Just a quick post about a visit I paid to London guitar studio on Friday while I was mooching around London with my other half. I'm hopefully going to have enough savings to get a new guitar soon, so I wanted to see what they had on offer. Maybe it'll be useful to someone if they search for the guitars or the shop on here.
First of all - what a great guitar shop. Friendly, very knowledgable staff who were more than happy to talk guitars with me the whole time I was in there, including an interesting conversation about Alhambra. I went in asking about sub £1k spruce top guitars, but they were more than happy to let me play many guitars. In fact the lady (I forgot her name
) kept bringing more over to me so I could try them. Considering they knew my budget, and that I probably wasn't going to buy there and then, I thought this was really decent of them. They have loads of Alhambra guitars in stock, but plenty of Luthier guitars at the back if you have a bit more £££ to play with.
I had about 15 minutes on a 9p spruce and was really impressed by it. Very easy to play, lovely tone, clear as a bell. I could play it better than I could play my own guitar (Camps M14 cedar) - although I tend to play better in shops as I don't want to look rubbish in front of other people. There are not many new guitars I would choose over that 9p for that price tag. My only criticism is the weight - it seemed to be built a lot heavier than my guitar. The finish looked thicker as well.
I had a few minutes on an Alhambra Pepe Toldo spruce top, the one with the sound reflector. The tone wasn't really my thing, but it does give good projection reference to the player, and the playability for me was good.
I then played the Camps M16 double top, which I really really liked. My guitar isn't the loudest guitar in the world, and sometimes I find the basses struggle to make it through. None of that with this guitar. It was like my guitar on steroids. Seriously looking at this guitar when the time comes.
After querying which other guitars they stocked, I was shown the Pappalardo SC1 with the raised neck. I've not played a guitar with this price tag before, but WOW. What a guitar. I didn't expect a player of my ability to really appreciate the difference between £1000 factory guitars and £3000 Luthier guitars, but this was just phenomenal. The raised neck made playing the dusty end so easy. The guitar was also beautifully made, and the tonal palette that even I could achieve was miles ahead of what I've played before. The clearest cedar guitar I've played by a long shot, and the easiest guitar to play that I've tried.
Then I was shown a Yulong Guo special cedar. I didn't play this one properly so I can't comment much about playability. It was played for me, and sounded very much like a 'modern' classical guitar. Louder and more 'pianoey'. It was beautifully made. Sounds like they are getting popular over here and are very good guitars for the price tag. Something was said about buying a Yulong if you don't want to spend the £££ on a Smallman, although I can't remember exactly.
So there we go - rambling over. I felt I should put my positive experience of this shop here, I was there only an hour or so but thoroughly enjoyed talking, learning about, and playing guitars. Now I have to work out how I can get enough £ for the Camps double top. Maybe a trade in is an option, although I suspect that will feel inferior after playing the Pappalardo guitar.