Art and Lutherie Legacy Denim Blue Q-Discrete review

Blues you can use?

  • £499

MusicRadar Verdict

A distinctive-looking acoustic with tones to match.


  • +

    Unique look. Great blues and folk tones. Comfortable for fingerpicking.


  • -

    Plugged-in tones can be a little quacky. Not everyone will dig the denim vibe.

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Denim is a wondrous thing, forever soaring above the fickle world of fashion with an appeal that transcends class.

But its relationship with our instrument has usually been restricted to a player’s jeans or jacket accompaniment, rather than a whole denim guitar finish. Could this be the moment where the two worlds finally align? 

Recently, we took a look at the Maritime: a solid wood cutaway electro from Seagull, one of Canadian maker Godin’s acoustic brands. Art & Lutherie is another member of the Godin family, but this is clearly a very different bird, with its own distinct vibe - one that goes beyond mere plumage. 

The Denim Blue is a first for the Quebec company, even though the concert-sized Legacy model first surfaced in 2016 (this semi-gloss finish is also available on the smaller-bodied parlour Roadhouse). The effect creates a faded, semi-transparent ‘patina’ look over the solid spruce top, allowing the grain to come through. But while it also brings out a fine contrast on the laminate wild cherry back, it’s less impressive on the sides of our test example, where the wave effect looks a little too pale, and more like spillage in places. 

The finish here is fresh, but the aesthetic of the Legacy is distinctly vintage elsewhere; a folky flat top with open gear tuners and a much subtler headstock design than the Seagulls. The label tag on this guitar is reassuringly hand-initialled by nine different staff with 11 different quality checks. This attention shows in fine fretwork with bevelled edges and a wonderfully playable low action that immediately reveals the charms here. 

It’s a friendly fingerpicker, with a low end deep enough to make this guitar tonally versatile

These traits complement the visual vibe very well; a sprightly high-end and resonant mids feel very much at home with blues and folk rhythm, while letting lead lines cut through. It’s a friendly fingerpicker, too, with a low-end deep enough to make this guitar tonally versatile. 

The front-mounted preamp controls are another first for A&L, bringing to mind the controls of Cobain’s bespoke Martin D-18E on MTV Unplugged. Built by fellow Canadian EPM, the Q-Discrete isn’t as visually low-key as say, Fishman’s Sonitone, but shares the volume and tone control options. You’ll need the latter because some of the guitar’s zingier high-end qualities can turn quacky with the tone up. 

Some players who see the preamp as more than a bonus here - which it should be at the price - may want more control, but it’s a hard guitar to put down for its acoustic performance. And while this denim look won’t suit some, we think a unique proposition is always welcome to the guitar stage.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.