Owner Reviews

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MacKenzie & Marr guitar owners' reviews

Please note: We publish all reviews exactly as they are submitted. Occasionally we may correct an obvious typo but that's it. The opinions you read are the owner's own words.

Carl from Olympia

Wed, 11/17/2021 - 17:07

I'm an experienced player, home studio owner, producer and singer songwriter. Over the 50 years I've been seriously engaged with these activities, I've played a wide variety of guitars and I own a variety of acoustics that cost me anywhere from $80 to $4,000. Guitars strike me as a personal choice, I'm not sure what I can say that will help anyone decide, but I can tell you why the Algonquin 12 works for me. 1) It works for my voice. I can sing what I've previously written and it will effortlessly support my voice. The only other acoustic guitar that I have that works as well is a six-string Goodall that cost me $4,000, used. 2) It inspires me to write. When I play it, I find a wide variety of intriguing sounds that lead me in new directions and because it supports my voice, I'm able to easily follow up on what I'm hearing by singing against this new palette. 3) It records extremely well. Acoustic guitars can be difficult - either too "boomy" or lacking in body. This guitar makes it easy. Again, the only other guitar I have in this category is the Goodall. 4) It's easy to play. It has a clear voice, stays in tune, has easy action and is way less temperamental that the other 12 strings I've owned or played. I'm so used to working harder on an acoustic 12 string, particularly on the Martin 12 string this instrument replaced, that it took me a couple of minutes to find my bearings. 5) I can stop looking for a new 12-string. About 45 years or so ago I played a Martin 12 string that I couldn't afford, the memory of which became the yardstick against which all other 12 strings have been measured. With the Algonquin 12 I've finally put that ghost to rest. To everyone who made this possible, please accept my sincere thanks. One more thing - John was wonderful to work with when the shipping company mangled my well packed guitar. Guitars are personal and hard to recommend, but good service is easy. I've never had someone on the other end of the phone show the level of care and respect for my emotional well-being as John did. If you are worried about after sales service, I can ease your mind on that count.

Christopher from Tacoma

Wed, 11/17/2021 - 13:18

This instrument is beautifully built, with a flawless finish. The rosewood body is exquisite, and the florentine cut-away is perfect. I can't imagine the high level of craftsmanship that this model requires. The tones of this guitar across the spectrum are lovely, balanced, and rich, and sustains long. The sound with my fingers alone is soft and melodious; and with a pick, the sound fills the room. I accepted the L R Baggs Anthem Pickup, an impressive upgrade, at no cost. Though, the sound is so full that I haven't needed to use it. There were daunting challenges in transit. In addition to the general difficulty in shipping these covid days, there was a carrier foul-up, no fault of Mackenzie and Marr. I received my guitar exactly as expected, given the delay, and I think it's safe arrival had everything to do with the outstanding attention that John Marr gave it. He was right on top of everything; and he communicated with me frankly and immediately. This is a first-rate company, top notch instruments and top-notch service. I am so happy I went with them. I have the Opeongo 00 guitar too. How do they do it? I can't decide which guitar to pickup, but I look forward to playing every day. It's amazing what a nice instrument does for you to make practice and scales a pleasure.

Gerald from Toronto

Tue, 11/16/2021 - 17:52

Wonderful addition to my collection. Vibrant sound, readily tunable, easy to hold seated or standing. I am enjoying its ringing tones changing the sound of old favourites.

Anthony from Welland

Thu, 11/11/2021 - 11:10

My Opeongo arrived last week and I absolutely love it! The fit and finish are immaculate and the setup was perfect right out of the box. I wish I had discovered the joys of a small body, 12 fret much earlier- it is just so comfortable to play. The sound is fantastic(apart from my mediocre playing), so much tone from a small instrument. To say it exceeded my expectations is an understatement.

paal from Dollard Des Ormeaux

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 19:05

I love this guitar! It's made with the attention to detail normally seen in custom work; maple binding, a profusion of abalone, and a great, blemish-free finish which allows for the wood grain to scintillate under light. The Western Red Cedar top, often paired by luthiers with one of the several available mahogany woods, (The Tofino X uses the African mahogany, Khaya Ivorensis) gives a warmth of tone and a mid-range punch which is a departure from the boomy, somewhat trebly sound of a Sitka spruce and rosewood instrument (which I still love for playing Bluegrass tunes). This is my first mahogany back and sides, cedar top guitar, and it's a real pleasure to play. (The iconic Martin D-18's made in the seventies used Khaya Ivorensis, and Doc Watson's Gallagher dreadnought was built with the same African mahogany.) I By the way, a high-gloss finish yields a brighter tone, and looks better on stage (and up close too!) than the so-called “satin” finish, which I equate with a mere primer coat. (but if you're playing this guitar, or any guitar, on stage, under lights, remember to first wipe off those smeary-fingered contrails!)When I ordered the Tofino X, I had assumed I'd have to take it to a luthier for a fine-tuning, but this was unnecessary – the set-up is great, right out of the packing box! I play up the neck a lot, and the playability is totally fine the way it is. The neck has an adjustable truss rod, for any future time when and if adjustments are called for. Tonally, the volume is even across the strings, up and down the neck. There's no flat spots. One thing about mahogany back and side construction – it'll fit in with other instruments more easily than, say, a guitar which may turn out to be better for solo work. (However, this point may be less of an issue than, say, with violins, which must be chosen tonally for how they're to be used – orchestral, baroque ensemble, string quartet, or solo.) One thing about cedar topped guitars – one school of thought says that they respond well to light to medium pick action (and finger-picking) but their acoustical ceiling is reached more quickly than a guitar built with topboards of Engelmann, Sitka, or Adirondack spruce – which means harder playing yields more volume than their cedar-top cousins – that being said though, one of the first things I noticed with the Tofino X was how loud it is! Another thing: the instrument case that the Tofino X came in is beautiful! The guitar fits snugly, and the deep maroon plush lining is a pleasure to behold. The latches and hinges all work smoothly, and the case is rigid, light, and strong. Based on the quality of this guitar, I've ordered the Riverboat Dreadnought for a projected January delivery. One more additional note - The neck feels great, and I'm happy it's not in a gloss finish - varnish can make your hand stick when making fast position changes in a hot room, or in sticky summer weather. Good job here!

Thomas from Colonia

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:27

I have had my Dionisio over 5 months and am very pleased with it. Workmanship is first rate. It plays very easily, almost like an electric. Sound is clear. I play alot of single note runs and this guitar is well suited for my style.

Jozef from Mississauga

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:22

In my opinion gypsy jazz guitars are the best looking acoustic guitars on the planet. BUT Tofino X 10th Aniversary Limited Edition stands out of the crowd. Neck is of the electric guitar, Gibson LP like, action really low little higher than electric guitar. Sound fully professional, after the 12th fret you do not have to work hard to get good sound. Variety and quality of sound I could compare to Gitane gypsy jazz guitar 2400 CAD made in China without hard case or gig bag, or over 3000 or even 4000 CAD American made guitar with hard case. Great gitar for playing melodies, and solos, for Blues, Rock, and Jazz. Shuffle, and power chords sound decent. The price unusual, and I don't have to worry too much, what I will do if I break it or lose it. Solid ,and fully professional guitar for unusually magnificent price, and only 50 CAD FedEx shipping. Thank you.

James from CONWAY

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:09

I've had my Tofino X for a couple of months now, and it's truly a superb instrument. I would have responded sooner, but the only time I've put it down is to swap it out with my Ian Tyson, which I bought a little over a year ago. This is in fact my third Mackenzie and Marr guitar, counting the Opeongo I bought for a friend. Actually, I emailed John awhile back and asked him to talk me out of buying the Tofino, since I'm an average player at best, and knew I didn't need another fine, handcrafted instrument. Thankfully, he declined to do so. I can't say enough about it. The balance, the clarity, the intonation, the materials and workmanship are all without compare. I almost feel bad about leaving my Taylors in their cases. since I retired, I have a little "nest" on my sofa, with the Tofino to my right, the Ian Tyson to my left, and my music stand, tuner, picks and capo right in front. Some days I barely get up. These guitars make me a better player than I am. If I have any regret, it's that I didn't spring for the pickup on this one, and that I didn't find out about M&M sooner. If you play, and care about sound and playability, get you one of these.

Stewart from Colorado Springs

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:03

As a new guitar player you will, as you might expect, find a plethora of guitars to choose. From smaller bodies, dreadnauts, jumbos, 12 strings, sitka spruce, Adirondack spruce, koa, mahogany, rosewood, pure acoustic, acoustic/electric, the list goes on and on. But if you have been playing and collecting for over 50 years you pretty much know what's out there, what you like and the best value for your spendable budget. I knew I wanted a new guitar to celebrate my 70th birthday as I did for my 50th. I've had all of the big names, Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Guild and many others including a couple of custom guitars sporting all the most popular woods available. So, what did I want, what didn't I have and which company could provide what I was after? Originally I was looking at a different guitar maker whose ads would appear from time to time on FB when I saw my first ad for MacKenzie & Marr guitars. Damn, these looked too good to be true. I started to look for any information I could find about these guitars, I watched the segment on "Dragon's Den" and being a fan of the U.S. "Shark Tank" series I figured if Mr. Wonderful wanted a piece of the action then perhaps this guitar company was worth considering. I had my own checklist in my head; Solid top wood - Check Solid Back & Sides - Check Quality Tuners (Grovers) - Check Attractive and functional guitar shapes - Check Acoustic/Electric as an option - Check Beautiful Appointments (Trim/Inlay) - Check Outstanding Warranty - Check Quality Hardshell Case Included - Check Price - Wow... I mean Check Now, which one to choose? I had recently bought my first cutaway and loved it and the only wood combination I hadn't tried was cedar top with mahogany back & sides. The Dionisio fit the bill. They offered the Dionisio X 10th Anniversary model at a special summer price so I jumped on the offer. Upon arrival I gave the guitar a very close inspection to see if there were any flaws in the workmanship. Flawless. The choice of wood is beautiful, the abalone trim is gorgeous... this is one stunning guitar. The sound as I would expect from cedar was velvet smooth and mellow but not dark yet this guitar still has bite! I like this guitar (and company) so much I've created a Facebook page called Friends of MacKenzie & Marr Guitars. So, my advice to you? If you're seriously considering buying one of these guitars, I'd jump on the chance before management decides they want to make more money by raising prices.

John from Riverside

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:01

The review of any new guitar suffers from the fact it is new.  Hauling out a lookalike from 1934 or even a high quality import from a half dozen years ago isn't exactly a level playing field.  Maybe it's best to start with the things which are obvious. The Tofino is the only guitar with a wonderfully sleek matte finished neck.  The shape resembles the vintage instrument but it is much, much thinner and comfortably less wide.  Ebony bars are no match for a modern adjustable truss rod.  The square and diamond position markers are vintage copies in a colorful abalone rather than pearl and spaced perfectly to match the light gauge strings.  This attention to detail can be found everywhere on the Tofino.  The Tofino appears to have the thinnest frets of the three instruments. The body shape is not a direct copy of an "auditorium" body style.  The body is notably deeper and slightly more curved.  The tap tones of all three tops fall closest to the fifth string A.  The tops are all carefully chosen.  The vintage top is uniform in color compared with the younger sitka but neither compare to the tight pattern and uniform color of the Tofino.  Is this more of MacKenzie and Marr's legendary high altitude cedar? The finish on the African mahogany is warm and clearly shows the natural beauty of the wood - a real plus.  Despite the larger size, the Tofino appears to be the lightest of the three instruments Almost all aspects of the finish and trim of the Tofino are superior.  The body is bound in curly maple with a tasteful b/w accent while the top and rosette are trimmed in a rich colored shell design that is or resembles Paua abalone. The neck and headstock are also bound in maple.  The tuners are gold Grover Rotomatics.  The headstock size is identical to the other guitar with a simple gold decal. The old guitar came with a pickguard, the Tofino and the other guitar came with an optional guard in the case pocket.  They are pretty well tied for ugly.  My Tofino black guard will make a fine template someday for something nicer. Time to put the rosewood guitar away and see how the mahogany guitars compare.  The strings are heavier on the sitka guitar.  It is loud and every note has a bite.  The lowest two strings don't match either the volume or sustain of the top four.  On the Tofino all six strings are equally well balanced.  The volume and sustain are excellent.  The initial slap of the hard pick doesn't sound percussive, it's musical. The Tofino is beautifully balanced at all volume levels and equally at home with flat or finger style playing.  The neck is the most comfortable shape I own or have ever played.  I'm looking forward to getting out and showing it off.  I can only imagine what the review will say a few hundred songs and a half dozen sets of strings from now.

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