Endorsements and Comments

4/27/10 A testimonial from a new owner!

Sylvan Wells
Where do you start? Quite possibly the greatest living guitar maker, Sylvan Wells is an ex-rock star, Macintosh software developer & computer guru, retired attorney & marketing executive, innovator, inventor, music industry legend, and all round amazing guy. Here’s a true story; my friend Ken Daggert inherited two wonderful guitars from his dad Calvin. One was a dot inlay Gibson 335 (pre Larry Carlton fad) the other was an old slot headstock Martin. Small body, short scale, lightweight, when it was played it actually SANG, the entire guitar vibrated. Sustain, tone, great intonation, easy to play, perfect. I’d never seen anything like it. When Ken abruptly sold it in 1988, I’d call him at all hours & leave anonymous messages, “I can forgive you Ken, but can ever forgive yourself?” (Y’know, that kind of thing). Not having a sophisticated understanding of acoustic instruments, I didn’t know what made it so great, just loved it. That began a 20+ year quest for another like it. In 2008, I visited Acoustic Outfitters in Stratham, NH, asked owner Gary Filgate to bring out all the sloheadstocks he had. I played Dana Bourgeois guitars, Schoenbergs, Santa Cruz, etc., all wonderful, but not what I remembered. In 2009 I heard of a luthier less than an hour from me who made small-body slot-headstocks. Later I was told his guitars were displayed at a Re-Tune Music in Pembroke, MA. I walked in, here they are! Turning to the guy in the chair and said “I’ve been looking for these guitars for years”. Guy says; “I think I can help you, I’m Sylvan Wells”(!). Not only was the slot guitar exactly like Ken’s old Martin, turns out the guy makes EVERYTHING... classicals, archtops, solid body electrics, all better than anything you’ve ever played, & incorporating unheard of innovations. Analytical mind of an engineer, soul of a musician. His brain never stops. Sort of Les Paul meets Stradivarius. Honored to call him a friend. Sylvan Wells.

Doug Large
Mattapoisett, MA

Doug Large is a terrific guitar player and the creator of the SDN form of music notation. He is the new owner of a very unusual prototype Bay State guitar. Small body, slot head, the guitar is perfect for his style of music! I am humbled by his comments!

Custom Excelsior delivered 4/10/10

Picked up my Bay State Excelsior Custom on Saturday, April 10th, played it at my open mic at the Vine in Plymouth on Sunday, April 11th. A lot of positive feedback. Big sound from a small bodied guitar.
Sounds great with the K&K Pure Western Mini that was installed by Sylvan and Rick at the Bay State factory.

Custom Excelsior delivered 4/3/10

Email titled "Critique"

One word. Fantastic! OK, three words. Keeps getting better.

- Ken



My name is Bill ....... I live in Pembroke and I just played a few of your guitars at Dicks(Re-Tunes) store.
I wanted to tell you it is the greatest acoustic guitar I have ever played! I played a few different models. I really like the feel of the neck, the size of the body and especially the big full sound.

I have been a part of the Boston music scene for over 20 years. Went to Berklee,taught at Berklee, have won a few guitar competitions and worked as Chief Engineer at the great WBCN for 13 years.

I just wanted to say hello, and let you know I will be spreading the word about your amazing guitars and your talent.



Excelsior Guitar delivered 2/10

Hello Sylvan,

Last week, I purchased the Bay State Excelsior guitar with the rosewood body and sides that you recently made.

Being the owner of 9 guitars (including a Martin D-28 and a beautiful mellowed-out 41 year old Yamaha FG-300), I must say the Excelsior is exactly what I was looking for. I purchased it 5 days ago, and played 15 hours since then. I'm still getting used to the wide spacing of the strings and the V-neck, and I'm really liking the guitar's play-ability, especially when finger picking, brightness of the high notes, fullness of the sound, how incredible it plays with a capo, and body size. My wife, who usually couldn't give a care about my guitars or playing, was in the same room one day when I was playing. Her comment was, "that guitar is LOUD." All I can say is, "got to love it"!

Keep up the great work. Your attention to detail and perfection is evident in the quality of your fine guitars. I strongly recommend to anyone who is in the market to purchase a quality guitar to first try out the Martin's, Gibson's, and Taylors... then try the Bay State models. In the end, I'm convinced the Bay State will be the number one choice based on quality, sound, playability, and cost.

Best Regards,


Guitar delivered 11/09 de-damped 2/10

Here’s the scoop on the de-damping; I played my guitar where I last played it before the de-damping. There is a difference in the sound, especially the articulation of the strings and the sustain. It wasn’t so much of what I was hearing, it was what I was feeling, especially with a drop D tuning. I was feeling vibration as if the guitar still had the de-damper on it. Feel free to call me if you want to talk further.

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