Blackmachines are widely discussed on forums and more frequently than not, I see loads of misinformation posted about them.  This guide will rectify that.

But first, what makes us qualified to write a guide to Blackmachines?

…Well, between our team at Wired Guitarist, we have had the chance to own multiple B2s, B7s and B6s, plus a few oddball models.

Anyways, time to get started!

Why are Blackmachine so expensive?
There is no simple answer.  I believe it is a combination of factors that led to them being as prized as they are now.  Being in the right place at the right time, getting the right players to play the brand, and of course – making a killer guitar that sounds & plays amazingly well!  Not to mention, the guitars themselves were something you simply didn’t really see back when they first started gaining popularity.  Ultra thin guitars were supposed to sound bad, these defied that stereotype.

It is important to keep in mind that Blackmachine has never paid for marketing and the popularity of Doug’s work can only be attributed to enthusiastic customers spreading the word about what a fantastic luthier Doug is.

What models exist and how much do they sell for?

The following models exist:

These are the most valuable and sought after Blackmachines.  They are all made by Doug himself.  The earlier versions were not chambered, and then chambering was introduced shortly thereafter.   The B2 is the most common, followed by the B7, and then B8.  There are not many B7s or B8s floating around and when a B7 or B8 pop up, they tend to sell for a good bit more than a B2.  While heavily dependant on specs, earlier B2s sell for between $8500 (very low!) and $12,000 with newer B2s like the koa top one built for the Safety Fire selling for upwards of $20,000 USD.  B7s sell for around $11,000 to $15,000 – again, newer ones can command a higher price.  I have not seen any B8s sell recently, but I would suspect they are worth slightly less than a B7 as the demand for 8 strings is much lower than the demand for B7s.

The F8 is essentially a fanned fret B8.  Also made by Doug!  These are very very rare and command a premium.

SG & Telecaster
Doug’s take on the classic Gibson SG and Fender Telecaster.  Not many of these are floating around.  They don’t sell for much when they do as they don’t have many of the trademark Blackmachine features.  These were built before the brand really took off, and I believe primarily for close friends when Doug started off.  I had the chance to own one of the Teles, and it was a fantastic guitar.  It had killer attack and bite to it!

These are 100% made by Feline Guitars out of the UK and are readily available with a short wait, and sometimes no wait.  As far as I am aware, Doug has very little to no involvement with these any longer.  That being said, Feline definitely knows what they are doing and put out a solid product.  If you want a guitar capable of delivering some of the best metal tones out there, then a B6 is a great idea – especially for those living in Europe.  Some people claim to have B6s that Doug worked on, or even built himself and according to Jonathan at Feline, Doug built the first 29 B6s, although the Feline Guitars woodshop prepped the body and neck up to a certain point.  One of these was built for Dez of the Safety Fire.  Having tried both version of the B6, I don’t believe there is a noticeable difference between the two.

What do they sound and play like?
This varies depending on specs, but the underlying characteristics of the newer Doug built Blackmachines we have tried are the insane amount of attack and sustain!  They are typically quite punchy too.  The playability of these guitars is absolutely stellar and very similar to other high-end builders like Teuffel, Ruokangas, Nic Huber, etc…

How do I buy a new one?
Doug is not taking new orders, although we are aware of a few people that have managed to get builds started.  Unless you know the luthier himself, or have a stupid amount of cash, you likely can’t get a new guitar built to your specs.   That being said in-stock guitars that are ready for immediate purchase pop up once a year or so, and are usually sold within a day or so.  These go for a quite a bit, and you are unlikely to win the auction if bidding under $15,000 USD.  Even then, $15,000 would be quite low for a new Blackmachine built by Doug.

How do I buy a used Blackmachine?
In our experience, roughly 90% of Blackmachines sold are not advertised publicly for sale.  Instead, they are sold privately via brokers or over specialized groups.  Public listings attract unwanted attention and often create headache for sellers looking to sell their guitar without dealing with questions from people without the money to actually buy the guitar being sold.

You have to be a fool to pay so much for a guitar!
More often than not, sellers tend to profit off the sale of their guitars.  If you could buy a guitar, enjoy it for a year or two, and then sell it for more than you paid, what is the harm in buying it if you can afford to tie up that capital?

If you aren’t after a Blackmachine, then feel free to stop by our new store.  We’re authorized dealers for most major guitar brands!

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