Lakewoods new, specially-selected UK range offers all solid woods and attractive designs together with a distinctive and very likeable European sound. Review by Jerry Uwins
The availability of Lakewood guitars in Blighty has been undeservedly patchy over recent years, but the appointment last spring of Synergy Distribution has thankfully changed all that. To concentrate the brand’s focus here, the German maker and Synergy have formulated a presently eight-strong range of models with specifications exclusive to the UK, denoted by a ‘G’ suffix in the catalogue designations. Certain details differ from equivalent models in Germany, but all instruments remain solid woods throughout.
Dubbed a grand concert by Lakewood, the 15.4"-wide, quite deep-rimmed M-style is in fact auditorium in size, and the company tends to compound potential confusion by calling the smaller, more concert-like A-style an auditorium. However, they’ve always done it like that… and what’s in a name?
In Germany the M-32 is spruce and rosewood with a gloss body and gold tuners. The UK version retains the rosewood back and sides but substitutes a cedar top and rosewood-buttoned chrome machineheads, and applies an open-pored satin finish to the whole instrument. The absence of grain filler won’t be to everyone’s taste aesthetically, but does convey the message that it’s a light-coat finish that should aid resonance.
Another difference is that the 32G’s body bindings and the back’s centre strip are muninga rather than rosewood. With its koa-like figuring, the muninga looks rather fetching.
Lakewood used to offer various neck widths-cum-profiles, but for the M and A styles it has settled on a spacious 46mm span across the nut, with a wide bridge string spacing on our sample of 59mm. The profile of the full-scale one-piece mahogany neck is Lakewood‘s typical soft ‘D’, kept relatively shallow to compensate for the width – and this is a pretty broad affair aimed at the picker, not your casual strummer.
The frets along the unbound ebony fingerboard could benefit from more rounded ends, but otherwise are beautifully polished. There are no front markers, just side dots.
The deep-bodied M-32G really whacks it out for a folk-size acoustic. The delivery is exuberant and responsive, as well as supple in its dynamics and sustain. Tonal appeal is less absolute: under firm picking the sound assumes a hint of middly nasality and can become a tad ‘shouty’, and there’s arguably less overall warmth than the cedar/rosewood build might suggest. That said, it remains a strong, penetrating performer.
Unless you're put off by the open-pore finishes, these UK-dedicated Lakewoods are desirable pro-grade pickers built to the company's usual exacting standards. The M-32G, if not especially subtle, is a belter of a folk.