“There’s very little to fault or criticise. The company is back with a new workshop and all guns blazing”: Gordon Smith Grande and Geist review

In its 50th anniversary year, British production guitar maker Gordon Smith is moving into a new workshop and expanding its already broad range with a brace of new designs

Gordon Smith Grande
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

Overall, these guitars represent nice work, are well priced and fly the flag for the UK’s world-class craft. Bring ’em on!


  • +

    Neat, classy designs.

  • +

    Excellent craft.

  • +

    Light weight. Classic pickup voicing.

  • +

    Quality hardware.

  • +

    Stainless-steel frets are superbly installed.

  • +

    Geist has fast playability and more contemporary voicing.


  • -

    We’d prefer a shoulder-placed strap button on the Grande. It’d be nice to hear partial as opposed to full coil-splits.

  • -

    Geist design a little generic.

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.

For many years, Gordon-Smith (the original company used a hyphen) was almost the UK’s best-kept guitar-making secret. The brand never advertised its wares or drove around in posh cars, preferring a small (very dusty!) workshop a couple of doors down from a laundrette in Partington, just outside Manchester. 

It might not sound very rock ’n’ roll, but the almost-punk DIY ethos informed the guitars and many players picked up a GS-1 or Graduate because they couldn’t get – or afford – a Gibson. And spending time with John, Linda and Chris was always a hugely enjoyable experience.

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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.