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Starting with a Grand auditorium shape, the Orangewood Mason Mahogany Live Acoustic Guitar features a mahogany top, laminated sapele mahogany for the sides and back, and a C-shaped mahogany neck; it’s not lacking on quality materials. Scalloped bracing in a X pattern provides rigidity in a familiar format. The bridge and fingerboard are made from sonokeling, which is a type of Indian rosewood found in Indonesia. With a 25.5 scale, the 20-fret neck meets the body at the 14th fret, along winged inlays for fret markers. White binding can be found along the body’s front and back, as well as the neck and headstock. The soundhole’s rosette is adorned with a nice abalone inlay, as well. Gold, closed-back tuners sporting black buttons bring things up to pitch, with a bone saddle and a 44mm bone nut. The electronics are a very simple affair, with an LR Baggs Element Bronze VTC pickup that has simple volume and tone controls hidden inside the top of the sound hole. The 9volt battery is inside the body and placed at the neck joint in a nylon pouch.
The fit and finish are very well done throughout, with attractive grain patterns on all sides with a gloss coating. Grabbing the neck was a pleasure, with a smooth and non sticky feel. Fretwork was very well done up and down the neck, and regardless of the location on the fingerboard the consistent response and feel was wonderful.▼ Article continues below ▼
Grand Auditorium shapes are generally less boomy, brighter and can favor percussive and sharper playing styles. Strumming also is usually brighter overall. It ’s a bit unusual to have this body style done in so much mahogany, but in this case it softens and warms up the normally tighter sound, but not taking off the edge. Consider this a natural way of EQ adjustment. Ever see a solo acoustic performer with a GA body guitar with typical construction, and notice after a couple of sets, ears seem tired from the bright attack? That issue does not present itself here, but it’s not a big roll off treble wise, just a subtle adjustable for some more bottom end balance.
Normally Mahogany guitars have a mid drop that’s perfect for a singer (especially in the studio) to fill in with their voice. This didn’t have as pronounced an EQ profile as that, but did sit better in the mix, working well with a vocal track. Plugging this into our DAW as well as a PA system sounded great, with the LR Baggs system providing excellent amplification. While the EQ is just a tone control, its range was decent enough to shape things on-the-fly.
The only issue was with a set of strings on, it’s tough to get a hand in there to change the battery, not a big issue, but considering if a battery dies at a gig, messing around to swap it can really take the wind out of a performance. Players looking for a different take on the GA body style without breaking the bank, this is a treat worth checking out. Considering the materials, and the excellent execution of the instrument as a whole, it’s a great value.
Great sounding, excellent construction, great price.
Battery is a bit difficult to reach with strings on.