Built in Woodstock, New York, by a small team headed by luthier Joe Veillette, this uniquely styled steel-string acoustic features elements inspired by archtop and Macaferri-style guitars along with traditional flat-top designs, with the goal of combining classic blues tonalities with the punch and presence of a jazz box. Carved into what Veillette calls a “radiused arc shape,” the Flyer 13’s solid-spruce top is light, stiff, and highly responsive. Paired with solid maple back and sides, the combination results in a surprisingly girthy sounding instrument that’s still compact enough to fit in an airliner’s overhead baggage compartment.
The curves of the body make this guitar comfortable to hold either seated or strapped, and the workmanship is excellent across the board, as witnessed by the expertly carved bridge and tailpiece, polished, frets, and flawless finish. Cosmetics are minimal, but the binding that edges the body and oval soundhole is pin neat and the abalone logo and amber buttons on the tuners look sweet against the gloss black facing of the headstock.
The Flyer 13’s slender, full-sized neck feels great and the setup and tuneful intonation make for an inspiring playing experience. Acoustically, the Flyer pumps out a rich tone with abundant midrange complexity, firm lows, and a crisp top-end. This would be a fine guitar for a singer-songwriter, though it also delivers the gutsiness and ringing attack for blues, as well as the buoyancy and stringy detail that a fingerstyle player would want. These sonic characteristics are well represented by the D-Tar electronics, which sounded balanced and well focused though combo amps and small PA systems alike. The Volume and Tone controls located just inside the soundhole are easily to manipulate, though this is a guitar that requires very little fussing with EQ to get a good amplified sound.
Worth noting is that the Flyer 13 can be personalized to the nth degree, as it’s available in a variety of colors and body woods that include spruce (as tested) maple, figured walnut, myrtle, and other exotic species. You can also specify black or gold hardware, as well as your preferred scale length, string gauge, nut width, fretboard material, and lots more. And if the Flyer 13 seems a little too diminutive for your tastes, Veillette is also offering it as a Flyer 14 (14" lower bout) with a body that’s an inch wider for the same price.
One of the coolest choices around in a standard-size guitar that travels well, the Flyer is definitely worth an audition if style and sound are high on your list of priorities.
For more on the Flyer and other Veillette instruments visit veilletteguitars.com