Saturday, July 13, 2013

Guild Orpheum: Part Deux

You may remember our earlier review of the prototype that first introduced us to this fine instrument.  Well, here it is folks.....the real deal.....

Introducing the Guild Orpheum 12 Fret Slope Shoulder. 

The Guild Custom Shop presents to us this beautifully crafted and rich-sounding Orpheum  "Slope 12" dreadnought acoustic. Built in the U.S.A. by the Guild Custom Shop, the Orpheum series models are designed to remind us of 1930s-era golden age of U.S. acoustic guitar design and construction.  Well done we say!

 First the features and amenities:  Adirondack red spruce top with scalloped red spruce bracing.

Look at this beauty!

Solid mahogany back and sides.  Traditional hot hide-glue construction.   Soft "V" neck profile, 20-fret ebony fingerboard with pearl-dot inlays with a 12" radius.  24 3/4 inch scale length.  Bone nut, elegant cream body binding, and  nitrocellulose lacquer neck finish.

 Orpheum Back

Other features include a tortoiseshell pickguard, pyramid-style ebony bridge with bone saddle and pins, Guild-logo Gotoh SE-700 open-back tuners with Guild engraved cream ivoroid buttons. Included is a handsome deluxe hard-shell case. The finishes available are Natural and Sunburst nitrocellulose lacquer.

 Guild Logo Gotoh Tuners

Now for the fun part.  Actually getting to play, listen and behold this fantastic guitar.

Right of the bat we were struck by the finish and overall styling of the Orpheium.  Seriously, just look at it!  From the fancy headstock, tobacco burst finish, down to the very unique binding and purfling, this guitar is an absolute stunner.

Orpheum Headstock

Sky blue is integrated into both the binding and purfling adding just enough of a "cooling" element to the otherwise dominant warm black and brown tones.  Understated and elegant, this addition of sky blue serves up a perfect counterpoint.

                   Back strip detail                                                                Rosette

Upon picking it up we were immediately struck by its light weight and thought perhaps we were in for something very special.  Indeed we were!  Holding it was far more comfortable than most guitars this size and its balance was obviously spot on.  No doubt, the neck joining the body at the 12th fret and the 24 3/4" scale length has much to do with its overall incredible bass response but we weren't counting on the volume!  This thing is a cannon.  Playing any open chord with a flat pick produces an experience unrivaled in recent memory.  The notes are clear, articulate, and endlessly musical.  The punch is tight and immediate and the mid range tone is outstanding.  This guitar has such immense vibration that it practically jumps off of your lap! 

Finger picking the Orpheum is an absolute pleasure.  The dynamics available to the player are many and varied.  Because of its incredible volume and tone, lightly finger picking the Orpheum produces a more than an intimate moment.  Digging in a bit reveals its full potential as an instrument capable of sounding incredible in any dynamic range.

The fretboard, with its 12" radius, is most comfortable and its 1 11/16" nut width makes it perfect for finger style playing.  The ebony finger board plays like butter.

We are all big fans of 12-fret guitars here at the store, but this one absolutely will blow you away.  Quite frankly, this Orpheum might have us losing a little sleep at night.

Written by Carrie Warlaumont and Gerald Collier
Photos by Carrie Warlaumont

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