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The “Telecaster” of Tonearms

I’m a guitar player (both acoustic and electric), and my Martin D-28 Herringbone keeps company with several Telecasters.

Much of the Tele’s appeal has to do with its simplicity, and this parallels the tonearms I gravitate to.

Quite simply, the Telecaster gets the job done across a wide range of  musical genres – from country to rock, to jazz and all shades in between.

Versatility is what I want out of a tonearm and a guitar …

Simplicity

The Telecaster could not be a simpler design – a slab of wood and a maple neck bolted together, with of course the requisite electronics and hardware.  There’s nothing extra and every part serves a purpose.

The tonearms that come into favor here at Galibier are very Telecaster-like, in that they follow the Ocam’s Razor principle.  I used to have a quote on my website from Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

This has been a guiding principle here at Galibier since our onset, so it should come as no surprise that the tonearms we gravitate to are consistent with this.

Three of our favorites in this regard are Schröder CB, the Kuzma 4Point-9, and the Durand Kairos.

Ergonomics

In an earlier blog post, I commented that the tonearm you set up the best is the best arm (for you).

You have to relate to a tool you’ll be handling frequently, and while I’d put the 4Point and Schröder up against any and all comers (at any price), these may not be the right arms for you.

The Schröder in particular requires a bit more experience than many audiophiles have (not the experience they claim to have).  We might steer you away from it if we get the sense that this arm may be problematic for you

Moving quite a bit further along the continuum (toward ease of setup) but still very simple and straight-forward, we have the 4Point-9 with the most elegant, repeatable, and precise azimuth adjustment I’ve ever encountered.

I consider the 4Point-9 to be the sweet spot in the Kuzma line, but I certainly have no problems with the elegant implementation of its two big brothers – 4Point-11 and 14 (with their VTA on the fly capability).  The differences between these 3 4Points has more to do with mass matching and the “user experience” than it does the superiority of one design over the other.

None of this is to say that these tonearm families are right for you (the tool you relate to best), which is why we carry 7 different brands of tonearms, and we can discuss which one makes the most sense for you.

I could happily live with any of the arms we carry, and I can discuss the pluses and minuses of them with you.

Tools – Not Jewels

One thing has become clear to us however, as we help customers wade through the myriad of contenders.  Tonearms are tools and not jewels.

Their elegance lies in their function, and you’ll find many “prettier” arms out there – much as you will find prettier guitars than a Telecaster.

Ask a gigging musician however, which single guitar he would grab if he didn’t know what  genre of music would be demanded of him, and a very large percentage of them would take their plain-Jane Telecaster.

We can help you decide which arm is right for you.