I’ve been very privileged this week to have in my possession two fine examples of Australian luthery.
Over the past few months Lance Litchfield has been touring his C400 and C900 cedar top guitars around the country, showcasing these fantastic instruments with players and teachers alike.
The two guitars are very much different to one another and I’ll talk about them individually in a moment. They do share one thing – OK actually a number of things – in common and that’s a fantastic build quality, awesome attention to detail in the finish, beautifully playable and great tones (albeit slightly different ones). I love the matte finish on the soundboard of both of the guitars too.
I grappled the C400 first and straight out of the case the guitar felt like a good, solid and sturdy instrument. Not too weighty though, but just solid like you can really get to grips with it and not be frightened to really play it.
I’ll admit that initially I wasn’t quite sure about the C400, but it very quickly grew on me the more I played it. It’s not what I would call an immediately obvious guitar in terms of its sounds and its tone – well, not to me anyway being a lover of what I call the Aussie V12 modern powerful guitars.
However, as I said, it very quickly grew on me; it’s beguiling subtlety luring me in….. The C400 has a really warm, enveloping sound. Delicate yet beautifully solid and assured. Not overtly powerful, but really well balanced in terms of tonal range and a great sustain. It’s sound is like a big bear hug on your ears – soft and warm and all-encompassing…..Mmmm. It lacks a bit of punch in the forte range that I normally like, but this is not what this guitar is about. It’s more of a traditional guitar, with balance, poise and grace. Simply lovely.
The C900 then is what I would call a more modern guitar, a bit more of the Aussie V12 approach. But that doesn’t mean it’s rough as guts – ooh no. Perhaps a Porsche 911 is a better way of describing it – sleek, fine, beautiful, but with a bit of poke when you ask it to give you more. The sound from the C900 is clearer, brighter, but without being zingy at all, still with great tonal range and capable of some really lovely colours. A real joy to play.
Both the C400 and C900 feel very similar to hold and sit with and play – very comfortable. The neck on both guitars is probably a smidge too deep for my own personal preference and may not suit those with slightly smaller hands.
It’s not the fastest neck I’ve played, but certainly not the most challenging or slowest by a long way. The action is the lowest I’ve experienced on a classical guitar. The neck didn’t cause me too much of an issue when playing actually, so may just be a case of getting used to that slightly deeper profile.
All in all, the C400 and C900 are both really great guitars, a privilege to play.
For further information about the C400 and C900 and other Litchfield guitars head on over to www.litchfieldguitars.com. And if you want to contact Lance directly about his guitars drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org