As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 19 – Spring 2022
Luna prides itself in creating instruments that feel connected to world culture, nature, and art, and the Woodland Cedar Nylon Acoustic-Electric lives up to that vision. Contributing to the overall experience of playing it, the guitar’s visual accents come together to form both an arcane and earthly image.
I had the opportunity to review this beautifully-made nylon-string guitar that Luna released this year. The guitar has a grand concert cutaway body shape, making it a compact instrument that’s comfortable to hold and play. It has a lower bout width of 15-1/4” and upper bout width of 11-1/8” with a 9-1/4” waist, roughly. The top is made of cedar, while the back, sides, and neck are Eastern mahogany; the fretboard and bridge material is pau ferro, and the scale length is 25-1/2”. The headstock is slotted, a feature typical of classical guitars, although as a grand concert, it has a body type that’s different from a standard classical guitar. Complete with a satin finish, the guitar has a natural aesthetic which is only enhanced by its sand-colored body, pearloid moon phase inlays along the neck, and a laser-etched cedar leaf that wraps around the soundhole. It also comes with a Luna SL3 preamp with an onboard tuner and EQ.
Given that nylon-string guitars have a tonal personality that’s entirely different from that of steel strings, it was refreshing to test this one out, especially as someone who enjoys playing classical guitar music and fingerpicking styles. Its sound is surprisingly warm and resonant for a smaller-bodied model, making it feel much bigger than it looks, with the low-end overtones creating a powerful impression. They seem to wrap around the other frequency ranges without burying them, giving the guitar a bold, full tone — but when I went to play fingerpicking pieces that feature melodies on the higher strings, they rang out nearly as powerfully as did the lower tones.
As a nylon string, this guitar doesn’t exactly invite playing with a pick, as it can yield the additional amelodic sound of thin plastic striking the strings — but that being said, that effect doesn’t really detract from doing so. When played in the style of Willie Nelson, an artist who famously performed on his nylon-string guitar nicknamed “Trigger,” the guitar produces a sound just as satisfying as it does when fingerpicked.
Songs including “Love Is All” by the Tallest Man on Earth, “One of Us Cannot Be Wrong” by Leonard Cohen, and a variety of Nick Drake’s compositions all sound excellent on the Woodland Cedar Nylon, as did using a pick to strum some of my own songs. I found hotspots higher up the neck on the A, D, and G strings that produced glowing overtones, making it also ideal for playing classical pieces with a wide tonal range.
In terms of playability, the guitar feels inviting and familiar. Its slim, satin-finished C-shape neck makes it easy to grip chords as well as slide up and down, and the 25-1/2” scale length makes chord-shape stretches comfortable. I also found the fretboard to be smooth and the frets just the right height.
On top of its quality acoustic sound, the Woodland Cedar Nylon sounds great when plugged in. It’s fun to hear a nylon-string guitar electronically amplified, and this guitar’s electronics do not disappoint — the tones are clear and true to how they sound unplugged. The preamp’s control panel is placed on the top side of the upper bout, making it easy to access. It’s always ideal having an onboard tuner, but I also appreciate that the EQ settings are sliders rather than knobs, which made it easier to make more subtle adjustments to the bass, middle, and treble ranges.
All in all, the Woodland Cedar Nylon is a well-made, beautifully designed, and a warm, evenly balanced instrument. It’s sure to please guitarists who not only appreciate nylon-string guitars but also connect with Luna’s artful, natural aesthetic. And its $299 price tag makes it not just resonant and stylish but affordable, too.
For more information and specifications, visit lunaguitars.com.