RainSong Guitars has two similar models, the WS1000 (Classic Series) and the A-WS1000 (Advanced Series), which both have very similar body shapes, except that the WS-1000 has a slightly smaller lower bout (0.05 inches smaller) and the A-WS1000 has a slightly beveled top and back. Additionally, both have pure carbon graphite construction and the resulting distinctive tone. The two models also have chrome-plated Gotoh tuning machines (1:18) along with Tusq nuts and saddles. However, there are a number of differences between the two, which result in the difference in cost.
First, consider the carbon graphite weave and handwork. The Classic Series has the original carbon graphite weave (lighter weight) along with significant handwork such as the shark position markers along the neck and abalone rosette, whereas the Advanced Series has an advanced carbon graphite weave (heavier weight) and less handwork. Additionally, the Classic shows off the carbon graphite weave, giving it a diamond-like glittering appearance; the Advanced is also available in the natural look, but also in black, red, or blue.
Next, consider the neck. Both models have solid carbon graphite necks, and, because of the strength of carbon graphite, allows RainSong to build guitars with very thin necks, allowing for easy play. However, the Classic Series does not have an adjustable neck, but the Advanced Series does, with a dual action truss rod.
The electronics differ, too. The Classic Series has L.R. Baggs On Board System. The Advanced Series has the Fishman Prefix Plus-T, which includes a built-in tuner. The cases differ as well. The WS-1000 comes with a hardshell case, whereas the A-WS1000 comes with a padded gig bag.
Now, let’ s discuss sound. Both guitars have great clarity along with incredible uplugged volume, matching what you would expect from the largest of wooden jumbos (perhaps louder). This has the obvious benefit of making slides, hammer-ons and hammer-offs seemingly effortless. The drawback is that any minor mistakes that you make are going to be amplified as well. Indeed, when I first played a RainSong I felt as though I were back in time at my third guitar lesson. It takes a couple of days to get adjusted to a RainSong’s sensitivity, similar to what it’s like for an acoustic player who first tries an electric guitar. However, I see this as a benefit because it forces you to sharpen your playing, and, indeed, I believe that the RainSong has had this effect on my own playing.
Both guitars work for a variety of different styles, but are particularly good for strumming and flatpicking, and fabulous for cross picking and slide playing. For cross picking, the clarity of the guitars makes each not stand out very well. For slide playing, the RainSongs remind me of sliding on a guitar with f-sound holes. I used to have an old Silvertone with f-holes and the RainSongs remind me of that guitar’s sound when sliding.
But what are the differences in sound between the Classic WS-1000 and Advanced A-WS1000? The Classic is a bright, loud guitar with a piano-like bass. It reminds me of a dreadnought with a sitka top and rosewood back/sides. The Advanced, on the other hand, has a softer, mellower tone, and reminds me of a dreadnought with a cedar top and mahogany back/sides.
Whichever model you choose, you will love the volume, clarity and durability of RainSong Guitars.