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I have been playing acoustic guitar for over 50 years, and in that time I have played and owned a lot of really good guitars, including Martin, Taylor and Larrivee. I just received my new Ava from Orangewood Guitars, and I could not be happier. I read that some other owners had seen some minor cosmItetic issues, but I inspected the guitar very carefully and there was not a single flaw. It is very light, which is the first thing that I noticed about it. It was only a little out of tune - understandable with new strings and a long journey. Once tuned up, it was a delight to play and hear. The set up and the intonation are both perfect. I love the natural finish - it is my favorite for acoustic guitars. I also love that the pick guard is optional. I personally prefer no pick guard. The sound is just right - bright, but not too bright and just the right amount of bass and mid-range. I am afraid that my other guitars are going to have to get neglected as I have found my new favorite. And it is by far the least expensive of the bunch. Thank you Orangewood for such a great and greatly affordable guitar!
The Ava is a gorgeous instrument, both aesthetically and sonically. I’ve been playing it for the past week and a half nonstop and have definitely noticed an improvement in the sound quality between day 1 and day 10. I think the wood just needed that time to acclimate to its new environment, but it sounded great to begin with regardless and it sounds even better now.
The neck is noticeable fatter than a Taylor’s which has taken some getting used to since mainly played Taylor’s for the past 6-7 years. I would love to see Orangewood work on slimming down the neck and maybe even offering a thin V style carve, but the current necks are still super playable and feel more than fast enough with the satin finish. Just nit picking.
One other thing that I’ve noticed is that there are some minor structural imperfections on the inside of the guitar. Some of the minor wooden parts on the inside are chipped/broken, but the guitar still feels super solid and well made despite that. I don’t think that it will make any difference in the short or long term, but I suppose when you outsource guitar production this is the risk you run— slightly less attention to detail in the end.
The most important part of a great guitar is the material that’s used, however, and the wood feels like great quality all around. There is such a big difference to me between guitars with laminate backs and sides and guitars with solid wood backs and sides, and you will be hard pressed to find better all solid guitar for this price—with a torrefied top, no less.
The reviews saying that the highland series guitars play as well as guitars in the 1500-2000 dollar range aren’t kidding. I’ve played many high end Taylors, Martins, a couple of Collings, and others that retail anywhere from 1500-5000 (Collings are super expensive), and this Orangewood can hold its own against any one of them. Ava can hang. I don’t think I can ever go back to playing guitars with laminate parts, the tone and responsiv...
I own and have owned high end guitars ranging from $2500- $3200. I feel that this guitar is the same quality as those, I only had to pay a quarter or so of the price. When I would buy a guitar I would take it to my local Luthier for a set up (which would cost up to $200. I won't have to take this one. This Ava plays as well if not slightly better then my Martin OOO-18. The Ava a bright full even sound. Great for fingerstyle which is what I play. I won't say that it sounds like a Martin , Taylor , Breedlove etc. All guitar get their sound from the wood they use and the construction of it. So I'd say an Orangewood Guitar sounds like an Orangewood. I can't put it down.
My dream guitar is the look of a Martin OM-28 with the wood and tonality of a Martin 000-18. Enter the Ava. I had to return my first two Ava orders due to set up issues but the 3rd is now my holy grail! The look, the feel, the incredible sound, the materials used, and yes... The last set up done is absolutely perfect and worth way more than it's asking price! Total value! I knew it was special which is why I ordered until I found the right one. Big Thank You to everyone at Orangewood Guitars on an outstanding bargain sure to last a lifetime!! This is the one for you at any level if you value sound, craftsmanship, and beauty in simplicity.