The Morris Guitars company has been building quality handcrafted instruments in Nagano, Japan for a long time. Mr. Toshio Moridaira, the founder, was the first distributor in Japan to carry both Fender and Gibson lines. In 1964, due to his working relationship with Gibson, Mr. Moridaira was able to visit the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan. An employee at Gibson nicknamed him “Mori” at that time.
In 1967, he founded the Morris Guitars company. He named it Morris, taken from the nickname given to him a while back. Morris produced copies of dreadnought and small jumbo models based on Martin and Gibson designs. Since then, Morris Guitars have enjoyed an outstanding reputation in Japan and other countries for making high quality guitars.
In 1974, Morris introduced their guitars at the NAMM show. In 1978, Morris introduced the Tornado line, thin body acoustic-electric guitars inspired by the Ovation design. Up until the early 80s, the U.S. market saw a variety of guitars that Morris imported from Japan.
In 2001, after a lengthy absence, Morris Guitars re-entered the U.S. market. They participate in the annual Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA. Morris Guitars currently offer a wonderful line of fingerstyle guitars with a middle price range. Custom hand built models are also available. Today, Morris Guitars are played by some of the world’s finest fingerstyle guitarists. Our products are available through a small number of dealers here in the U.S.
Premium Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle Players
We created the ideal guitar for discriminating fingerstyle players-Morris S Series. By gathering together many expert opinions from today’s top players, we have achieved a perfectly balanced tone and super easy playability!
The Birth and evolution of Morris S Series Morris Guitar has always challenged the industry by creating new and exciting guitars. In 2001 we took on a new challenge and introduced the S Series- “The Ideal Guitar for Fingerstyle Players”.
At that time, we had been conducting extensive market research in the US by attending guitar contests and meeting with some of the top luthiers. We came to the conclusion that we needed to develop a guitar for fingerstyle players. We analyzed various fingerstyle playing styles and also received much valuable advice from top fingerstyle players, in order to develop this special guitar. In order to achieve the highest quality, we also came up with two production methods: “Luthier Made” which is built by one master luthier from beginning to end, and “Hand Made” which is built by a small group of experienced craftsmen, specializing in specific areas of the guitar making process.
When we first introduced the S Series in 2001, we offered 8 selected models, which combined 2 body styles (Grand Auditorium and Classical Auditorium), 2 Cutaway designs (Venetian and Florentine), 2 top materials (Spruce and American Cedar) and 2 sides & back materials (Rosewood and Mahogany). In 2003 we introduced the “Round Back” and also improved the bracings. We were then able to offer 12 improved models in the catalog. In addition we added a smaller body SS Model and a semi-jumbo body SJ Model, now totalling16 different models in S Series.
Characteristics of Fingerstyle Players
Fingerstyle players pick the strings with their own fingers (often players put a special coating on their nails or apply acrylic nails). They may also use a thumb pick and or fingerpicks, and play with a delicate touch and nuance to express their feelings. Many of the players play fingerstyle solo guitar while playing bass and melody at the same time. It requires rather complicated fingerings and they often use their thumb to fret the bass strings. In order to fret the strings with a light touch and keep perfect intonation even at the higher positions (sometimes with a capo), the guitar has to be set up with a comfortable low action from low position to high position.
Fingerstyle players also use various alternative tunings which employ the open string note and fretted notes together, creating a beautiful resonance. Therefore, it is important to have wide enough string spacing to avoid an accidental muting of the adjoining strings.
Today’s fingerstyle players are influenced by many different styles of music such as Classic, Flamenco, Bossa Nova, Jazz and Rock, and are incorporating various techniques such as bending, vibrato, tapping and harmonics to enhance their playing.
Ideal Guitar for fingerstyle playing
When the strings are tuned down, the string tension becomes lower, which often causes problems such as string buzz and dead spots. It is necessary to have a strong and straight neck in order to adjust to the changing string tension when the guitar is tuned down. In order to express the subtle difference of the delicate fingerpicking sound, the body must have good response. This enables the player to transfer all the vibration of the strings, have a balanced sound from the treble to bass, and be able to amplify the sound.
The neck angle has to be set perfectly in order to maintain a nice low action from low to high positions. The body and neck should also be joined tightly and securely, to transmit the sound most effectively. The fingerboard should have a wide enough string spacing for easy fingering: the 6th string should be easy to fret by the thumb and also the 1st string should not fall off from the fingerboard when you apply strong vibrato on the string. The saddle must have an octave pitch adjustment, so the guitar maintains perfect intonation anywhere on the fingerboard.