The Top 23 Of 2023!

The end of the year is the time for lists. We keep that tradition alive as well as we look back on the Top 23 of 2023!
December 22, 2023 by
Jurgen Bakker
| No comments yet

The days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping, and Christmas lights are adorning the Guitar Villa: we have already reached the end of the year! After the 'Top 21 of 2021' and 'Top 22 of 2022', we are happy to keep this Christmas tradition alive this year too with the Top 23 of 2023. Fortunately, we have a lot of great things to look back on.

Below, we like to look back on the past year and also look ahead to 2024 already! Curious about the coolest, oldest, craziest, and most beautiful guitars that passed through our store this year? Then read on quickly!

TFOA Top 23 of 2023!

1. Our New TFOA Website 

Let's start with this change of the past year: our new website! This is the biggest project we have ever undertaken. Thanks in part to your input, we have already been able to make many great improvements. But we're not done yet! In the background, we keep working hard to improve the website and all systems to make your online guitar safari even easier and more fun!

2. Gitaarmannen

Our favorite Dutch podcast is of course Gitaarmannen of Ed Struijlaart! That is why we are proud to feature our item 'The favourite guitar of' on the podcast.  Bertolf, Jan Akkerman, Rene van Mierlo, all join Ed to talk about their favourite six-string instrument. A must-listen as far as we are concerned!

3. Guitars of the Week

More than 5000 guitar aficionados already receive our 'Guitars of the Week' newsletter every week. Do you also want to be the first to know about news, promotions and events, learn more about guitars, get sneak peaks of 'not-yet-online' instruments and receive a fixed 5% discount?

Subscribe Now! 

The Guitars of 2023!

4. The Most Beautiful Gibson: ES335 Sunburst from 1959

The long pickguard, 'Double White' PAF pickups and a gorgeous sunburst: this 1959 Gibson ES335 has it all! This is a superb example of one of Gibson's most popular electric models. And good news: it is still available in our shop!

Check out the Gibson ES335 1959 here

5. The Most Beautiful Martin: D45 Brazilian from 1969

The top model of Martin's Dreadnought line returned in 1968 and only 230 guitars with Brazilian back and sides were made in that and the following year.

To be even more specific, the last Martin serial number with Brazilian rosewood is #254497. This D45 has serial number #254433, so this is one of the very last Martin guitars with Brazilian rosewood! A very special (and remarkably clean) appearance in our shop!

6. The Most Beautiful Fender: Telecaster Blonde from 1955

This '50s Telecaster came from a collection for which Rudi travelled all the way to Romania! In a classic Blonde finish, this guitar proves why Fender's Telecaster can rightly be called one of the greatest success stories in guitar history.

7. The Coolest Bass: Fender Musicmaster Blonde from 1974

The Musicmaster is one of those basses that will make you want to hand in all your six-strings to become a low-ender! The Blonde finish, 1-piece maple neck and single pickup with volume and tone control are ingredients for a badass bass you want to be seen and heard with. Which is why this bass didn't stayed long in our shop. 😉

8. The Most Beautiful Classical Guitar: Bernabé Especial Goldmedaille

Over the past year, we have become big fans of Bernabé guitars. And this Especial is partly responsible for that!

The Especial proves why Paulino is considered one of the best luthiers in the world. It is a premium concert guitar that incorporates all the must-have qualities of a great instrument.

This guitar also definitely stood out for Robin Scherpen during our TFOA Sessions,and he made a wonderful demo for us.

9. The Oldest Guitar: Martin 2-24 Brazilian Rosewood 1857 

The oldest guitar we welcomed to TFOA this year is this Martin 2-24 from 1857. A guitar that is a whopping 166 (!) years old!

It has been beautifully restored by Roman Zajicek of Rozawood Guitars and even still has its original 'coffin' case.

10. The Most Beautiful Wood: Mastergrade Cocobolo from Bourgeois 

This Bourgeois Heirloom Vintage 000 arrived not so long ago and is thus still fresh in our minds.

That spectacular Mastergrade cocobolo body  obviously helps too!😉

11. The Strangest Instrument: Godin Multi Oud Encore  

A fretless fingerboard and 11 nylon strings... we won't deny that for some Fellows it was the first time they had seen an 'oud'. 

Based on the Middle Eastern Oud, this Godin Multi Oud innovates by eliminating tuning and amplification problems.

12. New Brands!

Besides our regular assortment, we always keep our eyes open for new builders and brands that make innovative, unique, or simply rock-solid guitars. Last year, for instance, we received a couple of guitars from Creek Guitars from Japan and Castedosa guitars by former Fender Custom Shop luthier Carlos Lopez. But we are most proud of becoming one of two European dealers of Novo Guitars!

So in 2024, we will also receive new batches of Novo's again, with a number of other brands coming too! We'll give away one name now: Mayones!

13. Benchtalk

This year, we also started a new item: Benchtalk! Every episode we dive into a new topic. Our luthier Marten might tell all you need to know about a setup, or we have a guitar on the workbench with a special story, like the Gibson M2M Nick Lucas with Bob Dylan specs.

You can watch the first Benchtalk episode about this unique Nick Lucas model here !

14. New Fellows!

The Fellowship of Acoustics is growing fast, and our team is growing with it. Over the past year, we have welcomed a few new colleagues to our Fellowship. In the workshop, Wietse and Dieuwertje are the newest reinforcements, while Lora is the newest addition to the marketing department. In marketing, we also saw the return of an old friend: Milo!

Our interns Sem and Roza have made great contributions to the workshop over the past year and definitely deserve a honourable mention!

It would be an understatement to say that we are very proud of our team who work with their whole heart and soul every week to make sure that every guitarist gets their dream guitar. That's why we now have a 'Meet The Fellows' page on our website! Wondering which face is behind those emails or phone calls, or which luthier provided your guitar with that perfect setup?

Meet Our Fellows Here!

15. The PLEK Machine

Besides the human reinforcements, our workshop has gained another colleague: the PLEK machine!

With us, you will now find one of only two PLEK machines in the Netherlands. Thanks to this super-smart machine, our trained luthiers can setup your acoustic and electric guitar with ultimate precision up to a thousandth of a millimetre!

If you bought your new guitar from us, then our PLEK service is extra advantageous. But even without a 'TFOA guitar', you can simply schedule an appointment!

Read more about the possibilities of PLEK

16. NAMM 2023

From Dedemsvaart to Anaheim, California; we attended the world's premier Music Trade Show again: NAMM 2023!

We loved being able to catch up with our favourite builders again as well as getting to know many new builders like Isaac Yang. And the Kevin Ryan Nightingale 'Tempest' was not the only trophy we brought back to the Netherlands. Eastman surprised us with a '#1 Dealer Worldwide' award!

17. TFOA visits Taylor Guitars

A few months later, the TFOA boys were back in the USA. This time visiting Taylor Guitars!

We filmed a short documentary here that we hope to share with you next year. And since we were there, we also immediately selected some nice pieces of wood for some custom guitars! 😉

18. The events from 2023!

Time flies! And looking back on the past year, we also see how many events we had the pleasure of organising again. A concert by Alexandr Misko, a visit by Greg and Janet Deering, and masterclasses by Emil Ernebro, Leif de Leeuw & Sem Jansen, and David Piedfort, the agenda was nice and full!

We hope you enjoyed these events as much as we did. Meanwhile, we are already working on organising even more cool events in 2024.

19. Boutique Guitar Showcase

Again this year, we were allowed to provide the Dutch destination for Jamie Gale's Boutique Guitar Showcase. That is always a highlight for us!

Fellow Maarten fell in love with a Verso, and the Teuffel Birdfish will also return to Dedemsvaart in 2024....😉

20. Most Viewed Demo

Of the 440 (!) demos that we made last year, the Collings OM2H Custom Cocobolo Blue Sitka definitely stood out!

Besides being a stunning guitar, Emil Ernebro's playing will also have helped in this regard. 😉

21. Most Liked Instagram Post 

No vintage Martin or PRS Private Stock. For the title 'most liked Instagram post' this King of the Flattops takes the crown: the Gibson SJ200 Original Antique Natural!

22. Most Viewed Video

The most viewed video on out other YouTube channel is one that we're particulary proud of!

It's not often that we have 5 pre-war and war-era Martin D28s at the GuitarVilla.  And with demos from none other than Bertolf, this has become one of our favourite videos!

23. TFOA Sessions

With Roofman, our Fellows Rowdy Prins and Kylie Kay Anderson, Bertolf and Robin Scherpen, among others, we have had the pleasure of hosting some great sessions this year.

However, we like to close this Top 23 with this cover of Lowell George's 'Roll Um Easy' played by Dutch guitar heroes Leif de Leeuw and Sem Jansen!

And that's a wrap: the trip down TFOA lane! We enjoyed lots of great music, fantastic artists and, above all, lots and lots of beautiful guitars. With all our plans and New Year resolutions, we are already looking forward to the new year! And you don't have to miss a thing! You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even Pinterest. We will make sure your feed is always filled with fine, rare, & vintage guitars! 😎🎸


Sign in to leave a comment