The Daion Caribou Guitar Lovefest | Warehouse Guitar Speakers

The Daion Caribou Guitar Lovefest

The Daion Caribou Guitar Lovefest

Daion Caribou Guitar

Hello once again fellow tone-seekers!  Sooo, I build electric guitar pickups … and amps … and am a part of this great WGS family that builds electric guitar speakers.  However, this week I want to pay homage to an ACOUSTICguitar!  Hey why not?  Acoustics ARE a huge part of the guitar experience, right?  And, it’s probably been the better part of a couple years since I last featured an acoustic on this here blog (Read here).  So ya ready?  Let’s jump in!

So first I’ll set the stage:  It was a dark, rainy night in London when I walked across the creaky threshold of Wan’s shop of ancient oriental oddities and first laid eyes on a guitar the likes of which I’d never seen in all my years.  Okay, actually it was middle of the afternoon when I entered Nashville Used Music.  My friend behind the counter said “dude, I’ve got an acoustic in that you gotta check out … you’re going to BUY this one!”  Nope, I was most certainly NOT going to buy ANOTHER acoustic, I explained.  Yep, I bought it.  But that’s not the truly crazy part, I’m always buying guitars I didn’t intend to buy; the crazy part is that before that moment I hadn’t even HEARD of this particular guitar.  Yea, that was a first!

This guitar was really seriously unique (read: different), and my experience has been that “different” usually equated to “bad”, especially in the world of acoustic guitars.  The time-tested designs of C.F. Martin are just flat impossible to top; no matter how boring and predictable they may appear.  And so, when I laid eyes on my first ’81 Daion Caribou, I simultaneously thought “man that looks cool” and “Bet that sounds like crap”.  I was about to be surprised.

The guitar truly has some of the most aesthetically pleasing lines I’ve ever seen in an acoustic.  Somehow, the Caribou managed to be DIFFERENT in almost every possibly way … yet look absolutely, totally “right” all at the same time.  I’d NEVER encountered that in an acoustic before!  From the totally unique hemispherical cut-out at the bottom of the body, to the brass saddle, to the oval soundhole, to the brass nut, to the headstock … it was all so different, and so RIGHT.  I marveled at the solid tiger-stripe fully un-braced maple back, and once again thought “looks great … bet it sounds awful”.  There was NO WAY this guitar was going home with me, or at least there wouldn’t have been if I had just left well enough alone and not actually PLAYED it!

Holy crap, she sounded sweet!  How on earth?  That unusual shaped body, strange soundhole, brass nut & saddle, unusual wood choices … it shouldn’t have sounded like this; or so my mind kept saying.  But, it did sound good, really good.  Like any acoustic made from fine woods, the years had been good to this guitar, opening her tone up in a most beautiful manner.  I was expecting a guitar very heavy in upper-midrange, lacking especially in body and depth.  But what DID it sound like?  I would describe the sound as very much like a Taylor “grand auditorium” body guitar … very full, yet very balanced with a bit more extra-top-end sparkle and a “bigness” about its bottom end.  Yep, write me up, she’s coming home with me :-)

In the couple of years since, I have had the opportunity to both record with this fine guitar as well as use her “plugged-in” on stage on a handful of occasions, and it’s always a rewarding playing experience.  To those of you considering one of these fine vintage guitars, I will suggest you make note of the fact that the pickups in these are passive, as was the norm in the late 70s/early 80s.  That’s not to say that the pickups sound bad, they sound great actually, but you WILL need an external acoustic pre-amp to obtain that great sound.

My epilog to this story is bitter-sweet, as I’m just packing her up to ship to Connecticut.  Yep, she’s on her way to be the muse of another.  My wife recently bought furniture for our dining room, which I had been using as a storage space for spare musical gear; she laid down the law: the stuff had to go!  I love my gear, but I love my little woman more, and so I put the guitars, amps, and drums stored in the dining room up on eBay.  The Caribou was the last item to be put up on eBay, and I secretly hoped she wouldn't sell.  She sold in the first day to a collector who informed me he had been looking for one for years.  So if one of these guitars crosses your path and you are smitten … you had better gobble it up right away because the word on the overall greatness of these fairly rare guitars seems to have gotten out.  They don’t come up for sale often, and when they do, they don’t stay for sale long.  Now, a few pics of this fine gal … I call these sexy shots “guitar-porn” :-)

Daion Caribou Guitar

Daion Caribou Guitar

Daion Caribou Guitar

Daion Caribou Guitar

Daion Caribou Guitar

Daion Caribou Guitar

Daion Caribou Guitar

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