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Orangewood Hudson and Sage Live review

The fresh-faced acoustic guitar company delivers two beautifully well-rounded instruments

Orangewood Hudson and Sage Live acoustic guitars
(Image: © Orangewood)

Our Verdict

Orangewood’s Hudson and Sage Live models deliver the tone, performance, playability and features of high-end acoustic models at affordable prices that are appealing to beginners and pros alike.

For

  • High-quality, budget-friendly acoustic guitars.
  • Both models have thermotreated spruce tops to remove moisture, oils and resins to duplicate the tone of a vintage instrument.
  • Complex, responsive tone.

Against

  • Can only purchase direct from Orangewood, however the process is no longer than it would be with more well-known retailers.

The market for acoustic guitars under $1,000 has become so crowded recently that some of the few ways a newcomer can truly stand out is by offering a product that is either less expensive or better than the competition. Orangewood Guitars has done even better than that by producing instruments that are both less expensive and better. 

Although the company has been around for only two years, they’ve already built an impressive buzz amongst the acoustic guitar community for the incredible value their instruments offer. Here we take a closer look at two of Orangewood’s leading and most popular models on the market - the Hudson and the Sage Live.

Features

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(Image credit: Orangewood)
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(Image credit: Orangewood)

Both the Orangewood Hudson and Sage Live are built from quality tonewoods: a solid torrefied (a thermochemical treatment that reduces moisture, oils and resins) spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck and ebony fretboard and bridge. 

The high-quality details don’t end there either, as both also feature vintage-style Grover open-gear tuners with butterbean knobs, a TUSQ nut and saddle, scalloped bracing, full body, neck and headstock binding, herringbone top purfling, rosette and back center strip and a thin natural satin finish. 

The neck dimensions of both models are also identical, providing a 25 ½-inch scale length, 44mm nut width, slim C-shaped profile and 20 medium frets. The guitars are even strung with Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze strings and include a high-quality hardshell case.

The main differences between the two models is that the Hudson is a dreadnought non-cutaway acoustic while the Sage Live is a grand auditorium cutaway model. The Sage Live also includes an L.R. Baggs Anthem pickup system with controls mounted inside the soundhole just above the low E string.

Performance

Orangewood Hudson

Orangewood Hudson (Image credit: Orangewood)

One huge advantage that Orangewood has over its competition is that the guitars are all inspected and set up by experienced technicians at the company’s facility in Los Angeles. To be able to do this and keep costs low for the buyer, Orangewood only sells its instruments direct. The examples we received played perfectly right out of the box, needing nothing other than a quick tuning up.

While many acoustic guitars in the sub-$1,000 category sound pretty good these days, Orangewood guitars truly stand out for their playability in addition to delivering impressively complex, responsive tone. The necks on the Hudson and Sage Live provide ample width for playing chords and single-note lines comfortably, and the action has that "just right" balance of height for tone while still providing incredibly fast and comfortable playability.

Specs

Hudson

  • STREET PRICE: $645 
  • MANUFACTURER: Orangewood Guitars
  • STRINGS: Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light
  • TUNERS: Grover Open Gear
  • NECK SHAPE: C
  • SCALE: 25.5"
  • NUT / SADDLE: TUSQ
  • NUT WIDTH: 44mm
  • BRACING: Scalloped X
  • FINISH: Natural Satin

Sage Live

  • STREET PRICE: $945
  • MANUFACTURER: Orangewood Guitars
  • STRINGS: Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light
  • ELECTRONICS: LR Baggs Anthem
  • TUNERS: Grover Open Gear
  • NECK SHAPE: C
  • SCALE: 25.5"
  • NUT / SADDLE: TUSQ
  • NUT WIDTH: 44mm
  • BRACING: Scalloped X
  • FINISH: Natural Satin

For more information, head to Orangewood Guitars.