Guitars on the Net - The six string Web
Issue #1 December 2001

Manufacturers

Welcome to the first in a series of articles guiding you through the wealth of guitar related information on the internet. Here, I will try to recommend what's good, tell you what's bad and hopefully save you some time while looking for the information you want.

In this issue, I am going to focus on manufacturer sites. I'm going to be honest with you. Of all the guitars that I own, my favourite is an old Japanese/Korean Hondo acoustic that I bought in a pawn shop in Toronto sixteen years ago. This beast has never seen the inside of a case and has endured more than it's share of sitting in the back of an open pickup truck in the middle of winter while making the two and a half hour trip to the cottage for a weekend jam. So, logically I started my search at the Hondo Website.

Hondo - http://www.mbtinternational.com/hondo/default.htm

In 1995, the Hondo company, established in 1969, was purchased by MBT International. MBT also owns J.B. Player along with several other equipment related subsidiaries. The site is clean and fast loading. It has a no-nonsense approach and is informative with a good history of the company and guitars. What I like about this site is that it has pics of ALL the guitars and includes prices ($U.S.) On the down side, it doesn't give a list of authorized dealers, U.S or Canadian. I give it a 6.5 out of 10

Fender - http://fender.com/

This approach to a website couldn't be further from Hondo's if they tried! The main page is glitz, glamour and Java packed! Those with a slow connection, beware. This one is loaded! True to the legendary Fender quality and popularity, this site fulfills expectations. Beware of accidentally clicking your mouse though...it seems EVERYTHING is hyperlinked. Even the tiny copyright at the bottom of the page is linked and takes you to the 'terms of use' page. I didn't like the shameless, schmoozing quotes that are around the site. We all know that some big name people use Fender and I don't feel that they have to remind us of that. In any case, what the Hondo site lacked is what Fender does with excellence. A 'Locate A Dealer' tab on every page. These guys really know their market. I couldn't possibly go into all the features that this site has to offer here, but if you have the time on your hands for the pages to load, it is well worth the wait. One last thing...there are so many links on this site that it approaches the ridiculous. So if you can't find what you're looking for, just click on a picture or logo. Chances are, it is hyperlinked and away you go! I give it 8.5 out of 10

Martin - http://www.mguitar.com/

Now here is a site that is an excellent mix between the bare bones Hondo style and the 'over the top' Fender site. Fast loading and FULL of information, this site is a must see for Martin Guitar or Martin Strings fans. It includes a full list of dealers in Canada and there's even a section for Guitar Makers to get guitar parts and accessories. Tastefully done and to the point, if I said any more, I wouldn't be doing it justice. This site comes with my highest recommendation. I give it 9.5 out of 10

Paul Reed Smith - http://www.prsguitars.com/

This site deserves mention because it offers two of the features that can melt my callouses! A chance to win a free guitar (yes kids...the contest IS open to Canadians!) and an information centre that gives tips on your set-up, guide for stringing, colour guide and more. The guitar photos here are true artwork, however pricing information and a dealer guide are noticeably absent. This site is clean, almost sparse, but fulfills the demands of the true PRS customer. They even list their discontinued models. The PRS website has a real friendly feel to it. With the employee pictures and music archives to the company history written by Paul Reed Smith himself, you can feel a connection to this company. I give it 8 out of 10

For a huge, comprehensive list of guitar manufacturer's websites, you can check out our Links Page!!
In the next issue, I will be examining tablature sites. See you there!

Driving the gear van down the Information SuperHighway, I'm Dave Alexander.

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