Acacia Guitars (known previously as Acacia Custom Guitars, which I may or may not have accidentally said in the video) managed to acquire a bad rep pretty early on in their career. Scott Lienhard, the builder behind the brand, initially started making guitars for fun in his garage, then, as these things sometimes go, others saw his work and wanted him to make more. His designs were great, but his skills were still developing.
Some of the first guitars that came out of the Acacia shop were nice to look at, but were lacking in many other departments. Despite refunds all around, this is the age of the internet – and airing dirty laundry is easier than it’s ever been. A cursory search of sevenstring.org reveals several threads dedicated to the unfortunate nature of these early instruments. It seemed pretty bleak for Acacia.
Now, you read a lot of shit on the internet, and wonder if it is true – you see the pictures, read the stories, but you can’t get a full and accurate read from just that. But I happen to have a first-hand account for you – I actually owned an early Acacia. Mine wasn’t quite as nightmarish as some of the ones you may have read about, but it wasn’t all that great either. I actually made my very first gear demo with it:
But as Destiny’s Child once said: After all of the darkness and sadness/Soon comes happiness/If I surround my self with positive things/I’ll gain prosperity. Just because Beyoncé has probably never built a guitar before doesn’t mean she couldn’t know how to pull yourself out of a rut and turn it all around.
I was lucky to get to try out two of Acacia’s most recent guitars this month – a full-on custom model, top of the line with all the fixin’s, and their newest line, the Pro Series production models – so I could revisit the company and see if they’d turned it around like I’d hoped they would.
I was relieved and stoked to discover that they had. The difference between the Architect I owned and the two guitars I tried is like a chasm, filled with fire, guarded by rocket launcher snipers. Every detail was better in every way, from basic things like the action and finish, to more subtle things, like the neck pocket fit and inset bridge.
The custom guitar I played to compare was an absolute dream. I love a good neck through guitar, so I did prefer it a bit to the Pro series, but not by so large of a margin that it would make the choice obvious. I really would be hard pressed to pick them out of a lineup by blind feel alone. The pickup choice was the most obvious difference, but the guitars were so close in all other aspects that it was staggering.
The Pro series I played was set pretty much exactly how I’d want it, aside from the EMGs – a nice looking and feeling maple fretboard, satin finish neck, low action and a very comfortable feel all around. All models will come equipped with a Hipshot bridge, locking tuners, a matte finish in one of several colors, a match finish headstock, stainless steel jumbo frets, and a 25.5″ scale (for 6 string).
If you’re looking for an extraordinarily high-end guitar that you can customize several options on (pickups, color, 6/7/8 strings, Titan/Hades/Romulus shape, maple/rosewood fretboard) that starts at $999 (during their upcoming PRO-motion in October) and doesn’t go much higher, head over to www.acaciaguitars.com and get on the Pro Series.