Morgan Monroe Creekside MV-EC-45

The era of overly glossy acoustics inlaid with gobs of abalone that used to be icons of Pacific Rim manufacture are steadily giving way to ever more organic designs such as the Creekside MV-EC-45 ($619 retail/$429 street).

This handsome guitar features a hand-applied satin finish over a solid spruce top, laminated mahogany back and sides, and a mahogany neck with a 251"-scale rosewood fretboard. The manufacturer has taken every opportunity to make this guitar seem more like a high-end boutique model from the States than a mid-priced offshore product and, as a result, we find such niceties as figured maple binding on every edge—even the fretboard’s surface—Grover Sta-Tite open-gear tuners, and a cutaway. The guitar reveals quality construction in nearly all areas. The 20 lightly polished stainless-steel frets are evenly seated, the neck feels great and the action is comfortably low, and things like the maple bindings, back strip, and headstock banner are rendered with care. Only the sharp corners of the nut stand out as lacking in attention.

The MV-EC-45 plays easily and sounds satisfyingly in tune. The substantial volume produced by this dreadnought-sized guitar is complemented by a warm midrange, good bottom-end tightness, and a crisp set of highs. The amplified tones delivered by the Fishman Classic 4 system are well balanced overall, and except for a propensity to feed back at even low volumes, the MV-EC-45 sounded very good though a Genz-Benz Shenandoah amplifier. This cool guitar even comes with a hardshell case that sports alligator-style covering and a built-in hygrometer, making it a hip package for anyone seeking an affordable axe with plenty of craftsman touches.

Kudos Excellent playability. Good sounding. Nice details throughout.

Concerns No built-in tuner or phase switch.

Contact Morgan Monroe, (800) 475-7686;