Fender Paramount PM-1 Standard Dreadnought All-Mahogany NE

2016-10-22-16-55-18After dropping off an old appliance at a recycling center, I thought I’d swing by Ted Brown Music in Tacoma — just a slight detour. I recently learned of an addition to Fender’s Paramount acoustic line up. It is an all mahogany dreadnought. Ted Brown Music carries the Paramount line in addition to a nice selection of Fender electrics. My friend Gary at Ted Brown saw me walk into the acoustic room of the store. I asked him if there were any new arrivals. “We have a number,” he said. Then he added, “we have a new Paramount — the mahogany one.” That’s exactly the guitar I wanted to see. Could this be providence? He brought out the unopened box (I have never seen a freshly opened guitar before — quite an opportunity). “Do you want to give it a try?” Well, YES!

img_0485This PM-1 dreadnought is all solid mahogany all around. It has a lovely understated appearance that is very tasteful. The mahogany has a satin finish, and the top is “open pore” — the surface is not flat, and smooth as on a spruce top, or even other mahogany tops as with the Taylor 326ce I played along side it. As seen in the photos the wood grain pattern is impressive, even exotic in appearance. The binding is quite plain, but the rosette and purfling are of a “checkerboard” pattern: the most unique aspect of the guitar’s appearance (this purfling design is found on all the Paramount acoustics).

img_0486-2The headstock is classy, and completes the tasteful ascthetic of the guitar. The nut width is a typical 1 11/16 inches of a dread. Its lower bout is 15,75 inches in width. The neck is comfortable, and hand movement is smooth up and down the neck. Playability is easy and very comfortable.

I started out playing this dread in a practice room — a bit confining and wasn’t satisfied with the sound. So, I moved back to the presently empty, but more expansive acoustic room. Here I noticed a familiar, and wonderful Taylor 326ce, also an all mahogany guitar with its ES2 electronics system. I am familiar with Taylors, and was able to compare and contrast the two guitars. The Paramount is a complete contrast to the Taylor. The Paramount is dark, woody, and delivers a more rustic, or “earthy” tone in contrast to the Taylor. Compared to the Taylor, it lacks its sustain, smooth, glossy tone, and “sophistication.” However, the Fender’s voice, tone, and vibe are suited for a different style of music — rootsy, folksy, and vintage. It has a growl and a punch. Its sonic quality would push me to a different style of tunes and technique. Now, that would be good, for we all need to explore new territories.

This mahogany dread sells for $599 and is a “value guitar”, but has a quality far beyond its price.  For example, far too many guitars in this price range come with only a gig bag, while all the Fender Paramounts come with good, quality hard cases. This dread, and all of its Paramount comrades will stand up to many guitars that are double the price.  Note this link to the Fender site: www.fender.com, and move to acoustics, and dreadnought body style, and also my earlier review of another fantastic Paramount dreadnought.

Keep on playing,
Fr. Irenaeus

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