Review of the Ashbury AR-38 Resonator Guitar

How I grabbed the AR-38 for less than £300!

One of my flat mates is a semi-professional surfer who lives for 2 things: catching waves and playing guitar. He´s always trying to get me to watch surfing movies with him but I really don’t have much interest. A few months ago I came home one evening with a DVD on my bed with a note saying “check out the soundtrack”. He knows I´m a big Blues fan so I figured I´d give it a shot.

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The film was called Grey Whale Sessions with Garret Dutton (aka G. Love) who I´m a big fan of, surfing with some guys in Mexico. Throughout the film he plays his assortment of guitars, one of which really got my attention. I really liked the twang of it, and the way it sounded as an acoustic instrument. After some research I found it was the Ashbury AR-38 and I set out to find one and try it for myself. I promised myself I would not spend more than £300 though if I decided to buy it.

I always heard that Ashbury was famous for having a warm/crisp tone, as well as quality craftsmanship and components. When I started playing the demo model in the shop, I immediately realized that this was true. Most of the guitar is made of Mahogany, except for the fingerboard which is made of Rosewood, equipped with a set of nickel frets. The biscuit cone was designed so that the bridge was a part of it, making it seem more streamline. The spider bridge makes this guitar perfect for playing Blues or Bluegrass styles, exactly what I was looking for. The guitar shape seemed pretty standard with non-cutaway design. There are no electronics though so if you need to play amplified, have a pickup installed by a pro.

List Price: £329.00
Current Price: £329.00
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I didn´t like the strings though so I got a set of heavier ones which I knew from research would probably be necessary. I am used to playing only normal acoustic guitars so this was my first slide guitar. However I got the hang of it quite fast and would imagine this to be a great guitar for beginner Blues or Bluegrass players, especially since it´s light and easy to hold. The action was perfect for me, although being a demo model I don’t know if the action was modified or comes like this out of the box. Either way it plays equally well either fretting or slide. If you are going to play slide though, I would suggest a glass slide. Intonation was perfect and volume and tone stayed consistent all the way up the neck. The tuners were plain die-cast chrome, which I was planning to change for bone tuners anyway.

The price tag was just over my limit by £20 but considering the demo model was flawless I pushed my luck and asked the store manager if he would give me a discount if I took it. He agreed and I ended up walking out with my first resonator for just £295.


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