The diminutive Woodland Pro parlor generates a bottom end full of overtones, body, and dimension, with mind-blowing sustain.

Parlor guitars, and the family of 6-string instruments from which they evolved, are some of the oldest, most venerable flattops in history. These guitars date back as far as, well, when folks still used the word parlor, and in the last few decades, they’ve moved in and out of vogue, but the expressive and practical qualities of good parlor models are beyond question. They’re small enough to be perfect travel companions, they’re inconspicuous enough to stow in a corner or hang on the wall at the ready for an impromptu house (parlor?) jam, and they generate tones that can be tough to coax from any other type of 6-string.

Made in Canada, Simon & Patrick (along with its sister brands in the Godin family) have, in part, made guitars with unique voices, shapes, and feel their stock-in-trade. So a parlor seems a natural for the company. Even so, the entirely solid spruce-and-mahogany Woodland Pro is a fantastic and intriguing guitar by any measure.

Like almost every Simon & Patrick we cross paths with, the build quality is very clean. On the Woodland Pro parlor, the exterior detail work and finish are well executed and thoughtful. The rosewood rosette lends a modern and distinctly Simon & Patrick touch, the white binding lends an uptown-and-classy, dressed-up look, and the three-color sunburst has a unique honey hue. The guitar is darn near flawless on the inside too, the exception being a groove in the kerfing that’s cut a bit too wide.

Parlor Tricks
As it turns out, the Woodland Pro Parlor is a master of illusion. The low end it generates, at times, seems to defy physics. And in spite of the diminutive dimensions, it generates not just freakishly big bass, but a bottom end full of overtones, body, and dimension. Likewise, the sustain is sometimes mind-blowing—way more in line with a piano than parlor guitar. The Woodland Pro Parlor is a potential recording star.

Ratings

Pros: Bass and sustain that seem to defy the laws of nature. Amazingly versatile.

Cons: Might be a few bucks too many for some players.

Tones:

Playability:

Build/Design:

Value:

Street: $749
simonandpatrick.com

Overachieving lows aside, the guitar sounds very even, concise, and colorful without being bossy—qualities that can make an acoustic rhythm track or fingerpicked melody sit perfectly in a mix. There’s plenty of definition for funky syncopated rhythms and hammer-ons, but delicate picking generates a spectrum of harpsichord- and dulcimer-like tones that can work in harmony with a dreadnought rhythm part or a bass track.

Playing pentatonic blues leads is a treat. Individual notes have a cool, snarling clarity, and the guitar as a whole has very elastic feel and playability that invites bends. Here again, that logic-defying sustain comes into play. And you can linger with a single note quivering with finger vibrato for a bar—or two—without going AWOL in a song.

A lot of players probably won’t give a parlor a second glance, because of its Lilliputian dimensions. But pickers who take even a minute to explore the many possibilities of the Woodland Pro Parlor are likely to be amply rewarded for their open-mindedness and curiosity. At almost 750 bucks, the Woodland Pro Parlor isn’t a cheap second guitar. But what’s most impressive abut it is the way that it can stand in for just about any flattop, save for a dreadnought or jumbo—especially in the studio. It may be small, but in the Woodland Pro Parlor, many players might just find all the guitar they ever need.

Watch our video demo:

Read the rest of the reviews in the roundup:

How jangle, glam, punk, shoegaze, and more blended to create a worldwide phenomenon. Just don’t forget your tambourine.

Intermediate

Beginner

  • Learn genre-defining elements of Britpop guitar.
  • Use the various elements to create your own Britpop songs.
  • Discover how “borrowing” from the best can enrich your own playing.
{u'media': u'[rebelmouse-document-pdf 12854 site_id=20368559 original_filename="Britpop-Dec21.pdf"]', u'file_original_url': u'https://roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms/documents/12854/Britpop-Dec21.pdf', u'type': u'pdf', u'id': 12854, u'media_html': u'Britpop-Dec21.pdf'}

When considering the many bands that fall under the term “Britpop”–Oasis, Blur, Suede, Elastica, Radiohead’s early work, and more–it’s clear that the genre is more an attitude than a specific musical style. Still, there are a few guitar techniques and approaches that abound in the genre, many of which have been “borrowed” (the British music press’ friendly way of saying “appropriated”) from earlier British bands of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

Read More Show less

"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

Read More Show less
x