California-based Barry Grzebik is a bit of a modern renaissance man. Prior to guitar building, Barry was Director of Engineering for Apogee Sound where he designed, and oversaw the design, of everything from rack-mount digital signal processors to power amplifiers and critically acclaimed professional loudspeakers. His guitar company also partners with the Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. which replants Redwood trees for each guitar sold. Suffice it to say, the man knows a thing or two about quality, sustainability, resonance, and sound.
Fortunately for us, Barry's lifelong love of guitars, woodworking, and product design led him to guitar making and the creation of the Mendocino model - and in this case, a baritone version. The basic idea was to create a guitar that fits in the ES-335 world, but is lighter and has more depth of tone - somewhat between a great ES-335 and an archtop. For this build, we asked Barry to go in more of a 60s student model direction and man did he deliver! Black sparkle top w/ivory satin back and headstock stinger? Come on!
To help achieve this goal, a 1-piece Honduran mahogany body is hollowed out (with the exception of a narrow center block) and topped with a piece of exceptionally beautiful 500-700 year old reclaimed Redwood, also 1-piece. The results are spectacular - like the 6-string Mendocino, the baritone model is incredibly lightweight, balanced, and very alive and resonant (no surprise here given Barry's background). It's beautifully made, has a chunky, late-50's Gibson-esq carve with a slinky overall feel, and sounds amazing.
Speaking of tones, the Lollar Goldfoils are a perfect match for this guitar. Open, airy, killer chime...clean tones are a no-brainer. Plugged into a Victoria Club Deluxe, there's both an articulation and fatness to the tone that reminds us of a Jerry Jones or vintage Danelectro baritone, but with a slightly more open/chimey tone. With some gain? Classic low-fi, deep bass swampiness that's incredibly fun and inspiring.
If you're looking for something new that's both beautiful, alive, a blast to play - and - made by a luthier with an eye towards sustainability? You need to check out the award-winning Mendocino, no question. Priced with a hardshell case.