Retrograde Guitars Cambridge



"The goal of Retrograde Guitars is to explore the potential of the electric laminate top guitar, and to create a unique instrument with a clear and open voice. The design draws from the early jazz boxes of the 30s & 40s and the catalog guitars of the 50s & 60s. By using vacuum press technology, hand-carved necks, hand-rubbed colors and home-brewed varnishes, I combined modern building methods with old-world lutherie." - Glenn Nichols

Working at The Music Emporium is a dream come true for instrument lovers. As you'd imagine, we get to play some incredibly great instruments be they acoustic or electric, vintage or boutique. Probably the best part of the job is meeting the folks behind the instruments, especially when they're new to the market. Case in point? Boston-area builder and repairman, Glenn Nichols of Retrograde Guitars. 

While the name Retrograde Guitars may be new to you, Glenn's work likely is not. Glenn was the finish department foreman at Santa Cruz guitars, was in charge of French Polish restorations for renowned classical guitar maker Kenny Hill, and is currently Bill Tippin's only employee. In other words, Glenn knows a thing or two about building exceptional instruments.

We're thrilled to introduce you to a model Glenn calls the Cambridge. This is the guitar that made us immediately want to work with Glenn and represent his brand. While stunning visually - and as you'd expect, the finish work is incredible - it's when we sat down with it that we were just knocked out. It's a very lightweight instrument, balances perfectly, and the tones and playability are really addictive (we had a similar experience with Joe Yanuziello's instruments). It sounds like an old, perfectly seasoned guitar with a gorgeous acoustic voice. Seriously, you could play it happily for extended periods of time before ever thinking of plugging it in. 

Once plugged in, that same airy, open acoustic voice combines with the chime and output of a great goldfoil pickup, courtesy of a pair of Mojo pickups (UK based company). More of this please! 

Woods, pickups, finish, specs....all that stuff aside, at the end of the day, the real question with any instrument comes down to - Do I want to play this? Does it inspire me? To use familiar language, does it have a vibe...mojo? The answer in this case is, unquestionably, yes. 

If you're into student model guitars, catalog-style guitars, but also want something that's light-years beyond it quality-wise, look no further. Priced with hardshell case. 


  • Top - Flame Maple with Mahogany core, vacuum press laminate
  • Bracing - German Spruce 
  • Back - Flame Maple, 6-ply vacuum press laminate
  • Sides - Solid Flame Maple
  • Cutaway - Yes
  • Neck - Port Orford Cedar
  • Fingerboard - Madagascar Rosewood
  • Overlay - Brazilian Rosewood
  • Backstrap - Madagascar Rosewood
  • Scale Length - 24.9"
  • Nut Width - 1 11/16"
  • Neck Joint - "Catalog Style" bolt on with threaded inserts
  • Frets - Evo Gold
  • Binding - Ivoroid
  • Headstock - none 
  • Fingerboard - Ivoroid
  • Purfles - Body Purfles, top/back/sides
  • Inlay - Original Nichols "N", pearl and maple
  • Fingerboard - none
  • Side dots - 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15
  • Pickups - Mojo Pickups, goldfoil
  • Volume, Volume, Tone, 3-way
  • Tuners - Gotoh Vintage Kluson style 
  • Bridge - Handmade rosewood/maple
  • Tailpiece - Aged jazz style
  • Nut - Bone
  • Strap Buttons - Relic Waverly 
  • Varnish, Heavily antiqued, hand rubbed finish 
  • French Polish - neck
  • Custom Color - Light Honey Burst
  • .011-.052 D'Addario Strings 

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