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Jason Kostal OMC

Jason Kostal OMC

Price: $--SOLD

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custom case included

This is a special guitar, one that will be a prize for either a collector or a player. But make no mistake, this guitar was made to be played, and everything about it was accomplished with absolute intention to make it sound rich and full, balanced and articulate. But it also has the refined details of an heirloom, something that will be the prize of any collection. Whether a player or collector, you’ll fall in love with this guitar.

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Some say we are in the golden age of guitar building, and there certainly are a great many people out there making guitars, more than ever before in history. And with the unimaginably vast internet, there is now unprecedented access to information about guitars from every corner of the world, how to build them, play them, collect them. But as a metaphor, golden age of course refers to a period of not just prosperity, but also of harmony and stability.

Honestly, I don’t know if we are in a golden age of instrument building, but I do know that the inundation of makers and instruments complicates the process of finding guitars that are special, made by those who are absolutely committed to mastering the art and craft of luthiery. It also makes it more difficult for a luthier to distinguish her or himself from the pack. Making a great guitar doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of toil, a willingness to try and fail and keep trying, and more than anything it takes love and devotion. Making a great guitar is, I believe, an act of love. At CR Guitars, I have made it my mission to sort through the 21st Century’s torrent of guitars and find those that stand out, by makers whose commitment to the art keeps them reaching for greatness every day.

Jason Kostal is just such a luthier.

Kostal, I have to say, has done everything right. He started to play guitar at a young age, but before becoming a luthier, he cultivated a set of personal traits that would prove invaluable to his later vocation as a guitarmaker. From the military he learned discipline, and years spent as a corporate executive taught him about business, about how systems work, and—especially—about patience. All the while he continued to play guitar and collect instruments, growing his knowledge about what makes a truly great guitar. Alongside his collecting and playing something else surfaced, almost like a second life that grew over time as he slowly nurtured a deep enthusiasm for transforming wood and metal into the objects we guitarists are so passionate about. When the time was right, he attended the Roberto Venn School of Luthery, later taught there, and through grit and determination landed perhaps the most prestigious apprenticeship in the acoustic guitar building world, in the studio of Ervin Somogyi. Over more than two years of intensive work with Somogyi, Jason refined his already considerable skills, and emerged a world class guitar builder.

Which all leads to the instrument we now have in the shop. Of the Somogyi school in that it is dynamically responsive and balanced, tonally warm and full, but also uniquely Kostal. This is something you find with all of Somogyi’s apprentices, that they produce impeccable instruments with the highest level of skill, that sound especially well balanced and are dynamically responsive. But also that they each have a strong individual character.

Jason’s own unique aesthetic vision is one of my favorites in the industry. For example I don’t know anyone else who is making rosettes with stained glass, which I think is a fantastic idea that creates a very beautiful guitar. His headstock is another highly individual design element. It creates a sense of the balance—the yin and yang if you will—of the treble and bass aspects, each given its own place in the tone of the guitar, and yet they flow together seamlessly, into and out of each other.

The German spruce top on this guitar is arrestingly beautiful, the grain so straight and lithe its almost as if the tree itself knew it would be a guitar someday. The East Indian rosewood is premium, old growth, chocolaty and has wonderful straight grain. Nothing was spared in the wood selection for this guitar, and like all great makers, Kostal has an almost preternatural ability to select the right wood for a guitar.

I mentioned how much I like the stained glass rosette favored by Kostal in general, and this one in particular is lovely, and you can almost see the light streaming through it, as if standing in an ancient cathedral.

For this guitar he also used an innovation by the great Canadian luthier Linda Manzer, the so-called Manzer Wedge. Acoustic guitars can be a little uncomfortable to play because of how you have to reach around the instrument to get to the strings. Some makers address this by beveling the edge of the guitar, but Manzer came up with the idea to make the treble side of the body deeper than the bass side. This allows the guitar to rest more naturally in your arms—both sitting and standing—and makes it more comfortable to play. It really works, and doesn’t affect the tone at all. It also takes no getting used to, as it just feels from the start like the guitar is easier to play.

Everything in a Kostal guitar is expressly thought out, with no detail left to chance. The elegant curve on the bridge is visually satisfying on its own, but then you notice all the other connections to the shape (the headstock, the heel cap, the cutaway, Kostal’s label). This is true of the construction as well. Jason carefully chooses all the elements to achieve his sonic goals. For example, on this guitar he used sitka spruce braces on the German spruce top, and Mahogany braces on the rosewood back and sides, all of it done very specifically with the goal of making a superlative instrument. Each wood adds a different character to the sound, and creating a guitar this responsive only comes by considering every detail and how it works with the entire system of the instrument.

This is a special guitar, one that will be a prize for either a collector or a player. Make no mistake, this guitar was made to be played, and everything about it was accomplished with absolute intention to make it sound rich and full, balanced and articulate. But it also has the refined details of an heirloom, something that will be the prize of any collection. Whether a player or collector, you’ll fall in love with this guitar just as I did.

If you'd like to find out more about this item, just call or e-mail me. It would be my pleasure to talk to you about it.

Jason Kostal's guitars are definitely different than most of the ones that you see out there every day in a lot of ways. One of the things that sets him apart from many of his peers is the fact that he has been a player and a collector for years and these two experiences greatly mold his opinions and expectations of what a guitar is and what it can become. Every single thing that Jason does is a result of very sincere and concerted thought about each individual aspect of the guitar and what it does or what it should do. Jason received his first guitar for his 5th birthday and was hooked from then on. Initially a Roberto-Venn School of lutherie graduate, then Roberto-Venn instructor with his own shop, then an advanced apprentice to Ervin Somogyi in San Fransisco, Jason's trajectory of discovery led him to the very depths of guitars making, allowing him to approach guitar building in a manner far different from what most other luthiers bring to the craft. Jason believes in elegance through simplicity, where every aspect of an instrument has been thought through and crafted to the most minute detail. Every guitar Jason builds is a one of a kind journey that he embarks on with each individual customer, a journey to the heart of instrumental elegance through simplicity.

Base modelOM
TopGerman spruce
Top bracessitka spruce
Rosettestained glass
Back & sidespremium old growth East Indian rosewood
Back bracesmahogany
Body (tapered)Manzer-style Wedge, with Florentine cutaway
Neck1 piece Honduran mahogany
Fretsmedium tall
Fingerboardebony with ebony binding
Headstock veneerebony
Finishhand rubbed
TunersGotoh 510 chrome with ebony buttons
Nut width1.75"
CaseHoffee Custom
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