Friday, 24 April 2015

Very odd and beautiful custom made guitar by H.M. Philips - Blue Moon Guitars

I feel this will be a polarizing post.

I think you will either love or hate this custom made guitar, according to the inside label it's called a Blue Moon, made by H.M Phillips. It is indeed very unique. A quick internet search only yielded the kijiji ad and a few other online seller ads for this particular guitar.

Based on the pictures, this seems to be an extremely well made guitar. It sports a nice spruce top, koa back and sides, and a mahogany neck. The offset soundhole and odd body shape take a bit to get used to but I really like it. It should also be noted that it has 26 frets. What notes lie beyond the 15th fret are usually a mystery to me, but for the more adventurous player this could be a big plus. It also comes with a custom built form fitting case, very classy.

I'd really like to see what other guitars this luthier has built. I'll have to do more online sleuthing later.

Selling for $2200 Canadian

R.W. Haller

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  1. Well, it's different, that's for sure. Top marks for creating an original guitar design rather than recycling what's gone before.

    Having said that, I really intensely dislike it. If you're going to have a traditional round soundhole it is only ever aesthetically pleasing if it is centred beneath the strings. I've never seen a design that I like featuring an offset soundhole. I think they are designed purely to confound those of us who favour a soundhole-mounted magnetic pickup when amplifying an acoustic.

    1. See Gavin, as I said, polarizing. :-)

  2. Aesthetically, it's not my bag. From an engineering point of view, the offset soundhole design has been proven sound (zing!) but pretty much exclusively moving it to the bass side.
    The headstock, however, is a nightmare. Look at the break angles on the E strings across the nut. Unless the nut is somehow super-slick, those strings are going to snag and slip like nobody's business. Even if it's made of TUSQ, or even Mammoth ivory, there's so much contact between the strings and nut that I doubt it'll ever stay in tune.

  3. I'm a luthier. I know that someone worked really hard to make that guitar, so I hesitate to criticize it at all. But the soundhole placement is problematic, at least for me. My fingers would be constantly in it - I need that area to support my fingers. I'd also be worried about catching on the end of the fingerboard extension.

    As per Apo's comment, the angle on the E strings is fine. I actually think that the middle strings could use more angle. I don't think guitar players or even luthiers these days realize that the reason those strings are traditionally angled more than the outside strings is to increase the string tension on those strings to better match the tension of the outside strings. Yes, you can increase tension in two dimensions: up and down, and side to side.

    To whoever built it, kudos for doing something different.

  4. Hey! That's my guitar! I'm on Prince Edward Island. A friend bought this guitar for me in the States and I have no information on the luthier. Just for the record, there's nothing wrong with the headstock or tuning. The only feature of the guitar that puzzles me are two "transverse struts" that connect the back to the top just inside the soundhole. For the body size (just over 16-inch lower bout), I had expected a bigger sound. But these struts: Do they suppress the loudness by limiting soundboard movement? Any ideas? Cheers.



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