Retrograde Guitars Corralitos



"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

Working at The Music Emporium is a dream come true for instrument lovers. As you'd imagine, we get to play some incredibly great instruments be they acoustic or electric, vintage or boutique. Probably the best part of the job is meeting the folks behind the instruments, especially when they're new to the market. Case in point? Boston-area builder and repairman, Glenn Nichols of Retrograde Guitars. 

While the name Retrograde Guitars may be new to you, Glenn's work likely is not. 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.

We're excited to introduce you to a model Glenn calls the Corralitos. A little larger than the Cambridge model, the Corralitos just feels like the kind of guitar that wants you to play it through a cranked amp. As you'd expect, the finish work is incredible given Glenn's experience. It's a lightweight instrument, balances perfectly, and the tones and playability are really addictive (we had a similar experience with Joe Yanuziello's instruments). It sounds like an old, perfectly seasoned guitar with a gorgeous acoustic voice. Seriously, you could play it happily for extended periods of time before ever thinking of plugging it in. 

Plugged in, our initial hunch was correct - the Corralitos handles higher volumes very well (it reminds us a bit of an ES-330 in this way). The output is quite a bit higher than the Cambridge and had us riffing on JD McPherson tunes, jazz, an Americana tunes. The McNelly pickups sound fantastic - goldfoil for the neck, and a hotter, P90-meets-goldfoil for the bridge. The Corralitos covers quite a bit of ground but stays grounded in its student model roots (in a very, very cool way). 

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 case. 


  • Top - Flame Maple, 6-ply vacuum press laminate
  • Bracing - German Spruce 
  • Back - Flame Maple, 6-ply vacuum press laminate
  • Sides - Solid Flame Maple
  • F-Holes - Violin style 
  • Cutaway - Yes
  • Neck - Port Ordord Cedar
  • Fingerboard - Ebony
  • Overlay - Ebony
  • Backstrap - Ebony
  • Scale Length - 25.5"
  • Nut Width - 1 11/16"
  • Neck Joint - "Catalog Style" bolt on with threaded inserts
  • Frets - Standard Jumbo
  • Binding - Ivoroid
  • Headstock - Hand-cut Retrograde Logo
  • Fingerboard - Gold Pearl Dots
  • Purfles - Fingerboard only
  • Inlay - Original Nichols "N", pearl and maple
  • Fingerboard - none
  • Side dots - 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15
  • Pickups - McNelly Pickups, goldfoil neck, Stagger Swagger bridge 
  • Volume, Tone, 3-way
  • Tuners - Gotoh Vintage Kluson style 
  • Bridge - Handmade Ebony/Maple, adjustable
  • Tailpiece - Aged trapeze
  • Nut - Bone
  • Strap Buttons - Relic Waverly 
  • Varnish body finish, antiqued, hand rubbed finish 
  • French Polish - neck
  • Custom Color - Vintage tobacco
  • .010-.052 D'Addario Strings 

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