Sierra Sunrise Series SA28CEWR Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Sierra Guitars, sierraguitars.net
Originally published in Guitar World, February 2009
Artistry is an expression of inspiration, and the Sierra Guitar Company discovered its muse in the beauty of the untouched Sierra Nevada mountains. The company has not only taken its name from the peaks but also chosen to employ materials, shapes and images on its guitars that are in some way evocative of the mountains. In that spirit, the guitars are also intentionally crafted to have an earthy appearance and simplicity of design.
Sierra’s Sunrise Series, including the SA28CEWR on my test bench, are affordable auditorium-size acoustic-electrics designed to deliver balanced performance at an affordable price—a difficult goal when it comes to acoustic guitars.
The Sunrise Auditorium is a medium-scale guitar. With a body slightly larger than a parlor guitar, it is an excellent choice for projecting across small clubs, playing at home and recording—situations in which the resonance of a large instrument can be overwhelming. Mahogany is used for the back and sides, and the soundboard is made of select spruce slabs. In keeping with the natural theme, a wood inlay is used for the rosette and rosewood binds the body. A deep cutaway adds greatly to playability, allowing total access to the Sierra’s rosewood fingerboard. The 12th-fret sunrise inlay is an attractive touch, and the rosewood bridge mirrors the headstock crown. I really liked the comfort-grip die-cast tuners as well. They’re wide, stable and make precise adjustments much easier than with smaller keys.
The Barcus Berry Realm III electronics package is an excellent addition to the Sunrise because it’s especially quiet for the money and provides controls for presence, treble, mid, bass and volume, as well as a tuner. Outputs include a quarter-inch and an XLR jack, and the battery door is conveniently located at the jack plate.
Even though many low-priced acoustics are difficult to play, the Sunrise’s neck was quite comfortable and the setup was excellent. A lot of players will like Sierra’s Sunrise guitar because it doesn’t give you too much of any one frequency band. It’s clear and reserved, allowing players to focus more on songwriting and technique than a particular tone. If you do want a particular EQ curve, the Barcus Berry system provides a deep range of adjustment and the Sunrise’s innate neutrality makes a soundman’s job very simple.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you're a beginner or a player on a budget, Sierra’s Sunrise SA28CEWR is a solid choice. Its auditorium size creates a warm and focused tone, it’s well made and nicely appointed with a Barcus Berry Realm III electronics system.
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