Feb 7

Discussion Forum

LH250 SN 5 Replies

Would be nice to hear reviews and comments on this all solid wood guitar.  This is my first all solid wood.  Living on the prairies with severe weather fluctuations and low humidity in the winter it…Continue

Started by Stepan Chornov. Last reply by Michael S. Jackson Dec 8, 2012.

LOAR LH300 ARCHTOP 5 Replies

Can anyone tell me if the Loar guitar is worth the money? I've seen a couple of films on YouTube but they are from a guitar seller so he maybe just talking the talk to sell these guitarsThanks :)Continue

Started by Janet vanGoudswaard. Last reply by Michael S. Jackson Dec 5, 2012.

Loar 309 Archtop 17 Replies

Hi all. Just ordered a Loar 309 VS from a local dealer/luthier (Loar is sold through The Music Link and these are all solid top, hand carved and graduated. Not from school but top thickness). I've…Continue

Started by Michael S. Jackson. Last reply by Michael S. Jackson Jun 25, 2012.

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Comment by Michael S. Jackson on February 1, 2011 at 3:53pm

So, now that I have reviewed all four of my Music Link instruments, one might ask what is my opinion about them and if I have any advice.

I believe they are one of the best, if not the very best, values in the market today. Their dedication to original designs, with a few modern improvements, is evident. Their finish is done with vintage lacquers and varnishes that are difficult, or very expensive, to find in the CONUS. Their tone is incredible. Some folks have a difficult time getting over the "Made in China" syndrome but it is a world market now and competition among manufacturers is incredible. While I would prefer to buy American when possible, I can't afford $225,000.00 it would cost for originals of these four instruments (IF I could find them!), nor the $25,000.00 it would cost for American manufactured reproductions of these four, which cost an aggregate of $2,600.00 (excluding the new parts for the banjo). I mentioned a source in North Carolina for these but a dealer in my area now stocks and sells them - I really wish he had them when I purchased these on the internet!

I have had only two negative experiences, both of which were resolved but could have been avoided by checking out the instruments before buying. I bought all of mine sight unseen.

The first 00 guitar (ROS-626) had to be returned because of an intonation problem. Even though I filed and modified the saddle as much as possible to make it work, TML still took it back and I had a (perfect) replacement very quickly at no cost, shipping or otherwise.

The other problem I had was with the banjo (RK-R85-SN) and, though I cannot recommend the dealer from whom I purchased this banjo, I can heartily advocate the banjo. I'm absoutely confident that TML would have taken it back if the dealer would have contacted them, but they would not. But... as with any banjo, you must set them up correctly and experiment with different parts for the sound you like. I can save someone a lot of time, effort, and experimentation if they contact me when they set one of these up. I have seen other Recording King banjos since then and they were all manufactured flawlessly.

I really like these instruments. They don't replace my Martins, Gibsons, or Fenders, but they add a new flavor and provide me with guitars I don't need to worry about so much while "out and about."

Thanks, again, for reading! Please let me know if you have questions. m

Comment by Michael S. Jackson on February 1, 2011 at 2:31pm

OK. My last entry, for a while. This one is for the banjo you can see the second from the left. She's an RK-R85-SN (Ser Nr. 77) that I picked up four years ago (I believe).

If this was the sole Music Link instrument I purchased, my opinion of them would be a lot less than it is now. Lutheir Greg Rich designs these and oversees their production. I purchased this one from a well known music store, sight unseen, on-line. Their price was better than anyone esles and they promised to set the banjo up for me, etc. However, when I received the banjo, I was sorely disappointed. First, the action was horrible (about 7/16 off the 12th fret), the head was uneven and very loose, the coordinating rods were sloppy, the resonator had fingerprints on the edge where someone had handled it before it dried and there were spots with no finish applied, the truss rod cover was broken and damaged (looked like someone took a grinder to it), the 5th string nut was broken in half (one side gone), and the tailpiece was missing parts.

I called and I wrote the store who sold the banjo to me, but they were of no help - they didn't want to help; they acted offended that I wasn't satisfied with the banjo or their set-up. I have learned since that The Music Link will accept a return only through the dealer and this dealer was totally unresponsive. Every time I see one of their ads in a magazine, I shudder to this day. I've also been told, by a dealer in my area who now carries a full line of The Music Link instruments, that he believes this was a factory second. The archtop guitar I previously wrote about was a factory second, and I've seen another archtop that was a factory second, but I can't for the life of me see any defect at all in either of them. I don't know if this was a second - it was not sold as a second but as a new instrument.

This is a really good reproduction of a pre-war flathead Gibson Mastertone. She has a three-ply maple rime, maple resonator, maple neck, with rosewood veneer on the headstock and an ebony fret board. Metal parts are nickle plated. I knew she would be worth fixing up. I know, you shouldn't have to do that with a brand new instrument, but as I said, this dealer sucks.

I won't bore you all with all of the details regarding how I fixed and set this banjo up; if you are interested you can read a full review and disclosure at Banjohangout.org (member name: Bohonkie). And, of course, I'd be very happy to answer any questions anyone has.

I'm very thankful to Roger Siminoff (former editor of Frets magazine) for his valuable help in getting things working properly on this banjo; I could not have done it without his help.

I made a new truss rod cover out of german silver, engraving and polishing it myself. The original was of black plastic. I added new tuning buttons (fake ivory), installed Keith tuners, replaced the 5th string nut, replaced the bridge and tailpiece (setting it for the correct angle), installed a replacement arm rest, and refinished the rim of the resonator (where the fingerprints and missing finish occured). I dressed the frets, tightened the head (using a drum dial), and set the action height and truss rod to where it should be.

The results? The best banjo I've ever heard except for my original pre-war Gibson Mastertone. She rings like a bell with incredible sustain and no loss of tone or power up the neck. Tone and volume across all strings are even and separated. The bass booms and the trebles are full and round - not "tinny." She's comfortable and easy to play - she's a keeper.

I'm currently using GHS (medium or heavy) strings, but there are several brands and types that work very well on this banjo. For comparison, my original Gibson likes only GHS heavies.

Again, please let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for reading - m.

Comment by Michael S. Jackson on February 1, 2011 at 1:57pm
Ed - Yup. It looks just like that one. I saw one in a local music store (they decided to start carrying TML instruments). Also, they have others - I forget the names right now.
Comment by Edward Sparks on January 27, 2011 at 3:45pm

Does the Loar one look like this?  I can't find anything on the web about the Loar model and I am really interested!  Thanks!

 

Comment by Edward Sparks on January 27, 2011 at 3:40pm
I really like the LH 200 and 250, but the idea of a Century Model is really cool!  I couldn't find it on their website, but I will check back to see it!  Does the Loar model have the Mother -of-toilet-seat fingerboard?  Thanks, Edward
Comment by Michael S. Jackson on January 27, 2011 at 1:26pm

Back. His name is Mike: clubbymike@hotmail.com

I asked him if it was OK to give out his e-mail and he agreed. I have his full name and phone number if you need. I have purchased two guitars (the archtop and this one) from him and have no complaints at all.

By the way, I was mistaken. I paid $360 for the guitar. It usually comes with a soft case but they were out of stock so they shipped it in a guardian case which usually sells for $125 but they sold it to me for $55. Very good case! As I wrote, I replaced my Martin case for my Eric Clapton OM with this one - it's a lot better case.

Also, the fern in the headstock is really the Chinese character for "wood."

Loar also makes a really cool re-issue of the old Gibson Century model and others.

Thanks much for reading! m

Comment by Michael S. Jackson on January 27, 2011 at 1:18pm

Ed - My source is a guy in North Carolina. He usually sells seconds, but this LH was not a second, nor was my ROS-626. The archtop was a second, though I can't for the life of me figure out where the "defect" is. In this case, seconds can only mean finish runs, etc. NOT any manufacturing or parts defects. So the sound is not affected.

But, as I said, I got the LH-200 at a really great price and it is not a second. I'm gonna have to log off now and look up his contact info for you. Back in a minute...

Comment by Edward Sparks on January 27, 2011 at 11:53am
I am interested in the "200" small bodied model. The one without the fern inlay on the head...
Comment by Michael S. Jackson on January 27, 2011 at 11:14am
I bought this one for $350, new (case add'l). There are good deals out there on these and if you can get past their being made in China, they are worth checking out. The last one I'll write about is a Recording King banjo. Next week.
Comment by Edward Sparks on January 27, 2011 at 11:09am
The article with the Loar I mentioned is in the September 2010 issue...it's a great article so check it out!  Edward
 

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