Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Location: Miami-KW, Fl
|Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:52 pm Post subject: Synergy Guitars - Worth the Trip - Worth the Drive - Awesome
|Wow! If you are in Florida, I just picked up this gorgeous Suhr Standard with Floyd and Birdseye Maple Neck from Synergy. I have seen the site, which is amazing to say the least, and I called up the owner to make my five hour journey from Key West. I read on the other forums, where they said it must be seen to be believed and the Owner was real cool. I wanted to make a trip out of it and go on Sunday. The Owner said, unfortunately they are closed on Sundays, but if I decided to make the trip, he would meet me at the store and open up just for me. Wow!
I decided to take the wife up there for the day, I'd figured she would go shopping and I could hang out at the store. The store is a bit difficult to find, but I was calling Robert ( The Owner ) on my cell and he led me straight in. In is in the middle of this extremely upscale plaza in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County. I would have never thought of a music store being there, but in the midst of at least 15 restaurants and on the corner, I saw the store with all these custom made banners out front on the windows. If you check his site out: http://www.synergyguitars.com you can see pics of it. He met us out front, actually waving. When you walk in, the store, the first thing you notice is everything is extremely neat and organized to the tee, and there are just walls of guitars going up at least 15 feet or so, with all guitars perfectly adorning them. In the middle of the room, there is a complete section filled with acoustics on stands on top of these wooden display pods. To say the least it was just beautiful. If you thought you died, this was truly Guitar Heaven.
The entire time, Robert was more than an Expert about the guitars, but was very friendly, to say the least, just this very down to earth guy, that built his own little heaven and seemingly loves it. Will note that on his walls are all 8x10 shots of many artists, the predominant one being George Lynch, just like his own little GL Shrine. In the middle of these framed artists, he also had pictures of his wife and kids all over the place. I guess he must live there, but he did explain that's why he is closed, usually, it's family time. I wanted to feel bad for making this guy come in, but he just would let me or my wife feel bad, yes she did not go shopping, she was in complete awe, herself and stayed the entire 3 hours, we spent there.
Next thing is Robert starts to show me all the brands of guitars and they are literally the best of the best. He explained and showed me that he had a whole back storage area filled with guitars that wouldn't fit on the walls and what was on the walls was beyond belief. PRS guitars, in every size and models, Santana Brazilians, Private Stocks, IRW's, even the elusive singlecut and Mark Tremonti Singlecut, signed by Mark. He must have been Nik Huber's largest dealer, as he had at least 10 of them in there from Germany and they really are better than the Private Stock PRS. Brian Moore Custom Shops, ESP Custom Shops, prototypes, at least 20 George Lynch guitars, Warriors, Don Grosh Strats and then there was the Suhr Section. I saw (1) Suhr before hanging in a store, but I never saw 17 of them hanging in a row. Every single guitar up there had a Price tag of $2,000 and up to $10,000. He even told me he is getting McNaught, Mcinturff and New Orleans guitars in shortly.
Come back to the Suhr's and the fact that you do not want to TOUCH anything, he said he had some used guitars in the mix , but it did not stop him from taking down any guitar, I wanted to try out, price was not important to him, it was just like you were old buddies that came by to hang out. He had these Suhr's in all different colors and they were amazing. I tried out the Huber, but could not afford it and the Suhr neck just had this perfect feeling in my hand, so we grabbed this gorgeous deep blue quilt Suhr and he led me to the Amp Room to plug in.
Here's a story all in itself, what did we plug into? A Brand Spankin new Diezel Halfstack. The amp room was just overfilled with Soldanos, Diezel, Bogner, Hughes & Kettner Zenteras and Mojave, which I have never seen in real life. Heck, I never saw a Soldano or a Diezel in real life. I have a Line 6 Vetta. The amp room was almost just as gorgeous as the main room, it had this beautiful 6' painting of a PRS guitar hanging on the wall and what looked to me like this large matching color wooden Futon, but opened up so it was flat, in the middle of the room and some rolling chairs. This big steel rack which had the THD amps and all these pedals from Hughes & Kettner, lehle, Redwitch, etc... I did ask him if it really was or is a futon and he said " Absolutely, but it is cool, because this way you can sit anywhere on it and plug right into any amp setup” That’s where my wife spent most of her time in awe. At least it was comfortable.
Anyway, he plugged me into this Diezel and the guitar was out of tune, he explained it was the level of humidity from being so high up on the walls. But hey, I am not a Floyd guy, so I looked at him and sort of shrugged, he did not care and asked me for the guitar, after he banged out some tuning, which was completely weird, because he just tunes it to his playing, which is ripping out Mr. Scary on it, he turned around and said, "There it is, I hope you don't mind but I tuned it to Eb" I guess he is so accustomed to playing in Eb, it was easier for him. First thing, I noticed beside that Diezel absolutely destroys any amp I have ever heard, was this tremendous tone from the Suhr. The neck was Birdseye maple which was a real treat compared to my PRS with Rosewood fret board and the Suhr played effortlessly. I tried it in all positions, all the while, Robert was just waiting for me and switching the channels on this Monster amp to show me how the Suhr's performed in sparkling clean, vintage tones, which I do and then it's capability for Full Shred, which I left the honors for him to show me. The board was just so fast and the pickups were beyond amazing. If you ever met the guy, he is just wicked on the guitar in shred mode, all harmonics and fluidity, he even flipped the Floyd to the other side and switched up to the neck position and showed me this wicked, wicked middle eastern Egyptian soloing, tapping this floyd bar in reverse. Dude, must have been born with the guitar, as I complemented him, he turned around and stated " almost everyone that comes in truly are pro's and he picks something up from almost all of them, like his own little public library, he even stated that even though it is not his preference, he had some guy show him finger style, but old 1920's Louisiana porch picking type of music. The he turned around and played something I was playing and said, "See, I just picked that rhythm up from you, Thank You"
I fell in love with this Suhr but being it was up around $3K, I had to ask if he had the same model in Used. He stepped out and went upstairs to his storage room ( I saw the staircase but did not realize there was a whole second story to this place with more guitars ) and cam back holding 3 cases, he put down the cases, went in his pockets and pulled out two coca colas for myself and my wife.
He showed me these 3 Suhrs and explained they are Pre-Owned, I took a look at them and never saw a PO with no fingerprints, no polish marks, scratches, nothing. I sincerely could not tell the difference between the pre-owned 2004's compared to the New ones, even my wife could not tell. He explained that he just does not bring in PO with any scratches, ever and if he gets one, it is usually sent out at cost so it twill not be available in the store, and that after every single trial, when the people leave, he meticulously polishes each guitar afterwards. He then went out and got a PO PRS and showed me, what looked like normal polish marks on a back of a guitar and said that was an example of what he offloads. I could not see it, then he held it up and at the right light you saw it, but that PO that he was going to offload, to most people, myself included would have been a 10 condition guitar.
The difference on the PO Suhrs was about $6-700 less, so I was more interested in them and they were fantastic, one right after another. But my wife loved the first one's color. I asked him if there was any difference between the PO and New except for the price, he said "Technically, I am not an Authorized Suhr Dealer, so they are all pre-owned and does not come with a warranty, but I am authorized for the Suhr pickups which are obviously his favorite because of the tone"
He stated he could not be a Suhr Dealer because of another store to close by and has begged Suhr for the line for over a year, but he is opening a second location next month and most likely can have them over there because it is more north. He explained the other Dealer was in Hollywood called Music arts.
Now I remembered!!! That's where I saw the (1) suhr hanging up with the Jacksons, it is in Davie, he was wrong, it is not Hollywood. They were OK guys, but it was a music store with drums, keyboards, trumpets, flutes, etc.. No Comparison to this, not only because Synergy has no other instrument beside guitar and 2 Ritter Basses from Germany @ $8,000 each, but the whole concept is different, you cannot compare any music store to this, it truly is one of a kind and outright the best Guitar Store, I have ever seen or been in in my entire 47 years. I have never, ever seen a store like this in any state, period. But, I digress, what a shame, truly Suhr's loss on that bad decision. Forget the fact that he was just so a great guy, but you have never seen a store like this, ever.
So I had to ask him, if he wasn't dealer, why have so many Suhr's? Personally warranty on a guitar never was important, I have never even known someone that actually bought a guitar and filled out a warranty card, amps is a different story, Portable video cameras, but guitars, what really goes wrong on a guitar?
His answer was simple " He tried, tries and continuously will try to be a Dealer for Suhr, because he personally loves them, he said out of all the guitars in the store, he only has a Suhr and a Nik Huber that he uses for himself with a Diezel Herbert. He said that you are just a tremendous builder and he believed in the Suhr line” But apparently you guys did not believe in him. Shame on this, but again it has got to be Suhr's loss, not his with a store of that magnitude. My Opinion, not his, as he spoke very highly about John personally, explained both your wives are from Colombia and you were a great guy.
Great guys make mistakes and Mr. Suhr is obviously making a mistake on this one, big time.
Anyway, come back to the Suhr, Robert knew I wanted the first one bad and offered me a 90 day layaway with 20% down, no interest just once he gets the final pay, he will ship me the guitar at his cost. I almost said yes, but I talked it over with my wife and she actually asked him to help me get into this New one. He told me, he really saw that I loved it and really wanted me to get into it, as well and gave me a tremendous discount, that was almost the price of the PO Suhr and turned around and said " Sometimes you win, sometimes you need to break even to gain a new customer" That was it for me, I thanked him so much and as he was packing the guitar up for us and doing the receipt, i noticed the Suhr pickups, I wound up taking (2) Humbuckers to go in my PRS at home. He did tell me he was an authorized Dealer for the pickups and your new amp, but not for guitars or basses.
Again, big mistake on that one, John.
My family made a 5 hour drive and winded up seeing GuitarWorld and 20 Suhr's and I actually wound up, with Robert's help, buying one and your pickups at a store that had 20 of your guitars, fresh and New, which I have never seen more than (1) Suhr at a time and he can't be a Dealer and hand me a Warranty? He spoke very highly of you and the guitars, but it is a bad sort of aftertaste, knowing what Suhr guitars is doing. But I won't let it ruin the magnificent day spent at Synergy Guitars and my New Suhr is Amazing! But it is not right, what you guys are doing. Period.
I plan to make it a point to support my local (5 hour Drive) store, as there was never a better store seen in my entire life.
I definitely have plans of picking up another Suhr from him over the summer, I might put it on the Layaway plan, but that's where I'll be getting it from, maybe by that time, he'll be an AUTHORIZED dealer.
Key West, Florida
Joined: 21 Feb 2005
|Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:35 pm Post subject: Definitely worth the trip from TAMPA!!!!!!!!!!!!
|I must agree, it is soooooo worth the trip. I personally have purchased 2 Suhr's this year, a standard and a carved top from Synergy, along with a Diezel Herbert, Lehle Switcher and a Don Grosh Retro Classic. I picked up a Steve Vai DNA, last year from him and have my eyes set on a Layaway for a Nik Huber Brazilian Neck Dolphin. Thanks, Bucaros for the walk through, it did feel as if we were with you. My trip is about 3 1/2 hours from Tampa, on the west coast, but I try to make it down there at least once every couple of months. I bring my AMEX with me every time. Don't go, if you are looking for sub-$1,000 guitars, because he has none in the entire store, everything is ultimate hi-end, only. Being he, is a dealer, I am sure he can always order you a mid priced or entry level guitar, but there ar none in the shop. I actually go down and try to get there right when they close @ 6 pm, I always call first, but Robert is a night guy and you can sense, he really loves to hang out with other guitarists and jam at night, so when I come down, we are usually there till 1 am or so. Last time, he actually ordered a pizza @ 8 pm, had dinner and kept jamming all night.
As far as the Suhr's go, Bucaros is right, there is just a different line of them, every time I go. But what Bucaros, left out, is there is also a small a handful of Grosh guitars, bunch of Nik Huber's or so, which I believe he is the largest NH dealer in the country, everyone else always has 1 or none in stock. His George Lynch section is incredible, when I went, he had every Lynch model in duplicate and triplicate hanging up, all ESP Custom Shop, no LTD's. He even has the Triple Scary guitars, Skull and Bones, Screaming Skull and Screaming Skull in Vertical position. All very hard to get. Has tons of 8x10's signed by Lynch, with him and alone. Incredible.
Same line of Breedlove's, Larrivee's with the custom headstock inlays, Taylors with the 30th anniv. series and L7's and more. He has an entire wall of PRSi, 20-30 of them hanging and another 30-50 in his upstairs stock. Dude, is just Insane, it is the guitar paradise of the 20th century. He must have a cool million in inventory.
I also disagree with the Dealer thing, but do agree to the warranty. I have been down to MAE in Davie, but it is over an hour more down I-95. MAE was hot in the 90's, but so was Thoroughbred music, up here in Tampa. Their time is now done, MAE looks like a Garage sale in comparison. They had (1) Suhr in stock, last time I went and it was a bit beat, but then again, I went there once and they pulled the PRS Dragon off the wall for me to try, so I can see how it gets beat on. The amp room looks likes like hell. Soldanos and Bogners, Beat to hell sitting on top of a Marshall and Bad Cat's. It is a Music store with good stock for high line, but nothing more. Guitar Center, which is 1 mile away, keeps their stock in better condition, seriously! I hate GC, but they are still better than MAE.
Coming back to the Guitar Paradise of Synergy, which truly is the finest Guitar Boutique, I have seen in life. The warranty is not an issue, but it was so much better to be honest as Robert always has been and to know that up front, before you buy a guitar, than to find out later, there is no warranty. So many dealers/collectors imply that there is a warranty and there isn't. I will take Honesty, all day long in that case. I think the problem is that John Suhr, most likely has never been down to the area and can't gauge the differences an sure (suhr) doesn't want to upset the proverbial apple cart. But there is no comparison, and they are not close together, at all.
Synergy is so worth the drive, If I lived in Georgia, I would make the trip, probably twice a year, instead, but I would still make it.
Hats off to Robert @ Synergy, gets an A++++ in my book.