The Fender Alkaline Trio Malibu Acoustic Guitar was featured on the Alkaline Trio’s acoustic album cover. It is a curious guitar, with an artful design of a heart for sound hole, which is much more of a novelty than it is a functionality. It is an affordable guitar and by far not the worst you could choose. Though let us take a closer look and see for ourselves.
This acoustic guitar is rather simple in its construction, not standing out from guitars relatively similar to its price point. It has a folk guitar style body design, which means the guitar’s projection is not as powerful as some would like. The dark color of the guitar comes from the tonewood of choice, mahogany. It is the hardwood for the top, back and the sides of the guitar. While I do appreciate a nice mahogany top, the manufacturer might have gone a little overboard with their love for it. Still, while mahogany is not as good as rosewood for back and sides, it is a solid choice and does add a little bit to the sound. The soundhole has a heart shape, which is more of a fun thing than a function thing.
The neck borrows from the electric design, taking the c shape straight into the acoustic world. This has been many times before, though it does make folk guitar have a little bit of a classical guitar feel sometimes. The neck is solid maple, set into the body, very solid construction. The guitar is sturdy of course, meaning it will last a while.
The guitar looks and feels very folksy and will probably be a favorite for many beginner looking for the folk vibe in their music.
The hardware, as expected, has a nice chrome finish all over. Sturdy, well designed. The tuners are fairly stable though I do have a problem with a headstock. It is a direct translation of an electric headstock onto an acoustic guitar. This does not change anything in terms of functionality, but the look of the headstock go against the rest of the guitar. According to the manufacturer they were going for something more punk related with the design, but that is only seen in the actual headstock. The rest of the guitar is very folksy, so the headstock clashes with the design, slightly decreasing the aesthetic appeal of the instrument.
Some people say they have a problem with the folk guitar design, feeling as if they do not produce a strong enough sound or a full enough tone. While I do not agree, since I have seen many a folk style guitar proving them wrong, this might be one of the few cases where I agree. The guitar has a nice tone, thanks to all mahogany, it’s lower and mid tones are slightly more expressed than the high tones. Though it seems that the guitar lacks power of projection and fullness of sound when compared to other guitars. While this may be a problem for some, others who are looking for this in their musical style will find it useful. Beginners should not mind this problem either, though some of the more experienced players might not appreciate the guitar’s sound that much.
The guitar is an interesting entry into the history of the instrument. A combination of the ultra modern electric trends and the more traditional acoustic techniques, we get an amalgamation of both. It is not the best guitar you will lay your eyes on, but it is definitely worth a look, especially for the price.