Forget Norwegian wood, this is German Lakewood at its finest.
It has been said that Lakewood guitars are distinctively their own thing, bespoke and indicative of emoting an inherently German tone. But what exactly is that sound and how does this make you feel when playing one? More importantly how does this translate through the highly crafted M-18 CP?
Despite having seen thousands of guitars over the years and similarly played an equal amount, I was surprised by how much of a wow factor I felt when opening the trusted Lakewood Hiscox brand hard case revealing this super creamy cool looking appetiser. It’s delectable right through from its physical textural finishes, the blending of the colours of the tonewoods, the smell of it and, yes, to the ever so reassuringly well-built structural integrity. It is rare to see such a minimalistic look that conveys such perfection in its visual appeal. How has this been achieved? The lacquer application is simply stunning – mirror flat and matt on the top and yet open-pored on the back and sides. Employing Lakewood’s highly developed series of wood preparations and technological advances in how each molecule of the lacquer is adhered to the wood is performed in their bespoke built and customised chamber – a totally dust free environment.
Playing the guitar, you can just feel the obsessive drive this small and elite team of craftsmen have honed into a really effortless experience. The one-piece neck runs from the heel to the headstock. The profile is a premium lesson in no-nonsense low oval design but without excessive thinning out toward the edge of the fingerboard and at the same time remaining clear of a deep C profile. It is incredibly playable and truly ergonomic in the genuine sense of the over-used term. The edges of the generously thick ebony board are beautifully smooth to the touch and there is no streaking or paleness.
Every aspect of this guitar is in sympathy with itself, demure and seductively appealing in its refined poise and elegance. The nut, headstock plate, logo, fingerboard inlays, ebony bridge and bridge pins and smoothly finished rosewood machine head buttons all testify to the same family of craftsman care – all from the country which arguably defined the term of luthiery developed through long term apprenticeships.
The heel block is made of solid mahogany as is the end block and both the top and back have spruce ribbons meticulously cut. There are no internal side braces required. Another nice detail is the brassy hued and vintage looking end-pin jack which compliments the bone nut for a historical aesthetic vibe.
For a spruce top instrument, it is incredibly rich with warm mid tones and pulsing sonorous qualities which you may expect to be more forthcoming from a bigger bodied guitar. Contributing factors to this guitar’s eloquent midrange and smooth mid-tones, which are equally as articulate as they are rounded, has to include such beautifully finished bracing, the quality of the top’s thicknessing and spruce tonewood. More subtle factors which might be responsible for the guitar’s outstanding purring resonance could also entail the wide heel of the neck in contact with the body and its strictly raked back strings over the slightly inclined and well intonated saddle maximising the top’s energy transfer from the string’s oscillation.
There is a really compelling balance between the top-end voicing and the bottom-end which produces a great canvas of tones to draw out your fingerpicking and combined with the flexibility of the LR Baggs Anthem mic-blend system, you can generate dreadnought like tones, more angular jazzy edges and incredibly sweet treble responses which are also full of harmonics making a very versatile instrument.
This guitar is so well poised. It’s not an outlandish character but rather superbly refined and distilled offering the best attributes you can hope for from AAA grade spruce and ovangkol together with pear binding. It’s a visual treat that needs to be seen and played in person to fully appreciate its flexible personality. Play one and buy one and you will instantly feel at home with this guitar’s adaptability.
Pros: Gorgeous tones, rich mids and clearly refined voicing
Cons: May be a little neutral looking for some
Overall: One of the more reassured ways you can spend your money on a truly professional recording and gigging instrument which will last for decades
Build Quality 5
Sound Quality 4.5
Value For Money 4
Model: M18 CP
Retail Price: £1,900
Made In: Germany
Body Size: Grand Concert
Top: AAA European Spruce
Back and Sides: Ovangkol
Tuners: Schaller M6 Chrome
Nut Width: 46mm
Scale Length: 650mm
Onboard Electronics: LR Baggs Anthem
Strings Fitted: High Quality USA
Left Handers: To Order
Gig Bag/Case: Yes, Lakewood Hardshell
Go To Guitars