Furch may be an unfamiliar name in the acoustic guitar world to many of our readers, but the history of the company dates back to the 1970s in socialist Czechoslovakia (and is a worthwhile read for any avid musician here https://furchguitars.com/us/about-us/our-story/). By the early 1990s Furch evolved into crafting acoustic guitars of various sizes and body styles. Furch has a vast line nowadays and is an internationally distributed guitar builder.
We had the privilege of reviewing a single-cutaway guitar from their Yellow line, The Yellow Gc-CR Master’s Choice, which is described as suited for fingerstyle and lighter playing styles.
Up-and-coming Norwegian guitarist Magnus Klausen called his Furch guitar the best acoustic he’s ever played, and after spending time this beautiful instrument, we can understand why he might feel that way.
The beautiful Furch Yellow Master’s Choice grand auditorium, single cutaway, acoustic guitar has a AAA grade western red cedar top with an AA grade Indian rosewood back and sides coated in Furch’s proprietary, full-pore, high-gloss finish. The binding is an artificial tortoise with a white line and purfling, with five black and white lines. The sound hole rosette features a double ring with a black and white line and green abalone inlays. The soundboard is also protected by a transparent pickguard. The bridge is made of ebony and the bridge pins are artificial tortoise. The saddle is a fully compensated TUSQ with bridge pin spacing of 2-3/16inches.
The fretboard of the guitar is ebony with a 15 ¾” radius and a 25 9/16” scale length. The fretboard is adorned by white pearl eclipse inlays and white pearl position dot side inlays. The inlays, although simple, are very classy and clean appearing. The nut is also TUSQ, with a width of 1 ¾”.
The neck is African mahogany with a Furch soft V profile. The neck has a satin finish while the ebony overlayed headstock has a high-gloss finish and the Furch F logo. Machine heads are Schaller M6 gold with 18:1 gear ratios and artificial tortoise machine head buttons. The neck is reinforced by the Furch CNR System with a dual-action truss rod. CNR stands for composite neck reinforcement. The truss rod is enclosed in a highly rigid carbon casing that maintains the neck in the set position over a much longer period than standard truss rods. However, it also facilitates a gradual bow in the neck over time. A casting made of special alloy located inside the neck heel facilitates a stable position of the next and its angle with the body.
The Yellow Master’s Choice guitar comes equipped with the top-of-the-line LR Baggs Stagepro Anthem pickups with side mounted tuner and equalizer. The Stagepro Anthem includes the Tru-Mic and Element under-saddle pickups, full chromatic tuner, master volume control, bass and treble controls, notch filter and phase inversion controls for eliminating feedback. It also has an easy click-lock battery access.
As Furch states on their website, their yellow line is best suited for fingerstyle and light playing styles, but of course there are no limits. A grand auditorium body with a single cutaway is going to be a very versatile guitar. Upon opening the case we first noticed the overall exquisite appearance and quality of the instrument. The craftsmanship was undeniable, and soon as we had the guitar under hand, we found the frets were perfectly dressed and levelled with no sharp fret ends.
Once tuned up and adjusted for the climate, the guitar stayed well in tune. The high quality 18:1 Schaller tuners did not disappoint with the guitar staying in tune for days and throughout hours of vigorous playing. Our only complaint was that the action was rather high for our tastes for an acoustic guitar despite the neck being dead straight. At the 12th fret the high E string was 8/64 inch from the bottom of the string to the top of the fret and the low E string was 9/64 inches. This made upper fretwork more of a challenge but also caused the guitar to go more out of tune when played with a capo. This of course can all be resolved with a professional set-up.
The LR Baggs Stagepro Anthem pickup system was easy to use and provided a wide variety of tonal options which were realistic and sonically very pleasing. The mix blends from the TRU-MIC position to the Element only. Bass and treble controls made noticeable changes in tone and along with the phase inversion and notch filter, really allowed for diverse sonic options and real-time EQ adjustments. Changes in the volume knob did not alter overall tone. Battery access was easy as described and the built-in tuner allowed for quick adjustment. When the tuner is engaged, the sound is cut-out automatically so no one has to listen to you making tuning adjustments—a nice touch. The mics are also highly resistant to feedback which made it possible to play through the clean channel of our electric guitar’s tube amplifier.
The first strum of the guitar was exactly what we anticipated, and it vibrated through our bones. The tones were well balanced and not bass heavy nor too boomy, yet not thin sounding. When evaluating a grand auditorium acoustic guitar we are looking for it to fit a middle-of-the-range sound between a smaller sized grand concert and a larger size dreadnought. Traditionally, one would consider a grand concert style more for a fingerstylist and the dreadnought for flatpicking and strummer. But of course, these are merely guidelines. The grand auditorium is versatile in that it can typically accomplish both sonically well, and this guitar fits that bill. Of course gauges of strings and string materials will also significantly affect the tone.
We compared it to one of our high-end dreadnought guitars and it had similar sustain and resonance with slightly less bass (as expected), and a more full and round tone. True to Furch’s description of the guitar on their website, the guitar had a “crystal clear, harmonically rich, balanced and dynamic sound across the tonal spectrum.” Chords sounded full and clear with excellent sustain, and we felt the Elixir Nanoweb phosphor bronze strings were a perfect complement to this guitar acoustically. Taking advantage of the single cutaway for lead melody work, individual notes were clear and focused with a sweet acoustic buzz that was very lively. Lower range notes were clear and balanced and sonically fell in the middle of the spectrum, neither dark nor bright. Balanced was the word we came back to repeatedly while playing this fabulous guitar.
After testing the guitar in different environments in the home and studio, including our beloved recording area for acoustic guitars, the shower (water off of course), we were eager to hear how it sounded plugged in with the LR Baggs Stagepro Anthem pickup system. We plugged it into a hand-wired Fender Champ style 5-watt amp and although not a dedicated acoustic guitar amp, the sound was stellar and sounded just like a mic’d acoustic guitar. Too often a plugged-in acoustic doesn’t truly capture the sound of the guitar and you end up with some artificial acoustic sound. In this day and age, any quality acoustic with a pick-up system should sound just like the guitar when it’s not plugged-in, and here the Furch did not disappoint.
We also tested the guitar directly into a PA system and again the sound was fantastic, with no feedback problems. One of our bandmates was equally impressed with the authenticity of the acoustic sound from the LR Baggs system as well as the range of tones it delivered. Plugged in with great tonal variety further widens the versatility of this guitar.
Documentation and Product Support
Furch has an excellent website that provides in-depth information. You can tell they are passionate about their guitars by the beauty of the website and depth of information they provide.
The Furch acoustic guitar comes with a high-rigidity Hiscox case that is very durable and suitable for travel, manufactured with a polyurethane insulating foam that protects the instrument from varying climatic changes that occur with travel.
The Furch Yellow Master’s Choice grand auditorium single cutaway guitar sells for the recommended price of $2,867 including the case. This is a fair price for a premium acoustic guitar with top-shelf electronics.