Is it actually possible to make a cross between a nylon strung classical guitar and its steel strung cousin? Vintage thinks so – but does Ben Morgan-Brown agree?
For some players, a nylon strung classical style guitar is a must. It certainly offers many different qualities both in terms of the tone it produces and the way it plays but it is not the easiest instrument to gig with. Top quality classical guitars tend to be expensive and hard to get the best out of unless miked with a high quality microphone and switching from one to the other can be bit of a culture shock. If only there were a halfway house! In fact there is, it’s called a crossover guitar and that’s just what the Vintage Roger Williams Signature Electric Acoustic Crossover sets out to be.
Roger Williams is a highly regarded classical guitar maker and Vintage is a British brand, though in common with most these days, its instruments are made elsewhere, which in theory means you are getting the advantages of both luthier quality design and affordable mass production. It’s not unheard of for luthiers to put their names to factory produced instruments but it is a bit of a risk for the luthier’s reputation if something goes wrong in production or quality control. Thankfully, Williams seems to be in safe hands here as Vintage has a very good reputation and, indeed, this model won an award from the Music Industries Association Trusted Music Store scheme in 2017.
The Vintage is a well made instrument constructed from good quality materials including a Grade A cedar top, Indian rosewood back and sides, a mahogany neck and some nice touches like abalone and maple inlays. Impressively, at the price, it comes in a decent quality Kinsman hard case and boasts a Fishman INK pickup/pre-amp system with a pretty comprehensive range of EQ facilities and anti-feedback tools as well as a tuner.
Construction on our sample pretty good with only the sort of minor finish imperfections that are inevitable at this sort of price. It was easy to play and as our video demonstrates, produces an excellent tone whether played acoustically or amplified (as always, make sure you listen with good quality speakers or headphones!). Ben was quite taken with the tone of this guitar and enjoyed the well designed cutaway which makes access to the top frets very easy. All in all, it’s very hard to fault this instrument.
If you are a gigging guitarist who needs that inimitable nylon strung sound and feel but from an instrument that is suited to gigging rather than concert recitals, the Vintage Roger Williams demands a place on our audition list. We think you will find it pretty hard to beat for the money.
Vintage Roger Williams Signature Electro Acoustic Crossover £699
AR Reviews are recorded in a top quality studio with the finest equipment. To get the best from our reviews and really hear the instruments perform make sure you listen on good quality speakers or headphones!
Back: Solid Rosewood
Sides: Solid Rosewood
Top Nut: Bone
Soundhole: Abalone/Maple Inlays
Machine Heads: Gold Classical style
Preamp: Fishman INK +
Strings: High quality USA made
Includes: Kinsman ‘Roger Williams Signature’ hardshell