Guild B140E Acoustic Bass
Hailing from Guild’s Westerly Collection, the B140E promises a classy angle on the sometimes-gaudy acoustic bass format. The concept behind this particular range is to re-invigorate the Guild name and use some of the richer qualities of builds from their Rhode Island era to bring about a guitar that, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, simply feels like a confident nod to the heritage that made them such a reliable, quality guitar maker in the first place. There is a real sense of honest craftsmanship in these guitars, which is clear from the moment you pick one up. For me, playing an acoustic bass is always an odd experience. Sitting somewhere between their hefty orchestral predecessor and cooler, electric cousin they occupy a strange, almost opulent space in the history of stringed instruments. You really have to know what you’re doing with one in order to convince it not to get away from you. Given the chance though there is a sublime harmonic world hidden behind those 4 strings that few other instruments are game enough to venture into. The B140E is no exception.
Guild OM-140CE Acoustic Guitar
In high school, when I first started taking guitar seriously, we’d occasionally have a period (where the teacher was hung-over or hadn’t mapped out a lesson plan) that would be spent ‘learning how to research’ in the library. Invariably that would mean we’d wander off, find the music section and crack open whatever coffee table book they had that had anything to do with guitars. One particular book was nothing but a roll call of axes that any rube might have seen on TV. In the section headed ‘Hollow-Bodies’ was a picture of a wine red Guild Star Fire IV. The olive leaf tail piece, the stern, sweeping curves; all of this struck me as an image of class that couldn’t compete with the Ibanez 7 strings I’d lusted for. Upon opening the case containing a brand new OM140-CE, that image came sailing back to me.
Gibson Hummingbird Pro VS
Another classic from Gibson is the Hummingbird acoustic. First released in the early 1960s this square shouldered dreadnought was a favourite for rock, blues, folk and country with the Hummingbird remaining a staple of the Gibson acoustic line up still to this day. Moving through several variations and signature models through the years, 2016 sees it slightly reinvigorated once more.
Seagull have long been making acoustic instruments from their base in LaPatrie Quebec, Canada. With a heap of models in their line all sporting that identifiable headstock they’ve recently added something a little different to their stocks - a hollow body 4 stringed instrument called the ‘Merlin’. Ready for something new?
The Loar Brownstone Acoustic Guitar
The Loar pays homage to the instruments from the 20s and 30s with vintage designs and aesthetics. Archtop and hollowbody electrics, mandolins and a range of acoustics come under The Loar’s banner, with this instance being a variation on their popular LH200 acoustic guitar. Introducing the aptly named ‘Brownstone’.
Gibson J-45 Progressive Acoustic Guitar
Quite possibly Gibson’s most famous acoustic guitar, the J-45 has been played by luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly and Woody Guthrie. A competitor to the early Martin dreadnaughts, the J-45 became a favourite amongst country, folk and rock players alike. With Gibson pushing some of their technological boundaries over the last few years, they’ve invigorated their 2016 J-45 (also adding the ‘Progressive’ moniker to the name) - let’s see what’s under the hood.
Cordoba Luthier Series GK Pro Maple
Cordoba has little standing in their way when it comes to nylon string acoustic guitars. The Spanish manufacturer, founded in 1997, prides itself on local craftsmanship with an extensive range that offers modernised varieties of the classic flamenco guitar. With traditional construction and live performance in mind, the Luthier Series GK Pro Maple is a guitar that reinvigorates the age-old body of the flamenco guitar with exceptional design and responsive playability. A welcomed addition to the original GK Pro, and follow up to the GK Pro Negra, it rounds out the series by offering a brighter tone and a little more bite.
Maton 70th Anniversary 808
More from the range of Maton 70th Anniversary guitars, and this time another favourite shape from their line that’s been given a little special treatment to help celebrate the big seven zero. Whilst the dreadnaught has long been a staple for acoustic builders all over the world, there is also a huge demand for smaller bodied instruments that can still handle gigging, recording and everything in between. Maton’s 808 shape is one of their answers and has always been a hit amongst the guitar playing population, so it’s good to see it too getting the 70th razzle dazzle.