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Old 07-12-2009, 12:20 AM
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Default Recording King RO-126 Review

I was going to wait a week or so, but I played since yesterday, had friend play it, and played the guitar at open mic tonight ( had a great mic and monitors). So I figured the results were good enough not to wait.

Some how...GAS...or a number of excuses/explanations....I bit on a Recording King (RK) RO-126. This is a all solid spruce over mahogany 000 sized guitar. I won't go into all the specs but the main thing is: a 000-18 pre-war design with some different aesthetics like heringbone purfing.

Before I continue, I'd to emphasize this review is not about a price/merits of guitar A vs. price/merits of guitar B. It is about the merits and observations of the instrument. Comparisons are just to provide some basis of how the instrument fits in my instruments and my experience.

While I was lookng for a travel/gigging guitar that was in the ballpark what I normally prefer, specifically a 1 3/4"nut and 00 or 000 body specs(comfort), I was taken by the fact it had scalloped bracing and a shortscale neck. I had my local shop order me one. Now this wasn't completely blind because I had played a RO-06, and was impressed with its tone and projection. I figured if they could pull it off with that one, then they could likely do it with their others.

I arrived within the week. Packed nicely.

Okay:
Fit and Finish-
Great, the finish is nice albiet a little thick as typical with some imports but not bad( a non-issue). The woods and grains appear to very good stock. The mahogany is very nice and is vibrant. The trim is tastful and I like the fact it is cream colored rather than white. It has a bit of a antique look and I believe as the spruce darkens, which itself is not very light in color, the guitar will look even better. The torch on the headstock is very nice and the aesthetic I like most on the instrument. The components all look like the fit very well. The tuner work well but are not quite as smooth as many other like tuners in my experience. One thing as with other imports, they apply the finish after the guitar is assembled, once again, a non-issue.

Tone-
A subjective subject but I can only respond by saying I am confident in what I hear in an instrument. The RK is a faithful reproduction of a shortscale spruce/mahogany 000. It is surprisingly so. Does it sound like a Martin? Well I guess I be smart and say "even Martins don't sound a like". Wait a second and I'll check again......done. The RK differs from the 000-16SGT (12fret)and 000-28EC much like IMO other simular spec'd 000's would. The 000-28EC has little more bass response and clarity in the mids and treble; but not earth shattering but discernable. The 000-28EC is also slightly more balanced, but once again, not earth shattering. The RK differs in that the tonal range seems to be broader and a little more balanced than the 000-16SGT. The RK has more bass and more balance in the mids and trebles. The 000-16SGT, in comparison is a little more woody and focused in the mids and trebles.

As I did my ABC comparison is that the RK's tone and feel confirmed that its merits warranted such a comparison. I feel like I am harbouring some disbelief the instrument could sound as good as it does.

Feel and Playability-
The neck feels great, as any profile less than baseball bat works for me. Seriously though, the modified V is very slightly larger than the 000-28EC. The RK feels a little rounder. Weight is slightly more than the Martins. The frets are smooth and well dressed. Out of the box it played tight or like it had mediums. A check of the nut and saddle confirmed string height. The nut was rather high and there was some uneveness in the slot heights but correctable. I adjusted the saddle and nut which improved playibility. I'll play it for a while and see if I want to do some more adjusting.

Overall-
Solely on its merits regarding tone and playability, it is a very nice if not remarkable guitar. There are alot of other factors that can be plugged-in and I have read other threads about RK guitars where the discussion turns to if they compare or "as good as". Well you can compare two or more or anything and the determination of "as good as" is purely subjective.

I hope this helps if for nothing else feeding your curiosity.
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:52 AM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
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Turp......

Thanks for the honest in-depth review. It will likely help others in deciding on a decent affordable guitar with the specs you mentioned. My gut assessment about Recording King is that they are continually improving the quality of what they produce. I picked up a Recording King RDC-57 (dreadnaught) on Ebay awhile back and was completely unimpressed with it tonally. I later found out that there was a RK dealer within 90 minutes of me. I took the guitar there to compare it to other dread models he had in stock. My comparisons revealed that all of the dreads had the same unimpressive (inhibited) tone as mine. Granted these were all seemingly very heavily built guitars (overbuilt IMO). I'll bet yours is not a heavy guitar to pick up (general weight). I think that the very early Recording Kings were overbuilt and speculate that later models were much better tonally as they adjusted the bracing (and perhaps other things) to get a more full, open tone. I will say that the older models I played seem to be built very nicely on the outside, but the tone just doesn't (didn't) cut it. Mine's been for sale locally for awhile now. Beautiful, classy looking guitar otherwise. I'd like to play some of the newly produced models as I have a much better feeling about them.


Side note: Meanwhile I have been completely blown away by what Stanford has produced in their affordable Performer series acoustic guitars. It's a crime IMO that so few (ONE) dealer is all that can be found in states throughout the US. If I had the resources and retail knowledge I would become dealer #2. They are that good! I'm afraid this company doesn't feel it needs US business to be successful. No real aggressive plans to market them here from what I gather. Yet the dread models are by far the best sounding (Bluegrass styled) imports I've played within their sub $1K price category. BTW, I only mention this additional stuff because Recording King, Blueridge, Morgan Monroe, Stanford etc... all tie into the same "Martin clone" import category on many of their instruments.

Last edited by 66strummer; 07-12-2009 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:56 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is online now
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Turp,

Thanks for the review... Nicely done.

- Glenn
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:00 AM
Ryler Ryler is offline
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Really useful review and makes me want to try another one. If I recall, I had trouble with the neck (very small hands) but next time I'm in the vicinity of another Recording King, I'll give a close listen. Glad you're so very pleased.
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for the comments. I wouldn't have been able to review an instrument if it weren't for what I have learned from others here.

As you stated 66strummer, it is only minimally heavier than my 000-28EC. Interestingly, my Breedlove is heavy, but the tone is tremendous. I attribute most of the Breedlove's weight to the neck(double truss and slight thickness) and the body depth.

I read some remarks about RK and suspect earlier models, and possibly still some others, were overbuilt. This plagues alot of instruments where production numbers and stability are managed through overbuilding rather than committing some extra effort.

There are alot of good guitars choices out there in the $400-$700 range.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:05 PM
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Thanks, Turp, for the well-written review. I agree about there being some gems among imports. I have an Eastman AC710S (RW/spruce OM) that amazes me with its sound and volume every time I play it.

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Old 07-12-2009, 10:49 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turp View Post
Thanks for the comments. I wouldn't have been able to review an instrument if it weren't for what I have learned from others here.

As you stated 66strummer, it is only minimally heavier than my 000-28EC. Interestingly, my Breedlove is heavy, but the tone is tremendous. I attribute most of the Breedlove's weight to the neck(double truss and slight thickness) and the body depth.

I read some remarks about RK and suspect earlier models, and possibly still some others, were overbuilt. This plagues alot of instruments where production numbers and stability are managed through overbuilding rather than committing some extra effort.

There are alot of good guitars choices out there in the $400-$700 range.

I keep a close eye on comments people make about Recording King guitars as the RK forum is merged within the Blueridge Forum that I "mod", along with Dave. You're a member there as well? I've noticed that a lot of people say that their Recording King guitars are not particularly heavy. The ones I tried originally were, without a shadow of doubt. I think that since Recording Kings were lifetime warranteed from the start, they started out bracing them heavier to avoid warranty issues later. Fortunately they seem to have revised the "overbracing". I believe that your statements that I highlighted are "spot on" too.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:03 AM
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my ROS 626 is the single most suprising guitar I've ever owned (and there have been a few)

Lightly built, louder than heck, balanced, great string separation. And the 1 7/8 nut and 2 5/16 saddle doesn't hurt my feelings either!!
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:37 AM
bshpmark bshpmark is offline
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Can you post a few pics? Thanks for the review.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:14 PM
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Here are some pics as requested. BTW, I am not a member of the BlueRidge/Recording King forum but I'll check it out.

The pics have some purpose as there are quite a few dealer's pic. I wants to show the grain of the wood and the color tone of the trim. Overall I think the wood is of very nice quality. I didn't get the headstock overlay which is well done because of the time to set up a good shot.



The following tighter frontal shot of the soundhole had some brightness/contrast adjusting to bring out the top's grain.







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Old 07-13-2009, 09:47 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
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Sweet looking guitar!! BTW if you want to check that forum out some time it's here.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66strummer View Post
Sweet looking guitar!!.
Took the words out of my mouth.

Bill
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:36 PM
Wepeel Wepeel is offline
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Bumping an old thread and a nice review...

Turp, how does the RO-126 compare physically and in feel to the 000-28EC? I've had a chance to play some EC's recently, and I get along very well with their shape - the Martin OM size, the scale, and the vintage neck shape/width. Is the RO almost identical physically?
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:58 PM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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I guess that the new recording King guitars are better than the old ones. Here is why: I got a Recording King RO 227 from Elderly, that I believe was not really one of the latest produced, because they had it listed for a while, and I returned it because in my mind it had a neck angle problem. Then I ordered a brand new Recording King RO 127 from Amazon, and the guitar is much better finished, in every detail. More over, it sounds totally awesome. It is a superb guitar for the price.
Mine has rosewood back and sides. I never had the opportunity to play the mahogany version (126) but I love mahogany and it is probably more punchy and dry sounding.
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:11 PM
zoodiscmcc zoodiscmcc is offline
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Default Recording king ro-127

I have done a lot of searching for a all solid guitar under $600. After reading a ton of forums, and checking out the options, i decided on a ro-127. All solid rosewood back and sides for the price point sounded unreal.

My ultimate goal was to replace my martin 000-16gt, which i found too bright and not a good choice for flatpicking. I was choosing my 000 yamaha fg-170 over this for playability. The yamaha was a 24.9 scale and laminate, the martin 000-16gt was 25.5 and solid mahogany, so i figured i liked the shorter scale. I also played a friends martin SWOMGT with a 24.9 scale, liked the sound, but not the neck. I have a really nice froggy bottom dread i use when playing with other people, but I like something smaller and more comfortable to leave out around the house so i can play anytime.

This RO127 was just what i needed. The playability is fantastic, the soft v is very comfortable. Sound is very full and louder than i expected. Sound is getting better daily as it opens up. I can bang it around and not worry.

I was so impressed i picked up another Ro126 for my son. Give these a try and if you like what you hear join the club. I doubt you can find a better built guitar for the money.
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