|Body And Neck:
These days it’s quite easy to find an exceptional hollow-bodied guitar, although you still need to spend around a grand for the privilege. However, if you are just starting out and want something decent but affordable, you will have to search a little harder. Enter, the Delta Rose from Johnson Guitars. This brand may not have the prestige of a Gibson, Godin or Gretsch, yet they certainly do know how to make something that proves its worth for beginners and beyond…
Design-wise you are looking at a rather nice single-cutaway hollow-body guitar, made from laminated mahogany back and sides with a spruce top. With the classic Gibson 24.75” scale length, this model features a slightly more compact body size, which is good for beginners who don’t want to cope with the heft that usually comes with hollow-body guitars.
This body is finished nicely with all the design points you would expect, complete with two unbound f-holes, a cream plastic pickguard, cream binding on the top and neck, and an attractive glossy Wineburst finish (a lighter Sunburst finish is also available).
The mahogany neck is set into the body at the 19th fret and feels easy to play – not much difference to those in much higher price categories. This is capped with a rosewood fretboard and a 22 total frets, with attractive block inlays. This guitar comes nicely set up, with no sharp fret edges and a relatively low action, while a quick string change would enhance the playability and tone even further.
The Delta Rose is fitted with two covered humbuckers at the neck and bridge position. At this price point these are definitely stock pickups, made with Alnico magnets. Decent, but nothing exceptional. These are controlled by a volume and tone control for each pickup, which allows for good onboard versatility.
On the top bout you’ll find a three-way pickup selector switch to allow you to change between the bridge, the neck or both pickups together. Meanwhile, tuning stability is quite strong with a set of chrome diecast tuners up top on the headstock, along with a fixed tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece.
Through a good amplifier, the tone from the Delta Rose may well trick the ear into thinking this is a guitar with a much higher price tag. Sure, it’s not as complex as some of the others we have featured, but the tone is surprisingly big and full for such an affordable guitar, offering the classic warm hollow-bodied sound with good clarity. The cleans are great for jazz, while adding a little gain delivers a tone suitable for many styles of blues. A little more gain and you will find classic rock is not out of reach here.
For the beginner taking a gamble on a hollow-bodied guitar, or a more experienced guitarist just wanting something different to add to their collection, the Delta Rose has a lot to offer. There’s a comfortable body, quality build and all-round desirable sound, which adds up to a guitar well worth the asking price.