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If you’ve checked out our article rounding up some of the most affordable acoustic guitars on the market today, you will have read about the RA-090 from Rogue, who specialize in entry-level guitars. If that solid little performer appealed to you, so too may this RA-090 Concert Cutaway, which is the RA-090’s electro-acoustic cousin. It sports a few features that will intrigue any beginner, or even experienced guitarists who wants a cheap electro-acoustic for practice. Worth the extra cash? Read on!
This guitar is very similar in construction to the original RA-090, with a concert body shape, a 25.4” scale length, and – as the name suggests – a cutaway in the body that makes accessing the higher frets easier. Of course, for around one hundred bucks, the tonewoods on offer aren’t particularly inspiring. The body’s top, back and sides are all made from laminated whitewood, which is similar to cheaper woods such as basswood and poplar – but for the price it’s hard to complain.
As well as its natural glossy finish, which shows off the interesting grain of the wood, the Rogue RA-090 Concert Cutaway also comes in some extroverted colored varieties – Red, Black, Blue Burst and Green Burst, although you can expect to pay a little more for the colored varieties on some marketplaces. The neck of the RA-090 Concert Cutaway is made from nato, with a comfortable C shape, and features a ‘simulated rosewood’ fretboard with 20 frets. Again, this is a cost-cutting measure, but doesn’t feel too bad to play on.
Most notably, the RA-090 Concert Cutaway features electronics allowing you to plug in to an amp. This comes in the form of an Eden MET-A06 undersaddle pickup system. While cheaper than other preamps you’d find on affordable electro-acoustics, this system does the job and allows some versatility with volume controls, 3-band EQ (bass, middle, and treble), a phase control switch (to help reduce feedback), and a digital tuner built in. Elsewhere the guitar shows hardware that, again, gets the job done – nothing more, nothing less. There’s a simulated rosewood bridge, six covered nickel tuning machines, and a plastic nut and saddle, as well as strap pegs so you can play while standing.
Even with its smaller concert body shape, the RA-090 Concert Cutaway gives plenty of acoustic volume and is relatively well-balanced in tone – it lacks a little bass, but this is down to the tonewoods (or lack of them). Through an amp, the Eden system gives you clarity and enough versatility to tweak your tone to the sound you need. Finally, you may find a little fret buzz here and there, but nothing that impedes your playing.
The phrase ‘for the price’ is important here. While whitewood, nato, and plastic aren’t particularly inspiring materials, for the super-value price you pay they work fine. The guitar stays in tune, sounds pretty good, and is also a good-looking instrument, especially in its colored varieties – highly glossed and eye-catching, with matching colored headstocks. For beginners, or more experienced players looking to grab something affordable to perform with, you won’t go far wrong with the RA-090 Concert Cutaway.