Avalon XL340A Americana Super Jumbo

11th Feb 2008 | 11:34

Avalon XL340A Americana Super Jumbo
Avalon XL340A Americana Super Jumbo

Avalon takes up the vintage baton with a sunburst instrument paying homage to US acoustics of yesteryear.

MusicRadar rating:

4 stars

The right materials and build make this a big, smooth-sounding strum machine that has fingerstyle covered too.

Like:

Looks, sounds and handling.

Dislike:

Slight finish imperfections; dynamics have yet to blossom fully.

While Gibson J-200 influences are clear to see on this Avalon super jumbo, it's no attempt at being a clone.

The shoulders are slightly more rounded, and the upper bouts are more slender in relation to the fulsome 17in-wide lower bouts. The moustachio'd ebony bridge hints at rather than apes the ornate lines of Gibson's open-perimetered original.

When it comes to flame-maple back and sides, those on our sample aren't the most highly figured you'll come across, but caught at certain angles they fit the bill.

There are one or two minor finish imperfections on our review instrument. Rubbing lines and some matting of the finish are clearly visible on the top either side of the fingerboard, and around the back of the shoulders the edging of the dark stain, where it meets the sycamore binding, is slightly wavy.

The review model's neck has a flat heel profile. If you want a neck with a slimmer nut width, you can easily order it.

Sounds

Soundwise there is a superb evenness of tonal texture across the strings that is typical of good maple-backed acoustics, and the construction predictably endows extra depth and vibrancy to the bass response.

Avalon is to be applauded for this Americana. You might think that the company has trodden a well-worn path down the heritage trail, and in one sense that is the case. But along the way it has come up with an immensely attractive, generally great-sounding instrument that is instantly and distinctively identifiable.

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