OK, I think I’ve finally figured it out. For years I have been wondering how G.W. Barry gets his sound. This builder has been quietly devoting all of his waking hours for the last twenty-eight years to building the best sounding flattop steel string guitars possible and has successfully created his own totally unique sonic fingerprint … not an easy thing to do!
I have watched Mr. Barry incessantly tweak his top strutting patterns over the decades, experiment with different spruce species, adopt various body shapes, embrace various finishes and experiment with altered resonant frequencies … but I think I’ve been looking in the wrong place for his “secret”.
As I was playing this exquisite new Orchestra Model (or was it playing me?) I realized that this instrument was literally alive in my hands. These Barry Guitars vibrate more than any others I’ve played. Then it hit me … it’s the BACK! Somehow this builder has engaged the back more effectively in the sound generation process!
A lot of luthiers think of the back as more of a reflective surface … yes it enhances and helps shape the tone generated by the top plate, but that’s where it’s usefulness stops. I’m beginning to think that the “more” that I hear from G.W. Barry guitars … more volume, more projection, more layers of overtones, certainly more kick from the attack transient … more LIFE … comes from the fact that this extremely talented luthier engages the back to not just help shape & reflect tone, but to GENERATE an audible amount of additional musical response!!!
G.W. Barry Orchestra Model Guitar
* 1 3/4″ wide polished bone nut
* burnished ebony fingerboard with side dots
* one-piece tropical mahogany neck
* comfortable medium/low elliptical neck profile
* Brazilian rosewood peghead veneer
* hand fit dovetail neck joint
* precision 21:1 ratio Gotoh 510 mini tuners
* bookmatched Bearclaw Sitka spruce top
* old growth Brazilian rosewood back & sides
* Hawaiian Paua shell soundhole rosette
* burnished ebony belly bridge
* intonation compensated bone saddle
* bone bridge pins
* custom back strip marquetry
* mitered purfling joints
* deluxe arched top & back plush lined hardshell case