While the square-shoulder dreadnought may be more common, certain players of all genres have gravitated to the more focused tone of slope shoulder guitars. Unlike traditional square shoulder designs, rounded, sloped shoulders diffuse the dreadnought's sometimes overwhelming bass response, which adds clarity and balance. The change in geometry also subtly increases the dynamic range.
In tribute to the early examples that came out of Kalamazoo, Mich., many builders prefer to pair the slope shoulder dreadnought with a short scale. This puts the bridge in the optimal position to produce the comforting, growling presence of old blues recordings. Of course, modern builders are able to construct this template with a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that were simply unattainable in the '30s. It's amazing to hear the nuanced tone and inspiration the right builder can put into this time-tested template.
This 2011 Bourgeois Slope D/SS features a 14-fret slope-shoulder dreadnought body with a shorter 25" scale length. It has a hand-voiced Adirondack Spruce top that shows some bear claw, and its back and sides are Mahogany. Like all Bourgeois guitars, this Slope D is an artfully crafted instrument—the build quality, fit, and finish are on a high-level only attained by a small-shop.
This 2011 Slope D/SS produces quick, throaty tone with balance across the register and bass that is tight, but still thumps. As you move up the neck, it retains the same balance and sense of clarity. Notes ring out with woody, straightforward overtones. It's a versatile tone that sounds great with a heavy hand or a delicate touch. It can chunk out chords or help intricate leads cut through the mix.
- Body Size: Slope D
- Scale Length: 25"
- Top: Eastern Red "Adirondack" Spruce
- Back & Sides: Mahogany
- Rosette: Sunburst Fiber/Ivoroid
- Back Strip: Black Line
- Purfling: Black/White/Black Top Border
- Head Veneer: Ziricote
- Fretboard: Short Scale 14 Fret Ebony
- Bridge: Ebony Belly Bridge
- Tuners: Nickel Plated Waverly Tuners w/ Ivoroid Buttons
- Pickguard: Vintage
- Nut Width: 1-23/32"
- Head Binding: Ivoroid
- Body Binding: Ivoroid
- Fretboard Inlay: Tiny MOP Dots
- Fretboard Binding: Ivoroid
This 2011 Bourgeois Slope D/SS has been played, but it's in nice shape all around. It has a strap button installed on the neck heel, and under the hood, there's an LR Baggs iBeam pickup (which sounds fantastic plugged in, too). It is free of severe dings or scratches from mishandling, and it appears to have been properly maintained and humidified throughout its life. Fret wear is minimal, and the playability is excellent.