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Brynn Hiscox Acoustic

Article from Music UK, August 1982

Music U.K. discovers new axe man

As we have often said in these pages, the reputation and quality of instruments handmade by British craftsman is becoming something to be rather proud of. Makers like Manson, Chris Eccleshall, Peter Cook, Gordon Smith, are all turning out instruments these days which can take on any from overseas and often at prices which seem very low compared with those charged by companies whose activities are firmly in the 'mass production' league. That doesn't mean, of course, that the average Japanese or American guitar is bad value for money — just that there is now an alternative for the player in that price bracket to get something unique for his money.

One name which was new to us until shortly before the recent Birmingham AMI Music Show was Staffordshire guitar maker Brynn A. Hiscox. He'd made a pair of interesting basses for Dave Peacock (Chas and Dave) and had been working part-time making some very nice instruments, both electrics and acoustics. Shortly before the Fair, Brynn announced a completely new development of his own — roundbacked guitars made in the style of the luthier's traditions which it seemed would take the acoustic roundback that one stage further beyond where Ovation had developed it.

Ovation's research figures had confirmed that a parabolic back was the best shape for the catching of a string's vibrations and the faithful reproduction of that vibration as sound. This wasn't a new principle: early luthiers had used roundbacked guitars on the first steps of the instrument and mandolins still often feature this shape for the same reasons.

Brynn realised that what had been achieved with synthetic materials by Ovation could probably be improved upon with wood and so he spent 18 months developing and learning a new way of taking the ancient crafts to a modern guitar. The result is the subject of this review.

First sight of the Hiscox 6 string is likely to induce awe at the work that has gone into it. The round back is crafted of many pieces of curved wood, each joint between strips of the flamed maple being filleted with a minute sliver of ebony. Inside the body, each of these joints is masked with a piece of hot glue soaked linen.

The soundboard of the guitar is of Central European spruce and the neck a piece of Honduras mahogany with a wonderfully straight grain running right the length of it. For extra stability Brynn fits a Martin-like non-adjustable truss rod.

The fretboard on the guitar is equally exotic looking — a lovely jet-black piece of ebony inlaid with Mother of Pearl dots, with side dots of abalone. The scratchplate is ebony veneer, the bridge rosewood, the nut hand-filed and polished brass and the bridge itself, rosewood with the saddle a very nicely carved piece of ivory.

Finally the headstock. This is an ebony faced veneer inlaid with mother of pearl and fitted with chrome plated Schallers which Brynn uses as standard. If anyone wants a different type of machine he is prepared to fit them instead.

Price of the guitar (which is only available from the maker) is a relatively low £460 inc. VAT which puts it on a par with several well-known brands which, quite frankly, it can eat-up and spit out in terms of craftsmanship. Brynn is, quite obviously, one of those craftsmen whose abilities we increasingly find ourselves extolling the virtues of.


The guitar itself is extremely well balanced, the flatness of the back pieces ridding this roundbacked guitar of that annoying tendency which roundbacked synthetic material instruments can have of tending to slip from the lap. Yes, it balances well, this guitar, and the neck too is wonderfully comfortable. Our sample came set-up nice and low and fitted with Dean Markley brass wound strings in their medium-light gauge.

The neck on the Hiscox guitar was delightfully easy to play and the sound the guitar produced was really finely balanced, every string ringing out clean and clear with a purity normally associated with only the very finest vintage instruments.

Projection too was very balanced and, albeit a little on the sharp side for some whose tastes might veer towards the more Gibson acoustic end of things, very penetrating and ideal for maximum projection towards the back of a noisy club or, perhaps, into a mike for recording in a studio environment.

Overall we found this acoustic to be among the best we've ever played and a sample of Brynn's 12 string models impressed us even more. That latter model we'd happily call the best 12 string acoustic that we've ever played.

Being a one-off maker, changes to the configuration can be made by Brynn, who fits the excellent Ashworth Transducer as an option to his twelve string and (no doubt) his six string models. If built-in transducers are your scene then the Ashworth has got to be one of the best, although we'd be equally tempted to order pure acoustic versions and use C-Ducers on them for when they were called upon to play an amplified role on stage. Overall the Hiscox six string is a fabulous instrument and, although £460 might seem a lot of money to pay for any acoustic guitar, it makes prices in that range charged for more conventionally made solid bodied electrics look rather sick, to put it mildly. Here is a fine instrument with a wonderful quality of construction and a superb sound.

Interested readers can contact the maker direct at (Contact Details). Brynn's telephone number is Armitage (Contact Details). Ideal for players in the Folk scene and also for rock guitarists who need the very best for either stage work or recording, we can wholeheartedly endorse Brynn's guitar as being excellent value for money and one of the finest instruments being made today.

£460 inc. VAT

Previous Article in this issue

Landscape On The Horizon

Next article in this issue

Tascam 244 Portastudio

Publisher: Music UK - Folly Publications

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Music UK - Aug 1982

Gear in this article:

Guitar > Hiscox > Acoustic

Gear Tags:

Acoustic Guitar


Previous article in this issue:

> Landscape On The Horizon

Next article in this issue:

> Tascam 244 Portastudio

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