Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - New pics.....

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
User avatar
PorkyPrimeCut
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 22154
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:46 am
Location: Leipzig
Contact:

Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - New pics.....

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:23 am

Not so long ago I got it into my head that I wanted to have a 6-string neck built for my Vox Ultrasonic 12-string. I'd get a lot more use out of it as a 6-string but figured having one of each neck would be the ultimate luxury. I tossed a few ideas around & then someone on this forum (sorry, I forget who) suggested I should check out Brandoni Guitars in North London. I called them up &, sure enough, they had not one but two replacement 6-string necks!!

I popped in at the stupidest of times (an hour before I was due to travel up to Leeds for Christmas) & was absolutely gobsmacked by the place. I spent too long looking around & chatting with the guys there. In the end I left without the neck as there were a couple of issues I had to address - the neck heel was narrower than a 12 string (we'd debated this on the forum but didn't have a definite answer) and the NOS necks weren't drilled for machineheads. I was given a choice of 3 different types & felt I needed to take time out to think this through properly. Oh, I missed my train too.

So, 6 months on & after watching a Brian Jonestown Massacre gig online (they love their Vox's) I figured it was time to get this project started again. I gave them a call to make sure they still had the necks. After checking I was told that only one remained, the other was being used on a custom build. That was enough for me. I jumped on a train & bought the neck there & then.

As I had plenty of time to kill I had a nice long chat with the guys there. Roberto (Brandoni I assume) & his colleague Dino who was working on a neck as I arrived. Roberto showed me around the place & I got to see just how much stuff they had there. This place is an Aladdin's Cave of NOS stock & used parts!!!!

As I looked around the workshop I asked how he had come to own so much old stock. He told me that 20 years ago he bought what remained of the ailing EKO company in Italy. What stock they had left was his. I thought all the stuff he had acquired was in North London but it turns out there's another unit in Italy that has even more stuff than the Wembley workshop. Amazing!!

Dino told me that Roberto grew up in the same village as the EKO company. He clearly inherited a wealth of experience & knowledge from the locals, a lot of whom also built guitars independently. When EKO went into decline sadly so did they. I'm unsure of where Dino fits in to the story but he clearly knows his stuff too. Why oh why did I get my EKO Ranger fixed by that dickhead on Denmark Street?? When I told them about it Roberto disappeared for a while & came back with an identical guitar (bought from Wunjo apparently). When I pointed out how clean the bridge looked & how mine should've looked the same Dino said "I did that". Aaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!!! They also told me that the guitar could be stripped & refinned without my losing the beautiful rosette. They have thousands of the rosettes in stock!! Ha!!!!

I asked rather sheepishly if I could take some photos, half expecting them to say no. I'd have fully understood as this place is a goldmine!! I was told it was fine & I could take as many as I like. So, here goes. All you aspiring luthiers might want to sit down, especially you Ben. I know you have a soft spot for Vox stuff like myself.....

The neck I bought. 100% new old stock. The head isn't discoloured, thats just a reflection....
Image

These were being worked on as I arrived. Apparently they make a fair few Phantoms for mainly Japanese, French & US buyers.
The furthest Phantom with a black pickguard has the other 6-string neck I was told about.....
Image

Roberto & Dino (on the right) in their main workspace. Bright & airy. They seem to have various machines strewn throughout the building....
Image

...and the other side of the room. Plenty of custom builds there too....
Image

Various necks they were working on for custom projects....
Image

...and just a small amount of the parts they had at hand. We're probably talking less than 1% of their overall stock!!!
Image

You can't see so well but both those pickguards are chrome. Notice the Brandoni logo on the right. Nice touch!!....
Image

An adjoining room was a kind of showroom. I'm assuming these were custom builds too.....
Image

Image

More bodies. All vintage, all over 30-40 years old....
Image

My favourite area. Neck, necks & more necks!! Its a bit dark but you get the idea. I couldn't get them all in shot!!!....
Image

Did I mention necks?.....
Image

More assorted bodies with necks....
Image

And again....
Image

And another tiny glimpse of their spare parts collection....
Image

Every inch of space had stacks of boxes like this, all full of parts....
Image

Astonishingly, they told me that a large amount of the old stock he acquired ended up in the bin. He just didn't have the space to store it!!

Roberto's going back to Italy in a week or so & he'll be bringing back (amongst other things no doubt) 6 period correct machineheads, a 12-string bridge cover (Ultrasonics did have them after all!!) & a metal nut. He actually gave me a blank bone nut but I'm gonna stick to the originally spec.

I can't mention enough how helpful these guys were. I'm sure they were busy but they took time out to tell me all I needed to know. Their expertise doesn't just stop at Vox & EKO. They have tonnes of other stock, including Fender, that is slowly going on their custom builds. I'm pretty sure, at least with regard to Vox & EKO, that they have every concievable part you could imagine, within reason.

There's a wealth of tradition, talent & knowledge in this place. Building guitars, by hand, from scratch to individual specification. Nothing comes from China (I was told this). What they buy that is pre-built is of the highest quality available. I can't praise these guys enough.

An amazing place. I'm not even a luthier but I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I'm looking forward to going back in a few weeks to see it all again!!
Last edited by PorkyPrimeCut on Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
You think you can't, you wish you could, I know you can, I wish you would. Slip inside this house as you pass by.

User avatar
dain
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 847
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:28 am
Location: hollywood, USA

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by dain » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:30 am

W . O . W  you are SO lucky!  how much did the neck cost you in the end?  they seem to be pretty pro over there, why don't they answer emails?  i've been trying to contact them for years!

i'm in love with their eko electric mandos they sell at wunjo guitars...

User avatar
analogsystem
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 955
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Seattle
Contact:

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by analogsystem » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:35 am

Cool shots of that shop.
Just wondering why you didn't just put on half as many strings and keep using the 12 string neck?  The string spacing is a little different but it works ok.
www.wahwahexitwound.com

User avatar
OffYourFace
Mods
Mods
Posts: 12185
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 2:59 pm
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by OffYourFace » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:51 am

holy fucking shit....  dain, let's get some plane tickets and go there!
synth tech at www.rosensound.com

User avatar
PorkyPrimeCut
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 22154
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:46 am
Location: Leipzig
Contact:

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:14 pm

analogsystem wrote: Cool shots of that shop.
Just wondering why you didn't just put on half as many strings and keep using the 12 string neck?  The string spacing is a little different but it works ok.
Yeah, I've had it strung as a 6-string for a while now. Trouble is I'm getting way more used to skinny Jazzmaster necks these days (I used to like fatter necks as I played acoustic for years, not electric).
The 12-string neck is a bit of a baseball bat whereas the 6-string is super-slim. Slimmer than a JM neck in fact.

Also, knowing that these necks are getting rarer & rarer I figured it made sense to buy one while I still could. I'm gonna have to work out a way of getting an insert built around the 6-string heel, but without glue or nails (I don't want to ruin it). The neck pocket of my 12-string is wider. Also, aesthetically, the 12 string looks silly with only 6 machineheads. I could just leave them on but taking them of actually prevents the head from diving downwards (a la Gibson) & smashing into pieces.

Dain, the neck was £150. Not cheap but totally worth it.

I'm not sure why they don't reply to your emails. You could ring them I suppose. I get the feeling they're very busy. I was actually a bit reluctant to post all this info as I don't want them to attract the wrong kind of interest - the place is like a museum but they'd probably hate it if people showed up just to have a look around.

If there's anything you want to know, drop me a message or post here & when I go back I'll ask the guys what you want to know.
You think you can't, you wish you could, I know you can, I wish you would. Slip inside this house as you pass by.

glimmertwin
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 3371
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:21 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by glimmertwin » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:21 pm

Fuck - that's amazing!  I can't get my head around this...going to take some time out to regain my senses. 
"I enjoy the current state of offsetguitars hostility."

User avatar
garyptaszek
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 4397
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:02 am
Location: Dirty Dartford, Kent UK
Contact:

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by garyptaszek » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:31 pm

awesome pictures! has actually make me like those freaky old Vox guitars
I'm gonna puke if I see one more Telemaster...

User avatar
theworkoffire
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 4134
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:59 am
Location: Punching the future in the face, London
Contact:

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by theworkoffire » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:20 pm

So your challenge next time you go, Mark, is to find just one square inch of that place that doesn't make my knees shake with desire. Utterly, ridiculously amazing.

Thanks loads for the pics. And if you ever need someone to hold your hand when you go...

User avatar
theworkoffire
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 4134
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:59 am
Location: Punching the future in the face, London
Contact:

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by theworkoffire » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:38 pm

...actually it looks like they might have some necks I'd be interested in. And I'd be interested in looking through their bridge/trem collection. Can you let me know when you're going?

User avatar
OffYourFace
Mods
Mods
Posts: 12185
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 2:59 pm
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by OffYourFace » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:39 pm

I really want one of those teardrop/peardrop guitars...  I love the light blue one with 3 pickups   :-*

http://www.brandoniguitars.co.uk/product/vox_4_lg.jpg
Last edited by OffYourFace on Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
synth tech at www.rosensound.com

User avatar
hypercarrots
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:24 am
Location: los angeles, ca

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by hypercarrots » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:53 pm

that is a pretty awesome workshop. nice pictures!

User avatar
Harvester
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 1081
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:34 am
Location: Young Router Jockey from Melbourne Australia
Contact:

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by Harvester » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:40 pm

nice thread, i could use a few italian bits and pieces ... these guys are legendary, although not cheap.
ooh look, there's an eko on my avatar.  ::)

AP
i'll miss the system here ... the bottom's low and the treble's clear

User avatar
PorkyPrimeCut
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 22154
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:46 am
Location: Leipzig
Contact:

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:03 pm

theworkoffire wrote: ...actually it looks like they might have some necks I'd be interested in. And I'd be interested in looking through their bridge/trem collection. Can you let me know when you're going?
Sure. No probs.

It'll be in around 3 weeks time.
You think you can't, you wish you could, I know you can, I wish you would. Slip inside this house as you pass by.

User avatar
shadowplay
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 25498
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:30 am
Location: Glasgow. Scotland
Contact:

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by shadowplay » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:12 am

Mark

Do you think they have pickguards?  The PG on my starstreamer is cracked in two places, so a new on would be nice.

Cool pics btw.

D
I like that old time rock 'n' roll, don't try to take me to a disco.

User avatar
Marquischacha
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 1642
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:48 am
Location: Wales

Re: Brandoni Guitars (revisited) - A luthiers wet dream!!!....

Post by Marquischacha » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:18 am

OSG outing anyone?
Drop out of life with bong in hand, follow the smoke to the riff-filled land.

Post Reply