"When I learned to play guitar as a kid, I was lucky that my Dad had a guitar and let me use it to learn. As I learned more about guitars and talked with my parents, I realized that my Mom had purchased this Gibson J45 in the late fifties for my Dad and how lucky I was to learn on such an instrument.
In 2001, as my Dad was fighting cancer, he reinforced to everyone that the Gibson was to stay with me when he passed. For many reasons not in my control, it turned out that I was not able to retain the guitar and found out in 2012 that the person that my Dad had married before he died had in fact pawned the guitar sometime in the last 5 years.
Not having my Dads guitar bothered me greatly through the years, and one Sunday I saw a newspaper article on Rockbridge Guitars. I called Brian to discuss the loss of my Fathers guitar and the possibility of building something in his honor. Brian was respectful and empathetic during our first conversations and I knew that Rockbridge had to build this Guitar for me and the memory of my Father.
We talked about the specifications of the actual instrument, as I wanted a slope shouldered J45 styled instrument with a finish like my Dads and some customization to honor my Dad. I sent a picture of my Dads guitar for a finish reference and Brian and I finalized the following:
My Dads name inlayed on the 12th fret.
A cigar inlayed on the headstock. (My Dad loved a cheap stogie, while I like the good stuff)
Match the finish as close a possible to the picture.
Somehow include a way to put some of my Dads ashes in the guitar.
Brian was respectful of all of my requests and took great care in figuring a way to get my Dads ashes in the instrument without compromising the building process.
Brian invited me to the factory, drilled a small hole in the back of the headstock, and allowed me to put my Dads ashes in the guitar. Brian then filled the hole with the option of showing the plug or blending it. I decided to show the plug so I can show people where my Dad is. By Rockbridge allowing me to do this, I now have an instrument that will forever be a part of my family and a tribute to my Father.
I was not sure when I was on my way to finally pick up my new guitar how much closure it would provide in regards to losing my Dads guitar. Well, it has given me complete closure. Rockbridge Guitars was able to build a guitar that allowed my Dad to literally be a part of a beautiful hand crafted instrument. This instrument will be passed on to my Son and will forever honor my Dad as it is a true family heirloom. Not to mention the nicest acoustic guitar I have had the pleasure of playing. The tone and the playability greatly surpassed all of my expectations and this guitar is now my "Go To" instrument when composing and recording.
Brian, Randall, and Adam; Thank you for building this beautiful instrument and allowing me to make something special for my family for years to come. My Dads remains don't just sit on a mantle but have become a part of a guitar that I play everyday, which allows me to think of my Dad everyday as I pick some of the old tunes that he would play and sing when we where kids."
For Lee Roy.
“I am sitting in the call room at the hospital admiring pictures of my new guitar. I have been trying for days to put into words what this guitar means to me, but I realize that trying to describe it would not do it justice. Simply put, this guitar feels like me.
I felt like I was a part of the creation process from the beginning, and it means a lot to me that my ideas were heard and appreciated. It was so much fun to see the design ideas as they started, then watch them evolve into the final masterpiece. The wait and anticipation of the final product gave me time to run down a thousand possibilities of what it could be. I appreciate your willingness to work with me to get it just right, even though sometimes, I was running in circles. You were very patient and always guided me to the correct design decision.
The phrase that I constantly see associated with Rockbridge Guitar Company is "attention to detail," and it is spot on. The lines of my custom inlay were absolutely perfect down to the thinnest mark. The complex pickup installation was perfectly balanced. The burst, the binding, and the top inlay were breathtaking. The neck and action were perfect. The tone is dry and loud with a sweetness across the whole tonal spectrum. It is easily the best sounding guitar I have ever played. Rockbridge Guitar Company stands above the rest because of the little things you do on every single guitar. I love that each of you signed the underside of the top and the interior label. Also, I was impressed with the scalloped bridge pin slots that keep the string exactly where it should be. I have never seen that before, but I thought to myself, "Wow! These guys have thought of everything!"
Thank you so much for allowing me to visit your shop and your home. The trips to Virginia are experiences that my brother and I will always cherish. From the very first time we visited, we were welcomed as if we were old friends. Selecting my own slab of wood was such a cool experience. From your list of major players in the music industry, there is no doubt that you are master artisans in the field of guitar making, but what cannot be seen from pictures is your mastery in the field of customer service. It really makes for the total package in a custom guitar.
I cannot be more proud to say I have my name inlaid on a Rockbridge guitar. I know these will soar in monetary value as time goes on, but to me, it is so much more valuable than any dollar amount. It is something I want my kids to have and pass down in our family forever. Music is such a huge part of my life, and everything centers around the guitar. With such a powerful and deeply meaningful instrument as my #1, I cannot help but be excited about the possibilities…
Thank you all again and God bless!"
“Thank you guys for making such an amazing guitar. I have had about a week now to play it and get used to it and it keeps sounding better and better. I can only imagine how it will sound 10 years from now.
That aside, one of the things that struck me was that it felt great the moment I took it out of the case and played it. Never before have I played a guitar that didn't feel like it needed any adjustments whatsoever. It feels great under my fingers, the intonation is perfect, and it keeps its tune incredibly well. I played a show the day after receiving the guitar and I literally did not need to tune at all throughout the show. Just one time in the beginning and it was good to go!
Another thing that struck me immediately upon opening the case was the sheer beauty of the guitar. I have never seen a more beautiful guitar than this. I keep finding myself staring at the back and sides marveling at how amazing it looks. A picture can do it no justice. It is abundantly clear that there was so much love and attention to detail put into the making of this amazing instrument. Also, it makes me very happy to know that the wood used for the back of my guitar came from the same tree as Dave Matthews' newest Rockbridge guitar. Very cool!
Anybody thinking about getting a Rockbridge, I highly recommend doing so. Brian was a pleasure to work with in customizing every little detail of the guitar and I could not be happier with this guitar. It was well worth the wait for such a gorgeous instrument that fits so well and sounds so amazing I can't thank you guys enough for building this guitar for me!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
- Alec Bridges
"Now that I have been able to play my new guitar for a few days, I really wanted to say thank you to you guys. I'm truly amazed by this guitar! Not only is the quality and attention to detail remarkable but it looks like a piece of art and sounds just as amazing. I've been playing my current guitar (all koa) for over 10 years now and really didn't think I would find a guitar with better sound, but the Rockbridge that you built is by far the best sounding guitar I've ever played!
The one subtle detail that I like the most is that all three of you signed the label. It really gives it a personal touch and reminds me that only three sets of hands touched this guitar to create it. The reason I asked for only my family name to be inlayed (and not my full name) is because I wanted this to be something that I can pass down to my kids some day. Playing guitar has always been a special thing for me and hopefully my kids will someday enjoy it as much as I do. Thank you again, and please keep building these amazing guitars!"
"I am completely overwhelmed. The craftsmanship and artistry is amazing. It's gorgeous. But even more amazing is the sound, bright and full and perfectly balanced. You guys are incredible. It plays like magic. Thank a million times over!!!"
"I've been playing the Rockbridge for a couple months now. The first thing I noticed was the depth and fullness of the tone. It's a perfectly balanced guitar. Punchy, with great volume and incredible clarity. Everyone I've played for in the last couple of months has been impressed by the versatility of the Rockbridge. From soft, delicate notes, to bass heavy riffs and rhythm, everything is beautifully clear. The sunburst finish on the SJ is stunning. It's clear that Brian, Randall, and Adam take great pride in the instruments they build. They were fantastic to work with from beginning to end made the building process a very personal experience. At the end of the day, there's a confidence that comes from playing a Rockbridge. You know the tone you have in your head is being communicated with the audience. Playing it is addicting and I haven't been able to put it down".
"Just wanted to brag a little. I was looking for a brazilian dread and went to a place that had a big slection. They had a 2008 Rockbridge which I played and wow, I’m glad I did. I’ve owned about every guitar from almost every maker, over the years. In fact I sold my collings when I bought this one. They put all the other guitars in my hand to play, but I kept coming back to the rockbridge. I mean they were putting 30 to 50 thousand dollar guitars in my hands, which I could have bought if that is what I wanted. I’m still not sure what it is yet about this guitar, maybe it will come to me at some point. all I know to say for mow is wow. Thank you guys for making such a wonderful guitar. I do wish you guys the best , but hope you don’t get like most makers and get so big and famous that you get away from the way you are doing it now. you are truly on to something that I have not found anywhere else."
Thanks, Chris in North Carolina
"The guitar is a really incredible instrument. The sound quality is just unparalleled compared to other guitars I’ve played – even the high end Taylor’s and Martin’s I’ve tried out at the stores don’t compare to this one! The sound is just really bright and the guitar itself is extremely responsive, it’s just incredible. I was really surprised how big a sound came out of this 00 guitar too. I want to give a big thanks to you and the crew on building this for me, the passion you have in your craft really shows itself in the products you make."
"The hands of these masters created an instrument of incredible strength, not only in its flawless design but also in its remarkable clarity, sensitivity, and freedom to express any type of music I want to play. A truly gifted duo making a truly awesome instrument."
3 time National Flatpicking Champion
"The craftsmanship of the Rockbridge Guitar is exceptional. Its flawless build and brilliant sound encase some of the finest tones to be heard in a new guitar today."
Guitarist from Dixie Chicks and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
“My brazialian/adirondack Rockbridge is the perfect mix of bright and crisp with lots of chunk and thickness to the tone. It's continually the guitar I reach for and the tone I hear in my head. The Rockbridge guitars are all really balanced and consistent, with great fit and finish. Not to mention the builders are great people too."
2006 National Flatpicking Champion
"When I was looking for a second guitar to compliment my 1942 Gibson J-45 ‘bannerhead’, I turned to Brian and Randall at Rockbridge guitars. The reason was simple – these guys build really amazing, true modern vintage guitars. When I finally got the guitar, I was just blown away by the looks alone, but when I played it, well, it is simply the best new guitar I have ever played, period. I can only imagine what it will sound like in the years to come.
As a side note, the guitar was so good in fact, that the very day I had it delivered to the studio, I used it on 2 tracks on the upcoming Tim McGraw CD. Of the few great vintage guitars I own and love, this Rockbridge slope shoulder guitar is every bit as good as my ‘old girls’, and I am proud to play this work of art from the hands of Brian and Randall. Thanks guys!"
Guitarist with Tim McGraw
"This is one of the best sounding new guitars I've ever played."
Editor of "Flatpicking Magazine"
"My Rockbridge guitar is a modern interpretation of a traditional idea. It has the old solid sound projected in the future with great innovations."
“My Rockbridge small jumbo, in mahogany and cedar, sounded like a vintage guitar on day one, and it just keeps getting better. In terms of workmanship, playability, and pure tone, Randall and Brian's guitars are hard to beat!”
-Rolly Brown (National Fingerstyle Champion)
"Getting on Brian and Randall's wait list having never played their guitars, I somehow knew exactly what I was getting: an instrument that would grow with me as a musician. This dynamic dreadnought has both learned and taught me well."
"This is hands down the best new guitar I've ever been fortunate enough to own. I feel extremely lucky."
2 time National Flatpicking Champion
"Quality, beauty, and sound, all in one great guitar! Thanks Rockbridge for my OOO. It's the perfect size and shape for me!"
7 time IBMA female vocalist of the year
"Great luthiers and great people, and let me tell you they are absolutely world class. I have never been more impressed with the sound, look, and feel of a guitar than these hand-made beauties from Virginia."
2 time IBMA guitarist of the year
A few weeks a go my long awaited Rockbridge SJ arrived in Dubai. Having waited for around a year and having never actually played one before I was both excited and nervous about its arrival. I had asked Brian to send me some photos so I could see what it looked like before it got here. In the photos the Sunburst looked great, in reality it was absolutely beautiful. In fact the whole guitar was totally stunning. Every detail on the guitar is perfect. The binding, the purfling, the Cocobola back and sides and again the wonderful Sunburst on the Adi top. I am lucky enough to have a few high end guitars, Collings, Bourgeois, and I have to say I am absolutely blown away by the build quality on the Rockbridge. I am now contemplating selling the others to replace them with Rockbridge. Ok, so looks aren't everything! This guitar plays like a dream. I opted for the 1 3/4 Nut width, which when combined with the perfectly shaped C profile neck allows for one of the most comfortable playing experiences I have had. In all honesty I am more used to a slightly flatter profile neck, like a Modified V with a slightly wider Nut width and string spacing but after playing this for less than a second I realized that my hand and fingers were reaching for the frets with ease and comfort. The C shape neck holds my hand in a perfect playing position. This combined with the 25" scale neck make this one of the most comfortable necks I have played. The set up of the Guitar is also perfect. The Action is Medium low but feels like I am playing on Air. I haven't managed to get a couple of my other high end guitars set up like this, although I have tried again and again. The sound of the Cocobola and Adirondack are both warm and responsive. I play both with pick and finger style and the guitar is perfect for both. When strumming hard with a pick the guitar really opens up and has an amazing bass and treble response. The perfect all round guitar. I would like to thank all the guys at Rockbridge for the work that went into this guitar. It is very obvious you are all very passionate about your work. Brian, big thanks for putting up with my constant emailing backwards and forwards and listening to every detail I spoke about on both this guitar and my Smeck which is coming in the next few weeks. Sorry if I was a pain in the Arse and demanding. I have added a photo but I can't seem to catch just how stunning this guitar actually is in reality. Thanks Rockbridge, amazing job.