2010 Recording King ROS-647 Flattop Guitar




My friend Jim bought this new a while back and has been playing it steadily ever since. It's one of the fancier Recording King models and I don't see anything particularly like it in their current lineup -- which seems to be filled by vague interpretations of '30s Gibson budget-guitar stylings.

This one's basically a take on a Martin 000-45 with pearl bling all over and a 12-fret joint. Jim's had to deal with it getting used to Vermont over this time and it does have a hairline crack on the front and I just went-about replacing its warped original pyramid bridge with a new "belly" bridge. Frustratingly, he's been dealing with bad intonation for a long time, too -- the factory bridge was almost off by 1/8" from where its saddle slot should have been.

At the same time we replaced the original undersaddle pickup with an under-soundboard K&K pickup. The end result of these efforts is a guitar that's more responsive, louder, and more satisfying -- even with the dead strings on it in the video above. I just put a fresh set on after the video and it's, of course, that much better.

Anyhow, I figured this post would be useful to those looking at one of these in the used market and pondering getting one. For what it's worth, I have to say that this instrument is actually pretty far from the '30s 000-45 it supposedly replicates. It's built a lot heavier (though still has scalloped bracing) and the neck is fatter/clunkier in handling. I'd say it actually handles and sounds more like an early-'60s 12-fret Martin 00-21 or the like.

This is a good thing, though, as true '30s 000s are definitely built too light for the abuses of modern guitarists

Final thoughts? Once these are dialed-in and have settled into a more average humidity (the first few years we had to swap-out between three different saddle heights depending on the season), they're actually quite nice guitars for the money. Before they relax into a "lived-in" state, however, they do need some looking-after setup-wise to keep them at their best.











Comments

Brandon McCoy said…
The earliest stuff from the re-boot of the Recording King brand is generally really great. I've had a few different ROS... acoustics from 2010--2013. One of them was the ROS-627, which is just like this one but with less bling. Its the more standard 000-28V knockoff. It was a good guitar. Unfortunately, it would have needed the same kind of work you describe here and it didn't seem worth the extra money/shipping to have it done.

I will say, however, that I have a RAJ-27 that is dynamite. Its a sort of short-scale Advanced Jumbo type and is just killer. Nitro finish (just like the ROS-647 here) that has actually cracked pretty nicely. The back and sides are solid RW and the top is solid Spruce with a wonderful sunburst. It's a very responsive guitar that has great tone and is pretty dang loud. At any rate, I agree that these earlier RKs can be, and generally are, pretty great guitars for the money. They're just getting pretty hard to find for sale.
Claude said…
The first time I heard my friend's ROS-626, I made him promise to sell it only to me. A few years later he did just that. Compared to yours in the video, mine sounds more like the 1930s Martin 000-28 that I couldn't afford in the 1980s and certainly can't afford today. I'm always looking for a second one, as I'd like to have the fingerboard made a little less wide, but they're pretty rare nowadays.

On the strength of the ROS-626, I tried a cheap RK 12-fret round-shouldered dreadnought, which is loud and clunky. Then I got a RP2-626C, a very nice cutaway 000 which will sound great after a few years' play. The ROS is the cream of the crop, though. Thanks to Eric Schoenberg for designing it!