She's here!

I prefer the pronounced midrange of mahogany to the bell-like tones of rosewood, so I've been waiting since November for the Standard to be back in stock. I placed my order on Wednesday, and it arrived today. I picked her up at the store and played on her a bit. First impressions: Great tone, nice volume, but the most striking thing about it is that it's the most playable acoustic I've ever held. The 1-11/16" nut width is incredibly friendly to electric players. Because of this, and the fact that it's got a mahogany back and sides, I actually prefer this guitar to the Maryland-made offerings. The action is fantastic, too. I was soloing up and down the fretboard with no trouble, and no fret buzz.

I did a quick test comparison against a Taylor 314CE (this is the closest Taylor analog to the SE Angelus; they don't make a mahogany-back/spruce-top grand auditorium, but the 314CE has a Sapele back and sides, which is supposedly close to Mahogany in tone).

The SE Angelus was noticeably louder than the 314CE. It was tonally brighter, possibly due to the top being thinner, but it may also have been the strings. The 314CE had more of the pronounced midrange I like, but not much more, and at the expense of some clarity. Switching between the two made it painfully obvious that the SE Angelus is just downright easier to play. Your mileage will vary -- if you have big fingers, you may prefer the wider nut width of a Taylor or a Maryland-made PRS, but if you're used to electrics and you approach an acoustic the same way, the SE Angelus was hands down the clear winner.

The SE Angelus is a little overly bright, but I'm thinking it may just be the strings. They're D'Addario EXP strings, but I don't know if they're phosphor bronze or 80/20. I've heard they're the former but it wouldn't surprise me if they're the latter. I'll put a set of nanoweb elixir phosphor bronze strings on it eventually and see if that makes a difference.

So far I'm loving this guitar.