Primarily known for its many-splendoured electric guitar lines, Maryland’s PRS entered the acoustic world relatively recently with the PRS Angelus. After years in development, the model exhibits plenty of PRS hallmarks, including distinctive bird inlays on the carbon-fibre reinforced Peruvian mahogany neck.
A European spruce top and figured rosewood back and sides complete a ‘boutique’ feel, and famous players such as Tony McManus and Martin Simpson were early adopters.
Martin D-18 & OM-212
When Martin updated two of its staple models in 2012, it achieved the near-impossible and improved on both of them.
The new D-18 features forward- shifted ‘X’ scalloping under its solid Sitka spruce soundboard, while the wider OM-21’s refinements make it a modern fingerstyle player’s dream.
Taylor Grand Orchestra 518e & K28e
Earlier in 2013, Taylor bucked the trend for vintage-inspired creations in the acoustic world and reimagined its classic jumbo design as the Grand Orchestra.
As imposing as they are sumptuous, these dynamic and responsive behemoths have low- end that’s approaching bass territory, but remain beautifully balanced – and amount to a new acoustic voice.
Collings makes beautiful guitars, and they don’t come much more fit for purpose than this beguiling 000 model.
With Indian rosewood back and sides and a lightly tinted Sitka spruce body, the 000-41 produces a cannon-like tone from a diminutive body, with unmatched clarity, string separation and projection.
Guild GSR D-40 Noir & GSR F-30CE Cocobolo
Guild’s acoustic heritage stretches back six decades, and its D (for ‘dreadnought’) and F (for ‘folk’) designs have been flagship models loved by generations.
These two limited-edition Special Run guitars uphold that tradition in some style, with the F-30CE Cocobolo especially being pretty much as good as fingerstyle guitars get. Sigh.
Pete Turner Marrakech
An acoustic resonator with definite ‘wow’ factor, the Marrakech is the work of UK luthier, Pete Turner.
Its single cone and rosewood top, back and sides summon flat-top-meets-reso tones with addictive ease, providing ‘honk’ and ‘zing’ in equal measure. Characterful and unique, it’s a celebration of the small boutique luthier’s art.
Gibson Brad Paisley J-45
The workhorse Gibson J-45, first produced in 1942, is the flagship of the company’s acoustic range, and has established itself as one of the only acoustic guitar to rival Martin’s D-28 for notoriety, and legendary status.
This signature model for US country sensation Brad Paisley took his 1963 model as a starting point, and ended up with a sublime blend of the old and new.
Lowden 32SE Stage Edition
Into his fourth decade of instrument making, Northern Ireland’s George Lowden continues to innovate and impress.
This latest 32SE Stage Edition is a slim-depth, medium-sized electro-acoustic that uses Lowden’s new ‘F’ body shape; it’s an extremely versatile instrument that can lend its svelte sitka/ rosewood contours to any style you care to name, and look mighty fine while it’s doing it.