What sets a professional luthier apart from a major manufacturer? The differences between the two could require a dedicated article, so I’m going to emphasize the one that I think plays the most integral part. No matter how good a brand is, when they produce their guitars at factories, the connection between the creator and the instrument is lost. Not that it affects the quality to any degree, but such guitars rarely tell a story. On the contrary, luthiers put all their passion into their work and their love towards the job they do can be felt in every detail. Be it an affordable or an expensive model, handcrafted instruments have a lot to say. And if I’m being honest, some of them are really underrated. Today we’re going to talk about Antonio Giuliani DN-5 – an inexpensive guitar that will shake you to your core when you see the price. In other words, it’s unbelievably good and I’m not exaggerating. It has all the features a hand-crafted instrument can brag about. It might even convince you to forget about those big names and turn to luthiers from now on. If you’re intrigued, it means you’re willing to try something new or you just want to check if I was right or wrong. Either way, let’s continue and discuss all the details about this fella.
Though I kept rambling on about the special touch that is guaranteed when the guitar is handcrafted, I don’t want you to think that it’s the only virtue about such instruments. It also translates into the quality and the materials that are used. Antonio Giuliani DN-5 has a solid Canadian cedar top, which is a bit surprising, considering the price tag. But as I’ve mentioned, we’re dealing with a badass model here. It features X-bracing, which determines its sound and makes sure the tone has everything one would require. This baby has laminate mahogany back and sides, and though they aren’t as good as solid woods, they aren’t too bad either. It has a dreadnought size, which means it’s a powerful beast. The design is pretty simple – nothing to write home about. But I do really like the colorful rosette, as it adds a tinge of beauty to the appearance.
Now, the neck and the fretboard is where things get cranked up a notch. Mahogany neck is topped with a solid rosewood fingerboard. Fret markers are carefully polished to make sure there are no pointy edges. This way all your movements will be smooth, no matter what you do. You can remain in one area by doing chords or move your hand alongside the whole fretboard – nothing will stand in your way. If we were to judge DN-5 by this parameter only, it would still deserve its place on this list.
But it’s all about the details that can sometimes amplify the performance of a guitar or destroy it completely. An inaccurate saddle height can ruin your sound and even tuning pegs can determine the quality of an instrument. That’s why it’s important to discuss the hardware – you have to know what you’re getting, right?
Antonio Giuliani DN-5 comes equipped with a rosewood bridge that has abalone inlays on the pins. The saddle is made from a genuine bone and its height is adjusted perfectly. Bone nut completes the package. This fella does also have a dual action truss rod, which means you’ll be able to match the guitar to the tension of your strings and avoid ruining it. Speaking of the strings, you’ll find D’Addarios attached to the body as the instrument arrives at your doorstep. The headstock is, once again, a quality part on this guitar: it’s built with a scarf joint and one-piece rosewood overlay. This adds strength to the body and increases its durability.
One of the best things about DN-5 is the fact that it comes with accessories. The package includes a gig bag, a music stand, a cleaning cloth, an electronic tuner, a strap, several guitar picks and an extra set of Portland strings. If you’re wondering if this guitar could get any better, read on, my friend, the sound is ahead!
The sound is where technicalities stop and interesting things come into play. Don’t get me wrong – we all care a lot about the tonewoods, build quality and hardware of our guitars, but at the end of the day, what matters the most is the sound. And I’m sure this is the part you’re the most curious about. I won’t torture you anymore and get straight to the point – Antonio Giuliani DN-5 has wonderful sonic possibilities. Its solid cedar top makes sure the sound comes off as warm and rich, with enough low and high end in its body. If you’ve never played this wood before, let me tell you that it’s really similar to spruce, but it’s even warmer. It doesn’t focus on trebles, yet they are still there to brighten up your pieces. This puppy has a high-quality (i.e. pristine) tone, which is perfect for fingerpicking techniques. You can hear the craftsmanship through the notes – call me crazy, but that’s what it is. You have the option to add a pickup to DN-5 with some extra money, which is something you can do if you want some extra power. But it’s really strong as it is. And you know what? – it’s one of the best guitars you can get for the price.
I hope you understand what I was trying to imply in the beginning of this article. After discussing the features and capabilities of Antonio Giuliani DN-5, it becomes clear that our hands have magic in them and that magic is transferred to everything they touch. It proves that beautiful, rich sound doesn’t always require huge sacrifices in terms of money. If you give this one a shot, you’ll figure out why I think it’s underrated. Just know that you won’t be disappointed. Good luck on your acoustic journey, my friend!
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