Southwell Guitars - Custom made guitars, historical reproductions and restorations

Gary Southwell started Southwell Guitars in 1983 and has since gone on to make guitars for an impressive list of distinguished musicians. Gary is mostly known for his acclaimed A Series Guitar but is also a copyist and restorer of historical guitars.

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Today we find many luthiers who are able to offer a good or even excellent guitar but still very few are really unique and outstanding. Those true greats never follow the mainstream but solely their own insight and vision. Gary Southwell is one of those very few. He is not only deeply entrenched in the tradition of the instrument and blessed with spectacular craftsmanship, but owns an intuition and affinity concerning the materials that goes far beyond what one can study or practice. The instruments from his hands are more than miracles of sound and playability. They are objects of art, even fetish that you just like to look at, smell, touch and adore every day again and again.

—Frank Bungarten

10 minutes to midnight, and I was still playing this magnificent guitar…I have never in my life owned a guitar (or anything else, for that matter) as fine as this, nor did I ever expect to. It just keeps revealing itself, little by little, and I can’t help but feel that everything I am getting from it now is only a hint of what is to come. The sound of this guitar is an entire world, a world I look forward to exploring, and spending a great deal of time in.

—Michael McCartney

Thank you again for your tremendous artistry and craftsmanship. I am in awe each time I play my Southwell guitar. I am inspired not only by its unique design and exotic woods that captivate the eye but even more so with each note as it speaks with remarkable tone and clarity in all registers. I can actually hear all the parts to the music, most notably the inner voices. The instrument speaks in concert with itself making me want to listen more intently to the music I am playing.

—John Doan

My English falls short of the beauty of tone it is able to produce, very even through all the registers, differentiated, un-spainishly mixing mid-European romanticism with my here and now, down to earth and very high up in ethereality. And I haven’t said anything about its gorgeous looks yet. I am absolutely smitten.

—Rudolf Ninks

I've kept and enjoyed my Gary Southwell guitar for three decades now. The instrument has a winning combination of the innovative and the traditional, and in this case the traditional means even pre-Torres. This models the main interest of my performing career, which for the most part has skipped the heart of the 19th-century repertoire to focus on music from before and after that period. The instrument has fewer swimming overtones than most modern guitars do, but it features a rich, solid fundamental that results in a kind of purity of sound, which one can work with for all kinds of lines and colors. This guitar is not for sale!

—David Tanenbaum

It has been my good fortune to be a regular player and fan of Gary Southwell's guitars. Gary's highly developed sense of both the art, craft and history of guitar-making gives his instruments an excitingly adventurous range of possibility- fitting into a long tradition, but always striving to improve the state of our art. That he has succeeded superbly in the latter places him among the elite of contemporary guitar builders.

—David Starobin

I would like to thank you a thousand times for making me this guitar, but most of all for the extraordinary quality of this instrument. The clarity, responsiveness and the tonal colors amaze me, and for the first time I have a clue to some of the extraordinary tone colors that Segovia produced on his old Hauser.

—Joseph Bacon

My old 90’s Temperate Southwell guitar still blows people away in my studio.

—Pat O’Brien