REVIEW OF THE MS EIR/MASTER GRADE REDWOOD #004 (copied from a post on The Acoustic Guitar Forum)
I have had this guitar for a few months now and I feel that I can finally give it an appropriate review.
Ill start with the basic specs:
• Lower bout: 16″
• Waist: 9.375″
• Upper bout: 12″
• Body length: 20″
• Body depth at tail: 4.625″
• Neck: 5-piece Short scale (24.9″)
• Nut width: 1.75″
• String spacing at saddle: 2.25″
Top — Master Grade Redwood
Back/Sides — East Indian Rosewood
Binding — Bloodwood
Pickup — Baggs LB6x
The first impression when unpacking the guitar was how cool the Burner logo looked on the custom Ameritage case. The case is extremely solid and matches the caliber of the instrument inside (and the color scheme matches the Redwood/Bloodwood nicely).
The guitar itself is gorgeous. The woods used are top notch – the master grade redwood top has extremely tight grain, some nice silking, and great contrast between red and the streaks of dark brown. The back and sides feature a set of beautiful straight grained East Indian Rosewood that is the perfect, uniform dark chocolaty brown color. The use of Bloodwood for the binding was the perfect choice as it really pick up the red in the top and provides a great contrast to the dark brown back and sides (and the b/w/b purfling really makes the red pop). The rest of the details are really understated and give the guitar a simple, elegant look – nothing too flashy, but extremely well designed with a consistent theme through the construction of the guitar. (The use of the redwood top and bloodwood binding/accents have given the guitar an appropriate nickname – The Redhead.) I love the bloodwood purfling lines on the fret board and the simple bloodwood diamond inlay of the 12th fret as well as the jet black ebony headstock with only the Burner logo inlaid in Bloodwood. In a market flooded with guitars featuring loads of abalone inlays and other flashy items, I find it refreshing to see a luthier use only wood to provide contrast and detail. Needless to say, the fit and finish is impeccable. The guitar is very clean inside and out and no attention to detail was spared.
Now to the sound. The guitar features a mini jumbo shape as you can see from the dimensions above. I have played around with a few different types of strings and have found that the guitar absolutely sings with medium gauge Red brand copper stings. The guitar can handle any style of music I throw at it. The guitar has opened up nicely and is very responsive with incredible sustain and overtones. The redwood gives the tone a real warmth but when you really dig in it still has that brightness and bite that I love in most spruce topped guitars. The guitar is very well balanced – you can feel the bass in your chest (quite powerful without being overwhelming) yet the highs have that bell-like chime. The pickup they selected also suits the guitar well. I was a bit worried about feedback in louder applications, but I haven’t experienced any yet and the pickup’s tone is very natural sounding. I play a mix of styles, but primarily light to medium strumming with some finger picking here and there. The guitar is versatile enough that I now find myself reaching for it in place of my Martin J-40 in most applications. Sound is usually so subjective that all I can really say is the guitar makes me smile when I play it – its just one of those great joys you feel when you pick it up and strum that first chord.
All in all, I would highly recommend the guitar (and the builders). I am absolutely amazed that this was only the 4th guitar that they have built – Paul and Kyle really showcased their talent and I am quite eager to see more guitars as they are completed. Paul was wonderful to work with and has been extremely helpful in helping me get the guitar set up just how I like it. Paul and Kyle really have a passion for their craft and its evident in the final product. I expect to hear (and see) quite a few more Burner guitars pop up here in the years to come – I’m already thinking about the specs for my next one.
Do yourself a favor and check on www.burnerguitars.com. The guitars are amazing and are a steal at twice the current price.
I encourage you to check out the gallery that Paul has if you’d like to see some build shots and some professional pics: http://gallery.me.com/slidearts#100772