Text Box: My first experience of a Brondel guitar was at Schoenberg in Tiburon, California. A gorgeous A-2c model, which is approximately OM size, with an Adirondack top and figured mahogany back and sides. It was a busy day at Schoenberg, and I played a lot of guitars, but I put Brondel on my list of guitars to check out at Healdsburg in 2013.

I met Laurent, who happens to be a great guy, at HGF and I really hit it off with a German spruce and Brazilian rosewood A-2c. Of all the guitars at the show, this is the one I kept coming back to over and over (and I played A LOT OF GUITARS at that show). Ultimately, I loved the expressiveness in the high registers, the incredible touch responsiveness, the power, and the projection of the guitar. I decided to commission something similar . . . 

* Builder: Laurent Brondel (that’s French, you know)
* Model: A-2c
* Top: Carpathian spruce
* Back/Sides: Madagascar Rosewood
* Neck: One-piece Mahogany, medium/slim C
* Endgraft: Buckeye burl
* Headplate: Buckeye burl
* Headstock Bindings: Madagascar Rosewood
* Fingerboard: Ebony
* Fingerboard Bindings: Ebony
* Fret Markers: Pearl dots
* Frets to body: 14
* Cutaway: Venetian 
* Bridge: Ebony 
* Body Bindings: Ebony
* Rosette: Double arrow rosette with green line, top purfling, and back center strip
* Pickguard: Tortoise celluloid
* Tuners: Alessi
* 1 3/4" Nut
* 2 5/16" Saddle
* 25.6” scale length
* Case: Hoffee, dark gray with gold interior
Text Box: Brondel A-2c
Text Box: The guitar was delivered in 2014.

The sound tugged at my heartstrings right out of the gate. I was looking for the rosewood cousin of my (now departed) mahogany A-2c (which I WILL get back some day. Are you listening, Ed??), and it was really a wonderful complement. Huge, resonant, slightly reverby bass. Present, but slightly subdued, mids, at least compared to my mahogany guitar. And beautiful, crystalline highs. Enormous headroom. Powerful but not brash. The Carpathian spruce is very similar in most regards to the Adi on my 000-12. Compared to my old mahogany A-2c, the highs have more sparkle and sustain.

I would describe the tone as firmly in the Martin camp, though certainly with Laurent's twist. It has the signature projection quality that most Brondels seem to possess, possibly a result of the lateral arch bracing. The guitar focuses mostly on the fundamental, which is something I desire in the music I play, but it is nevertheless complex and musical. The key word here is "clarity." The notes work with each other and do not interfere with each other. No part of the spectrum is hot rodded or scooped out. It's even. It's dynamic. It's expressive. Beautiful.

In open C tuning, the guitar is a resonant, gorgeous, huge sounding, cello-like beast. I play in this tuning quite frequently on this guitar because I find the sound so moving. It makes the glasses on my kitchen table rattle.

The aesthetics speak for themselves, obviously. Incredibly stylish and unique with flawless execution. I am a BIG fan of the oil varnish finish, which I first discovered on Bruce Sexauer's guitars. There's something very attractive and natural about this finish. Oddly enough, I even like the smell, particularly when combined with the Spanish cedar used inside the guitar. The buckeye burl is a wonderful, classy accent.

There is no doubt that this A-2c is a wonderful expression of the craft of luthiery. I believe that Laurent is a very consistent builder; I had a clear vision for this guitar after playing the Brazilian A-2 at HGF. Laurent understood and executed this vision perfectly.