Here’s a selection of great folk and roots instruments we’ve looked at recently. And - starting with the Cordoba Guilele - there’s not a Kaoss Pad in sight...
A peculiar-looking beast without a doubt, this ‘ukulele for guitarists’ is also a lot of fun. Essentially a six-string tenor ukulele that’s tuned as though you’d capo’d a regular guitar at the fifth fret, it’ll make a great partner to an acoustic in a roots lineup, or add an extra dimension to recordings.
We said: “An ideal starter for micro-sized beginners, or a neat electro uke with bass strings”
Andrew White Eos 1010
This deceptively large, slim-waisted folk acoustic represents great value for money for a solid spruce and rosewood instrument.
It’s also a great fingerpicker for older-voiced bluesy and folky styles, and has stronger bottom-end character than a 000 equivalent.
We said: “This intriguing blend of folk and small jumbo offers something new, both tonally and aesthetically”
St Blues Delta Blues Box 4 String
This four-string, ready-rolled cigar-box guitar retains the rootsy simplicity of its DIY forebears, but adds the reliability and quality of a professionally made guitar to a versatile instrument with a unique voice that blends percussive attack and banjo-like ‘ping’.
We said: “Far from the cheapest cigar-box guitar out there, but it’s the best one we’ve come across in terms of build and playability”
Anderwood Style 1 M
Who doesn’t love the mournful sound of a Weissenborn-style lap steel?
All-mahogany build, unadorned looks and a strident, bluesy voice make the 1 M a quality, cost-conscious route into the lap-steel world and the perfect instrument to soundtrack a magazine deadline.
We said: “Extremely hard to fault. A great blend of quality and value, though the pickup adds £229”
This all-solid wood mini 14-fret ‘mini dreadnought’, with its solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, has a bright, mid-pushed tonality.
Low action and an almost electric-like playability makes the catchily titled SONGTRAVTSB a great campfire companion.
We said: “A cut above the usual solid top/laminate guitars out there, it looks great and its sounds will get you heard”
BUY: Freshman SONGTRAVTSB currently available from:
Nineboys Tonk Bros Parlour Guitar
Nineboys specialises in non-mainstream roots instruments such as cigar-box guitars and diddley bows, but the Tonk Bros is most of the way towards a more conventional guitar.
Modelled on pre-war small-body steel-string catalogue instruments, it sounds good through a Fender amp with gain, and is an ideal folk- blues knockaround.
We said: “An affordable Brit-made electro that comes beaten up and bruised if you want”
BUY: Nineboys Tonk Bros Parlour Guitar currently available from: