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First things first: this guitar won a loudness contest with an electric guitar plugged into a 15-watt tube amp. It may very well be one of the loudest acoustic guitars I’ve ever gotten my hands on—quite an accomplishment, given its smaller size! This is not one of those concert-sized guitars that gets lost during an acoustic jam—if anything, you may get asked to turn down your right hand!
But loudness without sound quality means nothing, and thankfully this Froggy Bottom has tone for days! The first thing you hear is the serious woody thump in the midrange. The low-mids come through strongest, but every part of the midrange frequency spectrum comes through loud and clear with exceptional detail. The frequency response is also quite dry in the mids, so you get smacked in the face with a powerful fundamental no matter where you’re playing on the neck. This lends the guitar an uncommon clarity and purity to go with its incredibly high volume ceiling.
What sets this particular serial number apart from the others is a surprising amount of shimmer and sparkle in the treble frequencies. Bright, bell-like overtones bloom over the woody midrange as soon as the pick leaves the string, giving this instrument exceptional presence and cut. It sort of sounds like a Precision bass crossed with a Steinway! Oftentimes, the treble frequencies can become harsh when you play hard on a smaller-bodied instrument, but I am happy to report that they never lost their sweet, singing quality.
Speaking of volume, let’s talk about the most astounding part of this guitar: its headroom. After I played it for a few minutes I decided to see if I could make it “break-up”—that is, find the point at which the top begins to compress and make the guitar sound boxy—and I couldn’t do it! It’s just like with old Twin Reverbs from the sixties: once you pass a certain point, on the volume knob, it doesn’t get much louder but does get fuller and fuller. The more you dig in, the more harmonics jump out at you, but it always sounds as open as the Colorado sky.
I am sincerely at a loss as to how Froggy Bottom manages to make small acoustic guitars sound so big! In this serial, they’ve managed to somehow combine all the things I love about dreadnoughts with all of the things I love about concert-sized acoustics. At this point, I am convinced that there is some sort of witchcraft or wizardry involved in their manufacturing process. There’s no other explanation for guitars this good.