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Godin, one of the largest manufacturers of acoustic instruments in North America, has already made a huge impact on the industry. Their sub-brands are known for quality acoustic guitars, which are often handmade. Art and Luthiere is definitely one which deserves a shout out. Art and Luthiere Ami series is currently among the best parlor guitars you can get for less than $500. As you are about to see, there’s a lot about these guitars which indicates their value is much greater than it initially appears.
Parlor guitars are slowly rising in popularity once again. Godin recognized this, and sprung into action. Art and Luthiere Ami, which is the result of this effort, can give any big brand parlor a run for its money. This is a handcrafted guitar which features a solid spruce top combined with wild cherry back and sides. The neck comes in form of a silver leaf maple piece, sporting a nice rosewood fretboard. The choice of tonewood and the quality of luthier work on this guitar is impressive, especially in this price range. Godin is one of the very few rare brands which will give you hand-made instruments at prices that aren’t exclusive. As usual, Ami feels rock solid when you pick it up.
When it comes to hardware, Art and Luthiere went with a standard rosewood bridge. However, instead of using low-quality composites for the saddle, they’ve used Tusq, which offers tonal properties similar to real bone, but is much more practical. Tuning machines are more or less standard Godin stuff. Everything combined, Ami’s hardware works great. The action is just right out of the box and you won’t have issues with intonation nor tuning retention.
Being among the smallest standardized types of guitar you can get, people often expect parlor acoustics to lack a lot of low-end response. In most cases they do, but it’s how the guitar blends the whole frequency range that matters here. Ami by Art and Luthiere brings one of the most balanced and refined tones you will find in this price range. Trebles are nice and crispy, while the mid-range gives everything enough girth to compensate for the weaker low-end response. Speaking of which, there is a relatively decent bass range to work with. Once you get into layering chords, that wild cherry comes to life. The tone is lively, warm and about as good as it gets for a midrange parlor.
The fact that Godin still offers hand-made, solid wood acoustic guitars at affordable prices is something we just have to respect. Art and Luthiere’s Ami brought that policy
into the parlor segment of the market, blowing many larger brands straight out of the water. If you are looking for a mid-range parlor with a character, and you’re not willing to break your bank account over it, Art and Luthiere’s Ami might be what you’re after.