Recording King started as a house brand for Montgomery Ward in the 1930s originally made by companies like Gibson and Kay. The brand was discontinued in 1939 and original Recording King guitars, which are becoming increasingly rare can fetch large prices on the vintage guitar market.
In fact original Recording King guitars are one of the few guitars from a bygone era which are still within the financial limits of musicians who play and record with them, as opposed to collectors. The brand was revived in 2007 by The Music Link in Hayward, CA. Current Recording King products use vintage designs and replicas of pre-World War II parts.
Because of their construction and sound, the new Recording King models lend themselves to music styles of a bygone era - country, blues and even early jazz. A flick through any books on blues and country will reveal to the keen eye many Recording King guitars due to their availability and affordability at the time. In fact, in the recent Coen Brothers movie “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs”. Singing cowboy Buster Scruggs played by Tim Blake Nelson is seen playing a Recording King guitar while crooning the classic tune “Cool Water”.
The small parlour size makes it super comfortable to play with a slim neck and a low action straight out of the box. As is traditional with parlour guitars . The neck meets the body at the twelfth fret so high access is not on the menu, but it’s not really built with shredding in mind.
The Recording King RPS-9P-TS has great projection and balance when used for traditional blues and country finger style playing and has a surprising volume when you start strumming some fat open chords .It’ll be right at home for the folk/roots players as well, with a character and midrange bark that set sit apart from your standard full bodied dreadnaught. One of the biggest advantages of a small bodied parlour guitar is how perfect they are for unamplified vocal accompaniment. The slightly reigned in projection and clear voicing make them the perfect underlay for troubadour or singer-songwriter material (particularly of the old-timey ilk)
With its spruce top, 25.4” scale length, cross lap bracing, bone nut and saddle, the workmanship is of a notably high quality. It’s small, light body and ergonomic neck make it an easy guitar to play…very easy. It’s lack of boominess at the soundhole, would also make it great recording guitar for certain applications. The diminutive body and relatively hushed projection make the RPS-9P-TS the perfect guitar for around the house. Both playable and portable, it’s the kind of guitar that is nice just to have around the lounge room or…… parlour?
If you’re looking for a small body guitar at a great price, Recording King could be just what you’re looking for. Its unique character makes it highly addictive and after a few minutes you may not want to put it down. I certainly didn’t.
Hits and Misses
Nice midrange presence