Brian Moore C90

by Bob Nagy
Our thanks to the author for allowing us to reprint this review.

Brian Moore is not a household name in guitars, and that's a good thing. Why? Because you can own a guitar that looks, plays and sounds better than anything else, and when people look at the groovy headstock to see what it is- It's a completely unique, one of a kind (like it's player - I imagine!). Brian Moore (to my knowledge) was the head technician at Steinberger. He formed his own company and first produced the MC-1 Carbon-fiber guitar. It looks like the one below, but is all carbon fiber other than the top-wood laminate and some sound wood inserts in the body. It is greased lightning for fast high-toned Fusion and the likes... a little thin for pouring on the soul. Anyhow, Brian Moore then went on to produce a line of instruments in the last 4 years that go from an oiled wood double cutaway with soap-bar pickups to an electric mandolin for $4000. All of their domestically produced guitars come from a small shop in Brewster N.Y... and last time I heard, they had 16 employees.
Brian Moore guitar
95% of the line use Seymour Duncan Pickups... and good selections/combinations. The necks are thin and fast, and the fretwork is perfect. They all use Sperzel locking machines which work like a German gearbox. OK, they are all expensive too... but they are one-offs. If you look at the inside, the wiring and cutting was obviously done by hand... expertly. The electronics are all encased in fully copper lined cut-outs (read: low hum and noise). What do they sound like? Well, the double-cutaway models all have a strat as a near cousin... but take that sound and add hum-buckers at the neck and bridge... and you have thwak in the middle position and crunch overload in the end positions. Pull that tone control out and you split the front or rear hummers. Nice!

Now it gets bizarre. You can order any of the guitars with a Piezo bridge saddle pickup. Each string has it's own little gold saddle which combine and terminate in a stereo guitar jack. They have their own volume control and you actually mix the acoustic Piezo pickups with the Mag pickups. It adds a sheen of high frequency sound over the top that makes this thing sound like a piano mated with it. It's very cool sounding and punches you through the mix like WD-40. Lastly, all models are available with a full MIDI 13 or 5 pin output as well. The Piezos are used to drive it. Hook that up to a Roland module and watch out. Tracking is fast and it will even follow vibrato. Versatile... that's the word. Any #%?!* sound you want is available. Quality is as good as you have ever seen. PRS has been the recognized reigning champion, but if you A /B compare these two brands, there is no contest... BM is the better instrument. Why? I judge a guitar first by seeing how I play on it. I don't care if B.B. King plays one... or if it looks like it should be in a museum of art... or any other criteria. I have played every guitar type and brand I could find in Dallas, Houston and Austin (BIG guitar towns), and I liked several; Tom Anderson, the best of the Ibanez line, Godin LGX-3GT, G&L Strats. When I spent 10 minutes with a C-55 mid-line BM, it was over. I had just put down the high-school band grade instruments, and picked up the philharmonic orchestra level instrument. Every $#!!* lick I knew came off without a mistake or buzz. The geometry was perfect, and the super-sculpted body was like holding a woman who fits you. Add to this that the top looked like it was made by a 1600's Italian Violin Luthier, and the combination is basically irresistible (and like a beautiful woman, it's going to cost you). Recently, Brian Moore decided to make a line of their guitars in Korea. The quality of these are pretty darn good, and the prices are about half of the domestics. I think it was a bad idea, but it may work for them in the long run. Most of them have midi connections. They are the I-Guitar series and the domestics are the custom-shop guitars. I know this all sounds like I just had a pot of espresso and am sitting in the PR office at BM, but I am just a 38 year rock/blues/jazz veteran player. Don't listen to me, go try one. As far as combining it with an amp... I use a California Blond from SWR. It is a hi-fi acoustic amp that can make a beautiful tone. I may move to a tube amp soon -what I don't know. To find a Brian Moore at a price less than a used Hyundai, go to Ebay. Is it worth the price? Life is short, music is important, and you'll never have remorse if you buy top-shelf. PS: Check where the jack is on these... up high and in the back- where it can't pull out!