Beardsell guitars come in several body shapes and styles: large, medium, and small bodied steel-string acoustic, solid-body electric, semi-acoustic arch top electric, nylon string, manouche-style, and harp guitar (we even make a pretty sweet mandolin and a killer electric banjo).

Get an eyeful of conveniently labeled photos in the accompanying galleries. See something you like that's almost-but-not-quite what you're looking for? Feel free to order "off the menu," as many already have. Truth be told, we've created many "hybrid" instruments over the years, with most features available on one model transferrable (within reason) to just about anything else (like an archtop-style custom brass tailpiece on a steel-string flattop, or a multi-scale classical guitar, or a cutaway banjolectric, or... well, you get the idea).

Venetian or Florentine cutaways, unconventional fingerboard extensions, wacky amplification solutions, sideports (with or without sliding covers), whimsical logo styles, personalized inlays, motorized, remote-controlled attachments of dubious form and function... it's all to play for. Whatever you have in mind, Al will be happy to discuss various options and possibilities with you

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MODEL 7C

16" Arch-Top guitar

 

A 16" cedar-topped archtop jazz guitar.  The hand-carved cedar top and big-leaf maple back are supported by the laminated Platform rim, handcrafted wood and metal hardware, carbon-fibre reenforced neck. Together,  these elements combine comfort and projection, sustain and resonance. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Model 7C-7 -ms 7-string, multiscale ( 650- 680mm) cedar arched top , quilt maple back/sides, African blackwood bridge/fingerboard/tailpiece/headveneer. Handwound A5 "stacked" Charlie Christian -style pickup, LR Baggs Lyric mic system. Hand-cast bronze tailpiece end-leaf hinge.

 
3D-ms-fl (Multi-scale, Florentine cutaway)

3D-ms-fl (Multi-scale, Florentine cutaway)

Model 3

The latest steel-string model

I’ve always wanted to make a more classic fingerstyle guitar. The 3DM is more traditional in shape and in voice , with it’s 16″ body and its soundhole topside. A slightly deeper body retains the fuller sound of the 4 size and the percussiveness of the 2GS. A single smaller port on the upper shoulder keeps the player in the loop. The arm rest is a little different as well – it is cut directly into the corner of the lower bout without purfling casements. The typical armrest is normally supported under the top by a block that follows the armrest shape ostensibly narrowing the tops width by almost an inch. The Platform rim is wide enough to allow the thinner “bevelini” armrest to be cut in through the binding , but without the support block.

-- Allan Beardsell

 
4G-M with long (27.5") scale, florentine cutaway, and German Spruce top

4G-M with long (27.5") scale, florentine cutaway, and German Spruce top

Model 4

Deep body, wide waist, and laminated "platform" sides

When I was playing acoustic guitars in clubs and auditoriums I would be playing behind singers, and sometimes with larger bands, going between fingerstyles and flatpicking. I was having a hell of a time hearing the guitar as a dynamic voice. When I was hearing only the electronic foldback in the monitor I would end up playing as hard as possible all the time just to feel present in the mix on top of the compressed character of the pick up. It meant my playing suffered and I broke a lot of strings. This got me thinking about projection and volume, resonance and how these things define the way we interact with, respond and use a musical instrument, especially these days when amplification is virtually a given. I wanted to figure out how to create a situation where the instrument speaks to the player first, with all the dynamic of an acoustic performance –- that’s where the side ports come in.

-- Allan Beardsell

 

Model 2

2D- F Fundamental model 2 with Oval sound hole and singe sideport

2D- F Fundamental model 2 with Oval sound hole and singe sideport

An alternative to the larger-bodied 4G and 3D

I wanted to offer up an alternative to the larger body of the 4G. This guitar is well suited for the stronger attack of a finger style or comping guitar player. The 15 ¼” bout may be smaller, but this guitar still has a big voice. 

When I was playing acoustic guitars in clubs and auditoriums I would be playing behind singers, and sometimes with larger bands, going between fingerstyles and flatpicking. I was having a hell of a time hearing the guitar as a dynamic voice. When I was hearing only the electronic foldback in the monitor I would end up playing as hard as possible all the time just to feel present in the mix on top of the compressed character of the pick up. It meant my playing suffered and I broke a lot of strings. This got me thinking about projection and volume, resonance and how these things define the way we interact with, respond and use a musical instrument, especially these days when amplification is virtually a given. I wanted to figure out how to create a situation where the instrument speaks to the player first, with all the dynamic of an acoustic performance—that’s where the side ports come in.

-- Allan Beardsell

 

 

 
"Basic" (new model) 9C, now available sans cutaway...

"Basic" (new model) 9C, now available sans cutaway...

Model 9

Cutaway body, raised fretboard, and exceptional "low-buzz" action

I found this 9C review on “Acoustic Music Forum”. I thought the reviewer said it better than I could have.

I have a Beardsell 9C, nylon string guitar. Spruce top, EIR back and sides.

I bought mine directly from Allan Beardsell when his workshop was still in Toronto. He’s moved west since to Winnipeg I believe.

The guitar is very unique looking and it throws most people off when they first see it. But it incorporates some excellent features that make the guitar unique.

To start, it has a raised fretboard where the neck and body overlap with an angled top styled after Humphrey guitars. This makes the string angle on the top pull at a much less oblique angle while each string rests on its own peg rather than a common bridge. All this gives the guitar a more harp-like dynamic and a very unique intonation.

With the cutaway body, I have access to the 19th fret (not that I ever use this feature) and Allan has designed the neck/body interface so that there is a thumb ridge which gives the support you need to work the upper registers.

The bracing is also unique. The back has a radial brace pattern of arched spruce braces that I have never seen on any other guitar. The top has a fan brace pattern which is possible because of the small elliptical sound hole.

The neck is tear-drop shaped but Allan has done a lot of work to make it form perfectly to the shape of a person’s index finger to thumb curve so that you can just about float your left hand up and down the neck until you need to press down.

There are two soundholes on the upper side of the guitar that send a whole lot of sound directly up my nose when I’m playing tickling the little hairs. It actually negates any need for a monitor when I’m on stage.

Finally, Allan has incorporated a Laskin armrest on this model of guitar as a standard feature. The armrest is under appreciated in the guitar world in my opinion. Anyone playing for a long period of time knows the ache of having the sharp edge of the lower bout pressing into their right forearm. The Laskin armrest does away with this. I’d get one on all my guitars if I could.

The guitar produces a very clean, very even tone from top to bottom.

It’s action is excellent for a nylon string. Usually one gets to excessive string buzz when playing a classical plucked-string style with low action. Either I’m not plucking hard enough or the guitar’s sting angle somehow deflects the vibration so as not buzz. Maybe it’s just magic.

If you get a chance to play a Beardsell, you will be in for a unique guitar experience.

The Twelfth Fret in Toronto has a web page on Beardsell guitars. Here’s a quote: I think I can guaranty that Allan Beardsell’s nylon string guitars are like nothing you have ever played! The innovative features and pleasing tonality give this avant garde instrument a unique perspective of the classical guitar world.

The Humphrey-like 14 fret neck joint is raised from the body and flared out from the cutaway for the best upper register access we have ever experienced! The double side ports on this instrument do not seem to effect the frontal projection but allow the player to hear all of the subtle tonal nuances as well as get a sense of the power of this guitar. The sculpted classical style bridge utilizes ivory pins rather than the traditional saddle and the bone nut is compensated for a noticeably improved intonation.

After you play this instrument, you quickly realize that the futuristic aesthetic of this guitar is entirely secondary to it’s well thought out practical and functional design!”

 
Model 4 body style with full manouche treatment

Model 4 body style with full manouche treatment

Model 5

Mama's got a whole new manouche

The Hot Club never had it so good. The model 5 is a new body style specifically tailored to fit the sonic requirements and freaky french hairstyles that get tucked under the jaunty beret of that unchained Django of a nasal-inflected, baguette-blasting beast, the mighty manouche guitar. And, as you can see from the gallery above, it comes in multiple body sizes and configurations as well. (Hint: that's why they call 'em "custom...")

 
Florentine sharpie with slotted headstock (whoa...)

Florentine sharpie with slotted headstock (whoa...)

Model h

Something "off the menu..."

With the resurgence of the Harp guitar I would get requests for this elusive instrument, and so I went looking to find out what it was all about. I didn’t have to go far with the extensive data-base web site like Gregg Miners harpguitars.net. I viewed some of his collection at the 2006 Guild of American Luthiers convention. The Early 19th Century romantic guitars like the Scherzers and the Lacote Decacordes. And like the 9F nylon string guitar I have looked to the 19th century for inspiration. Like the renaissance theorboed lutes before them these 19th century guitars looked to extend the reach of a single instrument. Of ten in unconventional ways, because there weren’t many conventions to be followed. Later, in the early 20th century came the rise of the Dyer and Knutsen harp guitars which have set the standard for many harp guitar designs and configurations with typically 5 sub-bass strings tuned to a specific key. I have made the HG1 with 7 sub-bass strings with sharping levers for a full octave of notes beneath the guitars lowE. The harp string tuners are Pegheds 16:1 planetary machine tuners.

-- Allan Beardsell

 
7E (12-string option) with custom brass tailpiece: Mister Jangles!

7E (12-string option) with custom brass tailpiece: Mister Jangles!

Model 7

An arch top mounted on top of a solid piece of wood with a hollowed-out acoustic chamber.

I love electric guitars. They were the reason I started making guitars but I wasn’t too enamoured with the weight or the predictability of the solid body.

They don’t play like guitars do—too much sustain and not enough resonance. While working at Songbird Music in Toronto I got to work on a lot of old Gretsch guitars – Dual and Sparkle Jets, 6120′s and Country Gentlemen – hybrid archtops with some solid body construction. They weren’t built so well but they had character. So I set about building guitars that mixed the best of both worlds: An arch top mounted on a rim that was a solid piece of wood hollowed out into an acoustic chamber. That’s the 7E. More recently, the rim utilizes a bent-wood rim mounted to a center block, spherically arched flat-back. The pickups mounted through the back, tailpiece seated on adjustable posts keep the top open and lively. An adjustable damper keeps feed back at bay at higher volumes.

The JKS is a newer model. JKS stands for John K Samson, lead singer-songwriter of Winnipeg punk-folk heros “The Weakerthans“. It re-imagines the chambered reversed cap Rickenbacker guitars of the 60′s. This guitar is small and light and ready to rock.

-- Allan Beardsell

 
The John K Samson signature model: a punk rock machine!

The John K Samson signature model: a punk rock machine!

MOdel 7JKS

Named after John K Samson, lead singer-songwriter of Winnipeg punk-folk heros “The Weakerthans”.

I love electric guitars. They were the reason I started making guitars but I wasn’t too enamoured with the weight or the predictability of the solid body.

They don’t play like guitars do—too much sustain and not enough resonance. While working at Songbird Music in Toronto I got to work on a lot of old Gretsch guitars – Dual and Sparkle Jets, 6120′s and Country Gentlemen – hybrid archtops with some solid body construction. They weren’t built so well but they had character. So I set about building guitars that mixed the best of both worlds: An arch top mounted on a rim that was a solid piece of wood hollowed out into an acoustic chamber. That’s the 7E. More recently, the rim utilizes a bent-wood rim mounted to a center block, spherically arched flat-back. The pickups mounted through the back, tailpiece seated on adjustable posts keep the top open and lively. An adjustable damper keeps feed back at bay at higher volumes.

The JKS is a newer model. JKS stands for John K Samson, lead singer-songwriter of Winnipeg punk-folk heros “The Weakerthans“. It re-imagines the chambered reversed cap Rickenbacker guitars of the 60′s. This guitar is small and light and ready to rock.

-- Allan Beardsell

 
blue banjo

blue banjo

Model 8

A banjo version of my electric guitar

All the instruments that I have built I have spent much time with as a player or handling in terms of repair or restoring. So when Toronto banjo player Jamie Stone asked me to make him a banjo version of my electric guitar, I was in some new territory.

I wasn’t sure what was most important for banjo player. The fact is the banjo represents the basis of plucked stringed instruments that would follow it out of Africa. Through the middle east (tambor, tar and oud) to Indian (sitar and sarod) and along the silk road into asia (the samisen and koto) and up into Europe with the lute and finally the guitar.

This instrument is reabsorbing some influence from the electric guitar.

I learned a lot from making that first electric banjo. When Bill Evans and Henry Kaiser commissioned a set of electric banjos, I took what I learned from that prototype. This time around I didn’t try to imitate the electric guitar. Instead I concentrated on incorporating the essence of the banjo. The construction is more acoustic than electric, and emulates the banjo construction more than electric guitar construction.

The 26″ scale provides a circular soundboard surrounded by a ported amplifying chamber. The pickups are hand wound Alnico 2 or 5 humbuckers with optional bridge transducer.

The neck is mounted by the heel stick that runs through the central well – in fact the construction is fairly ‘dobro-esque’. The tuners can be configured with 5th string and fret tuner or 5 straight through to the nut, with 5th string tuning hooks.

-- Allan Beardsell

 
6A in basic black (leather couch not included)

6A in basic black (leather couch not included)

Model 6

Deep-bodied mandolin, with fingerboard width & spacing adjusted with the guitarist in mind.

Back in the early 90′s I was playing guitar and mandolin in several bands, trying to make a living. Which is to say that I was also working as a cabinet maker’s assistant. I was getting a lot of gigs playing mandolin as it was around the time that Irish and Scottish music was gaining popularity. I needed a better instrument, and looking around the workshop, I thought how hard could this be.

I actually started out building a mandolin – an F5 that I still use to this day. The A style (the round hole gibson A-style) was more suited to the open comping as opposed to the percussive muted style of bluegrass comping. I made mostly A-style oval holes later, with side ports, even though my earliest musical training was on violin, I have adjusted the fingerboard width and spacing with the guitarist in mind. The body is a little deeper, also to expand that percussive ‘chunk’ on the low strings.

The 6B – My friend, musician and luthier Jeremy Hamm, suggested that I start doing some with f-holes, presumably to appease his blue grass leanings. I had to do it my way and borrowed an idea from my electric guitars – the ‘edge-ports’. It seemed like a good fit. Lovely resonate projection and a design reminiscent of Kay Krafts of the 50′s and 60′s.

The bracing is parallel or hybrid x (bass tone bar, treble leg crosses the tone bar). Shaped the overall tonal character:

X = brighter, focussed.
Parallel = warmer mid volume.