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Porter Guitars Les Bois Dog Hair Black Mahogany with Bigsby

   
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The Porter Les Bois ("Woods" in French) is a shapely original guitar designed by Brian Porter, the mastermind behind Porter pickups. We got started with Porter when they made us some custom pickup sets, and we are happily on board as an East Coast outlet for Porter Guitars. This Les Bois is not just another attractive solid body; It features Porter's unique Alnico Porter Tron pickups, Emerson Custom wiring, Bigsby vibrato, high-end materials and world-class fit and finish. If you're looking for something refreshing but not polarizing, the Les Bois is an excellent choice.

The Porter Les Bois Dog Hair Mahogany features:

  • Mahogany body, 8.4 pounds
  • Dog Hair black finish
  • European Beech quarter-sawn neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Medium C profile, 25.5" scale, 1-11/16" nut, 12" radius
  • Medium jumbo frets
  • Hipshot open-gear locking tuners
  • Graphite nut
  • Double-action heel-adjust truss rod
  • Bigsby Vibrato
  • Porter Alnico Tron pickups
  • Dunlop flush-mount strap locks
  • Soft sided hard case
Brian Porter is the man behind Porter Pickups, a capable custom shop team in Boise, Idaho. Known primarily for their pickups, Porter has been refining their guitar business the past few years, investing heavily in tooling, equipment, and R&D. A couple years back we were lucky enough to obtain one of his original designs -- the Khrosis -- and in 2019 got our hands on some of the  early Les Bois (pronounced "le-bwah").

The shape is traditional single cut, but with a slightly exaggerated lower bout and a higher, tighter waist than you-know-who. We're quite taken with the look, it's well balanced, and the 8.4 pound mahogany body will not tax anyone used to a traditional Les Paul. Premium functional appointments include include Hipshot hardware and Emerson Custom potentiometers and tone caps. The "Dog Hair" finish is a two step process of starting with the dark base coat that sinks into the finish, and then a light "grain" coat that is mostly wiped off. We love the look.

The bolt-on Les Bois has a quick snappy response and strong acoustic volume, no doubt aided by the quarter-sawn European Beech neck (similar in hardness to Maple). The neck is a generous medium-C shape that provides good palm support up the neck without feeling bulky like a 50' vintage shape. We're of the opinion that bigger necks tend to aid resonance and low end, and while we lack scientific proof, we like what we hear. The Les Bois also sports a dual-action truss rod wheel adjuster at the bottom of the neck. It is both out of the way and functional.

The pickups in this guitar are the Porter Alnico Trons, which we first saw at the 2020 NAMM show. The Alnico Tron takes the Filtertron construction and swaps Alnico pole magnets for the the traditional bar magnet. The Filtertron's closer coil spacing and lower resistance gives it more twang and clarity than a traditional humbucker, making it a favorite for country, rockabilly, or a great mod for a dull Tele neck pickup. Using the Alnico pole magnets adds an extra does of sparkle and note separation. These pickups have lovely nuance, and work well for single note picking or complex chord work. Give them some gain and they have their own unique voice with plenty of harmonic detail, and a rich layer high end content that creates a very full sound without sounding dense or mushy. It's a great package for country, roots, Petty, Eagles, or the any of the great recent Indie bands like Dawes.

The Bigsby Vibrato needs no explanation, and even if you are on the fence about such a huge contraption, the beauty of the design is that it's totally rock solid when not in use. It's not floating, and only comes into play when you call upon it.

In the crowded arena of boutique guitars it's a constant fight to stand out. Although understated, the Porter Les Bois is expertly crafted and has the resonance, tone and feel that comes with carefully selected woods and exacting construction. And it does not hurt either to be making your own pickups. Aimed at players more than collectors, Brian Porter and his crew have created an instrument perfectly suited to pros and weekend warriors who value premium tone and performance in an attractive-yet-functional package.