Monday, September 8, 2014

2014 Art and Lutherie Ami Cedar Parlour Acoustic Guitar


If you are looking for a new parlour guitar, this might be a good candidate: a nice Art & Lutherie Ami Cedar. Art & Lutherie guitars are a fabulous 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, and the other 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 pretty reasonable. Godin’s 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 handsome instrument, with a vintage burst 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-gloss, 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 close to normal scale (24.84-inch) guitar so the frets are not too close together. 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.

The Ami is a nicely-made guitar, with solid materials and 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.

Should 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.

If you do not want the burst finish 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 black. Or you can choose a spruce top in burgundy. There is also a nylon string model available.

MSRP on this guitar is a mere $419, with a street price of about $349. You can negotiate a bit lower than the street price so check around before you buy. It is definitively one of the better small-sized acoustic guitar for the money.


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