Gear Review: Fender Paramount PM-1 Limited Edition Adirondack Mahogany Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

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There is nothing like playing a true classic guitar. The master craftsmanship, great tone and playability of a great guitar has inspired many a songwriter. However, collectible guitars are just that. They are fine to look at and play occasionally, but they don’t always meet the demands of working musician or today’s unpredictable lifestyles. Fender has produced an answer to this dilemma with the latest extension of its Paramount Series acoustic guitars, the PM-1 Limited Edition Adirondack Dreadnought Acoustic.

With its cutaway dreadnought body size and natural thin lacquer finish, this PM-1 model features a solid AA Adirondack spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, and quartersawn scalloped Adirondack spruce “X” bracing. This combination of quality woods and design produces a consistently bright tone that is ideal for the acoustic ensemble playing or accompanying vocalists. A bone nut, rosewood bridge with compensated bone saddle contribute to the beautiful tone. The mahogany 25.3″ scale length “C”-shape neck and bound rosewood with 20 vintage-style frets give the feel of classic instrument. I found the PM-1 to be easy to play, with a good, solid feel and great tone consistent over the guitar’s range.

If you are familiar with the PM-1 series, this edition boasts a new look with a thinner body binding and inlays, as well as a Fender ’60s checkerboard rosette. While its looks are classic, this modern guitar also has a Fender/Fishman PM preamp system that allows you to carry that great tone onto the stage. The inconspicuous preamp faceplate sits flush with the side of the guitar. The lighted tuner, tone (bass, master volume and treble) and phase controls make it easy to quickly get the sound you want. The tuner is activated by pressing on one side of the display and there’s a handy phase switch on the other side to help you defeat feedback on stage.

What is most interesting about the preamp in the PM-1 is that it is specifically tuned for the individual shapes of the Paramount Series guitars. So where some guitar electronics can make different acoustic guitars sound alike, the preamp in Paramount Series guitars ensures that you hear the inherently different tone of each body shape in the series (Dreadnought, Parlor and Triple-0). In this case, this dreadnought really sounds like a dreadnought.

The PM-1 Limited Adirondack Dreadnought, Mahogany is a responsive and inspiring instrument clearly crafted to both honor tradition and produce superior tone. There is also a PM-1 Dreadnought, Rosewood model with rosewood back and sides ($1399). Both guitars are premium instruments for serious players ready to create great music. Fender PM-1 guitars ship with a formidable, well-fitted hardshell case.

Street price: $1,199.