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MGR/Ed Clement 03/09/2002

Larrivée OM-09 : MGR/Ed Clement's user review

« Larrivee OM-9 »

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Been around the acoustic music scene since 1962 playing 6 & 12 string guitar(s) and 5 string banjo's. Am what you'd call "pro-lite" doing sits with Irish and other traditional groups. Bought the OM-9 new in Putnam, CT few months ago for $1400. (so low because shop was closing). It was an opportunity that just came along ... country boys just can't have too many trucks, guitars or dogs, eh?

I know little about Canadian luthiers and only heard of Larrivee a couple of years ago. Being a long time owner of high end vintage Martins & Gibsons I was simply a snob for older American wood. I was asked to play an OM-9 at a pro gig last year. While on-mike, the action stood out as superb and the amplified sound was nice. But when I was playing it in the back room between sets I was able to really hear what the guitar can do acoustically ... it has a magnificant deep & round vintage sound. (as nice as a Santa Cruz's high end OM ... that's the opinion of a devoted Santa Cruz playing friend).

Any negatives? The fret edges are not as smooth as I am used too. They don't catch or anything but they are different than my old axes. Had I not gotten the guitar at such a low price I might have passed on it due to the feel of the fret edges ... and that would have been a shame because now that I am used to them there is no complaint.

The sides and back are a lively complex grained rosewood(expensive but I believe only way to get professional warmth & projection). Wood bindings, abalone rosette, mahogany neck, ebony fret board, etc.: the workmanship on this one is flawless. Larrivee's selection of sound woods appears second to none and they don't glue on a thick plastic pick guard like Martin, Santa Cruz, etc ... the OM-9's micro-thin clear plastic adhesive attached (replacable) guard can't interfere with the resonance of the solid spruce top. You don't even see the pick guard so the guitar has a distinctive look to it. (have always thought pick guards' ugly) The case that came with it is model matched so that there is no movement of the body or neck within ... at all. (Folks who make a living on the road ... in the air ... know what this means and spend a lot making their cases this good.)

As I said, I got into this guitar on an opportunity buy. Now that I've played it for a few months I pick it up more than the others (6 in all) in my collection. If you demand professional vintage sound consider one of these. The Larrivee OM-9 (list $2100) compares equally or favorably in all ways to Santa Cruz and Martin OM's which sell (usually on back order) for $3,000 plus.

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