Instruments & Gear: Fine Lutherie

Bourgeois Large Soundhole OM

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A superb OM built with Panama rosewood and Adirondack spruce.

by Teja Gerken
October 05, 2018

Among legendary flattop guitars, few are as revered as Tony Rice’s 1935 Martin D-28 (also owned by Clarence White), which had an enlarged soundhole and a bound fingerboard with no inlay. Similar dreadnoughts have been built by numerous guitar makers, including Dana Bourgeois, who began offering a D Large Soundhole model in 2014. Dana recently decided to see what would happen if a similar soundhole was used on an OM body, and the result is the new Large Soundhole OM, which we recently had a chance to check out.

For the most part, the Bourgeois Large Soundhole OM has standard OM specs, including a 14-fret neck, 000 body, long scale, and relatively wide fingerboard dimensions. But the difference is its larger-than-usual soundhole and plain fingerboard that extends past the rosette. Our demo guitar had the model’s standard torrefied Adirondack spruce top, paired with Panama rosewood instead of Indian rosewood back and sides. The instrument body and fingerboard are bound in white ivoroid, and it has herringbone purfling and an elegant “zipper” pattern backstrip. In a further nod to the instrument that inspired the Large Soundhole OM, the guitar’s peghead overlay is plain. The Bourgeois logo is on the back of the peghead, where it shares space with a set of Waverly relic nickel tuners. The materials and craftsmanship maintain an astoundingly high level throughout, and the Panama rosewood’s rich color and beautiful grain are particularly spectacular.

The instrument has an incredibly clear voice that gives it great definition. Played fingerstyle, the guitar had excellent volume and projection, and its neck dimensions facilitated complex playing techniques. Bourgeois describes the model as “the perfect OM for the dreadnought player,” and we found that when played with a flatpick it had impressive clarity and balance and no problems responding to a heavy attack.

Overall, the Bourgeois Large Soundhole OM is an exceptionally cool instrument that should appeal to fans of high-quality OMs and dreadnoughts alike.

SPECS: 14-fret 000 body. Torrefied Adirondack spruce top. Panama rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fretboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₁₆-inch string spacing at saddle. Relic nickel Waverly tuners. Made in the USA. $6,858 (street) as shown (base model with Indian rosewood back and sides start at $5,598).


Category: Instruments & Gear

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