Peavey Composer

A futuristic Peavey parlour

For such a huge company known for its amps, electric guitars, basses and PA systems, it's odd that Peavey's only acoustic guitar is this diminutive Composer. It's cheap as chips, and the price also includes a gigbag... although that might be overstating the simple cloth carry case.

The design looks very futuristic, and more like something you'd expect to see from a boutique luthier. In fact, it bears a certain resemblance to the X model from Peavey-owned high-end acoustic firm Composite Acoustics. But while CA makes its guitars from exotic modern materials, the Composer is all wood: the top is a thick-looking spruce-faced laminate, with birch laminate back and sides, and a mahogany neck.

Clearly aimed at the pick up- and-go travelling musician, the Composer has a full Gibson-like scale length, while its 12-frets-to- the-body fingerboard is a typical parlour-like appointment, likewise the compact body dimensions.

"It it has a pretty lively resonance and a textured mid-focused voice that, despite its space-age appearance, sounds quite old-style bluesy"

Mind you, the pointed cutaway, which is very unusual on a parlour-size guitar such as this, means you can quite easily fret the highest 18th fret. There's method in this apparent madness, and the same goes for the 'monitor hole' (aka a soundport) on the bass side of the guitar. Apart from throwing some sound out towards you - or rather at your right armpit - it also allows you to peer inside and inspect the rather tidy bracing.

The neck shape isn't bad, it's quite electric-like, with a pretty narrow nut width (41.3mm/1.63 inches), but the bound rosewood fingerboard edges seem an unnecessary 'deluxe' feature on such a start-up instrument.

Fretting is tidy, but each fret is left with a slightly unpolished top that gives string bends a nasty scratchy nails-on-a-blackboard tone. Mind you, at least there's a compensated saddle, so higher fret excursions sound pretty in tune, while the tuners feature smart chrome buttons.

There's even a second strap button, so you can easily strap the Composer on, although the lack of pickup means you're stuck with a microphone on stage.

Still, the satin finish (you have a choice of Natural with black back, sides and neck, or Sunburst) is far from shabby, and the playability isn't too bad, either. We've played a few Composers, and this sample is the best so far - with some higher quality strings and a little fret and fingerboard TLC, you'll have a good player.

It's not the biggest-sounding parlour we've ever heard and it lacks some low-end compared with our more expensive Taylor GS Mini, but it has a pretty lively resonance and a textured mid-focused voice that, despite its space-age appearance, sounds quite old-style bluesy. It's good for slide players, too.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Highly playable. Decent build quality and value for money.

Cons

Looks won't be for all. Frets could do with some attention.

Verdict

Do you need one? Well, especially for the electric player who's after a travel companion, there are worse guitars out there. For straight acoustic use, we might look elsewhere, but give it a little love and this lil' Composer soon becomes rather endearing.

Sides Material

Laminated birch

Scale Length (mm)

628

Scale Length (Inches)

24.75

No. of Frets

18

Hardware

Chrome-plated enclosed tuners

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Neck Material

Mahogany

Back Material

Laminated birch

Top Material

Laminated spruce

Available Finish

Natural (as reviewed), Sunburst

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.