An OM guitar with inlay designed in collaboration with the customer with a sunburst finish. Cedar top with rosewood back and sides.
"My No.1. I was given the opportunity to participate in the design of this guitar as a Christmas present from my wife. It was then made by Jim Worland, a luthier in Rockford, Illinois over the ensuing 10 months. I never dreamed that I would be able to design and own a unique guitar of my own. This guitar will be an heirloom passed through my family.
"Jim Worland was
very easy to work with. He was generous with his time and recommendations
and let me
choose the details I wanted. He understood that, for a once in a lifetime guitar, it had to be just right. His website demonstrates an enormous breadth or work with some very impressive detail work and artistry. I would recommend him to anyone looking to make the investment and take the time in working with a luthier to produce a one of a kind guitar."
This is an OM guitar designed and built in close collaboration with Gary Phillips, owner of Paradise Guitars. He purchased the wood and other components and picked out various design elements to incorporate into his personalized instrument.
Just wanted to let you know again how much I love this guitar. Took it to the shop and the guys thought it was awesome. I played it and the guys played it, it sounds really, really good. It always sounds better when someone else plays it and you can stand back and hear the sound being projected out to you.
This morning I did a fine tooth inspection on it and every aspect of the build quality was super. You definitely know your craft. It was alot of fun being able to work with you in your shop. That's the only way to go!!!
Thanks again Jim, I appreciate all your time and effort. I love the picture build documentation, too.
Jim, thanks again for the fine work! Sorry I couldn't stay longer: it promised to be a long day and I finally pulled in here at 4:45 totally exhausted. But Taylor people will tell you that you only need 30 seconds to tell whether a guitar is any good or not, and yours blew me away in15! I can tell you right now that it's at least as good if not better than my 510! I may take it up to the jam session on Tuesday in Coopersville if the weather permits. Again thanks! rdw
A highly customized vintage style guitar that was designed by the customer. The shape is based on a 1930's Gibson L-00 that caught his eye. All of the appointments were specified by the customer, from the peghead shape which he found on an old National to the inlay inspired from a Silvertone. Some of his comments:
"Well, you've outdone
yourself again, Jim, and beat my expectations, too. Wow! This
guitar is just so amazing. To be honest, I was a bundle of nerves
all day (lots of butterflies). It arrived around 3 pm, but I didn't
get up the nerve to open the box until 6 pm. And then once I had
the case out of the box, I was afraid to lift the lid. Maryann
just laughed at me and opened it for me. What a sight! To my eyes,
the most beautiful guitar I've ever seen.
The lush Honduran rosewood, the amazing color and shading, the lovely binding, purfling, and rosette. The cool peghead shape. The extra cool-looking inlays. I was surprised to see that your gold MOP logo matches perfectly with the vintage-style tuning keys. Beautiful craftsmanship all around. Fit and finish look perfect.
You know I love the vintage body shape, but the slim soft-V neck was a bit of a gamble, and yet it feels perfect. I tuned it up and played just a little (because I'm afraid I'll scratch it), and it sounds young but really fine already. I was surprised at the bass and huge volume for such a small bodied guitar. It's bright and clear and really rings out. And to think it will only get better. I'll play a lot more tomorrow (and for years, I'm sure) but for now I'm content to just marvel at its stunning beauty.
You can't get a guitar like this at Guitar Center at any price, and even though there are plenty of fine sounding and playing guitars at the better shops, you put the whole package together for me: beautiful tone, great feel, and everything I wanted in vintage looks. A simple "thank you" seems too little for such a fine thing, but here it is -- Thanks! "
"Jim, got the guitar
home and started playing some. The more I started to play the
better things got. Guess not playing acoustic for 6 or 7 months
has something to do with it! The acoustics of your work shop don't
do any justice to the actual tone of the guitar. Sounds like vintage
70's at my place! I'm liking it more everytime i play it. Im sure
it's going to turn into a monster. Thanks again for your patience,
and the speedy completion! " J.T.
Just dropping you a quick note to let you know how pleased I am with the guitar.
It has become my all time very favourite, like it has been personally made for me, I could not have chosen it better myself if I tried. The tone and response are just wonderful, I love the Port Orford Cedar, I wish I had known about the qualities of Cedar much earlier.
I have a friend I met through ebay who is a guitar enthusiast and collector of sorts. Since he inquired, this is what I wrote to him after I directed him to your website..
"I own six high quality instruments at this time...
I must say my favourite guitar right now is made of Port Orford Cedar and Culry Walnut from Worland Guitars..."
My classical steel guitar arrived late Wednesday evening. In hope it showed well for you at Healdsburg. As with the guitars you built for me earlier, I am very pleased with this one. Thanks for selecting a stiff Englemann top. With the rosewood back/sides, this guitar has the sound I had been hoping for. The wide neck feels very comfortable and the guitar is a visual gem -- love that traditional classical look. I'm sure going to have fun with this one.
Here is a Jumbo model with Indian rosewood back and sides and a Sitka spruce top built for fingerstylist Neil Fitzgerald. Some comments from the new owner:
Hi Jim, The new guitar
is wonderful, just took a liitle setting up to get it just right.
I have been playing it out on a regular basis, really love it.
Go to my new website, under gear is a description of the guitars
you made for me. Hope you like it, thanks, Neil
A note to let you know how absolutely beautiful the Englemann-Maple 00
you built for me sounds. It took quite a while for it to "open up"
through the full spectrum. Now, the sound is terrific, balanced,
clear, and sweet. And so, so very comfortable to play with the arm
rest. The neck is also very comfortable and playable. As for beauty,
indeed it is, and that maple back is truly one of a kind!
The Good Shepherd guitar, a religious themed guitar featuring inlay on the top, back, fingerboard, peghead and bridge.
Hi Jim and Landon,
How are you guys doing? We are doing great. I have had the guitar for 2 days now. Starting with when I opened the case at Jim's, I was pretty much speechless. This is simply the most beautiful guitar on the face of the planet. You have both done a completely amazing job. Just thank you doesn't really express how I feel. I truly believe this guitar is a gift from God working thru the 2 of you. I promise I will do justice with it.
As soon as I got home I took it out and played it. It is the best playing and sounding guitar I have ever had in my hands. It blows away the Taylor 814, the Warrior, and is even better than my 59 Martin D-28. I can't tell you how good it sounds. When I played it with a pick it is everything I hoped it would be and much more. Last night at practice I got to plug it in. My bassplayer and female singer both said the same thing. It is magic. Both them and my drummer said it sounds so good it actually makes you play and sing better. I have to agree with them. Magic is the word I would use to. Music from Heaven.
I can't thank you both enough. Jim, I have some stuff written for that endorsement I will send to you. I have to get a picture yet. I want you both to know this guitar turned out way better than I expected. You both should be proud.
Thank you so much and God Bless both of you,
Marv & Vic
24 string harp guitar
Hi, Jim: Happy day! My new Worland OM guitar in cocobolo and cedar arrived safely, and I played it with much enthusiasm for 2 1/2 hours last night (ouch, my fingers are so sore!).
The size, along with the shorter scale length, is so comfortable to hold and play. The sound is just what I had hoped for: strong bass, the darker tone, balanced, not too bright and not too mellow. Really a beautiful and rich sound (your call on the cedar top was right on). One big surprise was the considerable volume and sustain on this smaller guitar; how did you manage that?!
The neck profile is just right: the 45mm nut width and 2 5/32 string spacing at saddle are perfect for me. The neck feels really comfortable in my left hand and my right hand isn't complaining. I have this tricky turnaround I do when fingerpicking Freight Train -- very fast and complex; I don't even know what I'm doing, only the fingers do. And yet, I can play it easily with this guitar, so going with the somewhat narrow 2 5/32nds string spacing at the saddle worked out just fine, and that gave me the narrower neck at the higher frets I wanted. So both hands are happy.
Also, I really love the look of this guitar. The darkly finished cocobolo trimmed in ivoroid is so rich and lovely. The dark tobacco sunburst on top gives the guitar both beauty and drama. And the naturally finished cocobolo headstock, backstrip, and rosette, all trimmed with ivoroid, make for the perfect accent to the darker cocobolo. I also love the classic block MOP inlays set against the ebony fingerboard, as well as the classic ebony pyramid bridge.
Once again, you've captured
that understated elegance I love so much. Simply put, this is
one gorgeous guitar, and yet, also very cool looking! By the way,
I like your new label inside, a small thing, but well done. Finally,
let me say that those vintage Waverly tuners with the ivory buttons
are the cat's meow! I can only say that getting a custom Worland
is infinitely better than even the finest factory guitar. I got
the neck I wanted, the sound I wanted, and the look I wanted.
Thanks for building this one...just for me. It's a dream guitar
Read the story of how the customer created this guitar.
As you might imagine, I've been playing the new jumbo quite a bit since getting the neck tweaked and as with my earlier guitars, I just wanted to take the time to thank you for the fabulous job with this one as well. As "role" guitars go, this is the powerful large-bodied fingerstyle guitar I had been hoping for. Not only does this one have punch and clarity throughout its dynamic range (I particularly like the articulate low-end), but it's also quite light and very responsive with ample headroom. My luthier who did the neck adjustment for me mentioned that I can expect the volume and tone to get even better as the Adirondack top matures. The smooth-as-glass neck, well-dressed jumbo frets and wide string spacing across the saddle all add up to make a big difference. This guitar also capos very well. Much thanks for yet another great guitar.
The guitar is just so much fun to play and vastly better than any guitar I've ever played, even when I played the $3,500 Taylor at Guitar Center! What a wonderful thing to happen in my life. And working with you was a real pleasure these past 9 1/2 months. Thanks for all your patience. Thanks for answering a hundred questions and steering me toward the perfect guitar. And thanks, most of all, for building this gorgeous masterpiece guitar with such a beautiful sound! It's a dream come true. And it'll provide a lifetime of enjoyment!
Thanks, Jim, for building me a fine custom guitar that I
for my lifetime!
~ Cheryl W.
Jim, The guitar is great. The workmanship is very impressive.
The tone continues to improve and was wonderful right out of the
box. I haven't taken the pictures, yet. I've been busy with publications.
Working with you was a wonderful experience. You delivered a great
guitar that exceeds my expectations. I hope you are doing well.
The guitar arrived just before 5:00 in great shape. I have been playing it ever since. I am finally stopping to eat.
Quick comments with a more measured reply to follow tomorrow.
The instrument is more beautiful than even the best of your very good photographs. Fit and finish are impeccable. There are a wealth of little details that just don't cease to amaze. The wood craft is superb. The mahogany sparkles like a miracle.
And the sound,,,
It sounds as good as the best guitars I have played, and
there have been a few. But it is more remarkably mahogany-ish
than any of those, Warm, sweet sparkle is the closest brief description.
Punch without boom
My wife came down from upstairs (we have a very open house) to say that she wished I could here it from up there. The sonic color is a great rendition of an even, broad range. The balance is spot on. I crawled up and down the neck with my tuner turned on. The intonation is dead right, and the sound captures that precision. Already this young box has a great voice.
And the playing,,,
I love having this thing in my hands. I swear it makes me a better player. It is comfortable and responsive. In short, it feels like it sounds miraculous.
Thank you for making such a wonderful thing and then sending it to me. I hope you are having a great day because you surely made mine,
My 12-string arrived this afternoon in top shape. Like the
first guitar, this one really sparkles both in beauty and in sound.
I was a bit nervous when tuning it up initially but once tuned,
it plays beautifully. The decision to go with the shorter "000"
scale and jumbo fret wire certainly paid off -- the feel is much
more relaxed that the 12's I've played before.
Both the rosewood and sitka top are visually beautiful; so is your workmanship (perhaps a major understatement). I appreciate the added compensation work on the saddle; the action/intonation is perfect. Mahalo
Nui for TWO great guitars!
Just to let you know, my 6-string arrived today -- well packed and beautiful to boot.
First of all, I'd like to thank you for acquiring the special curly Koa wood I had requested. You've certainly managed to capture the full depth and luster of the wood grain/curl in this once-in-a-lifetime set. Your superb workmanship and attention to detail is not only reflected in the gem-like beauty of the finished guitar, but also in its beautiful acoustic sound. I really like the pairing of the Port Orford Cedar top with the Koa body in this particular OM design -- good volume and balance, shimmering sustain and clear/bright node harmonics.
To sum it up, this is all of the fingerstyle guitar I had hoped for. I sincerely appreciate all of the time and effort that went into making this guitar the fine instrument that it is. Gotta get back to my new guitar...
I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying this guitar. It is incredibly responsive, perfect for my primary style of playing. The balance is outstanding, and the trebles ring like bells. It's just so musical, it sounds like another voice singing with me. The neck fits my hand like another skin, its very hard to put it down.
I've always used medium guage strings but I put some light (12s) strings on it to see how it would respond. Slightly less volume but improved tone and feel. The slight drop in volume actually gives me better control, and the reduced string tension is more comfortable. The look, feel, and tone of this guitar is absolutely ideal for me, I love it. I've only played it solo so far but I'll be playing with another guitar player on Thursday night, he plays a nylon string so it should be an interesting mix.
Anyway, thank you for making such a great instrument, I wish you much success, Kris.
Hi Jim. The guitar arrived yesterday and your craftsmanship with my wood is exceptional! There is not a flaw to be found in the construction.
The tone of my guitar is terrific. I've always liked a heavy bass end, but this one is balanced, with just a touch of bass depth. I especially like the bell-like clarity of the treble strings and there's a touch of vibrato on a sustained note or chord. It's definitely a keeper, and I'll be giving my feedback on your website. I'll let the cost, however, be our secret. Thanks, Rick
So far the guitar is great. Great tone. The action is good; I'll need a litle more time with this. Do you have a tool for the truss rod? Also, Can you get me an ivory truss rod cover from vintage ventures. They will need to know the size and position of the hole. It should be premium dark ivory.
Do you make a guitar similar in size and shape to the Taylor Grand Concert? I am thinking of a guitar similar to the one you just made, but in the grand concert style with a rounded cutaway. I would want all the extras I ordered for the guitar you just built. This time with a brazilian rosewood fretboard, bridge, and headstock overlay. Mike
I managed to put the guitar down long enough to send out the
message that it has indeed arrived, and in perfect health! The
opportunity to get the string spaceing i wanted was one of the
main reasons for ordering a
custom guitar, and it took only a few songs to feel completely at home with it.
The balance of tone and the volume are very impressive, love the jumbo frets at all positions, can't think of a down side! It is also a joy simply to look at just sitting on the stand. The smell of the inside, with the cedar top brings Christmas to mind.
I'll send more later, Jim, now it's back to playing! Thanks Jim. -John
"I've had my new Worland OM 12-fretter for a little over a week now, and I've got to say it's quite a wonderful guitar.
"I've never played a Ryan, Olsen, Hoffman, Turner, Baranik, Kinnaird, et. al. But I can say that this guitar is comfortably in the company of my favorite guitars, including a Brook Torridge, Lowden O-32 and Martin SP00-16RST. In guitars of this quality, I believe there's no "best", just differences among equals. And, one week in, my Worland is among equals in the company of the best guitars I know. Thanks, Jim.
P.S. Oh yeah--delivered just a bit ahead of schedule and at a price that has to be among the best values in guitardom."
Read a full review
The guitar is just beautiful and sounds great.
Body and neck (I was worried that I didn't give enough input here) fit me like a glove.
There's a lot of discovering to do, but, first off, I really appreciate the level of your work-finish, construction, and all the little refinements I'm noticing: scarf-jointed neck, binding & purfling, bridge design, end graft...I know you've gone the extra mile.
I tuned it to DADGAD, my favorite tuning. The notes just rang out. I know what you meant by responsive.
It's louder than my other guitar (which I thought was loud), and the notes are even, clear, and yet complex with overtones. Just what I was hoping for. Oh, and it makes me play better, too!
How's it going Jim-
I just wanted to tell you what a great guitar this is.. It plays wonderful. Very balanced, great sustain, lush tone. Not only is it a fantastic fingerstyle guitar but an excellent flat pick and strumming guitar as well. I have played some high end guitars that exhibit only some of these characteristics!
I played with a thumb pick for quite some time but stopped using it a while ago because when I used the pick while playing my previous acoustic, the tonal qualities of the instrument dissipated drastically- very disappointing. This Jumbo however, retains all of its tonal qualities with or without a pick!
This is a stunning guitar in all respects. Thanks for going the extra mile for me. I really appreciate it!
Well its been over 3 years now ( I cant believe it) and it looks and sounds as great as ever. I am still getting compliments on the tone. I really enjoyed stopping by almost every week to check on the progress and take pictures. It was quite an experience.
Too bad more cant enjoy it. It is great seeing all the pictures of your newest models. Your dedication really shows through !
Jim: Just a quick note to let you know that the guitar you made for me is really settling in nicely and the tone is exactly what I hoped it would be. It's a joy to play but sometimes I just like to sit and look at it...it is so beautiful. My wife gets a little jealous when she sees me gazing longinly at it! Thanks for the great job.
The tonal characteristics of the Worland cocobolo/adirondack jumbo cutaway are worthy of admiration. The bass is round and full and the highs have a sparkle to them. The tonal balance is very good, with an emphasis on the extremities, and without honky mids to allow for clarity. This guitar has a surprising response when touched lightly, but does not overdrive when pushed.
Fingerpicking notes on this guitar is a beautiful thing. Arpeggios jump out of the box (moreso than normally for rosewood) with distinction and just the right amound of blending. Single note lines have a defined quality to them, with music in each note. Flatpicking is easily feasible on this guitar as well, though hard strumming tended to produce a slight warp (imbalance) in the tonal spectrum.
Read a full review
Jim Worland makes a mighty fine guitar.
Im extremely pleased with the guitar that Jim made for me and he deserves my highest recommendation. He is a real professional and his craftmanship is impeccable.
I've just received my order and thank you very much.
I am more than satisfied and happy with the guitar and you surely did a great job. Not just does it look beautiful but sounds wonderful. The small body is so comfortable to play for finger picking.
This is one of my best purchase I have ever done. Thank you once again. Keep up the good work!
Yasumasa Y. Kyoto Japan
Forgive me for not writing sooner. I have been busy playing guitar!! I owe you a great deal of thanks for your time, dedication, and skill. I am truly pleased with my guitar. In fact, my custom Martin's place as #1 is in serious jeopardy!! I look forward to playing for folks on it, although I don't have any performances lined up yet.
I'm glad if my review generated some interest. I look forward to the day when Worlands are mentioned in the same breath with Olsons, Ryans, etc., and I can say I got the first OM!! Seriously, I hope you have success as a luthier, and that you are soon able to command the big bucks. I will certainly refer folks to you. Who knows? Maybe my wife will let me get another guitar one day!!
Thanks again for your work. It has really been a pleasure. -Shannon
Read an on-line review of this guitar from the Acoustic Guitar Forum.
I am very pleased.
I am very impressed with your craftsmanship. The assembly, gluing, and finish work is impeccable.
The woods are gorgeous. The koa is beautiful. I like the koa on the headstock. I don't know if that is standard procedure or not, but it sure is a nice touch.
The guitar has a very pleasing tone to my ears. I am most particular about the treble sound, and this guitar has a sweet treble. The treble is also very responsive. I am very pleased with that. None of my other 12
strings are sensitive to a light touch, or worth a dang for hammers and pull-offs (they do them, but it is work, and the hammers don't ring). This guitar is as sensitive to string work as my classical. Pretty impressive,
and fun to play. The sustain is also wonderful.
I am impressed and pleased. Heck of a nice job, Jim! -Paul
Just would like to add a note to the Worland Guitar review.
I ordered a couple of OMs in August and they
just arrived, 14-fret joins in mahogany, one cedar and one spruce. These are both beautiful instruments in
all respects. Understated simplicity, superior craftsmanship, and gorgeous tone seem to about sum up a
Worland guitar, in my judgment. The price is incredible for a handmade acoustic, basically two for the
price of one Collins or Santa Cruz or Lowden. If you're looking for a truly handmade instrument and can
wait a few months, I would definitely check out Worlands. I am completely satisfied with these
instruments, and if I weren't, I know that Jim would make it right.
Dear Jim.......... My harpguitar is artistry and craftmanship at it's finest. Thankyou for your thoughtfulness and no compromise in every detail that went into the making of this magnificent instrument. You have crafted quite an inheritance for my loved ones. I am forever grateful..........Echo Greywolf
Well what can I say. I still have goosebumps on me. I am not even sure how to tell you how wonderful this guitar is. Everyone who has seen it is still in amazement. It is too beautiful for words. I just sit and look at it.
It arrived thursday afternoon and I played it until the wee hours last night. My playing partner could not put it down. We both own taylors and martins, and this guitar easily stands up to their sound, but the craftmanship of the Worland far exceeds any guitar I have held.
I just played a Santa Cruz OM a few weeks ago and it has nothing on your OM. I think the rosewood cedar combination is fabuluos. It is everything I had hoped for. Thanks so much for all your hard and caring work, it really shows. I will be showing the guys at the local music shop this baby! I am in the final phases of recording and there is a song or two that will be on my release with the Worland.
I have conversations on the web with Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records and I will mention this guitar to him. He is a Froggy Bottom guy but you never know. I will be changing my email address soon and I will let you know of it in case you want to contact me at some point. Thanks again for everything, I will send you a CD when I finish it(maybe X-mas). You and your family take care and may peace always be with you. Neil
Just a note to let you know the guitar arrived yesterday without a scratch.
The guitar is just great! It looks like it's a relic from the twenties in mint condition. The shape and size, the inlays, the cedar top, and the binding and purfling combine to give it a really old look. It's
just what I had in mind. I love it!
The cedar looks like it's a hundred years old just like you said, and the purfling turned out nice. I especially like it on the sides and back. Your diamond and squares inlay on the fretboard looks great too.
And, the choice of wood is excellent. It all looks great and has that look of a really old guitar.
The sound is good right out of the box. The treble sounds pretty sweet, and the bass is kinda thumpy like I wanted. I think after a few months of settling in, it will sound very nice, and just get better and better with time and playing.
Anyway, thanks again for taking on this project and doing such a wonderful job!
Worland Guitars are featured in "Custom
Guitars-A Complete Guite to Custom Handcrafted Guitars"