EXPO GEAR 2022: There’s never been a better time to buy a acoustic guitar. Technology and tradition combine to help create wonderful instruments to inspire you at home, in recording and on stage.
The competition is fierce, but here are some of our favorite new models to keep your eyes and ears open in 2022…
The American Dream (AD) is a range of Taylor constructions that stand out for combining solid wood constructions and the brand’s much-admired V-Class bracing at a mid-range price.
The new AD27e Flametop offers an all-maple alternative to the existing AD27e construction (which uses a solid mahogany top and sapele back and sides). The top, back, and sides are constructed from Big Leaf Maple, which lends a bit of visual flair and draws “an earthy, ground character” to the dreadnought-style Grand Pacific body.
Aimed at fans of mid-range GT builds who want an alternative to the usual natural wood finish, the Blacktop does what it says on the tin. Namely offer a black finish on the top panel.
However, there’s more to the guitar than meets the eye, as it’s the only GT build to offer a walnut back and sides (paired with a spruce top). Inside, it uses Class C bracing, which emphasizes the low end, but in a way that Taylor says still delivers “balance and clarity.”
Learn more about Taylor’s new acoustic models for 2022
Fender Paramount PS-220E Lounge
$829.99 / £649 / €749
The new Dreadnaught, Orchestra and Parlor models from the Paramount 2022 series are a relaunch of the series of sorts. They offer the choice of a solid spruce or solid mahogany top paired with solid mahogany back and sides.
There’s an offset X-bracing pattern that’s been “carefully fine-tuned to optimize resonance and tone,” but what’s more intriguing are the Fender & Fishman-designed pickups. Because those two companies knocked it out of the park with the Acoustasonic.
“A body-sensing pickup that enhances soundboard vibrations,” is the description of the piezo/transducer mix for the Sonitone Plus pickup system. The preamp system will also feature low-profile (read: hidden) rosette-mounted controls.
Updated cosmetics include pearloid snowflake fingerboard inlays, feathered bindings, rosette, backstripe, and black or tiger stripe pickguard. All three models also feature a bone nut and saddle with slim, tapered mahogany necks, and an ovangkol bridge.
Learn more about the new Fender Paramount Acoustics
Martin has unveiled three new electro-acoustic singlecuts for its 2022 Road Series, including this SC-10E.
All new single cutaways share the SC-13 body shape with Martin’s Sure Align neck system (providing a 25.4-inch scale length), which debuted on the SC-13E in 2021.
Essentially, the key innovation of the Sure Align is to remove the heel block where the neck meets the body and replace it with a dovetail neck joint. This is then shaped to incorporate a concave scoop, providing much easier access to the upper frets without the tonal compromises of a bolt-on neck.
This is further enhanced by an asymmetrical neck body – essentially a kind of twist neck profile which provides a more comfortable and ergonomic profile and is designed to complement your positioning higher in the neck.
The SC-10E is the most affordable option of the new SCs, it is constructed from a blend of thin Koa veneer on the back and sides and a Sitka spruce top. A black and white rosette inlay on the 12th fret offers a bit of flair, and it’s fitted with a Fishman MX-T pickup system.
Learn more about Martin’s new SC Acoustics
Sheeran by Lowden ‘Equals Edition’
Sheeran By Lowden has launched a limited edition signature guitar to mark the release of pop superstar Ed Sheeran’s typographically awkward new album, =.
The Sheeran By Lowden ‘= Edition’, now called Equals Edition, is the latest in the collaboration between George Lowden and Sheeran, and is limited to 3000 copies worldwide.
Assuming the W body shape, also known as Wee Lowden, the Equals Edition is a living room-sized compact acoustic. It has a sitka spruce top and figured walnut back and sides, with a mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard. This is where we find our first custom feature, with a maple inlaid Equals sign marking the 12th fret.
Like the other W-body models in the Sheeran By Lowden range, the Equals Edition has a typically welcoming 24-inch scale and measures 43.5mm at nut, and is sure to be approachable for players with smaller hands.
Within the rosette you will find a custom label and discrete preamp control setup for the onboard LR Baggs electrics. The Element Active System VTC system makes it a good option for playing through an acoustic guitar amp for live performance. Elsewhere, there’s a Graph Tech Tusq saddle and nut, and sealed chrome tuners.
Learn more about the Sheeran By Lowden ‘=Edition’
Yamaha has expanded its TransAcoustic family with a pair of cutaways acoustic guitars join the series. Featuring the same onboard effects and electronics, the FGC-TA and FSC-TA acoustics are the first cutaway models in the range and come in two different body sizes.
The FGC-TA has what Yamaha calls a traditional Western-style body, that is, a cutaway dreadnought shape in all but name. There is a solid spruce top with mahogany on the back and sides. Yamaha used NATO – or Oriental Mahogany for the neck – and rosewood for the 15.75-inch fingerboard.
Very conventional so far, but it’s the TransAcoustic series electronics that give it its USP, offering built-in reverb and chorus effects from a trio of shoulder-mounted controls.
There is a System 70 preamp and an SRT Piezo pickup positioned under the saddle. The piezo transfers the vibrations of the guitar to an actuator mounted inside the back of the guitar, which then transmits them through the body of the guitar and uses its frame to create natural reverb and chorus. It’s true: you don’t need to plug them into an acoustic guitar amp to enjoy the effects.
The FGC-TA is available in Vintage Tint, Brown Sunburst and Black finishes.