A versatile small jumbo built with Adirondack spruce and figured mahogany.
by Teja Gerken
March 30, 2020
Founded by luthier Micheal Millard, Froggy Bottom Guitars is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Based in Vermont, the company specializes in custom flattop steel-strings built from the finest materials and offers a full range of models. We recently had a chance to check out a model K Deluxe, one of Froggy Bottom’s most popular guitars.
With a 16-inch-wide lower bout and a tight waist, the model K falls into the popular “small jumbo” category, a style of guitar that, while especially popular with fingerstyle players, tends to offer great versatility. Like all Froggy Bottoms, the guitar can be ordered with a wide variety of wood options, but our demo guitar came with standard choices of an Adirondack spruce top and mahogany back and sides (though the mahogany was upgraded to a highly figured set).
As with any Froggy Bottom I’ve played, the K Deluxe is a superb example of why the company has been able to maintain its position in the upper region of the custom guitar market for as long as it has. The guitar’s craftsmanship, fit and finish, and execution of details is flawless, and the woods are gorgeous and beautifully matched. The Adirondack spruce has the species’ characteristic wide grain, and the mahogany is among the most three-dimensionally figured and richly hued I’ve seen. The guitar includes figured maple binding on the body, Froggy Bottom’s distinctive squared-off neck heel, an abalone rosette, and diamond-style position markers in a pitch-black ebony fingerboard. A small OM-style pickguard and the typical frog inlay in the peghead add to the guitar’s highly recognizable appearance.
The K Deluxe is an incredibly lively guitar to play. It’s a highly capable fingerstyle machine, offering complex tones throughout its vast dynamic range, allowing expressive playing without being confined by the guitar’s own character. It also sounded great when strummed, the Adirondack top offering plenty of headroom to push the instrument, and the mahogany providing the clarity it is known for. With its relatively slim neck profile, 1¾-inch nut, and medium-length scale, the guitar’s feel mirrored its adaptable tonality: easy to play but with enough resistance to dig into the strings or drop into altered tunings.
Even within a market that is much more crowded than it was when Michael Millard built his first instruments, Froggy Bottom maintains a character of distinction, and the K Deluxe is a fine example of why. Simply put, the guitar is a killer flattop that anyone looking for a versatile high-end steel-string should consider.
SPECS: 16-inch small jumbo body. Adirondack spruce top with X-bracing. Figured Honduras mahogany back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $9,895 (standard models start at $7,595). froggybottomguitars.com
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