Guitar Design Reviews

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Introducing Murray Kuun, an innovative guitar designer and luthier

Let me introduce you to an innovative guitar designer and luthier who might be a new name to you; Murray Kuun. His product speaks for itself, please take a little time to appreciate these beautiful guitar designs that have been hand made by Murray himself. The rest of this article is written by Murray as his introduction to Guitar Design Reviews. Signing out for now, MarkGDR.

A passion for music. I’ve always been a fan of music. Serious music and fun music, all sorts of music.  For me, its all about the sound of music.

I was inspired to build my first violin after a trip to see Michaelangelo’s “David” in Florence, in the early 1990’s. First, I built a few dozen traditional violins but later experimented with alternative 21st century designs for the ancient instrument. Some years later, frustrated with the violin fraternity’s aversion to a modernised violin, I started working on classical guitars with modernised aesthetics. Again, the same frustration.

Murray Kuun's Artiste Electric Guitar
Murray Kuun's Artiste Electric Guitar

I then designed and built a jazz archtop guitar as part of my “Norma Jean” family of stringed instruments. This design went down rather better with the jazz muso’s. In fact, well known archtop guru, Bob Benedetto, said of this instrument;

“Thank you for sending the photos of your beautiful archtop guitar. You have an enviable feel for design apart from traditional parameters. As we both know, it’s easy to do something different… for the sake of being different. But your exceptional feel for design legitimately sets you apart from the pack. Bravo!! I have no doubt the guitar sounds as good as it looks. Keep up the good work!” Bob Benedetto, Chairman – Benedetto Guitars, Inc.

Murray Kuun's Phantom Electric Guitar
Murray Kuun's Phantom Electric Guitar

I’ve now moved on to making electric guitars as well. This genre, more than any other, gives me more opportunity, to add my own personal artistic input to original design instruments. All my instruments are custom made, by hand, with great attention to detail, to suit each individual client/musician. The concept of “boutique“, custom made guitars has become a popular phenomenon in many overseas major countries and is slowly catching on here in South Africa too.

My philosophy is as follows;

The person who is a master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which.
They simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace in whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them, they are always doing both. (zen text)

I must say, I do not understand the “average” guitar enthusiast.  For the most part they can see only Fender and Gibson guitars, trapped in the 1950’s. Not that there is anything wrong with those designs – but lets move on a bit. Imagine if we still drove old Chevy’s, had no internet etc 🙂

Murray Kuun's "Kind of Blue" Electric Guitar
Murray Kuun's "Kind of Blue" Electric Guitar

I have had quite a few mag articles done about my work and even been on TV with my violin making.  I definitely do not want to be the millionth person to make copies or near-copies of Strats, Strads or whatever… If you are interested in my electric guitars, acoustics or violins please drop by my website at There is much more information and more pictures of my instruments there for you to peruse. Also you will find my contact details to buy any instruments you might be interested in.

As far as the future goes – goodness only knows 🙂  One thing is for sure, I will not remain stagnant, I design almost non-stop, one of the greatest pleasure for me, is the final realization of a new design.  At the moment I am working on designs for an electric bass, a semi acoustic electric bass, a childs guitar…

Please stay tuned to Guitar Design Reviews for my follow up articles, which will break down the steps in the design and production process of my new electric guitar designs.

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