You'd be forgiven for not knowing who Paul Brett is - he might not be a household name, but the avid guitar collector, professional musician and journalist is the pioneering spirit behind an intriguing new parlour guitar from Vintage.
The key here is less his name, and more how Brett has used the full spread of his experience and detailed historical knowledge of guitar construction to create a small-bodied instrument that could well take the risk out of buying a parlour acoustic at this price point.
"Played acoustically or amplified, the VE8000PB is simply an exceptional example of a parlour guitar."
Like its 12-string sibling, Brett's six-string signature sports a raked headstock angle and benefits from a Graph Tech nut and saddles. The use of Graph Tech is key to the playability - the substance's consistency of density allows strings to move freely in the slots, preventing any distasteful pinching in the nut or grabbing at the saddle.
For playability reasons, this model features a 14th-fret body join design, offering easy access to the dusty end. Both guitars sport an elegant pearloid 'mirrored V' inlay at the 12th fret, with simple dot markers keeping things uncluttered on the rest of the fretboard.
The bridge has been seated nearer to the waist of the guitar than on the 12-string, while the top thicknessing is also different, and more appropriate for a six-string. The fretwork is very clean, with no sharp edges or ugly tangs, and they're also superbly profiled, helping you glide through chord changes.
Played seated, it's a very comfortable guitar to get to grips with, while the minimal bulk and gentle 'C'-shaped neck profile further enhances its playing credentials.
Like its 12-string stablemate, this guitar certainly doesn't suffer from 'small guitar syndrome', and is in no way boxy, hard or dry. Instead, its friendly proportions make is a compelling guitar to pick up and play, while its harmonic detail and sheer playability mean it feels like a guitar with plenty of songs in it.
Played acoustically or amplified, the VE8000PB is simply an exceptional example of a parlour guitar. It's a superb fingerpicker, but its lightness to the touch and slick playability make it even more suited to bluesy vibrato than our comparison Tanglewood TW73.
It does however retain some sonic poke for chord stabs, with healthy doses of sustain and richness in the overtones: which is of course a genuine bonus in such a small-bodied guitar.
If you love Lead Belly or covet a 1920s Stella, if you're a keen fingerpicker, or if you love playing acoustic blues, jazz and even rock, this will cover your musical bases. It's one of the nicest six-string parlours we've heard and played at this level.
In short, there's very little to dislike here and full marks to Vintage for utilising the experience and knowledge of Paul Brett to produce something a little different that's still extremely valid and affordable.