If you love unique, beautiful guitars like us, then you will be thrilled by the latest manufacturer to join the Eddies lineup: Kevin Ryan Guitars.
If you haven’t heard of Kevin Ryan Guitars before, they are a very niche operation – in fact, we are just one of three dealers in the United States to carry his guitars!
However, over the past 30 years, Kevin Ryan has created some of the most contemporary acoustic designs in existence while incorporating modern technology into guitar production in ways that had never been done before.
The result is remarkably unique and stunning instruments that produce a beautifully balanced sound while definitely catching the eye.
And while Ryan Guitars may not necessarily appeal to those who prefer the classic aesthetic, every enthusiast should be able to appreciate the gorgeous attention to detail and beautiful craftsmanship found in every single Kevin Ryan acoustic.
Brining An Engineering Eye To Guitar Production
Before delving into the world of guitar making, Kevin began his career in the aerospace industry designing fighter jet models for transonic wind tunnel testing.
After making the leap to full-time luthier, that technical background continued to show its influence in the form of several design innovations that have become defining characteristics of Ryan Guitars.
The Ryan Bevel
The most obvious and visually-striking detail that stands out when looking at a Ryan guitar is the forearm bevel, or more specifically, what is inside the forearm bevel.
A series of five holes drilled through the bevel act as an improved sound port by directing the guitar’s sound to the player’s face.
These “acoustic flutes” have become the signature trademark of Ryan Guitars and do more than just catch the eye – they also produce a very cool personal monitor effect.
Laser-Cut Reliefs & Honeycomb Bridge Plate
Not as obvious as the bevel but just as important to the design, Ryan guitars has pioneered several techniques to reduce guitar weight while maintaining structural integrity.
First, very precise reliefs are cut in the spruce bracing that help reduce the amount of material without sacrificing rigidity. The result?A lighter and more responsive guitar.
Along the same lines, Ryan Guitars also developed an “Acoustic Honeycomb” bridge plate. Here, a standard maple bridge plate has a honeycomb pattern cut throughout resulting in reduced weight and improved resonance.
Ryan Guitars also incorporate a spherically-arched back that does a couple things for the guitar’s sound and player’s comfort.
First, it offers a more powerful voice with fuller sound and deeper bass than a standard acoustic. Second, the guitar doesn’t feel as obtrusive and uncomfortable as a deep-bodied instrument.
This design combines the best of both worlds.
A Beautiful Fingerstyle Acoustic
The crowd most drawn to Kevin Ryan acoustics will likely be fingerstyle players. Many high-profile performers such as Jackson brown and James Taylor use Ryan Guitars due to the clarity and responsiveness across the strings.
And while it won’t necessarily affect the sound, something you also get with Ryan Guitars is simply astounding inlay work. From standard pearl borders to unique themed fingerboards and headstocks, Kevin Ryan Guitars offer some of the industry’s most exquisite and highly regarded inlays.
Additionally, there is a wide range of sizes available starting with smaller parlor guitars all the way up to the much larger cathedral variation.
We recently attended the 2018 NAMM show in Anaheim and took pretty much everything Kevin had to offer. Here is a peek at just a few of those instruments we have in stock:
The Nightingale is Ryan Guitars’ most versatile model, featuring tremendous bass, iridescent trebles, and a warm sustaining tone.
Expect balanced string-to-string clarity and separation, clear and consistent articulation up and down the fretboard, and the full suite of Ryan design innovations.
This beauty is best suited for fingerstyle play, single note lead, strumming, Celtic ballads, open tuning, and lush open chords.
The Cathedral Grand Fingerstyle model features an Avant-garde box shape with massive interior volume producing big, rich bass with extra-long sustain and a very comfortable hold for its size.
This guitar is suited for fingerstyle, single note lead, Celtic ballads, open and drop tunings, lush open chords, and singer/songwriters.
This particular instrument was on display at the 2018 NAMM Show in Anaheim.
The Abbey Grand Parlor model features extended scale length that delivers more volume and presence than traditional small-body guitars.
This acoustic has consistent, clear articulation up and down the fretboard and is versatile enough to serve as a casual at-home guitar or full-on performance instrument.
The Abbey Grand Parlor is best suited for fingerstyle, ragtime, blues, light strumming, and singer/songwriters.
Hand-Crafted Quality You Can See And Feel
While the price point for these instruments starts in the upper echelon of boutique guitars, you are truly getting what you pay for. Ryan Guitars is a very small operation – you can count the number of luthiers building these acoustics on one hand – and Kevin will personally be involved with the construction of every guitar they produce.
With the availability of incredibly rare wood combinations including “Lucky Strike” redwood tops and “The Tree” mahogany, each of the instruments they create ranks among the best quality and craftsmanship in the industry.
And while the radical contemporary style of Ryan Guitars may not be for everyone, this is certainly an acoustic that stands out from the crowd in a tremendously awesome way.