Photos are of the actual guitar except for the headstock.
The A&L Roadhouse Parlor guitar features:
- Pressure tested Sitka Spruce Top
- Wild Cherry back and sides made with 3-layer lamination
- Silver Leaf Maple neck
- Rosewood fingerboard and bridge, 24.84" scale, 1.72" nut width, 16" radius
- Fishman Sonitone Pickup
- 18:1 open gear brass tuners
- Graphtech Tusq Nut and Saddle
- Dual Action truss rod
- Hand-crafted in Quebec, Canada using 95% Canadian wood
- Includes A&L Padded Gig Bag
Being a Godin dealer, we've always been aware of A&L. While at the 2017 NAMM show, we had the opportunity to get acquainted with the Art & Lutherie guitars and were won over on the spot. A&L is one of Godin's younger brands but they have really made a name for themselves in the world of affordable acoustics. They are built with the attention to detail that we have come to expect from our Canadian friends, and they have put an impressive focus on environmental stewardship, building their guitars with 95% Canadian wood with no clear cutting, meaning they reclaim wood from fallen giants.
A&L also uses high quality construction techniques to insure great tone, long life and great playability. These features include quarter-sawn spruce bracing, a compound curved top, reverse grain kerfed headstock, maple dowel fortified heel, and Graphtech nut, bridge pins and compensated saddle.
Parlor guitars originated as cheap and portable guitars for the masses in the late 19th century. They found their way into all walks of music, but especially in the hands of bluesmen and troubadours who liked their cutting midrange voices, sparkling high end and comfortable size. As affordable guitar manufacturing gets better and better they are becoming popular for the burgeoning scene of modern singer-songwriters.
The Roadhouse has the signature A&L look that is both retro and pleasingly hip. They really go all out on the aesthetic combining beautiful rustic finishes with vintage open gear tuners and interesting pickguards. The top is solid pressure-tested Sitka Spruce and the back and sides are a special 3-part laminate of Wild Cherry. Spruce tops are the norm on acoustics for their bright snappy response, but Wild Cherry is an excellent alternative tone wood that combines the brightness of Maple, but with a less "dry" tone and more complexity. What a Parlor guitar lacks in deep bass response it makes up for in responsiveness. Parlor guitars have strong midrange voices that make them perfect song-writing companions for strummers and pickers alike. The small volume of air in the body "moves" very quickly, giving the A&L Roadhouse a spunky attack and great response to picking technique. The volume and dynamic range won't compare to the likes of a dreadnought, but the Roadhouse voice cuts through the mix with great clarity.
The Roadhouse looks, sounds and feels broken in right from the start. Even though these guitars come in at a great price-point, the A&L's have tons of character and are suited for both beginner and more experienced players. As a daily player, songwriting companion or coffeeshop workhorse, the Roadhouse is a satisfying and attractive instrument. Affordable acoustics have come a long way, and the A&L Roadhouse makes no apologies. Do yourself a favor and try one today.