Rathbone No.7 Orchestra Model | Review

Published 2 months ago on May 9, 2024

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Rathbone No.7 Orchestra Model | Review

MSRP: (UK) £639 / (US) $TBC

Sam Bell reviews the Rathbone No.7 Orchestra Model — an all-solid tonewood beauty that pairs a solid Sitka Spruce top with solid mahogany back and sides for a much-loved traditional aesthetic and sound. The OM body shape produces a naturally responsive and voluminous tone, which is further enhanced through the use of a classic combination of all-solid Spruce and Mahogany tonewoods. If you’re a guitarist with an affection for a truly authentic acoustic sound paired with a timeless vibe, the Rathbone No.7 delivers both in equal measure.

Looking for an all-solid orchestra guitar? Well, in this review, I’ll be taking a look at the No.7 Orchestra guitar from Rathbone Guitars.

The history of Rathbone starts out in the 1900s. Messrs Barnes & Mullins moved their musical instrument business from Dorset to Rathbone Place in London. They had established themselves as a musical duo in Victorian London, expanding their income by building, finding and supplying various instruments from around the world, to the UK market. Banjos and Mandolins were the most popular instruments of the day, but not long after their move to Rathbone Place, they started building their own Acoustic ‘Folk’ Guitars. Some of the original Rathbone guitars are still circulating in collections 100 years later. Now Rathbone’s spirit lives on in these new models, recapturing the 1900’s spirit. Simple, beautiful and great-sounding acoustic instruments.

The No. 7 is an Orchestra model acoustic, providing a well-balanced projection, punch and clarity. There are no electronics here; this is an all-solid tonewood guitar featuring a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back & sides. Out of the box, the guitar looks and smells wonderful. No cheap shortcuts can be seen or heard; it feels great. The 25.5-inch scale length gives the strings a bit more length, helping tuning stability and punch, the fretboard is rosewood with a rosewood bridge to match.

To hear this guitar, check out the video section of this review. I think the tone should speak for itself and the classic looks of this traditional instrument. Full disclosure, I’m not an acoustic specialist, but I’ve played a fair share of acoustics for review and professionally. Some guitars in this price bracket from other manufacturers and builders can be very hit or miss. The Rathbone No.7 is a definite hit, it feels great, sounds great and looks great. It suits fingerstyle guitar very well; the tone comes alive with the fingers. Going through some classic strumming patterns, the guitar resonates well, notes in chords are well-balanced, and fretting is relatively easy. Single-note material further up the neck lacks a little sustain; I’m not sure if that’s my technique or if this guitar isn’t necessarily designed for extensive single-note work. I can see this guitar being a hit with songwriters and fingerstyle enthusiasts for sure.

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, traditional acoustic guitar, the Rathbone No.7 is a breath of fresh air. No gimmicks, just a well made acoustic and a reasonable price point for what you get.

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