NAMM 2024: NAMM 2024: Strandberg has launched its most affordable electric guitar yet as the ground-breaking Swedish company unveiled the Boden Essential, a mode that’s hoped will bring its radically ergonomic headless format to the masses.
Well, at $999, it won’t be the price holding it back. More players than every will be able to get their hands on an instrument that had hitherto been exclusively priced for pros. There are some concessions to fiscal reality here. There is no multi-scale for a start, which takes a little adjusting to.
But the apple has not fallen far from the tree; there is no mistaking this as a Strandberg, as a Boden, as the embodiment of a 21st-century guitar.
“The Boden Essential embodies a commitment to inclusivity and innovation,” said Ola Strandberg, the company’s founder. “It’s not just a guitar; it’s an invitation for musicians of all levels to experience the iconic design features of Strandberg, to facilitate a more enjoyable playing experience.”
Much of that enjoying comes from getting to grips with a neck that throws the alphabet out the window when it comes to describing its profile and shape, and it is this EndurNeck that is at the heart of Strandberg’s design. The headless format catches the eye, but it’s the patented neck feel that keeps players coming back.
Yes, the carbon-reinforced multi-laminate neck build has been swapped out for a more cost-effective one-piece roasted maple neck but it should still feel the same in the palm. And as with the premium models, we have stainless steel frets, glow-in-the-dark inlays and dots, and we’ve got rosewood on the fingerboard.
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Elsewhere, the Boden Essential has a body of Indonesian meranti, which Strandberg has chosen on account of it being lightweight and not a million miles away from mahogany.
There are a pair of uncovered OEM humbucker pickups, which have been specifically voiced for amp modellers (they know their demographic) but will pair nicely with old-school guitar amps too. These are hooked up to a five-way blade selector switch, so you won’t lack for core tone options.
One new feature, and by necessity now that we have a single-scale instrument, is the new EGS Arc bridge and nut system, which feature new tuning housings and string locks, and housings and base plates of zinc, with aluminium or stainless steel used for “key wear components”.
Strandberg says parts are replaceable and it plans to offer optional upgrades to brass, steel, aluminum, and bronze saddles. The Boden Essential finish options comprise Black Granite, Astro Dust, and Elemental Blue Satin. It is presently only being offered as a six-string but might it evolve into a seven-string guitar, or eight? Time will tell.
For more info on the Boden Essential, see Strandberg.