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This R-14 Deluxe Mahogany sounds incredible (more on that in a moment), but let's take a minute to appreciate its aesthetic perfection. The finish is murdered-out, but the maple binding and abalone add a touch of color and elegance to the picture, ultimately giving it a simple, stylish, classic look.
It's appropriate that it looks so classic, because its tone and versatility remind me of certain small-bodied guitars built in Kalamazoo during the forties and fifties. Overall, it has a warm, woody, punchy voice with wide dynamic range and lots of headroom. It also produces a strong sonorous fundamental. You might mistake it for a dreadnought at first, because its low-end is quite powerful and its voice projects with exceptional power, but it is just as expressive as any small-bodied guitar. As always, Froggy Bottom gives us the best of both worlds.
This R-14 Deluxe's attack is quite expressive. At low-to-medium volumes, the front end of the note has piano-like roundness. However, when you flog it like a thoroughbred, you can get plenty of bite, grunt, growl and bark out of it. Between these two extremes, there are lots of subtle shades of sonic color you can use to paint your masterpiece by altering your right-hand dynamics.
Speaking of dynamics, this guitar's high headroom (likely a product of its Adirondack spruce top) allows it to remain open and three-dimensional even at high volumes. Once you do reach the limit of its headroom, a lovely bouquet of overtones pops out of the soundhole. There is just the right amount of silvery sparkle in the midrange and a perfect amount of sunny sheen in the highs. Sitting and strumming open chords with this guitar is a joy because it sits squarely within the Goldilocks Zone: there is enough harmonic complexity to tickle the eardrums, but there is not so much that it detracts from the pure woody warmth of the fundamental.
Fingerstyle players seeking a warm, punchy-sounding instrument will dig this serial, and so will strummers seeking a robust yet sculpted sound. For someone like me who splits their time equally between the two styles, it is nigh-perfect. Usually, guitars that live in the rarefied air of the boutique world have no flaws: just strengths and weaknesses. This one has no weaknesses, and its versatility is what makes it a truly inspiring tool for the stage, studio, coffee shop, or couch. Anyone seeking an acoustic guitar that can do anything you might ask of it will love this fabulous Froggy!