REVIEWS

Art & Lutherie Roadhouse Q-Discrete

Published 4 years ago on January 9, 2020

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

 

Art & Lutherie’s vision is simple - to produce handcrafted quality guitars at an affordable price. The Roadhouse series is very much the epitome of this statement. It’s vintage yet modern, with some approaches to construction that belies its price tag.

Stuart Shields

Art & Lutherie Roadhouse Q-Discrete

MSRP (UK) £559 (US) $TBC

Guitar Interactive star rating: 4.5

PROS

Beautiful tonality.

Comfortable body and neck shape.

Feels like a lot of guitar for the money.

CONS

Not the most versatile of acoustics

SPECS

Top Material: Select Pressure Tested Solid Spruce

Body Material: Solid Laminated Wild Cherry

Body Type: Roadhouse - Parlour


Art & Lutherie Roadhouse Q-Discrete

Parlour guitars; the ever faithful companion of the space conscious travelling musician and pop singer-songwriter alike. With the market for these compact acoustics ever-expanding; how does a brand gain the edge? Canadian luthiers Art & Lutherie may have just broken the mould with the Roadhouse Q-Discrete. Stuart Shields tells us more.

First off, you’d be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the brand name; however, Art & Lutherie’s parent company Godin should give you a good indication of the production values and quality expected from these handcrafted acoustics. With production starting in 1995 there is also some heritage attached to these guitars which certainly commands a closer look for those players looking for something away from the more ubiquitous brand names.

Art & Lutherie’s vision is simple - to produce handcrafted quality guitars at an affordable price. The Roadhouse series is very much the epitome of this statement. It’s vintage yet modern, with some approaches to construction that belies its price tag.

The choice of tonewoods here really piqued my interest; with CITIES issues abound, some less ‘stock’ choices are making themselves heard. And, let’s face it, if there’s something Canada has plenty of, it's wood! In fact, 95% of Art & Lutherie’s tonewoods are Canadian sourced so those who are sustainability conscious will be pleased. Wild Cherry back and sides give the Roadhouse an almost familiar tone - a midpoint somewhere between the depth of mahogany and the zing of maple with plenty of mid-range when played acoustically. As you’d expect with a mid price point guitar, the bad and sides are of laminate construction. This is certainly no negative point and 3 layers of solid Cherry are used, giving strength and increased stability. The top is solid spruce, however, and undergoes pressure testing to ensure it’s longevity and natural ageing.

Another interesting choice is the Silver Leaf Maple neck. Tonally this adds a good deal of brightness and bite to the mix; a welcome contrast to the blossoming warmth of the Roadhouse’s Rosewood fingerboard.

There’s a very palpable vintage quirk about the Roadhouse parlour and, I admit, being taken off guard by the rather brave placement of electric style tone and volume pots placed precariously on the edge of the lower bout. This seemed very at odds with vintage open-gear brass tuners and retro vibe, but in a world dominated by conventional looking acoustics, the rebel in me quickly embraced this as an identifying feature. In fact, these are really an extension of the passive Q discrete preamp and piezo giving tone and volume control without any intrusive, bulky preamps or cutaways. This (when running through an amp/D.I.) delivers a crisp clarity which enhances the natural tone.

If the above isn’t enough to convince you then the 11 point quality control check and the robust semi-hard case should give you enough reasons to check out one of these fantastic guitars!

The model shown here is the very fetching semi-gloss denim blue finish but the Roadhouse Q-Discrete is also available in semi-gloss Havana Blue and Indigo Burst high gloss.

 


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