Instruments & Gear: Fine Lutherie

Bourgeois 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Dreadnought

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A stunning quilted-mahogany guitar celebrates a milestone.

by Teja Gerken
June 13, 2016

Mention the name “Bourgeois” to guitar connoisseurs anywhere, and they’re likely to respond with accolades about the company’s highly regarded steel-string guitars. Bourgeois is universally respected for fusing classic designs and vintage tone with advanced building techniques and incredible attention to detail. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the company’s founder, luthier Dana Bourgeois, building his first guitar in his dorm room at Bowdoin College. To celebrate the occasion, Bourgeois is building just 15 of its 40th Anniversary Limited Edition guitars, available in either OM or dreadnought models, the latter of which we had a chance to play.

Bourgeois has always carefully selected the materials that go into its guitars, and they chose to make the 40th anniversary models all about the woods. On the guitar we checked out, the master-grade Adirondack top (treated with Bourgeois’ “Aged Tone” process) was beautiful, but it was upstaged by the stunning look of the quilted mahogany used for the backs and sides and the snakewood fingerboard and bridge. With this combination, Bourgeois created an look that is distinguished and even a bit flashy without resorting to a lot of unusual inlay (the guitars’ “diamond and arrows” fretboard inlay lend a tasteful touch). As is the norm with Bourgeois instruments, the craftsmanship was top-notch throughout, with perfect fit and finish.

Bourgeois dreadnoughts are known for their excellent tonal clarity, and the 40th Anniversary Limited Edition was no exception. Most significantly, the guitar’s highly complex and dynamic voice made it shine regardless of whether it was played aggressively with a flatpick or picked softly using fingerstyle techniques, as Peghead Nation’s Scott Nygaard and Teja Gerken demonstrate in this video (also check out this video of Bryan Sutton playing the guitar at last November’s Fretboard Summit). The guitar also offered volume in spades, and its 1 23/32-inch nut width felt like an excellent compromise between typical dreadnought and OM dimensions.

Bourgeois’ 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Dreadnought is a very special guitar, and the lucky players who end up owning one of the 15 instruments are bound to enjoy them for their rich tones as much as for their beautiful looks.

Specs: 14-fret dreadnought. Master-grade “Aged Tone” Adirondack top and braces. Quilted-mahogany back and sides. Bolt-on mahogany neck. Snakewood bridge, fretboard, tail wedge, and headstock overlay. Ziricote binding with black-and-white purfling. Abalone rosette. “Aged Tone” finish and animal protein glue construction. 25.5-inch scale. 1 23/32-inch nut width. Bone bridge pins. Waverly tuners with Snakewood buttons. Made in the USA. $9,165. bourgeoisguitars.com.

 

Category: Instruments & Gear

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May 15, 2019
Greg from the Bourgeois finish department tries out the brand new OMSC featuring an arm bevel and sound port.




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