"The goal of Retrograde Guitars is to explore the potential of the electric laminate top guitar, and to create a unique instrument with a clear and open voice. The design draws from the early jazz boxes of the 30s & 40s and the catalog guitars of the 50s & 60s. By using vacuum press technology, hand-carved necks, hand-rubbed colors and home-brewed varnishes, I combined modern building methods with old-world lutherie." - Glenn Nichols

Glenn Nichols of MA-based Retrograde Guitars has been building a reputation for making soulful, musical, and simply beautiful guitars. Glenn was the finish department foreman at Santa Cruz guitars, was in charge of French Polish restorations for renowned classical guitar maker Kenny Hill, and is currently Bill Tippin's only employee. In other words, Glenn knows a thing or two about building exceptional instruments.

The Cambridge (#21 here) is a lightweight instrument that balances perfectly and with a playability and tones that are really addictive. #21 sounds like an old, perfectly seasoned guitar with a gorgeous acoustic voice (and finish, of course). You could play it happily for extended periods of time before ever thinking of plugging it in.

Once plugged in, that same airy, open acoustic voice combines with the muscular midrange and low end punch courtesy of a set of fantastic sounding McNelly P90s. With all this talk of possessing a beautiful acoustic voice, don't be fooled into thinking #21 can't rock a little harder - it can - and boy is it fun when you do (Blues & American players take note).

Woods, pickups, finish, specs....all that stuff aside, at the end of the day, the real question with any instrument comes down to - Do I want to play this? Does it inspire me? To use familiar language, does it have a vibe...mojo? The answer in this case is, unquestionably, yes. 

If you're into student model guitars, catalog-style guitars, but also want something that's light-years beyond it quality-wise, look no further. Priced with hardshell HumiCase. 


  • Top - 5-ply laminate with Mahogany core
  • Back - 5-ply Maple laminate 
  • Sides - Solid Maple
  • Bracing - German Spruce
  • Neck - Mahogany
  • Fingerboard - Granadillo
  • Overlay - Madagascar Rosewood
  • Backstrap - Madagascar Rosewood
  • Scale Length - 24.9"
  • Nut Width - 1 11/16"
  • Neck Joint - "Catalog Style" 3-bolt
  • Frets - Jumbo
  • Binding - Single cream on body
  • Inlay - Pearl Retrograde logo 
  • Fingerboard - Pearl dots
  • Side dots - White
  • Pickups - McNelly P90s w/nickel covers
  • Volume, Volume, Tone, Tone, 3-way
  • Tuners - Gotoh Relic Kluson style 
  • Bridge - Handmade adjustable, African Blackwood w/Maple Saddle
  • Tailpiece - Solid Relic
  • Nut - Bone
  • Strap Buttons - Waverly Tortoise
  • Hand rubbed antique varnish finish, body
  • French Polish, neck & overlay
  • Custom Color - Violin Varnish 
  • .011-.052 D'Addario Strings
  • Hardshell HumiCase

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