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  • Anybody have a Garrison?

    Just for the heck of it I bought a new Garrison of which I'd never heard the name but the price was good and guitar was full and loud and had this special bracing made of some polymer with this story along with it of how it was developed.

    The dealer quit stocking them shortly after that.

    I wonder how they are doing and if many folks got on the Garrison kick. Some get a little pricey. I'll check Google to see if they are still around but just wondering if anyone here has one and how they like it.

  • #2
    ...

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    • #3
      Kidding aside, yes! I have a G-25 that I've had for five years, and it's every bit as great as I could possibly imagine. I do have a bit of a crack on the finish from some careless humidifying (or lack thereof!) but it sounds and feels amazing.

      I don't know if there are any 'true' Garrisons really being made anymore...I know after the sale things got a bit weird and I know they're doing the import models with the resin top bracing, but I don't know if you can get the ones with the full deal any more, or if they're still made in Canada.
      Gretsch, Yamaha, and Garrison guitars
      Traynor amps

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      • #4
        The Garrison Guitar company was bought out by Gibson 2-3 years ago. The Gibson guitars that are made in Canada are built at the old Garrison factory in Newfoundland and Chris Garrison is head of that operation.

        Also, from what I understand some Garrison owners (not all) claim to have had problems with these guitars due to the fiberglass bracing. Has soon as Gibson bought the company they would not handle any Garrison repairs under warranty

        I tried a couple when they first came out and my verdict was...meh.

        Personally, I'd stay away.
        Guitars = Chick Magnet
        Guitar Hero = Guy Magnet
        You do the math.


        HCAG Civil Posters Society, Charter Member #002.
        Simple music is the hardest music to play and blues is simple music. - Albert Collins

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        • #5
          Some Garrisons develop cracks because the plastic bracing expands/contracts at different rates from the body woods. Humidification helps. Garrisons are no longer made.

          Gibson bought the factory, and produced their low-end "Songmaker" series there. The factory is no longer operating.

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          • #6
            Hey a Garrison thread that isn't years old!

            I own 3: a G4-12 I bought back in '05 - ordered from the factory, an '02 G20CE-HG that I bought off eBay in '06, and an '04 G40CE I bought off eBay for $129 last year. That's out of some 20-odd guitars lying about around here - lost count.

            I like Garrisons, obviously.

            Comment on humidity sensitivity is dead on. I've never had any problems with mine but I'm a humidity fanatic (trashed 2 early '70's Martins years ago before I got educated on humidity control). Garrisons are extremely sensitive to humidity fluctuations, as stated, because of the variance in expansion between the bracing and the wood (maintain 45-55% ALWAYS - buy a hygrometer!). I've seen a lot of examples of separated backs and tops at the bookmarks, bracing separation, and neck issues. Strictly regulated humidity = no problems - my experience anyway.

            As for Garrison the guitar and the company: The brand is dead. The factory is gone. Gibson abandoned the bracing system. The founder moved on and was no longer making guitars last I knew. Sad but true.

            I think Garrisons need a couple years to mellow, otherwise they sound tinny and a bit brittle. Not as much tonal range as a wooden braced guitar but they have a characteristic earthy sound that appeals to me. Both guitars I bought off eBay had to have the necks seriously relaxed - buzzed like hell - probably why the original owners were selling them. Factory setting with wet wood, no doubt. Fix took 3 minutes and a star wrench (. . . or allen wrench, I forget which at the moment).

            I've seen people describe them as heavy, but I don't really think so. I have a Tak EF341SC. Now THAT'S heavy. Damned thing is a tank. Sounds like one too. Should be good in a bar fight though . . .

            Garrisons are all solid woods (G series not the AG series). And these days - reeeeaaaallllly cheap. If you find one without humidity damage (splits/brace separations/neck issues), you'll find they're solid guitars at beach guitar prices (i.e., guitars you take to the beach 'cause you don't care what happens to them). I've jammed with the 6's and I gig with the 12 along side my custom Martin J40.

            Many of them come with decent Fishman pickups too - 2 of mine did. They sound excellent plugged in.

            However . . .

            from a collector standpoint, I wouldn't buy one as an investment

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            • #7
              Hey a Garrison thread that isn't years old!

              I own 3: a G4-12 I bought back in '05 - ordered from the factory, an '02 G20CE-HG that I bought off eBay in '06, and an '04 G40CE I bought off eBay for $129 last year. That's out of some 20-odd guitars lying about around here - lost count.

              I like Garrisons, obviously.

              Comment on humidity sensitivity is dead on. I've never had any problems with mine but I'm a humidity fanatic (trashed 2 early '70's Martins years ago before I got educated on humidity control). Garrisons are extremely sensitive to humidity fluctuations, as stated, because of the variance in expansion between the bracing and the wood (maintain 45-55% ALWAYS - buy a hygrometer!). I've seen a lot of examples of separated backs and tops at the bookmarks, bracing separation, and neck issues. Strictly regulated humidity = no problems - my experience anyway.

              As for Garrison the guitar and the company: The brand is dead. The factory is gone. Gibson abandoned the bracing system. The founder moved on and was no longer making guitars last I knew. Sad but true.

              I think Garrisons need a couple years to mellow, otherwise they sound tinny and a bit brittle. Not as much tonal range as a wooden braced guitar but they have a characteristic earthy sound that appeals to me. Both guitars I bought off eBay had to have the necks seriously relaxed - buzzed like hell - probably why the original owners were selling them. Factory setting with wet wood, no doubt. Fix took 3 minutes and a star wrench (. . . or allen wrench, I forget which at the moment).

              I've seen people describe them as heavy, but I don't really think so. I have a Tak EF341SC. Now THAT'S heavy. Damned thing is a tank. Sounds like one too. Should be good in a bar fight though . . .

              Garrisons are all solid woods (G series not the AG series). And these days - reeeeaaaallllly cheap. If you find one without humidity damage (splits/brace separations/neck issues), you'll find they're solid guitars at beach guitar prices (i.e., guitars you take to the beach 'cause you don't care what happens to them). I've jammed with the 6's and I gig with the 12 along side my custom Martin J40.

              Many of them come with decent Fishman pickups too - 2 of mine did. They sound excellent plugged in.

              However . . .

              from a collector standpoint, I wouldn't buy one as an investment


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              • #8
                Man..thank you! What a story. I am confused though. I thought the plastic bracing was supposed to solved the problems of humidity not cause them.

                I live in humidity hell. Warp is a big problem will all instruments here. I was hoping my Tak and Martin were so well made they could stand up to it. My EKO has...that thing is a tank too..but the pick guard just fell off playing it outside once. Humidity strikes again.

                Well, I gave my $500 cherry red Garrison away. Maybe some day they will be a collectible since they were in and out of the biz so quick. It was a dread and had a deep full sound and was not heavy. Very playable..and I say that because I do the blue/rock lead thing on acoustic to keep from spitting ear drums these days.

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                • #9
                  I bought a used Garrison GGC-20-ce. All solid wood (cedar / birch) with electronics. I wasn't looking to buy a guitar when I went to L&M but saw it and after one strum bought it. It's not as full sounding as my Taylor or Martin but it's a great 'beater' guitar for me.

                  It still reacts to humidity because the top/sides are still solid wood (although some models have laminate sides) so you still need to care for it like other solid wood guitars.

                  Good luck!
                  Main Gear:
                  '99 Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus limited edition
                  '06 Gibson Les Paul Studio
                  '05 ESP/LTD EC-1000
                  '01 & '05 Fender American Strat ('01 with hotrails)
                  '04 Schecter C1-Classic & '00 Schecter C1-Plus (EMG 81-85)
                  '07 Taylor 314ce
                  Marshall TSL 100 / Marshall 1960A cab

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                  • #10
                    Well..from what I gather here Garrison is no longer alive.

                    It sounded like some great idea but never took off. Some models had their entire bracing network make of a polymer (plastic) material that the inventor claimed has all the resonance of wood with none of the problems of wood...but of course the rest of the guitar is made of wood so you have these impervious bracings attached to wood. Maybe NOT a good idea. If it is all wood then everything can breath, move together but if your bracing is rigid and your body moves with humidity, temp..trouble.

                    I bought it on a whim. Gave it away on a whim. They are gone now. Sounds like somebody just got a little too creative, got some start up money, did a guitar co. and failed.

                    Long live rock and roll.
                    jb

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                    • #11
                      Mine is brilliant; I haven't been able to find another guitar that sounds as nice.
                      Gretsch, Yamaha, and Garrison guitars
                      Traynor amps

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                      • #12
                        I hear you. I liked mine a bunch...but had to give it to this couple who were without a guitar to do their Christian music thing. As soon as they played and sang for me using that Garrison, then said they had no guitar..it was all over..case, tuner, guitar..gone. I replaced it with a Martin. I'm happy.

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                        • #13
                          that was a nice gesture.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks, that little action made me high in a good way as a kite for weeks after and still does. They were so young and struggling to make their way in a ministry through music and openess. I'm not very religious but something just hit me to help em out. It was like I didn't have a choice, I was hit by something to help.

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                            • #15
                              I believe Garrison was actually around at least 10 years. It was quite the rising star in Canadian start-up circles in the early 2000's or so. I think they got into debt and liquidity trouble trying to grow too fast.

                              Methinks the guitar making biz is a tough gig, especially if you go cutting edge. CA just bit the big one. Too bad as those were also pretty cool guitars. No telling what the future holds for Rainsong either.

                              The biggest problem with any humidity issue is not the the humidity level itself, but rather the swing in humidity levels as the seasons change. I live in the Northeast US. In the summer, you can see RH rise above 70%, so I run the A/C even if it's not all that hot. During the winter heating season, indoor RH will typically fall to the mid-teens if you don't humidify. It will fall to 8-10% if your abode is forced hot air. If you use a wood stove, it's probably more like 2 (the Sahara is moister than that). The humidity yo-yo will destroy anything from a custom guitar to a shipping pallet over time. Given enough time, it will even attack and destroy the neck and fretwork on a metal-body reso.

                              We've got baseboard hot water and still, in the winter, I have 1 or 2 clay canister humidifiers in every case (including my metal reso's and woodwinds) and I run humidifiers as needed throughout the house, including the basement.

                              If you value your instruments . . . . As I said, it cost me 2 Martins to learn this the hard way.

                              The Garrison bracing system is more sensitive to humidity flux than an all wood brace (even the AG series has a composite top brace), but, if you monitor and manage, there shouldn't be any problems. As I mentioned previously, I've my G4-12 is 5 years now and my G20 is 8.

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