I always got the feeling that Avalon guitars were built by people who were proud of what they did, and tried to make each guitar something special.
The luthiers were always keen to innovate and showed their talents building jazz, blues, bezels, Zemaitis-style etc, in addition to developing umpteen wood combinations of the classic L, A and J shapes.
They have left behind a few thousand wonderful guitars that will be increasingly sought after in a future lacking the skills to make anything as good.
As a company, the Avalon people were always focused on the customer. They were quick to respond, genial in their engagement, and in Jim Black, had the perfect interface with customers and the Avalon owners' club. Buying and owning an Avalon was and is a special thing.
The Forum was small, but supportive and had none of the trolling cynicism that usually afflicts on-line discussion groups. The membership was truly international. Friendships were made.
In our one-size, constricting, corner-cutting, volume-spewing circle of Hell, Avalon's dedicated, warm and willing team wore it well for all us who wanted life to be something a little more rich and variable. Ultimately, it was Avalon's commitment to quality that priced itself out of a cut-priced world.
Right now our thoughts should be for Jim and the team who are out of work in the midst of a deep recession. They deserve much better than this. Let us hope that they and their familes come through OK.
Long may they strum!