Are Beard Guitars Any Good?
The short answer is yes Beard guitars are extremely good. They’re well made, look good and play even better, with each one being hand made in the USA.
The story of Beard guitars is the story of one man’s dissatisfaction with the quality of resonator guitars and his desire to produce a modern guitar with traditional qualities. His first ever resonator was delivered to a customer in 1985 since then the company has grown to include many famous musicians among their customers.
- Bob Minner (Tim McGraw)
- John Fogerty
- Andy Hall (The Infamous Stringdusters)
- Abbie Gardner (Red Molly)
- Chad Darou
- Vince Gill
- Leroy Mack
- Jacob Groopman
- Andy Dunnigan (The Lil Smokies)
- Tim Graves
- Zac Brown
- Rebecca Lovell (Larkin Poe)
- Barry Graul (Mercy Me)
- Sally Van Meter
- Josh Swift (Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver)
- Timothy B. Schmit (The Eagles)
- Gary Morse
- Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass Band)
- Shine Delphi
- Marcy Marxer
- Jimmy Heffernan
- Cindy Cashdollar
- Caroline Jones
- Dean Parks
- Jerry Douglas
- Mark Lavengood
- Sara Wells (The Wells Band)
- Fred Travers (Seldom Scene)
- Tommy Maher (Fireside Collective)
- Keb Mo
- Mike Witcher
- Eric Church
- Kevin Maul
- Happy Traum
- Jay Starling (Love Canon)
- Brent Burke (Rhonda Vincent)
- And many more
With so many top artists all playing Beard guitars there must be something special about them. There is a consistency about them that you can only get when a company hand produces their instruments. It’s also clear to see that Beard Guitars are made by people who understand instruments and how they should sound and make them in accordance with that in mind.
Beard Can Bring Out The Best In Your Guitar
Beard Guitars not only produce fine acoustic and electro-acoustic resonators and guitars. They also produce electric guitars which are also of top quality. They can also set up your own favourite guitar or resonator and install a modern “New Legend Cone”, #14 spider, ebony topped bridge and bone nut to bring your old, tired instrument right up to date.
As they say “Over time, regular playing and simple string tension will begin to diminish the tone and playability of a resonator instrument; cones lose their bounce and become less effective, bridge inserts and nuts become worn, changing the overall response of the instrument”
How Do Beard Guitars Play?
With all these famous players choosing a Beard instrument they must have something about them so we asked the question, how do they play? We looked first at the Deco Phonic Sidecar model which is a non resonator flattop guitar. They call the Sidecar body “R” shape and it has all the style of a 1930s or 40s guitar.
The sidecar is an extremely lightweight guitar constructed using a laminated birch back and sides and a solid spruce top. It has a mahogany neck, 25 inch scale length and a 1 ¾ inch nut width along with open gear Golden Age Restoration tuners.
It is a very responsive guitar to play with a wide tonal range and works well for the finger picker and the strummer alike. A dream for blues and bluegrass players but will also suit many other genres as well.
Beard Guitars began with building a better resonator and they have perfected their craft to such a high level that you couldn’t wish for better. They have introduced replaceable cones to maintain that optimum sound quality for years to come. Not only does the Beard resonator sound great, but it looks great too. Which means you’ll definitely stand out in a crowd.
The Paul Beard PBR-D Roundneck Resonator Deluxe has a flame maple top, back and sides, maple neck and ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl hearts and flower inlays. It has a 25 inch scale length with a 1 ¾ inch width bone nut.
It has a removable palm rest on the resonator’s cover plate and all of the hardware is chrome plated. There is also the option of a left handed model.
Whether you play the resonator as a slide or steel lap guitar or as a regular style guitar, Beard guitars can accommodate your needs. Beard resonator guitars are available with both round necks and square necks allowing every resonator guitarist the chance to play one of these amazing instruments. So whether you prefer a Dobro style guitar or a National style guitar, there’s a Beard guitar already waiting for you to play.
Whichever model you choose the sound quality is exceptional on this amazing resonator. Plus it truly is a joy to play, ordinarily glossed necks are uncomfortable but not in this case. Everything about this instrument just says “play me”.
Where Are Beard Guitars Made?
Beard Guitars are made in Hagerstown Maryland USA. Paul Beard learned to play bluegrass on the guitar at the invitation of a school friend of his who played fiddle in the bluegrass style but had no-one to accompany him. So he asked Paul to learn to play and the rest is history. After leaving school, Paul went on to become an aircraft mechanic and a mechanical engineer.
He then went on to work in a music store where he also gave guitar, banjo and mandolin lessons. He started a band in his hometown of Hagerstown Maryland called the Longmeadow Mining Company.
Paul had been repairing instruments since he was 18 years old, and he did lots of instrument repairs at the music shop where he worked and he specialised working on electric guitars for a while. He bought his first Dobro from a guy who came into the music store where he worked for $125. It was an OMI Dobro built in 1974.
Paul says that after playing it for a while he began to tinker with it and eventually tore it apart and from there went on to build his own. He took it to Mike Auldridge (The Seldom Scene) and asked for his opinion and Mike said it was “Too muddy” so Paul asked him what he wanted it to sound like and it took a full 7 years for Paul to come up with it but eventually Mike got his Paul Beard Resonator.
Incidentally Mike designed the hearts and flowers design on the fretboard, he used to be an illustrator. He apparently drew it by hand and Paul had it set in mother of pearl into the fretboard of the guitar.
How Do Beard Guitars Look (what style are they)
Beard Guitars look instantly modern and yet, classical in their style. They are outstanding in their playability and eye-catching appeal. Paul Beard guitars whether resonator or non resonator, all have that distinctive style that makes you feel like you must have one. Every detail from the choice of wood to the dressing on the frets speaks quality.
What Will A Beard Guitar Cost To Buy?
Beard Guitars are handcrafted with full attention to detail from a team of extremely talented luthiers and craftsmen. These instruments are reasonably priced when you consider the amount of time and workmanship that’s been invested into each model.
The prices range from around $2000 (£1500) to around $6000 (£4,500) depending on the model and whether it’s a resonator or a non resonator. If you decide to go with a resonator it’s possible to get the cone replaced to keep it sounding fresh for many years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Beard guitars are made in Hagerstown, Maryland, USA.
There are many artists playing beard guitars including; Rebecca Lovell, Mike Auldridge, Anders Beck and Sara Wells to name but a few.
Paul Beard can play guitar as well as banjo and mandolin.