Reviewed Lindisfarne Electro acoustic by Ashbury.A great electronic sound
Description: 000-size cutaway electro-acoustic. Made in Vietnam
Price: £399 inc. wooden case
Build: Solid cedar top, solid rosecherry back and sides. Mahogany neck with 20-fret rosewood fingerboard. Rosewood bridge, chrome diecast
tuners, bottom strap button. Headway undersaddle pickup; SA-1 preamp with Volume, Low, Mid, Hi Mid, High, low-battery warning LED, quick-release battery holder
Options: All Lindisfarnes have the Headway and cost £399; other models include non-cutaway 000, dreadnought and auditorium, plus a blackfinish version of the 000-C
Finish: Satin natural
Scale length: 645mm
Neck width: Nut 43mm, 12th fret 53mm
Depth of neck: First fret 21mm, 9th fret 23mm
String spacing: Nut 37mm, Bridge 54mm
Action as supplied: 12th fret treble 2.3mm, 12th fret bass 2.6mm
Max rim depth: 115mm
Max body width: 392mm
Fingerboard radius: Approximately 12"
Contact: Gremlin 01273 491333
Ashbury’s interpretation of the cutaway 000 has deep enough rims to verge on the mini-jumbo, though the body span is typically folk-like at just under 15.5". Like all the regular matt finish Lindisfarnes, the 000-C electro has a solid cedar top – a very nice, close-grained example – mated to solid back and sides of rosecherry wood, which is nothing to do with rose or cherry, but is a translation from the Vietnamese of a type of Spanish cedar which is indigenous to Vietnam. It looks like a visual cross between mahogany and ovangkol.
Decoration echoes the Rathlin, though body binding becomes cream-coloured ivorywood, and a centre strip of the same timber down the back contrasts attractively against the golden-brown rosecherry. The neck’s slightly deeper, but again the fingerboard is too sharp-edged.
Cases don’t normally merit comment, but the wooden one supplied with the Lindisfarne is startling. Fashioned from heavy-duty mahogany-faced ply edged in maple, it’s intended, one assumes, as a luxury finishing touch. Sturdy and furniture-like though it is, internally it looks a bit rough and ready, and I daren’t think what a few months on the road will do for its condition. Still, brownie points for being different.
All the Lindisfarne electros have Headway’s new SA-1 ‘Sheer Acoustic’ system. Its shoulder-mounted four-band preamp includes two midrange sliders, the Hi Mid not being centre-notched for cut/boost as the others are, but providing adjustment from ‘zero’ (flat) at one extreme to an unspecified dB of cut at t’other. The straightforward control layout includes a knurled volume knob which is frankly fiddly to twiddle. It needs to be taller or rubberised – or both.
Who knows what the theoretical tonal attributes of rosecherry are meant to be, but the result here is quite crisp and dry – not unpleasantly so and it’s sympathetic for fingerstyle, but I’d have expected the cedar top to contribute more warmth to the overall sound. Unplugged punch is okay, though you might wish for a little more underlying welly considering those fairly deep rims.
The Headway system, though, is worth listening to without reservation. With commendably natural voicing, its EQ offers a lot of sympathetic scope. The bass can warm up the sound a treat in an undominating manner, while the combination of Mid and the cut-only Hi Mid allows plenty of versatility, either in setting subtly scooped tones or retaining body and firmness without the nasal downsides. The guitar’s inherently bright top end can be paperily overcooked, but only if you’re reckless with the relevant slider.
Build Quality …………………. 17/20
Playability …………………….. 15/20
Sound …………………………… 16/20
Value for money ……………. 18/20
Vibe ……………………………… 14/20
TOTAL ……………………….. 80%
Aside from the fingerboard and fret edging, this Ashbury's clean and tidy with stripped-down but still attractive aesthetics. Sound quality is good rather than remarkable, but dont let that stop you checking out a welcome new name.