Yesterday I took a drive up to Guilford, CT, to visit the shop called Serious Strings. This shop is run by Brian Wolfe, and also houses the workshop of George Youngblood, one of the all-time best luthier and instrument repair and restoration experts. Visiting this shop is always a great experience. They have a website at:
This time, I was meeting with George to discuss some possible work on an old Martin guitar, and some work on a couple of mandos. George is an absolute pleasure, and a remarkable man. In his shop, he had so many amazing instruments, I can't even begin to describe it. He kindly showed me what he was up to. He and Brian were also very gracious about the fact that I had my 23 month old daughter with me. She was entertained and loved every minute of it.
Brian plays mandolin and guitar, and is quite accomplished. While I was there, he got out his personal instrument, an original Givens A6, and let me play it. A very sweet mandolin. He also handed me two of his six Sobells. One of these was apparently the very first mandolin Stefan Sobell made. It is for sale, and needs a little work (George's department), but has a deep, sweet tone. The other Sobell (also for sale) was in excellent condition, and sounded awesome. Anyone looking for a Celtic style mandolin should contact Brian.
Brian also handed me (with an evil grin) a new Collings MF5. I think this is maybe the nicest mandolin I have ever played. It was just beautiful. Most impressive to me was how sweet the bass response was. It was so even, and so, so nice. I wish I had $7k!! I would have left with it.
I also played a new Breedlove KF Quartz. It was very nicely built, nice fit and finish, and for the price sounded quite good. A damn nice instrument for under a grand. But after having played that Collings... ohhhh.
There were other highlights, as well, but this post is already too long. I have no financial interest whatsoever, but I sure would encourage people who live anywhere near Guilford, CT to visit this shop. The guitar collection, the real focus of the place, will blow your mind. It may be the finest collection of top quality acoustic guitars anywhere. And the mandolins in stock are always wonderful. And it is always a real pleasure just to be in the place... people stop in, play some instruments, etc.
J. Mark Lane
Stanley #10 F5
Pomeroy #72 F4
Brian Dean #30 Bowlback