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Peavey Composer review

A futuristic Peavey parlour

  • £135
  • €179
  • $359
The design looks very futuristic, and more like something you'd expect to see from a boutique luthier

MusicRadar 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.

Pros

  • +

    Highly playable. Decent build quality and value for money.

Cons

  • -

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

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.

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.