This is the most highly customized Country Western in Gibson history, according to the venerable manufacturer. The idea was to use Crow’s own sweet-sounding classic CW as a baseline and add a dose of punch and projection via a hand-scalloped, advanced X-bracing pattern from the 1930s.
This was applied to a thermally aged Sitka spruce top, which was adhered to mahogany back and sides with hot hide glue. Outfitted with top-shelf electronics, the guitar was made with the professional performer in mind.
The Sheryl Crow Signature Country Western Supreme is an eye catcher. With a quick glance at the front, it might look rather like a traditional Country Western with squared shoulders, a “belly-up” bridge and an expanded hummingbird-style pickguard, plus a few subtle enhancements, such as white bean tuner knobs. But there’s nothing subtle about its mahogany back, sides and neck, which are stained a luminous lipstick red.
I love it, even if the hue is a bit bright compared to the spruce top’s “antiqued” finish and medium-dark rosewood fingerboard. Cream-colored binding helps bring the overall color scheme together. Players that can back it up with their own stylistic magnificence will likely find Crow’s CWS quite appealing.
The full round neck feels instantly inviting in the hand. The width at the nut measures 1.725 inches, which is a tad narrower than some modern dreadnoughts, yet slightly wider than the traditional 1.69 inches. The nut is on the tall side, and its sides aren’t as smooth as they could be, but I enjoy how the unique width comes into play.
Barre and cowboy chords are a breeze, and strumming away with a pick comes naturally, yet there’s still enough space between the strings to accommodate fingerstyle playing. And even though the guitar is a full-bodied dreadnought with onboard electronics, it feels light as a feather.
Unlike so many dreadnoughts, the Crow Country Western’s hallmark tone is not a booming bottom but rather a satisfying midrange and a brilliant top end that’s very present without being brittle. Chords sound together as one voice, yet single-note runs pop out individually with surprising clarity.
The percussive front end of solid plectrum strumming comes across loud and clear, making this model a natural companion for players who want a sound that will cut through a mix in the studio or onstage.
Plugged in to an AER Compact 60/3 TE, the Amulet M undersaddle pickup, with its stealthy soundhole-mounted volume and tone controls, did a fantastic job of representing the Crow signature’s acoustic character. The electrified tone was evenly balanced from string to string and note to note, and it didn’t quack out when I whacked out some big cowboy chords with strong attack.
The main thing is that the Sheryl Crow Country Western Supreme truly sings! It’s a dream acoustic for the performing singer/songwriter who has an ear for elegance and an eye for the extraordinary. This instrument is not cheap, but everybody knows that if you want the real deal, it’s going to cost a little more. True Crow fans, Gibson lovers and acoustic aficionados of many stripes will appreciate this Supreme offering from Gibson.
PRICE $4,299 street
NUT WIDTH 1.725", bone
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 24.75" scale, 12" radius
TUNERS Gotoh white button
BODY Mahogany back and sides, thermally aged Sitka spruce top
BRIDGE Rosewood with bone saddle
ELECTRONICS Amulet M undersaddle pickup with soundhole-mounted volume and tone controls
FACTORY STRINGS Gibson Coated Phosphor Bronze Strings, .012—.053
WEIGHT 4.2 lbs
KUDOS Exceptional playability. Brilliant acoustic and amplified tone. Custom Shop craftsmanship. Colorful appearance
CONCERNS Nut sides could be smoother. Luminous red back, sides and neck might be a bit bright for conservative tastes