All the way from Australia. I’ve been acoustic hunting. After trying everything I could get my hands on locally, I had pretty much decided to grab one of the new Pro Series Takamine offerings. Specifically the P3DC. But then a lot of things happened. I stumbled across Cole Clark guitars on the innerwebs. I was intrigued with their unique build style, and especially their take on using native woods and keeping everything sustainable and as eco friendly as possible. I also generally like the idea of not doing what everyone else is doing. As in, I really liked the idea of not being another one of a million dudes playing a Martin or Taylor, or whatever the flavor of the week is, and also not being one of a million dudes playing spruce and rosewood, or mahogany, and ebony, and all of that. I really didn’t feel a strong desire to add to the demand for endangered or threatened tropical woods. I thought about buying used, but wasn’t sure that was a whole lot better since it still means I’m out there being seen and heard performing with said woods. Not that seeing me is gonna create some crazy demand, but I’d rather help than not. That said, it still had to be an instrument that would meet my expectations as far as sound, and playability. I liked all the videos I saw, and all do the reviews I read, but I still had some questions. I shot an email off through the Cole Clark website, and figured I’d hear back anywhere from a couple days to a week. Precisely and hour later at 9am Melbourne time I got an email back. Not from a customer service rep or tech, but from the CEO of the company. We emailed back and forth a few times, and he seemed genuinely interested in me as a customer. That goes a LONG way with me. The talks were very helpful as it steered me to a different model than what I originally thought I wanted. It also gave me a really good feeling about buying a pretty expensive guitar, that a few days before I’d never even heard of. Then I found the exact model I wanted at a US dealer online. So I bought it! Today I took delivery of my very own Cole Clark Angel 2. To say it’s everything I expected would be an understatement. The pictures don’t do it justice. It’s absolutely beautiful. It sounds absolutely incredible. Not like anything else I have or have had, but gorgeous tonality. Not super loud, but definitely plenty loud for a singer songwriter like me. I have no need for a bluegrass cannon. The build is beautiful, the fit and finish flawless, the ultra-thin satin nitro finish is a joy to hold onto, it’s just super sweet. Very balanced sounding. Not scooped at all, really. Nice full bass without being boomy, and smooth full top end, not tinny or thin on the plain strings. The action from the factory is just the tiniest bit higher than I like, but I’m not gonna mess with it for now because I don’t wanna screw with the tone. It’s just so sweet. The frets and nut are perfectly cut, crowned and polished, as they should be. The shop has a plek machine. The Grover tuners are smooth. There is no binding or slippage anywhere and it stays in tune beautifully. The pickup system is flat out sick. The best I’ve ever heard. It incorporates three separate elements- an under saddle pickup for low end, a top sensor for mids, and a condenser mic top end. They can all be blended with separate level controls. It sounds exactly like the guitar does unplugged if you want it to, or, you can make it into whatever you please. Each element also has its own eq “shelf” built into the preamp, so there are no feedback issues. Anyhow, here’s the new baby. Bunya top, Tasmanian Blackwood back and sides. Queensland Maple neck. She’s a beauty! Oh yeah, the bridge and fingerboard are made from a wood called River She Oak. I’ve also come across references that spell it “Sheoak”, so I’m not sure which it is. So what’s the verdict? Was it wise to drop this kind of coin on an unknown, that I couldn’t try out beforehand? I do not regret it.