Boucher Studio Indian Goose Review

AG 225 September 2011

Posted by Scott Nygaard

Although Boucher Guitars was founded in 2005, it has a proud lineage in the guitar making world. The company is run by Robin Boucher, nephew of Normand Boucher, who founded Norman Guitars, Canada’s first acoustic guitar manufacturer, in 1968. Norman guitars are now produced by Godin Guitars, but Normand’s vision lives on in the company that now bears his (last) name. Boucher’s workshop on the St. Lawrence River is surrounded by a forest of Adirondack spruce, providing the tops for all of its instruments—which include OM/000’s, jumbos, and 12-strings, as well as dreadnoughts—built with mahogany, sapele, maple, walnut, cherry, bubinga, or the East Indian rosewood back and sides of the Studio Indian Goose model we received for review.

As you might imagine of a builder that has ready access to Adirondack spruce, Boucher used a top on our review guitar that is much narrower-grained than many current specimens and looks more like the top of a prewar Martin or a recent Sitka spruce top. Our review guitar also included Boucher’s Vintage Gold Touch option, a proprietary aging process that darkens the top and, combined with the herringbone rosette and purfling, maple binding, and ebony fingerboard and bridge, gives the guitar a classic HD-28 look. The craftsmanship on the Indian Goose was superb, a tribute to this small shop that prides itself on its handmade output. The mahogany neck is round, almost D-shaped, and felt very comfortable, and while I tend to prefer a 13/4-inch nut width, the Boucher has the familiar narrow-neck feel of my 1956 D-28.

Rosewood-body Martin dreadnoughts from the ’50s have become rather popular of late, in part because they can be found for less than five figures, and partly because they tend to have a more even response and tonal balance than prewar models, making them more versatile and suitable for fingerstylists and lead players in a variety of styles. The Indian Goose has a similar sound and feel. It has enough bass and volume to please bluegrass rhythm players, although it’s not going to make banjo players quake in their boots, but it inspires a wider palette of playing styles. G runs popped off the string and a flatpicked version of “Blackberry Blossom” sounded balanced in two octaves, from the low E string up to the B at the seventh fret of the first string. But the Indian Goose also sounded sweet and full-bodied on a chord melody version of the jazz standard “My Romance.” And while its medium-gauge strings limited my string-bending repertoire, it had a nice chunky rhythm sound on some bluesy rhythm riffs in A and even some dead-thumb blues in E.

All in all, the Boucher Studio Indian Goose proves that this Canadian company is a worthy addition to the coterie of North American guitar makers, large and small, making high-quality instruments inspired by the prewar giants.

SPECS: Solid Adirondack spruce top. Solid East Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. Tusq nut. Bone saddle. Forward-shifted hand-scalloped X-bracing. 25.5-inch scale length. 111/16-inch nut width. 23/16-inch string spacing at saddle. Gold closed-back tuners. Gloss top and body finish with Vintage Gold Touch option. Satin neck finish. Elixir Nanoweb medium-gauge strings. Left-handed version available. Made in Canada.

PRICE: $4,194 list/$3,714 street (as reviewed); $3,599 list/$3,399 street (without Vintage Gold Touch option).

MAKER: Boucher Guitars: (418) 259-2083;boucherguitars.com.

Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar September 2011

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