The Berkeley Live guitar plays well and sounds great!
For anyone that is on the fence about trying an Orangewood guitar, Orangewood is the real deal. My first Orangewood guitar was the echo which I bought about 8 months ago to stand in for a Taylor 510 I neglected over the years. I was so impressed with how easy the Echo was to play. They really take their set-ups seriously, and it shows. In my opinion (not just for the price) these acoustics have the best set-ups out of the box in the industry. The Echo is a great guitar to play, with a decent sound. Way more than what you would expect for a guitar priced around just over $300. Great Value.
Since the Echo purchase, I’ve been looking for an all solid wood guitar that has an improved sound compared to the Echo. I actually bought a Hudson over the summer, but it lacked the low end and fullness that I was looking for. I returned it, and I stuck with Echo for a few more months while I planned my next move. I tried a Taylor 210e, a Martin D18, and a bunch of other higher end guitars in the quest for the improved sound I was looking for, but each lacked the playability of the Echo, although each had a much improved sound, but I just couldn’t justify the price tag.
I hesitated with the Berkley at first because I didn’t like the sound and playability of the Hudson, but I finally decided to make the purchase of a Berkley Live in hopes that it would match the playability of my Echo but with a much improved sound. I received the guitar today, and it did not disappoint. The guitar has the amazing action I expected from Orangewood and is very comfortable and easy to play. The tone is such an improvement from the Echo (which you would expect), but for an acoustic guitar with an amazing pickup for under $1,000 (on sale) , I really haven’t played anything else that compares to this. You would pay more than double this price to get a similar quality guitar from a brand like Taylor, Gibson, or Martin.
Bottom line, if you are on the fence and are looking to get a great instrument with amazing playability and great tone, I would highly recommend the Berkley Live. I would imagine the Berkley is just as great if you are looking to save a little money and don’t need the pickup. This is probably one of the best values in the industry. Can’t wait to give an update in a few months when I’ve really had the chance to put it through its paces.
Thank you to Orangewood for making amazing acoustic guitars with great sound and playability at a price people can afford.
We sincerely appreciate your review, Dave!
This guitar is incredible. The action is low and fast with no buzzing, or out of tune notes up the neck. The fit and finish is flawless. I received the guitar today. I will update this review later. Great customer service, great set up done to the guitar! The Berkley beats out my Taylor 210-E (a 10 year old guitar) in everything except the highs. Thank you all!
Jerome L Monson
I've had my Berkeley TS Live for 10 days now, it wasn't bad out of the box, but is SO much better now. Fit and finish are impeccable, delivery prompt and on time. The case is a perfect fit and solid. I will admit it's the heaviest guitar I've ever owned (it's heavier than my 1973 Epi Excellente, which weighs a lot) Love the satin neck, and the setup is perfect - strings almost down on the fretboard but without buzz. I think the more I play it, the more the top ages, the better the sound. I have a Oarngewood Ava TS Live that is a completely different guitar than day one - the sound is now terrific, exactly what I was looking for. The Berkely projects itself like a dreadnaught should. Has a deep low end, and the middle and highs sound distinct and separated. I haven't played plugged in much, this guitar really doesn't need it, but I agree that the LR Baggs is probably the best out there. I've owned much more expensive, top of the line guitars, and feel that this Berkeley is in that league.
So... I was not wowed by this guitar when I first pulled it out of the box. Don't get me wrong, the case and the guitar are both absolutely beautiful. All of the inlays and logos are real and not stickers, and the dark wood color is my favorite! The case is well made, fits like a glove, and the handle is super comfortable! However, when I first strummed the guitar, it kinda sounded a little dead to me. It had the warmth and the solid wood sound I was hoping for, but it sounded muted. So, I had mixed feelings at first. I liked it but I wasn't in love with it. I also noticed it was quite dusty in a few areas, and the strings were not completely new and had some rust in a few areas. The next day I took it to my Luthier and had him look at it. He informed me that when he gets any new guitars from the factory, they have a break in period before they open up and he bangs on most of them for a week before selling. He also mentioned the strings were most likely rusted from sitting on a boat all the way from China. While I was there, I tried a few Gibson's, Taylor's, and Martin's and didn't seem to like anything that wasn't more than $3000+. So, I took my new guitar back home and really banged on it for a few days and noticed it starting to open up, and then I re-strung it with some 12's instead of the 13's. That's when the guitar came to life. All of the clarity and volume I was hoping for was there. This guitar isn't going to sound as good as some of Martin's dreadnaughts that are really high end, but it gets pretty close in my opinion. It has a different flavor than a rosewood D-28, but it's close enough for me. After a few weeks of the guitar adjusting to its new environment, I'm going to take it to my Luthier and have him set it up with a real bone neck nut and saddle and slot the bridge. With the cost of the guitar and the $180 set up, this guitar will rival many high-end guitars for a pretty nice budget. If you personally are high end guitar buyer, this guitar isn't for you. However, if you are on a budget like me and looking for something that is really nice, this would fit that budget. I'm thinking about creating a Youtube review with how impressed with this guitar I am. Also, the pick up is killer, but that's what I expected with the LR Baggs Anthem! ;)