Parlor-sized acoustics (and similar small acoustics) have had a bit of a renaissance in recent years. Fender’s all-solidwood Paramount Series PM-2 Deluxe Parlor, which features a Sitka spruce top and East Indian rosewood back and sides, is a wonderfully modern take on a petite acoustic. It's no secret that Fender's acoustic offerings haven't quite made the same historical impact as their electrics, but the PM-2 is as good as nearly any parlor I've played. Right away I noticed the richness in the midrange—perfect for blues fingerpickers and folky strummers. I was able to coax snappy, open-string lines and airy “fauxgrass” licks quite easily across the mahogany neck and ebony fretboard.
The Fishman-designed PM preamp is about as straightforward as an onboard electronics setup gets. The bass and treble controls are nestled around an easy-to-turn volume knob. Above that sits an illuminated screen for the touch-activated tuner and phase control. The PM-2 doesn't pack the low-end punch of a full-size dread, but the clarity on the bass strings definitely stands out among similar-bodied guitars.
Test gear: Fishman SoloAmp