Who are we?
Hello. My name is Ryan Mazzocco. I created Mazzocco Guitars out of a hobby that became an obsession.
I have been playing guitar since I was 10 years old, and I started learning wood working even earlier than that. As a little boy, my dad would take me on the job to help him with various carpentry projects anywhere from building decks, cabinets, custom mill work and complicated custom wood staircases. It only made sense that my love for guitar and my love for woodworking would combine and in 2005 I started learning how to build my own guitar. I was so proud of that first guitar, even though it was a train wreck in almost every sense, but it worked! It looked, sounded and played like a guitar. But this changed everything. I couldn't stop with just one. I had to build more, and as I did they kept getting better.
As my dad watched me working on these guitars in our workshop he began to take an interest. I soon started teaching him guitar building and finally had the chance to repay him, at least in a small way, for teaching me everything.
And that is who we are. Mazzocco Guitars, Ryan and Michael Mazzocco in our small woodshop in Joplin, Missouri.
What makes a Mazzocco Guitar different?
There is certainly no shortage of guitars out there to choose from. But why pick a Mazzocco guitar?
There are a few things that separate a Mazzocco guitar from others you will find most any guitar store.
1) Mazzocco guitars are completely hand built in our shop. Why is this an advantage? Bigger guitar factories are able to make quality instruments in mass quantities. This also means they have to warranty literally thousands of instruments going out their doors every year. Understandably, all of their guitars are built to an average specification to ensure the least amount of instrument failure rather than to each guitar's optimum performance potential.
Our guitars, on the other hand, are individually crafted to get the best sound and performance out of each unique instrument. The hands that first select and mill the wood are the same hands to carve the neck and braces, apply finish and even string up for the first time.
2) Material Selection. Guitars in a guitar store can be made from anything from plywood, graphite, veneers, weird space age polymers, Laminate (yeah, the stuff that goes on your counter tops) and who knows what.
Mazzocco guitars are made only from high quality solid woods. But we are also very picky about what woods we use. For centuries guitars have been made with very traditional woods, especially rosewoods, ebonys and mahoganys. There's no question, these woods make fantastic guitars. But these woods are becoming more scarce and difficult to obtain with each passing year. International laws and conservation acts put more restrictions on these materials making it difficult to move an instrument that you have legally owned for decades across borders or to buy or sell them. With more exotic species of woods being added to these lists every year we have taken a different approach. We only use domestic woods that are responsibly harvested in the United States. We build our guitars out of Walnut, Cherry and Maple, with other domestic species to be added soon. "But Ryan, a quality guitar has to be made out of imported Rosewood or Mahogany!" This misconception has terribly limited the variety of woods that can be used to build beautifully looking and sounding guitars.
Our guitar tops (soundboards) are also selected with this mentality. Our tops are made from Sitka Spruce harvested from fallen trees in Alaska and then sent to us.
3) Our Adjustable Bolt-on Neck Design (ABN). For centuries the most traditional method of joining the neck to the body is the dovetail joint. This is a strong and stable method. In more recent years necks have been attached to bodies using screws or bolts. This method is becoming increasingly more popular. But they both share the same drawback. Over time the enormous strain inflicted on a guitar by the string tension irreversibly alters the structure of the guitar. Eventually, the string action becomes so high that there is no more saddle left to shave and the only remedy is a neck reset. A neck reset is an invasive, risky and expensive operation. With our ABN joint a qualified technician, or even a competent enough owner can adjust the neck angle at any time in just minutes with no permanent, and potentially damaging, alterations made to the guitar. There is more on this design and how it works on the "ABN Neck Design" page.