Not all guitars are born equal, especially when they are designed for a specific purpose or genre. This is especially true for blues guitars, which need to conform to very specific demands to be right. Saying that, I would like to introduce you to the Loar LO-16-BK Flat Top guitar, one that has the specifications and capabilities of guitars worth twice as much as this one. There are many things that make it a good guitar, and some things to be vary off, so let us take a closer look.
It is not often that you see the L-00 body shape in the modern world. This once upon a time industry standard design has now been moved to the background of the guitar world, where only those knowledgeable about guitars look. Yet this body shape has many virtues, such as a very strong projection for a small body guitar, on par with the projection of a dreadnought, while also having a brighter sound than the dreadnought. The shape allows the guitar to be light and comfortable to play, even if a little “unorthodox” in looks.
The topwood on the Loar is made of solid spruce, a standard choice in the industry that allows the guitar to remain cheap while bringing out the bright and beautiful high and mid tones. The spruce top is combined with a very lightweight mahogany back and sides, allowing the guitar to truly delve and pamper itself with the low end of the sound range. This combination in the L-00 shape of the guitar allows the blues player to fully delve into and explore their genre. The pickguard that comes with the guitar is nothing outstanding, being made of average plastic, adding a nice detail to the look of the guitar, though sometimes cheapening the guitar if the plastic for the model is particularly low quality for some reason.
The neck of the guitar is solid mahogany. It is sturdy and slim, allowing the guitar player to enjoy playing their instrument. The fretboard of the guitar is a little less conventional Padauk, which most of the time works fine as a fretboard, though if not worked right might feel a little rough and annoying on the fingers. The guitar has a history of being good quality, though there are some cases where the users report having to sand the fretboard down a little to achieve optimal smoothness.
The internal X bracing of the guitar is well installed. There have been reports of some guitars having issues. Still, most guitars of this model are high quality despite these reports.
The hardware on this guitar is rather average and while not breaking any records, will allow the guitar to stay useful for a long time.
One of the most valuable parts of the instrument are its Grover Tuners. These stay in tune for long periods of time, without the need for constant retuning. High value and sturdy, these are definitely a strong point for the guitar.
The guitar, as expected, has a very solid sound. Thanks to its body shape the guitar produces a great emphasis on the mid and high range tones, while the aptly chosen spruce further reinforces them. The mahogany of the back and sides assists in the lower register sounds. Overall the guitar produces a great, vibrant sound with warm low tones. Perfect for blues players looking to draw in audiences with soul wrenching sounds.
Not all guitars are manufactured in the same manner, and some manufacturing processes allow mistakes to slip by. This means that while most guitars in a line will be fine and the same level of quality, there will sometimes slip by one which is poor representation of the rest. Which is why, while discussing instruments, I like to mention if there have been any reports of a poorly performing instrument, but I will not rate the guitar according to these reports. Instead I am reviewing the common denominator, the average of all the normal models. In the case of the Loar we have a great instrument where some examples of it are not the best representatives of the overall quality. Still a very solid guitar to consider buying.