Review: McPherson Sable Acoustic Guitar

If your songwriting partner is a great guitar, you owe it to yourself to check out the all-carbon fiber McPherson Sable acoustic guitar. I recently auditioned the Sable model and was pleasantly surprised by the big tone, and playability of this quality instrument. Its sleek, dark design and offset sound hole is daring enough to get you noticed on stage, but each unique feature of this guitar is practical and will be appreciated by any songwriter and professional guitarist who is willing to try something new.

Let’s face it, to even try out an acoustic guitar that’s not made of wood, you have to be a bit daring. However, you don’t need to make any adjustments in your playing to appreciate the latest in the line of all carbon fiber (CF) guitars. Pulling it from the case, its 4″ body depth and 5.40 lb. weight seemed different to me. Perhaps, a bit more heft to the body portion than I was accustomed to, but I quickly adapted and got to playing. The guitar produced brilliant highs and, while not as lively as many wooden instruments, the tight bass tones made for well balanced playing up and down the neck. In some situations, I thought, this would be exactly the tone I’d be looking for. This guitar projects well in acoustic settings, is a joy to play, and worked well in live playing situations.

McPherson clearly had professional musicians in mind with Sable providing enclosed Hipshot tuners and L.R. Baggs 9-volt electronics that are custom EQ’d for the carbon fiber line. Volume and tone controls are conveniently accessible in the offset sound hole.

In addition to the daring looks of the Sable, it also includes guitar technology with precise intonation implemented with a proprietary offset string grooves at the nut, as well as compensated bridge positioning.  With a 25-1/2″ scale, the soft V-style neck has 20 nickel frets with 14 frets to the cut away body. The neck design is implemented as a cantilever that puts it just above the top of the soundboard providing a larger resonating surface on the face. As a result, the tone is big and bright, but different than wood. The Sable comes with a hard shell case, strap, soundhole cover, Elixir Medium Nanoweb strings, both medium- and low-action Tusk saddles and McPherson picks in various hardness options.

While I love wood guitars and guitar building technology, for me, the sound of carbon fiber has won a seat at the table. These guitars sound very good and the difference in tone between wood and carbon fiber is one that is now a personal choice. Of course, another bonus of a carbon fiber guitar is the manufacturer’s claims that these instruments are impervious to weather and built so can be played on the beach, camping or on stage. With the Sable, could see it.                 

Street Price: $2,999.