"It's no little thing ordering a guitar from a luthier 10,000 miles away. And the 'thing' becomes that bit more daunting when one has never met that luthier nor played one of his creations, and yet that's just what I did about five years ago. And it was one of the best decisions of my guitar-playing life.
I 'found' Mark and Kate Fuqua by way of Josh Homme and Alain Johannes, in my opinion two of the most talented musicians around today. If MotorAve BelAire guitars are good enough for Josh and Alain, they're certainly good enough for me. Just a shame I live in South-East Australia not North Carolina right? Wrong.
Everything about the process felt right. The conversation with Mark about what it was I wanted in a BelAire. The many emails exchanged with Kate; initially regarding features we felt could work (switch placement for example) and those that were gently put aside ('thumb-print' fret markers, a bypass switch) and onto updates and photos as my guitar took shape and form.
Almost as important as the finished guitar was the sense of care and professionalism evident from first to last. I had no sense I was not valued as a customer, of course, but more than that there was an honesty, a no-bullshit vibe that screamed 'artisan' in every interaction.
Finally, the day arrived. I can still remember the exact moment, the sensations, as I unboxed my guitar and first put fingers and skin on string and wood, (and aluminium!). In brief, unlike any guitar I've had the good fortune to play before or since. A surgical scalpel versus a butter knife. A precisely engineered engine in an Italian sports car versus something you hire in an airport.
But there's more. The cold, precise analogy falls down because this thing came out of the box with feel. That indefinable sensation one gets when a guitar is 'right'. It felt and feels alive in the hands and against the body. It rings and sustains and it feels like your favourite old gig t-shirt all in one. And that's before it's plugged in!
I play rock to punk to solo singer-songwriter shows. I've had my BelAire about four years and I've used it for them all. Even when heavy on fuzz or distortion the note articulation remains, and the thing stays in tune. It's balanced and comfortable when po-going or sat in a quiet bar. And do yourself a favour - go hard on the aluminium. Your audience will thank you and, come on, who doesn't 'buy with their eyes' a little...
If you're on the website then you know your guitars. So do I and let me tell you that you will not be disappointed. The best guitar that didn't cost more than my house I've ever played."
- C.M. 2018
“ Humbled. Just...wow "
"It’s just amazing. Even better than I could have expected. And I expected a whole lot. Thank you Kate and please thank Mark for me. You guys have been great to deal with and it has been a pleasure."
“It's got some serious tone and clarity! And the FEEL! I could go on forever about how it feels!”
"This guitar is truly terrific! I remember reading that it feels ‘played in’, and not quite knowing what that means, until now.
Everything about it, the size, the color, the smell even, is truly intoxicating. Every time I pass my studio and happen to see it, I have to pick it up, it just demands it!
“The Lemans is just beautiful !”
"The neck is perfect and just spot on to my expectations. A splendide instrument that screams rock’n’roll. I’m stunned, again. Many many thanks."
“And what a beauty it is.”
"Dear Kate & Mark
I'll play this guitar forever, thank you so much for everything.
Sounds incredible plays fantastic, feels like no other guitar I have... Speak soon, eternal thanks, keep up the good work"
" She made it here safe and sound. And she is AMAZING!
It is far, far better than I could've ever hoped, and I could not be happier!
The neck shape and fretwork are unfathomably good, and that tailpiece... a total work of art!!
I can't thank you guys enough. I feel privileged to get to play it, let alone own it.
Thanks for doing what you do, and please know that I truly appreciate the time, talent, and passion that you pour into your craft. It's quite frankly amazing, and you have a fan for life!"