What's Hot With Jazz Guitar: Affordable Jazz Guitars #7

by Doc Dosco

Affordable Jazz Guitars: Stromberg

The Stromberg Custom Montreux -- what a sweet guitar! I have a lot of positives and no real negatives to report on this baby.

The tone is creamy yet it has some bite. This guitar has a sweet, clear, crisp acoustic sound. The laminate top guitars coming out of Korea are really improving in their tone if the Stromberg and D'Aspiranta are any indication. The neck felt cramped to me a first. I had been playing the D'Aspiranta with the 1 3/4" nut, and when this one came, it felt unusually narrow. However after I got used to it, and did a bit of surgery on the bridge it was fine. I noticed that the neck itself was not really all that narrow, but the string placement on the bridge gave it the cramped feel. (that's just me personally folks, because as I have reported I like extra wide necks). So, I re-spaced the strings a tiny bit, expanding them along the bridge and it magically became OK.

The guitar fits me like a glove. I like this 16 1/2" size body width. The neck is also one of the fastest I've ever played. Besides all of this, it is a pretty guitar to behold. Plugged in, this guitar really sings with it's Kent Armstrong pick-up.

The really convenient part of this Stromberg guitar line is that the guitars come with quality pick-ups and hardware. No swapping necessary. I have been noting in all my columns that the Korean guitars I have are all well built and most sound good but a lot of the hardware is crappy. All of the hardware on the Stromberg is top quality. You don't have to hammer down frets, replace tuners, pick-ups or the bridge.

All in all, I am very impressed with this guitar. It's a real gem. Stromberg has a number of models, and you can check them out here:


There are not many reviews on this guitar on Harmony Central, but the one that is there is positive.


List Price: $1295.00 from WDMusic.com, the company that imports and sells them here in the US. I saw one used on Ebay a few weeks ago and snagged the pictures. I don't know what it eventually sold for, but I'm sure WD Music will make you a deal on a new one. Call and ask for Ron.

Stromberg pics:

Stromberg specs:

The Stromberg Custom Montreux is a Single-Cutaway, Hollow-Body Archtop guitar with a Floating Neck Pickup:

- Multi-Layer Laminated Binding on Body & Neck
- Abalone Inlaid Headstocks
- Scale Length- 24 3/4"
- Neck Radius- 14"
- Width at Nut- 1 11/16"
- Bout Dimensions: Upper- 11 3/4", Lower- 16 1/2"
- Body Depth- 2 7/8"
- Sides and Back- Maple
- Top- Laminated Spruce
- Custom US Made Multi Layer Bound Tortoise Pickguard
- Kent Armstrong® Side Mounted Jazz Slimbucker With Hidden
- Kluson ® Deluxe Tuners with Pearloid Tulip Buttons
- Deluxe Archtop Brown Leatherette Hard Shell Case.

I have a track with the Stromberg.... (actually two MP3s - a solo and trades with a vamp). The Stromberg has no tone control, however if you have the volume on the guitar full, it is crispy. If you back it off it mellows substantially. In this case I have the crispy sound as I am emulating fast sax runs. As you will hear, the speed demon style runs translate well on the Stromberg guitar.

Sound clips:

In closing, I will just say that this is a small, light, fast, great sounding jazz archtop guitar and well worth the price (especially if you can find a deal on it).

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot with Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc endorses Heritage Guitars and is featured artist on their website. He also endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps -- great for jazz (and anything else!)

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