Read the full article
This article was originally published in issue #32
To read the article in its entirety, view the digital magazine
Crafter is one of those makers we've come to rely on for great sounding, reliable and highly playable guitars that most players can actually afford, so the offer of an oh-so fashionable all-mahogany model was too good to resist. Does it maintain the Crafter reputation, though? Lewis Turner finds out.
As one of the world's leading manufacturers of smartly priced guitars, Crafter offers a comprehensive line of acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars, basses, and mandolins, with a pretty huge range of options when it comes to tonewoods and cosmetics. To commemorate the company's 40th anniversary they released their first all-mahogany model, the TE-6MH/BR which is what we have here. As we always say: be sure to check out the video to see and hear it for yourself.
Pulling it from the good quality gig bag (nicely included in the price!) this is an attractive Orchestra sized guitar, the warm reddish-brown satin finish complemented by the dark rosewood fingerboard and bridge, making this look a very classy instrument. Fit and finish overall was very good, featuring scalloped X bracing, and deluxe chrome tuners, that held their tuning well after a little initial tightening-up.
In your hands, the guitar's neck is a very comfortable C shape that fits well feeling much like an electric guitar neck - which is a good thing if you are coming from that background, as many GI readers will be. It's got a 22.5” scale with 21 frets, all seated nicely, with an easy going action which is nice and low, to make barre chords and lead playing easy, but not so low as to introduce fret buzz or intonation issues. The cutaway gave good access to the higher frets, although as is quite common on these styles, you can find the strap fixing gets in the way as it’s fixed on the neck joint. The Orchestra size body is a comfortable shape - not too big to put off acoustic new comers, and not too small that you experience a loss of volume and depth.
And so to the all-important choice of tonewoods! Having mahogany throughout, including a solid mahogany top, immediately sets a certain tone, offering a mid range heavy voice that's particularly suitable for Blues type playing. Having said, that it's still a very versatile guitar yielding plenty of dynamic range and warmth right across the tonal spectrum. Due to the size, plenty of volume can be achieved once you start to dig in, too!
The electrics on this guitar are courtesy of a 'Crafter full spectrum pickup', and Crafter CR-T GV Pre-amp. This arrangement includes a three band equaliser, presence and volume controls, plus built in tuner, which are welcome additions especially at this price. The tuner was clear to read and seemed very accurate. As for the amplified sound, there is always an issue with plugging in an acoustic, because a lot of its natural tonal characteristics will be lost as the sound winds its way through the various systems. The electronics in the Crafter worked well, with no feedback issues and the three band EQ is a great thing to have at your fingertips. It did lose some of its warmth and bottom end which was to be expected, but by adding a bit of bass on the EQ you can claw back some of that. Plugging into a standard PA or good acoustic amp will suit this guitar down to the ground, but if recording with it, I would be tempted to mic it up to capture its true resonance, which is impressive.
Crafter's TE-6MH/BR from Crafter is a great all round electro-acoustic guitar, well made with a wide tone pallet to suit most styles. It also comes at a very good price for a solid topped guitar. Our sample needed a touch of polishing-up (the machine heads needed tightening and there were a couple of rough frets) which reinforces what we are always saying about buying from a real shop, where these things can been sorted easily as part of your purchase, but they certainly don't detract from what is a fundamentally well made, good quality guitar that punches above its price tag. The electronics may not be the very best you can get but they are very acceptable for this price and will serve you well for day to day use. They're also easy to replace later on if you want to stick with this guitar as you progress. This would be a great first acoustic or if you are looking for that specific mahogany sound, this could be the guitar for you.