Sunday, January 9, 2011

Art and Lutherie Ami Cedar Parlour Acoustic Guitar

Good day!

Today we are looking at a super-keen Art & Lutherie Ami Cedar parlour-sized acoustic guitar. Art & Lutherie guitars are a solid value. They are an offshoot of the Godin family of guitars and are made in Princeville Quebec. They claim that 95% of their wood comes from Canada, too. The 5% must be all of that Indian rosewood.

I am impressed by the sound and the build quality of this guitar, and even more by the price, which is much less than a comparable Martin or Taylor guitar. Their concept was to make an instrument that is similar to the parlour guitars of the early 20th century. But its small size does not mean it is a toy. It has a full-size neck and plays like a real guitar.

The Ami is a spartan-looking guitar, with a black finish over the solid cedar top, and red wild cherry back and sides. The fretboard and bridge are made of Indian rosewood. The finish is sort of a semi-matte, and the body has a simple binding around the top. The super cheap-looking stick-on rosette is my biggest gripe with the appearance.

The sealed tuners are nice quality and hold well. It has first-rate Tusq (synthetic bone) compensated nut and bridge saddles that are made by Graphtech.

The neck is made of a single piece of maple, with added sections for the headstock and heel. It has a smooth satin finish, which does not get sticky over time. The nut is 1.72-inches wide, so it is a little narrow if you do a lot of finger picking, but this is a normal scale (24.84-inch) guitar so the frets are a normal distance apart. There are 19 medium frets and there is an adjustable trussrod. This guitar had a great set-up right out of the box, and the frets ends are finished well, with nice edges.

So, overall it is a nicely-made guitar, with solid materials. But, it sounds nice and plays well too! It has a fairly balanced tone and surprising volume when picked hard. It is pleasant to play, and is a great travel guitar.

And if you take it on a trip, it is nice and light, weighing in at around 3 pounds, 11 ounces according to my scale. They come with a good quality padded gig bag, which is a nice bonus in my book.

Oh. I almost forgot. If you hate the black color or the cedar top, there are other options available with the Art & Lutherie Ami guitars. You can get Ami cedar tops in blue (shudder), natural, and burst. Or you can choose a spruce top in burgundy. There is also a nylon string model available.

MSRP on this guitar is a mere $329, with a street price of about $299. You can negotiate a bit lower than the street price so check around before you buy. You will not find a better small-sized acoustic guitar for the money.



  1. Thank you for this post! I was researching affordable guitars with decent sound to play as a hobby, and stumbled onto your blog. Cheers

  2. Thanks for checking in and for the kind words. Good luck!

  3. I wanted a small guitar for a road trip and came across this model Ami on a buy and sell site last week—super cheap, I mean really!! I didn’t have high expectations whatsoever, just something to take with me on a trip. Brought it home had only 2 very minor dings and virtually no fret wear, a dead straight neck and with a quarter turn of the truss rod it was perfect! Put new strings on it and wow, it wasn’t the boxy sounding parlor I expected. It sounded great, and very nice quality. To your point, not a toy—high quality and with a wide nut. It’s so much fun to play!