Crafter GAE 8/N Acoustic | REVIEW

Published 3 months ago on June 20, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Crafter GAE 8/N Acoustic
MSRP: (UK) £439 / (US) $TBC

First established in 1972 from the basement of founder HyunKwon Park, Crafter has long been a name synonymous with quality and attention to detail for the past half-century. Guitar Interactive's Phil Short takes a closer look at a recent release from the brand as he reviews the Crafter GAE 8/N.

The Crafter ethos is two-fold: quality and affordability. Historically, the term 'affordable guitars' has often been a polite way of saying 'cheap guitars,' and until recently, unless you paid over a certain price point, you'd struggle to get a decent-sounding guitar that also played well, held its tuning, and didn't present a multitude of problems.

Crafter, however, is a leader in the market of designing affordable guitars that genuinely play well, sound good, and by no means feel 'cheap' in the hands of the player. Good quality components are used, from the pickups and tuners to the choice of tonewoods, to ensure that the instrument plays well.

One of their most popular series is the Crafter GAE8-N Grand Auditorium Electro Acoustic Guitar. First impressions of picking this guitar up out of the box were that this was a well-made guitar, robust and reliable. Having played the guitar before looking up the price point online, we were genuinely surprised to see how low the price was, as the guitar looks, feels and sounds like an instrument worthy of a much higher price bracket.

The guitar sports premium-level features like a solid Engelmann Spruce top, providing a clear, crisp, punchy and resonant tone, with Mahogany back and sides adding extra warmth and richness. The Indian Rosewood fretboard was of very good quality, which has been neatly bound in a cream/white bounding on a very comfortable mahogany neck.

Playability wise, the set-up was great right out of the box. The action height was very comfortable and would suit someone who might be used to playing electric guitar most of the time. It held its tuning really well, and chords rang clear across the whole fretboard, revealing good quality fretwork. The intonation was also spot on right the way up the fretboard, something that is often a problem on guitars in the lower budget price ranges.

The other fantastic inclusion is the L.R. Baggs element pickup. L.R. Baggs are themselves a household name in acoustic amplification and D.I. products and are considered by many to be the best of the best when it comes to amplifying your favourite acoustic instrument. The pickup sounds wonderfully natural, and the inclusion of a notch switch to help control the midrange frequencies is a welcome addition to dialling in that sweet spot for your sound system.

As well as the Grand Auditorium style, this model is also available in a Dreadnought style, 12 string version and Parlour version. Three finishes are available, a natural finish with the spruce top, which is also available in a Tobacco Sunburst finish, and then a natural all Mahogany version is also available for those who like a darker and more rounded tone.

For those looking for a good quality acoustic but don't want to break the bank or are looking to experiment away from the electric guitar for the first time, the Crafter 8 series is definitely well worth checking out.

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