Instruments & Gear: Fine Lutherie

2003 Ryan Mission Grand Concert

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Luthier Kevin Ryan’s original model is a meticulously crafted guitar that’s optimized for fingerstyle playing.

by Teja Gerken
June 22, 2015

Southern California luthier Kevin Ryan has been on the forefront of modern steel-string guitar building ever since he arrived on the contemporary luthier scene in the early 1990s. With a background in aerospace engineering, Ryan brought a scientific design approach and meticulous craftsmanship to his lutherie, resulting in guitars with refined sounds and a build quality that is second to none. With their excellent playability and balanced tones, Ryan guitars are particularly popular with fingerstyle players.

The Mission Grand Concert was Ryan’s first, and for several years, his only model. The Mission Grand Concert measures 15.25 inches across the lower bout, and its body depth tapers from a relatively deep 4.62 inches at the tailblock to 3.62 inches at the neck joint. These dimensions give the guitar more overall body volume than many other similarly sized guitars. The guitar also has a slightly longer-than-standard scale length of 25.7 inches, which leads to an increase in string tension (an advantage when playing in dropped tunings).

As custom-built guitars, Ryan instruments are available in a wide variety of wood choices. This guitar has a cedar top and Indian rosewood back and sides.

In this video, Peghead Nation Fingerstyle instructor Stevie Coyle talks about the guitar and demonstrates it by playing a fingerstyle arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”

SPECS: Grand concert body with 14-fret neck. Cedar top. Indian rosewood back and sides. Bolt-on mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.7-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Gotoh 510 tuners. Made in the USA.


Category: Instruments & Gear

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