Re-Introducing Eric Joseph
Eric Joseph’s guitars and I have crossed paths before. Mr. Joseph is a custom hand-building guitar maker from Maine and every so often I find myself with a chance to tinker with his guitars. As of recently I’ve found myself just that situation, so today we’re taking a look at his cinnamon wood custom contour guitar.
The Cinnamon Contour Guitar
Let’s start with the design. This particular model is as hand built as it gets with a hand-carved, fully chambered cinnamon wood top and an African makore wood back. The neck is also hand-carved out of hard maple with a Brazillian rosewood fretboard smoothed to a 9.5” radius and a synthetic bone nut. Finishing off the variety of woods are the carved leopard wood pickup rings and a sycamore control cover plate. All of the woods are gingerly coated with a tung oil, a penetrating polyurethane, and a carnauba wax finish.
The guitar includes a Seymour Duncan STL-1 Lead pickup in the bridge position and an SCR-1N Cool Rails in the neck position both controlled by the two designated volume knobs, one master tone knob, and the three-way pickup selector.
All hardware is gold plated and include a set of Sperzel locking tuners and a fixed Strat-like bridge. It uses a double-action truss rod and is decorated with abalone and pearl dot inlays and a bronze logo inlay. All of this sexiness has been properly preserved in a hard-shell Gator brand case too.
The Hands On Part
As far as first impressions go when I opened the case the guitar greeted me with a rather sweet aroma that gently lofted into the air in a faint cloud of what dreams are made of. Is it just me or is the scent of a new guitar not one of the more gratifying parts of life? Seriously. I could just sit here and smell this thing all day. Much better than smelling glue or markers.
Visually the guitar looks stunning. The body is carved excellently, the woods look beautiful, and the gold hardware and pickup rings really give it a premium look. And that’s before even picking the guitar up.
Playing the guitar is right on par with the aesthetics. The neck is silky smooth and because Eric Joseph uses his finishes rather sparingly the guitar still feels much like a sturdy piece of wood in your hands as opposed to a more plastic feel some guitars acquire with excessive finishing coats. The neck also feels a bit thinner than
The bridge is exactly like what you’d find on a Stratocaster only without the hole for a whammy bar since it is fixed down to the guitar. It’s actually fixed to a separate piece of wood raising it up a bit higher and gives the saddles a bit of leeway if you wish to raise or lower the action per your needs. As the action is at about 3/64” at the 12th fret and fretting the strings really doesn’t take much effort at all.
Soundwise the pickups both have very distinct tones. The rail pickup in the neck is thick with mids and has just a bit of brightness coming through while the single-coil bridge pickup his rich with highs and has a very bright and chimey sound. Both pickups have good, strong output on their side.
Have an audio sample to brighten your day. The song is Bach’s Minuet from his French suite. Also known as theme C from Tetris.
After tinkering on the guitar for a week it’s offered me among the greatest experiences I’ve had on a guitar before. We’ve got a history of reviewing Eric Joseph’s guitars and they’ve all been very consistently satisfying to play and excellently built. If you want a star rating to put things in perspective then just give it 5 out of 5 all across the board because I’m not going to readily think of anything that’s going to diminish anything that’s made a believer out of me.