Like many other forum members, I expect, I spent some time admiring the various ex-demo models featured on the website over the last few weeks before deciding to buy the D300B slope shouldered dreadnought in 'Johnny Cash' black.
My first experience with Avalon was earlier this year when I was looking for a quaity small bodied guitar and snapped up a S32 that the factory had on eBay for a very good price. This is a superb guitar and won me over to Avalon's quality and service. I also bought a mint A32 secondhand - almost exactly like the S32 but a bit bigger but decided not to to keep that one - I found the deep body (perhaps?) gave it a big warm sound that didn't seem to want to keep up with my playing ... not that I am that fast! But as a finger-picker it was a bit too wallow-y for me - great for slow dropped tuning stuff where the cound could just swell or, indeed, played with a pick - which I don't do that much.
However, I was still looking for something with a bit more low end wallop than the S32 and thought a mahogany body with a bit more volume of air in the body would do the trick. I had always fancied a slope dread guitar - I really enjoy Ralph McTell's playing on a J45 - so the D300B looked like it might be the thing.
So, it is, as I say, a slope bodied dreadought, albeit a bit more compact than a Gibson - perhaps a bit like, dare I say, a Yamaha shape - it's worked OK for them for about 40 years! Beautifully finished in piano black with an abalone soundhole ring, light wood binding and snowflake fingerboard inlays on the most beautiful bit of fingerboard wood. Very pretty!
Out of the box, the set up was superb and it obviously had the kind of sound I wanted. I find I need to lower the action a little compared to a standard Avalon set up and I have just done this at the same time as fitting a K&K mini pickup - that was a straightforward job and it seems to amplify the sound in a natural way without the piexo quack, although it doesn't quite have the sibiliance (think that's what its called - in a human voice, it's the 'hiss' on 's' sounds etc) that you only get from a mic.
Wit a few weeks' playing-in and a slightly lower action, this is a fast and responsive guitar with real presence. When you strike a note it is almost like hitting a piano - a real strong, defined sound.
I have a lot of time for mahogany as a body wood actually as it speaks with a nice sweet tone and has quite a rapid response - definitely no poor relation if it is good quality wood and made well as a guitar. It's probably true that quality guitars are more often made of rosewood and cheaper ones of mahogany (or some cheap substitute) and but when you get a quality guitar made of mahogany (or walnut, maple etc) you can see that this wood has its own benefits.
So, I am afraid my 22 year old Lowden has been sold as the D300B is better as a picker or strummer and the S32 is a great bright fingerpicker and a nice small guitar for travelling to lessons etc. Anyway, the D300B has fulfilled its promise and deserves to do well. Just a little bit of 'Americana' with quite a lot of Irish know-how and a bit of an organic sound that will be known to you if you have played a Lowden or Avalon jumbo guitar. I'd love to play an Avalon take on an OM or M body type