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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Guangzhou Trip 2 (广州之旅 2)

Cedar Logs

Déjà vu! It wasn’t too long and I was backed in Guangzhou again. During my last trip, I spent most of my time in HuiYang (惠阳). For this visit I spent my time in HuaDu (花都). Both places are common in the abundance in factories. As long as you can think it, they make or made it.

I spent four days in HuaDu in end June 2013. Firstly I must thank Jeffrey for his effort in arranging this trip. Frankly without his contacts, I would go nowhere in Guangzhou. The other person I must express my gratitude is Andy Yang. He owns a guitar case making factory called Red Circle Limited ( His company makes very high quality cases indeed. Amid Andy’s hectic schedule, he managed find time to host Jeffrey and I for a few days.

Classical Guitar Case by Red Circle

In this trip I have opportunities to visit Concert Musical Instruments Company, Guo Yulong’s (郭玉龙) workshop, and Watson Muscial Instruments Company. Coincidentally I met Abraham Wechter again in one of the factories. For those who are not familiar with Abraham, he is none other than the creator of Wechter Guitars (

Abraham Wechter, Jeffrey and Guo Yulong

Abraham has transferred his business to a business group to manage Wechter Guitars branding and sales. He has found good reasons to build his second phase career in Guangzhou. Through years in the business, he has garnered a vast network. He is definitely a worthy consultant to any guitar making factories in Guangzhou. I have a chance to converse with him about his current desires in his impending career in Guangzhou. Abraham has gone through the challenging paths in building a brand and has dealt with the competitiveness in the retail world. He wishes to focus on making top-notched quality musical instruments during his spare time. With his knowledge and contacts, he would play the role of a facilitator to overseas companies that are seeking for quality musical instruments within Asia. During our conversation, he shared with me his ups and downs in both his career and personal life. I deeply appreciate his candidness and his trust.

Merida Guitars
Concert Musical Instrument Company is one of the many factories in Guangzhou. It would be easy to take it for granted but when you have sampled their house brand, one will remember the quality, consistency and impression professed by the instruments made by them. The wonderful guitars created by Concert Musical Instrument Company are Merida Guitars. Among the myriad of brands found in China it is easy to be drowned but in my humble opinion, Merida Guitars will stand out among other counterparts. My first impression of Merida Guitars was the strong visual identity. It was exuberantly displayed in its headstock and bridge design. Another element was its rosette. While it has some varieties, the visual identity was retained. The finished quality was top notched as well as the build of the instruments. When I sampled the basic models, the tonal qualities have clearly exceeded my expectations. Rich low ends and good overall clarity were the qualities that stick with me. If I were blindfolded, it would be hard pressed for me to differentiate a Merida from a Martin guitar. It was no exaggeration.

Arguably, Guo Yulong (郭玉龙) or 郭师父 is one of the top notched guitar makers in China. He specializes in building classical guitars. His classical guitars are built with modern influences and that is a brave move for luthiers who venture into classical guitar making. His classical guitars are of wedge design where the upper bulk bears a thinner side width whereas the lower bulk is thicker. Not common among classical guitars, his design carries an arched back plate. On the side facing the player, he created a side port to eliminate the possibility of any wolf note(s). In the side port, he has custom made his brand insignia. Like many other modern guitars design, he uses NOMEX to build the top plate. He has been in the guitar manufacturing industry more than 20 years. It does speak volume of his craftsmanship. His guitars’ tonal characterized by strong volume projection and clear individual notes resonance.

Watson Musical Instruments Company is indeed a huge one. I have been granted the privilege to tour the manufacturing section and its sawmill. That is why I exclaimed about its magnitude. It was a pity that I didn’t get to meet the founder of this company because of an overseas trip. Again I was amazed by the size of its operations. Being an urban dweller, I have never been to a sawmill except seeing some photos. I must say that it was beyond words when I saw the mammoth logs stack before me. I was able to mentally make up the cutting phases from bare logs to dried top plates, backs and sides. It was truly an awesome sight to me.

Watson Musical Instruments Company

Watson's Sawmill

It was indeed another great trip for me. Thanks for reading.

Pictures galore! For more pictures, goto my FB album. Click!
























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