Baden Guitars

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GTCGTC Frets: 49
edited October 24 in Acoustics
I've recently been lucky enough to acquire a left-handed Baden dreadnought guitar for a great price on eBay. I'd never heard of them but I was struck by the simple, unusual lines and did a bit of research.

Baden Guitars was founded by T.J. Baden in 2006. A former vice president of sales and marketing at Taylor, Baden and partner Errol Antzis (a former investment banker and a guitar lover) enlisted European luthiers Andreas Pichler and Ulrich Tueffel to set about redefining the acoustic guitar. Baden guitars were constructed at the Ayers factory in Vietnam. Unlike most imports, and even high-end domestically made guitars, Badens were hand-built from start to finish, with six French master luthiers overseeing the entire operation. Solid woods were used throughout and quality components feature in their narrow model range.

So, I decided to take a risk - and I'm very pleased I did. The guitar plays superbly  and sounds great with solid spruce top and solid ovangkol back and sides. I really like the dreadnought's minimalist and distinctive appearance - although this may not be to everyone's taste. Despite the minimalist approach, the finish and construction displays quality. An added unexpected bonus was the fitted K&K Pure Mini. I would rate the guitar for tone and playability at least as good as any high end jumbo or dreadnought I've played.

Baden had just two models in their range, the D model (which I have) and a cutaway auditorium A model with a limited selection of wood variations. I believe they ceased trading in 2013.

They rarely appear on the used market - but if you ever come across them then they are worth a look. Below is a photo of my D - and a photo of an A for sale in the US (from Reverb).

Has any other forum members had any experience of Baden?

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Comments

  • I remember these guitars getting rave reviews in the Acoustic guitar magazine when they first came out. I think they sold for 8 or 9 hundred pounds.
     I did notice this guitar on Ebay at a bargain price and as there didn't seem to be any interest  I had to force myself not to press the bid button as I already have too many guitars
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    edited November 24
    I remember these guitars getting rave reviews in the Acoustic guitar magazine when they first came out. I think they sold for 8 or 9 hundred pounds.
     I did notice this guitar on Ebay at a bargain price and as there didn't seem to be any interest  I had to force myself not to press the bid button as I already have too many guitars
    I was the person who did press the eBay button despite already having too many guitars. The seller said they were selling it on behalf of someone else and didn't know anything about guitars, was unsure about the woods and didn't know if there was any electronics. I was intrigued by the unusual, Art Deco-like appearance so I did a bit of research and decided to go for it.

    It turned out to be a beauty - in great condition, supplied in a hard case with a lovely figured solid ovangkol back and sides plus the unexpected bonus of a K&K pure mini fitted.

    Since I've had it, it has been professionally set-up (Dino Gallo), restrung with new Elixir Polyweb 11's and it plays and sounds as well as any other jumbo or dreadnought I've played.

    However, I have a personal preference for smaller body guitars and, as I said, I already have too many and am having a bit of a clear out - so I've decided to sell it on and it has very recently gone up on Reverb and eBay. I've tried to price it realistically as money-making isn't the prime objective and I'm open to offers. It is just a shame to see great guitars like this not being played.
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    I remember these guitars getting rave reviews in the Acoustic guitar magazine when they first came out. I think they sold for 8 or 9 hundred pounds.
    I did some back-checking on the typical selling price. The cheapest mahogany back & sides models went for about £900 with the spruce  / rosewood and ovangkol models going for over £1000.

    The MusicRadar review (4.5 / 5) for the mahogany model states: 

    "With its virtual absence of conventional waisting and lowsplayed bottom bouts, the D-Style achieves what few makers previously have - a dreadnought that apes neither a square-shouldered Martin nor a slope-shouldered Gibson.  The overall grip and feel are somewhat reminiscent of a Lowden - an entirely positive comparison."


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  • I think you might regret parting with this  guitar. I am like you in preferring smaller guitars, but I still hold on to one dred because it offers something different. In fact I thought we had a lot in common until you mentioned...... Polywebs!?
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    I think you might regret parting with this  guitar. I am like you in preferring smaller guitars, but I still hold on to one dred because it offers something different. In fact I thought we had a lot in common until you mentioned...... Polywebs!?
    I generally regret parting with any good guitar - but I have to keep my "in-house financial controller" happy!

    The Polywebs I had to hand and were a huge improvement on the somewhat tired Nickel 10's fitted on the guitar I received. I actually quite like Polywebs for their mellower tone for fingerstyle and slicker feel although I seem to be leaning more towards phosphor bronze at the moment.
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    Polywebs!?
    A few more words on Polywebs. Personally I've found them a great alternative to Nanowebs and other phosphor bronze strings for fingerstyle playing. I like the way the thicker coating makes overly-bright sounding guitars more mellow. If you are not too hard on them they last for ages too - although, like any coated string, if they are left on for too long they will end up looking like, well, bits of string. They also have the advantage of a generally slicker feel and much reduced finger noise.

    Having said that, I've a feeling that phosphor bronzes may sound better on this guitar so I'm going to give it and try - and will provide an update
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  • I'm a big fan of Elixir phosphor bronze but have always found the polywebs to be too dull, the thicker coating maybe?
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    I'm a big fan of Elixir phosphor bronze but have always found the polywebs to be too dull, the thicker coating maybe?
    At the risk of this turning into a string choice thread, I guess that's what it is - a matter of personal choice. One person's "dull" is another's "mellow". I know there are many who use uncoated phosphor bronze strings who can't stand them until they are well worn in and have lost their initial brightness, particularly for recording.

    For me the Polywebs, have the played in sound with the added benefits mentioned above. I still intend to try phosphor bronze strings on the Baden. I usually use 11's on a 650mm scale guitar but, for a dread, I think 12's might be better.
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    edited November 29
    I'm a big fan of Elixir phosphor bronze but have always found the polywebs to be too dull, the thicker coating maybe?
    I didn't have any Elixir Nanowebs to hand but I tried a set of the new D'Addario (coated) XT 12's. I have to say that they work better with this guitar than the Polyweb 11's previously fitted.
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  • I've got packs of 80/20 and Phosphor Bronze Daddario XT but haven't got round to trying them yet. In fact I have a lot of strings waiting to try, what with coated strings lasting so long.
     Being left handed trying out different strings is a substitute for being unable to try out different guitars!
     If you like mellow strings,and haven't tried them, you might like La Bella Silk and Steel     (easy to play and nice feel) or Thomastik Spectrum Bronze (expensive but lots of people love them. I don't)
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    La Bella S&S are my favourite S&S strings although I haven't used them in ages. I particularly like the heavier gauge basses in the 12's. Having said that, I've never tried them on a top quality guitar so it would be interesting to find out what they sound like on my Lowden, Avalon or Brook. I've recently tried Newtone (both Heritage and Masterworks) and am not sure about them. Santa Cruz are different, having an even tension philosophy similar to Newtone Heritage, but with a better implementation. I've found the low tension set works well on small-bodied guitars.

    I'm now wondering if I really want to sell the Baden. I think it would be difficult to find another dread of that quality at anything like the price. If the 44mm nut was slightly wider then keeping it would be a no-brainer.

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  • NogoodboyoNogoodboyo Frets: 1
    edited November 30

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  • NogoodboyoNogoodboyo Frets: 1
    edited November 30

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  • GTCGTC Frets: 49
    No turning back now - it sold on eBay over the weekend and was collected by a nice (and apparently very pleased) guy from Bridport today.

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