Nick Jennison reviews the Soundsation BA200. A compact version of the Soundsation Shadow Series line, the BA200 acoustic guitar is only 83cm long but still delivers big in the tonal department.
I love small-bodied acoustic guitars. You can recline on the sofa and play one without having to reach around a large body, they feel much more comfortable hanging from a strap, and the smaller neck and shorter scale make for a much easier playing experience. They’re also a great choice for student instruments - if you’ve ever tried to teach an 8-year-old how to hold a dreadnought, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
The Soundsation BA200 Compact is just such a guitar. It’s a diminutive 83cm (32.6”) from end to end with a petite parlour body shape, but it’s still a full 4/4 scale instrument with a 14th fret neck join. It sports a mahogany neck, back and sides and a solid sitka spruce top - pretty impressive on an affordable, small body guitar where laminate tops are much more common - all under a really tidy matte black finish.
In terms of playability, this guitar is a lot of fun. The small body shape makes it easy to find a comfortable playing position, and the neck profile feels great - it’s small enough to be easily manageable for players with smaller hands while still having enough front-to-back depth for larger players like myself. The factory action is pretty good, and the shorter scale length gives the guitar a loose and easy playing feel.
Tonally, there’s a lot to like. While you’d be foolish to expect huge cinematic lows from a guitar this small, there’s plenty of projection for strumming styles, especially if you have a lighter touch or use a thinner pick. This guitar really shines with gentler styles though, with a sweet and mellow voice that’s ideal for fingerstyle playing. That said, single-note leads sound great too, and definitely benefit from the loose playing feel.
The Soundsation BA200 Compact is a very well built guitar that’s a lot of fun to play. The small body size makes it an ideal travel guitar, and when you combine this with a slinky playing feel and a sweet, mellow tone and you have the perfect instrument for students - especially younger players with smaller frames. That said, pretty much any player will get a kick out of this guitar.
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