Instruments

At Zimnicki Guitars every instrument is built according to the unique specifications of my customers. Because I encourage customer input in the design of their instrument they are not limited by standard production techniques. Every instrument is meticulously crafted with the goal of giving my customers exactly the instrument they desire, including choice of tonewoods, neck and body dimensions, tone and playability, and, of course, ornamentation and aesthetics. Each instrument reflects not only my personality, but also that of the person who commissioned its construction. The instruments on these pages represent a sampling of the requests I have had over the years.

Archtops

The soundboard and back of an archtop guitar have a very obvious dome, or arched, shape and is what gives it it's name. The amount of arching, the graduations of the top and back plates, the size and position of the sound holes, as well as the floating bridge and tailpiece give archtop guitars a distinctive sound. Although this style of guitar is often credited to Orville Gibson in the early 20th century, it has been in existence since the late 19th century.

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Classical

My early experiences with classical guitar construction were heavily influenced by traditional “Torres” designs. Over the years I have been asked by customers to incorporate many more modern features. I am comfortable both of these approaches to the classical guitar. The instruments shown in this section display many of these features. This section also contains some examples of 7-string nylon guitars that are popular with many jazz musicians.

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For Sale

These guitars are available for purchase. If you're interested in purchasing one of these instruments please don't hesitate to get in touch with Gary.

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Gypsy

Gypsy jazz guitars are often linked to the Selmer Instrument Company, Mario Maccaferri, who designed the original oval holed instruments for Selmer, and Django Reinhardt, the best known gypsy jazz player. Selmer instruments were built with laminated backs / sides and spruce soundboards. Most of the instruments I have been asked to build have had solid backs and sides, but I am also able to build them as laminates if preferred. I find instruments with solid backs / sides generally have a richer tone.

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Mandolins

I make two different styles of mandolins, both made popular by Gibson in the early 20th Century: the “F”-style and the “A”-style. Both types have carved tops and backs just like on my archtop guitars. No two pieces of wood are exactly alike in physical properties, so the thicknesses and graduations of the top and back are meticulously adjusted to bring out the best possible tone and responsiveness in each mandolin I build.

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Ouds and Ends

In this section you will find a wide variety of instruments, from solid body electric guitars to diminutive cavaquinhos and a double-necked oud/classical guitar. I am very comfortable building all of the instruments in this section but have not built enough of them to create separate categories for each on this website.

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Reclaimed Wood

In 2011 I started building instruments from the wood removed from houses in Detroit. Using old growth Michigan maple floor boards for backs and sides (and necks on the small instruments) and Douglas Fir ceiling joists for soundboards, I have built guitars, ukuleles and mandolins and they have all exceeded my expectations. I look at these instruments not just as unique approaches to lutherie, but also as paying tribute to the history of Detroit and the craftsmen who built the homes.

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Steel String

I build steel string guitars in many different sizes. Using the familiar Martin classifications, they range from the small O-sized body to the very large Dreadnaughts and Jumbos. Beyond body width and depth, the most important feature to most players is whether the neck has 12 or 14 frets clear of the body. Guitars with 12 fret necks tend to have a slightly warmer tone because the bridge is more centered in the vibrating area of the soundboard.

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Ukelele

Ukuleles are a relatively recent addition to my catalog. My first instruments followed the classic designs of Martin ukuleles from the 1920s, but there were some things about them that I thought could be done better. As a result, I now build my instruments with a Spanish heel, which integrates the neck with the sides of the body in such a way that the neck joint can never come loose. This is the same approach used in most fine classical guitars.

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