If I hadn’t had their spec sheets in front of me, I might not have known that a pair of new Taylor guitars were affordable instruments. The new Taylor Academy 10e dreadnought and 12e Grand Concert each sell for well under a grand with a deluxe padded gig bag. Both…
utch Boswell, a self-proclaimed “wood junkie,” is taking his 20 years of guitar repair skills and putting them toward building one-of-a-kind instruments that cater to his clients’ individual needs. Boswell builds guitars in small batches of two or three instruments at a time at his shop in Bend, Oregon.
The Batson Americana is visually striking: The ebony fretboard, bridge, and tailpiece make a beautiful, chocolate-hued center line against the vanilla-shaded, solid Sitka spruce top; and the light-colored, solid mahogany back and sides have a honey-hued, koa-like sheen.
Even though the M-20 is relatively unadorned—no binding, nor abalone nor mother-of-pearl inlays except in the “Guild” insignia on the head stock—its build is apparent in the quality of the woods, fret dressing, bone nut and saddle, and set up.
At first glance, the Michael Kelly Forte Port might seem like nothing special. After all, it has laminated sapele back and sides, a two-piece mahogany neck, a nylon nut, black ply binding, and a sticker price of just $299.
The 00L-17 sounds every bit as awesome as it feels. It’s got a lovely, uncluttered sound, heavy on fundamentals but with shimmering overtones and a nice natural reverb. The string-to-string balance is excellent, as are the projection and sustain. It’s definitely a more powerful instrument than would be expected of one of its size and scale length.
The 00-15E’s mahogany soundboard isn’t as excitable as spruce, but the guitar is responsive whether I’m playing gently or digging in with a pick. Single-note lines and complex chords alike are clear and brilliant up and down the neck.