This may seem over-the-top, but here goes: my Pledger Slope D is simply the most exciting acoustic guitar I’ve ever played, new or old. Period.
When I work in a group, I know that everything I do will cut through with amazing power and clarity. When I perform solo, each note is distinct, ringing, and impossibly full. Many guitars with this amount of horsepower suffer from a boxy or honky tone, but the Pledger rings like a silver bell.
The guitar has looks to go with all that sound: it is gorgeous and wonderfully simple, with an unbelievable 3D stained top that one can stare at for hours. Trim is old-school minimal, sporting subdued ivoroid bindings and a wide, vintage-style neck with a marker-free ebony fingerboard. When the case opens, the jaws drop.
I’ve been playing for 42 years, and have often imagined a guitar that performed like my Pledger. A few vintage instruments came close, but this one – this one is the real deal. If that weren’t enough, Clayton is a friend and an incredibly nice man who bends over backwards to make things right. I couldn’t have been more fortunate, and I am grateful to Clayton that he could make this happen!
It’s great to finally have a “desert island” acoustic guitar.
Clayton managed to find that zone where you can get both warmth AND clarity, and it translates to recordings. It sounds great with mics, and the pickup is actually useful for a change. I’m psyched to finally have a steel string whose nut is wide enough to accommodate nylon-style fingerpicking, strumming or flatpicking styles comfortably. Plus, it’s just purdy.
Composer for TV/ Film/ Web
I came into the guitar buying process looking for an instrument that not only sounded great but was as natural and organically true to the trees it came from.
If it could be French polished, even better. I quickly found that it might be impossible to get the guitar I wanted... Until I found Clayton. Every piece of the guitar came from a source I could be proud of. The body from a Sitka spruce in Alaska and a century plus old walnut tree (both salvaged, which was really important to me) and the neck from a joist taken out of a 100 year old house in Portland. And yes, he French polished it.
Probably also worth mentioning -- the guitar sounds beyond amazing. It transcends all of my low quality recording technology and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to just play it in my backyard and feel the world soak in all of its beautiful sounds. Clayton was also just super cool and wonderful throughout the process. Not often you can have a beer with a guy who made you such a good looking and great sounding guitar.
Musician / Composer
Clayton's not only a great guy and easy to deal with, he's got a very special touch as a luthier.
My guitar looks like a work of art - more importantly, it sounds beautiful both acoustic and plugged in. It's a pleasure to play, has a wonderful resonance, and sounds great on my recordings. Being able to participate in the building process was especially cool, right down to choosing the reclaimed Doug Fir top. Big thank you.
Beacon Sound - Record Store and Label
3636B North Mississippi Ave
Portland, Oregon 97227
As a long time player, the experience of now owning one of Clayton Pledger's Auditorium model acoustics, has been a revelation (a game-changer).
A veritable renaissance in both my appreciation for the instrument and my desire to play. The sound is bright, warm and beautiful. The action, effortless. My Martin, which had been my mainstay for years, now sits second seat to Pledger's handy work. I could not be happier.
Greg Antrim Kelly
I came to Clayton after trying for months to find a luthier who would be willing to tackle a difficult project.
Due to some old injuries, I had been experiencing increasing pain in my left hand and right shoulder while playing my favorite instruments. I had come to believe that I would need a radically different style of guitar in order to be able to play with less pain. No such instrument was commercially available, and I was unable to convince any of the other luthiers I had met that the guitar I envisioned was even possible to construct.
At our first meeting, I found Clayton to be sincerely interested in my difficulties, and very willing to listen to my rationale for a truly unique instrument. We spent two months in the design phase, exploring various ways to accomplish what I wanted, along with where we would need to compromise due to the physics of wood and guitar construction. I was overjoyed when he finally said, “I think we can do this.”
Over the next seven months, Clayton made sure I was involved at every stage where we might need to make slight adjustments. In early September, he delivered to me a guitar which is not only stunningly beautiful, but which also performs just as we had hoped, and allows me to play without pain. I now own an instrument like no other on earth, a pleasure to behold and a joy to play, all due to the skill, diligence, artistry, and craftsmanship of Clayton Pledger. Most people will never hear me perform, but every note I play from now on will be a tribute to the man who made it possible, who took a wild and crazy idea and made it a working reality. I owe him a debt that I don’t believe I can ever truly repay.
The Dalles, Oregon