Acoustic

A newly designed koa wonder that packs a punch.

Incredibly easy to play. Well-balanced tone.

Not as visually stunning as other koa models.

$3,499

Taylor 724ce
taylorguitars.com

4.5
4.5
5
4.5
Hawaiian koa has been a favorite of boutique acoustic builders for ages. It has a cool tone personality, somewhere between rosewood and mahogany. It can be used for both back and sides and for top wood, and it’s beautiful. It’s also pretty expensive. The good news is that Taylor’s new 724ce is built with a breed of Koa that actually helps players save a few bucks.
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A triangle-style Muff homage dishes white-hot sounds alongside unexpected fuzz shapes and colors.

Screaming classic Muff tones and fuzz surprises throughout the gain range. Thoughtful, imaginative build. Looks awesome.

Fans of smooth, Sovtek-style maximum saturation might find max-gain settings relatively harsh.

$309

Wren and Cuff The Good One
wrenandcuff.com

5
5
4.5
4

A vintage circuit detective’s life isn’t exactly that of a Benedictine monk. But to decode what makes vintage Big Muffs tick, you inevitably give away many hours of your life. For Matt Holl’s part in this sacrifice, players can reliably experience choice and unique vintage Muff tones in the form of his well-built and often vintage-handsome Wren and Cuff pedals. Holl fully embraces the idiosyncrasies in Big Muffs, and the potential of those quirks. His Forest Through The Trees (formerly known as the De La Riva), for example, employs 20 DIP switches for moving between gain transistors, clipping diodes, biasing, and just about every other component in the circuit. The Garbage Face, meanwhile, creatively replicates the drifting and very irregular component values in J Mascis’ original Ram’s Head Muff. Each pedal reflects Holl’s understanding that old Big Muffs are individuals, and that the key to a pedal’s appeal can lurk in unexpected places.

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Unconventional construction methods help set a very unusual acoustic/electric hybrid apart.

Beautiful playability. Stable under neck-wobbling, pitch-bending maneuvers.

Polarizing styling and construction if you’re strictly traditional. Expensive for a niche instrument.

$1,999

Riversong Glenwood TS6
riversongguitars.com

4
4.5
4.5
3.5

The first and perhaps most important thing to know about Riversong’s Glennwood TS6 is that it aspires to hybridize elements of electric and acoustic guitars. This is not a new idea—certainly not in the amplified acoustic era, where the straightest route to eliminating feedback is by reducing the resonant elements that cause feedback in the first place. Some acoustic/electrics achieve these ends by slimming bodies down to electric-guitar thickness. Riversong, however, sticks to traditional acoustic formula by making the TS6 a full-sized instrument. Its dimensions are a little bit atypical: the 16" wide body and 4 3/4" thickness are about the same size as Martin’s “jumbo” J body and the Taylor Grand Pacific. The pretty silhouette also echoes the curvaceousness of those larger guitars. Those similarities sometimes feel like an exception, though. At nearly every other turn, the TS6 very happily breaks the acoustic design mold.

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A svelte and powerful high-end flattop that’s equally sweet and dynamic.

Not a construction flaw to be found. Sweet-to-powerful dynamic range. Comfy neck. Near-rosewood-level responsiveness from a mahogany back. Beautiful woods.

A full $1K more than a Standard 000-18.

$3,599

Martin 000-18 Modern Deluxe
martinguitar.com

4.5
5
5
3.5

It would be easy for a company of Martin’s stature to coast every now and again. Maintaining brand mystique is exhausting in an age when hype rules the day. Keeping quality and substance intact—and maintaining commitment from the folks on the shop floor that deliver it—is even harder. But year in and year out, Martin continues to make instruments that simultaneously dwell in the realms of the practical, the musical, and the exquisite.

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