|Body And Neck:
Gigging in the heat? Traveling with a full size guitar? Or just looking for something a little different? Made entirely from carbon and glass fibers, the H-WS1000N2 (or simply ‘N2') from RainSong's Hybrid Series, promises to deliver on all angles.
Its dark looks are certainly eye-catching, but it's not cheap – so how does it compare to other acoustics in this under $2000 price range? Let's find out.
RainSong craft a guitar like no other. The N2's body is made of both carbon fiber and glass fibers, with no bracing. While going against the grain (excuse the pun) of the traditional woods and methods of crafting high-end guitars, this results in a unique guitar that will not warp or bow, no matter what humidity or change in temperature you throw at it.
The guitar is reassuringly traditional in shape – with a 25.4” scale length, the guitar features a large chamber and narrow waist, along with a generous single cutaway that allows for good access to the neck. On that note, the modified U-shaped neck is also all-graphite with an adjustable truss rod, while the fretboard is a composite material with 21 frets and simple white dot inlays. It's very comfortable and light, but still feels strong and durable. Overall it looks great – even if you are a traditionalist, you have to appreciate the innovation.
It’s an electro-acoustic and therefore has some electronics to discuss! This is a Fishman Prefix+T preamp system, which comes with a good range of controls, including volume, bass, treble, and semi-parametric contour controls, as well as a brilliance control, a phase switch, and an on-board chromatic tuner.
The rest of the hardware on the N2 stands up – the headstock (which, of course, is carbon fiber) features chrome-plated Gotoh tuners, with a smooth 1:18 gear ratio. There's also a Tusq nut, and a matching Tusq saddle and bridge pins, while the bridge is a composite material. It also comes with a customized hardshell case. Can't fault the hardware, which is in line with other guitars in this price range.
The big question is: how does it sound? Not bad at all. Carbon fiber may not have the subtle characteristics of spruce, sapele, rosewood or mahogany – and it's not going to stand up to the complexities of a similarly priced Martin – but the tone is very good.
The overall sound is bright and well-defined thanks to the carbon, with the glass fibers mellowing things out. There's also a surprisingly good bass response. Plugged in, and the Fishman Prefix+T system performs well, and – as the controls are so extensive – is incredibly versatile through an amp.
The N2 is a workhorse of a guitar, with travel and performance at heart. Perhaps it won't appeal if you're a casual bedroom player or a die-hard traditionalist, but for everyone else, the least you can do is try one out.
If you travel often – whether to sunny California or the deepest rainforests of the Amazon – the durability, tuning stability, and lightweight nature of the N2 will certainly impress.