C9 Custom Ventura Standard review

A new guitar-making venture in the North East of England promises boutique-like style at everyday prices

C9 Custom Guitars Ventura Standard
(Image: © Future / Neil Godwin)

Guitar World Verdict

It’s early days for C9, but for the right player this Ventura is a little gem. It’s far from a radical design and yet it’s the crisp uncluttered build with its simple drive that’s the appeal, paired with original-looking but pretty classic-sounding ‘hot’ single coils.


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    Vibey, simple-but-classy build.

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    Thin finish. 

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    Good neck feel and playability.

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    In-tune vibrato.

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    Characterful sounds from the unique-looking single-coils.


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    Mismatched truss rod cover.

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    Pickups can’t be swapped without irreversible modification.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

There’s a rich industry of guitar makers in the UK, but not all of their fabulous instruments can be classed as affordable. Well, affordability is the premise behind C9 Custom Guitars: a partnership between experienced production guitar specialist Mark Lamaq and high-end machinehead-maker Keith Robson, who has turned his attention to guitar making in the past few years.

The duo only formed the company in 2022 (though Mark had previously been helping Keith to create instruments under the Robson brand), but they’ve already attracted the attention of Northern heroes such as Tim Burgess, Mani and Paul Arthurs.

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Dave Burrluck
Gear Reviews Editor, Guitarist

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.