Guitar Interactive Magazine toggle menu

Review

Vintage Roger Williams Signature Nylon Electro Acoustic

Issue #53

Straight from its case, the RW guitar has a unique design and striking appearance, thanks to the beautiful combination of tone-woods’ colours.
Giorgio Serci

Pros:

Excellent build quality

Even and balanced tone

Neck shape and cutaway give outstanding player comfort

Cons:

Not as sophisticated tone-wise when compared with a higher end model

Guitar Interactive Rating: Four and a half stars

Vintage Roger Williams Signature Nylon Electro Acoustic

MSRP £649 (UK)  $TBC (US)


Using solid A-grade cedar top with solid rosewood back and sides, Roger Williams and Vintage have set out to build a nylon-string instrument designed to play and feel like a steel string. Giorgio Serci reviews the Vintage Roger Williams Signature Nylon Electro Acoustic Crossover.

Roger Williams is an internationally respected guitar luthier who has learned and refined his art to the highest level as a result of years of repairing and restoring handmade Spanish guitars. As he puts it “I have been able to study and absorb the design, features, and nuances of the "Spanish Guitar" construction.” His guitars have been endorsed and received outstanding consensus by leading exponents of classical and acoustic guitar, including Xuefei Yang and Gordon Giltrap, to name but a few.

The aim of a crossover guitar is to facilitate the transition from steel-string to nylon-string guitars and to enjoy the warm and mellower sound of nylon strings with the playability deriving from a narrower neck.

These are the main features of this guitar:

  • The Red Cedar guitar top (Table) is selected and braced to provide a full range tone and quick response suitable for a wide range of music from Classical to Salsa Jazz!
  • A fingerboard width of 48mm provides considerably wider string spacing than that found on most steel-string guitars allowing for improved accuracy in complex fingering.
  • A radiussed fingerboard is helpful in making the guitar easier to play assisting barre chords considerably. Side dots also allow a quick positioning reminder in fast passages.
  • At the saddle, a wider string spacing of 58mm facilitates the classical right-hand “fingerstyle” technique allowing the fingers to enter the gap between the strings and obtain greater purchase on the string widening the tonal and volume palette.
  • The string action is quite low for nylon strings (recommended 2.4/3.4MM) and the use of higher tension or Flamenco strings provide a firm feel and tension to the strings without overloading the guitar top.
  • The unique double-curvature Florentine cutaway is not only extremely elegant with a completely smooth transition, but eases access to higher fret positions allowing barre chords that would otherwise be impossible, or at best extremely awkward.
  • The latest Fishman INK+ Pre-amp with the Sonicore pickup enhance the natural tone and allow the sound to be accurately modified to suit any musical, studio or stage requirement.

A double-acting truss-rod allows the informed player to easily move between a "Classical" setup and a "Flamenco" setup with less than a 1/2 turn of the adjuster.

Straight from its case, the RW guitar has a unique design and striking appearance, thanks to the beautiful combination of tone-woods’ colours. This is evident on the headstock on the use of abalone details and the innovative double-curvature Florentine cutaway, which as well as being elegant facilitate access to the higher register of the guitar.

Framing the headstock are the gold style machine heads, which as well as working really well, add an elegant touch to the guitar.

This instrument features a well-finished ebony fingerboard, with a 48mm bone nut for maximum sustain.

As most nylon string guitars, the neck meets the upper bout at the 12th fret, and it does so in a fluid and ergonomic manner.

Rosewood bridge and nut saddle ensure an improved resonance, intonation, and tone. Rosette and purling add another elegant touch to the aesthetic of this instrument. 

Playing this guitar, a balanced response, as well as the sweet and equally present timbre is noticeable from the treble to the bass register. The action is quite comfortable, and this could be easily adjusted for an even-more personalized outcome thanks to the double-acting truss-rod. A beautiful craftsmanship is evident from the headstock to the lower bout, which flow in a harmonious and refined manner.

This model features a Fishman Ink preamp, which guarantees a clear and balanced amplified tone and makes this a really versatile model for both live and studio performances. This features a 3-band equalizer, with bass, mid and treble plus an extra brilliance control, to emphasize the higher frequencies even more and finally features a tuner. As you can hear from my demo, the sound solely through the pick up is clear and balanced. You may prefer using a condenser mic, as I have demonstrated for a more faithful reproduction, or you could combine the two sounds, for a faithfully but slightly more punchy and feedback-free tone.

In conclusion, its finish, playability, tone as well as its Fishman pickup and its cutaway design make this a versatile gigging guitar, ideal for the guitarist looking for an instrument which sounds good through a PA, as well as acoustically.

I strongly recommend finding a dealer near you and trying this model for yourselves; I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised!

SPECS

Solid rosewood back and sides

Mahogany neck

Bone nut

Abalone/Maple Inlays

Fishman INK + preamp   

For more information, please visit:

www.jhs.co.uk/brands/vintage

Final Cover Image.jpg
Comments

Issue #53

Black Country Communion

Out Now

Read the Mag
Top