After much umming and ahhing I finally got round to buying a new guitar. I’ve looked at all sorts of different makes and models, each with a different specialty and each with different short comings. The problem is that whilst I am by no means destitute, I’m not a middle aged man with Guitar Acquisition Syndrome (GIS). You know the guy trying out yet another Taylor or Martin at the back of the shop to add to their collection...
I need a guitar that I can play at home. A guitar that I can use for gigs. Use with the Buskers on Bikes. Take on the tube. I realised that I needed a small guitar (smaller than my 80’s dreadnaught anyway), with a pickup (I record and play live enough that I’d want this for convenience), and it had to be built to last.
Finally, the last criteria, was that I needed a guitar for playing in the London Gypsy Orchestra which I joined a month ago. Lots of Capo use and frantic strumming. In the course of my search I narrowed it down to a Seagull grand parlour, A Simon and Patrick woodland folk, a Martin 001X, Various Sigmas and the Guild M120E.
Both the Seagull and the S&P are made at the same factory with Laminated back and sides. A cedar or spruce sold top and a proprietary pickup system (Godin). They played beautifully but the seagull headstock I found fiddly and the S&P body cut into my arm. They would also need drilling for an extra strap button.
The Martin had me sold from the moment I picked it up. It may have been made out of plastic and fibreboard with a solid spruce top, but it sounded like a Martin. It had a Fishman Pickup and the additional strap button for playing standing up.
Thing is the neck is Stratabond (Plywood), and the body is made out of HPL (high pressure laminate3 or fibreboard) with a digitally printed grain. This is a guitar that whilst the top would age well the back and sides would get tattier as time went on. This guitar is like the Epiphone Les Paul. Great until you pick up the real thing.
The Guild M120E is all mahogany and looked like the Sigmas. It has the same pickup as the Martin and came in a hard case designed for it... not a gigbag. It is also solid woods all the way through. Solid mahogany top, back and sides. Satin neck and high gloss body. Money has been saved making it in China and there is no binding or ornamentation (except for an abalone rosette).
It immediately struck me as a budget players guitar... Sure with no binding i’ll need to be careful with the edges. With a thin mahogany body I’ll need not to bash it or let it dry out. However it should last me . It came in a case, with the pickup... It’s designed to do all the things I wanted and it’s the new model of the guitar that Nick Drake used. It even says on the side of the case...” Built to be played”
Bought from the lovely guys at Wunjo Guitars