A thoroughly modern dreadnought with ergonomic features.
by Teja Gerken
August 17, 2020
With details such as fully removable bolt-on necks, modified bracing designs, individual voicing, superb finishes, and more, Bourgeois guitars are among the more innovative contemporary instruments around. However, with their traditional outward appearance, most Bourgeois models look more like the vintage steel-strings that inspired them. But with the introduction of the Odyssey series of guitars, which are currently made within the framework of Bourgeois’s one-off “Luthier’s Choice” line, Dana Bourgeois has turned to a decidedly more extroverted appearance, incorporating several contemporary features. I had a chance to check out the smaller OMSC Odyssey earlier this year, and in this video, Scott Nygaard and I check out the dreadnought-size Odyssey D.
The Odyssey D is based on Bourgeois’s standard dreadnought body, but with the depth of an OM, making it slightly shallowerthan the company’s standard dreadnoughts. The guitar’s cutaway has an almost flat curve that recalls the cutaway on Selmer-style Gypsy jazz guitars and works harmoniously with the Odyssey’s oval soundhole. Speaking of the soundhole, although different in shape, it is the same size as the “large” soundhole option found on several Bourgeois models. The final modification to the guitar’s body is the armrest bevel. Though fairly common on smaller instruments, this is a rarity on a dreadnought. The Odyssey’s peghead has a slightly asymmetrical shape, and the guitar’s plain fingerboard contributes to its contemporary appearance. With its Adirondack spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides, the guitar follows a proven tonewood recipe.
Playing the guitar, it’s immediately evident that Dana’s attempt at updating the dreadnought’s ergonomic qualities pays off big time. Between the shallower body and the armrest bevel, the guitar is much more comfortable to hold, and players who have issues with their right arm or shoulder will especially appreciate these design choices. Tonally, the guitar delivers the balanced, powerful voice that Bourgeois dreadnoughts are known for, and while it excelled when flatpicked, its large dynamic range and great clarity also made it fun to play fingerstyle.
Overall, the Odyssey D is clearly a guitar that seeks to bring the dreadnought into a new era. Without abandoning the dreadnought’s fundamental design or sound, the guitar introduces a new level of playing comfort with a contemporary tonality, and its looks are bound to turn heads. Well done, Bourgeois!
SPECS: Cutaway dreadnought body with OM depth. Adirondack spruce top with Aged Tone X-bracing. Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fretboard and bridge. Ivoroid binding. 25.5-inch scale. 1²³/₃₂-inch nut width. Armrest bevel. Waverly tuners. Made in the USA. $8,590 list. bourgeoisguitars.net
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