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Art Thompson, Guitar Player Magazine,

"Stromberg Montreux Custom With its single floating pickup, rosewood bridge, and flatwound strings (it can also be ordered with roundwounds) the Montreux Custom is indeed a full-fledged jazz guitar. A very nice one too when you inspect it closely and start groovin’ on the multi-ply bindings that trim every perimeter surface of the entire instrument (including the pickguard), the split-block fretboard inlays, and the ornate “Stromberg” inlay on the headstock, which is also rendered in neatly inlaid pearl. The construction and finishing of the Montreux Custom are impressive as well. Everywhere you look, from the tight neck joint to the careful shaping and slotting of the nut to the finely shaped frets, the attention to detail is remarkable. In fact, the only flaw I could find was a bit of dodgy binding in one of the f-holes, which is a pretty minor thing.
Playability-wise the Montreux Custom is very happening. The action on our review guitar is nice and low, the intonation tuneful, and the feel very solid despite the guitar’s light weight. Having the fret ends terminating just inside the edge of the ’board also makes for an extra silky ride on the neck. The sonic vibe of this guitar is lively and open. There’s abundant acoustic volume and the tone is sweet and juicy with good low-end tightness and clarity. Plugged into the Dr. Z EZG-50, the Montreux Custom delivered a round tone with a snappy midrange and just enough brightness to make notes punch though without sounding too zingy. I never felt that a Tone control was needed, and the Volume knob maintains a balanced response wherever it’s set. Though mounted under the pickguard, it is also easy to access with one finger.
(Note that this guitar is also available with two Kent Armstrong pickups and dual Volume and Tone controls.) As tested, the Montreux Custom is a very satisfying jazz guitar in all aspects. It proves that you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get a quality archtop, and how cool is it to own something that can trace its lineage back to the famed Strombergs of the 1930s? For all it has to offer the jazz guitarist on a tight budget (is there any other kind?), the Montreux Custom is a guitar that most definitely merits an audition.

Fareed Haque International, Jazz Artist,

"I'm blown away by my Montreux! For years I've played old Gibsons for straight ahead jazz, and I think I'll be selling them all and replacing them with Strombergs.
The playability is excellent, the acoustic sound is strong, even and has excellent sustain. The Kent Armstong pickup is bright, clear and still very warm, well balanced and has a strong output. I've played the guitar in VERY high volume situations with my group Garaj Mahal, with NO feedback problems. Most if all this guitar has that classic jazz guitar sound, feel and look."

Ray Matuza, 20th Century Guitar Magazine,

"In an effort to keep pace with the recent "Dead Italian Luthier" theme that has brought an influx of instruments from overseas, Larry Davis and WD Music Products have resurrected the Stromberg® name for a short but sweet line of Korean-made archtops available at very reasonable prices.
While the non-cut Newport with it's suspended pickup leans more toward the acoustic arena, the Venetian cut Montreux places more of it's vibe into the electric guitar bag. Two handsomely voiced Kent Armstrong® humbuckers with the standard compliment of volume and tone controls plus 3 way selector switch definitely underscore that point!
The 16 1/2" body features a pressed laminated spruce top with maple sides and one piece maple back. A quick peek inside the single bound f-holes reveals no kerfing, leaving one to believe that the sides might be cut a little thicker to allow for more gluing area for the top and back plates. This would also contribute to the solid feeling of the instrument. Scale length measures in at 24 3/4" along the 1 5/8" wide maple neck. The feel is very comfortable sans too much chunk. Combine that with a low out of the box action and you've got the ingredients for a pleasurable playing experience.
Rosewood is the material of choice for the bridge and fingerboard with very clean and consistent fretwork from bottom to top. No buzzes or high spots anywhere. Construction is also very impressive with immaculately applied multiple bindings in addition to precise and clean fitting joints. Gold hardware and black speed knobs offer a nice accent to the luscious "Amber Clear" finish. While a few minor "dimples" appear around the treble side of the neck joint, the overall finish is devoid of that poured on look, a common plague amongst many a Korean made instrument. Bravo.
Finally, the Abalone inlaid headstock pays tribute to the luthier's namesake with it's original design offered on this modern day instrument.
Unplugged, the Montreux's voice is slightly ahead of the typical laminated, pressed archtops available at this price point. Although not quite as detailed as a solid spruce topped instrument, the Montreux's vibrancy and warmth is a step up from say, a laminated maple top jazz box. Through a small variety of amps the Montreux's neck pickup echoes the acoustic tone to a degree with a touch more roundness. Adding in the bridge humbucker gets a Gibson-like "tangy" sound with a tight bottom balanced by sweet upper mids, sort of like an Eric Gale type tone. Soloing the bridge position reveals a tone with accented mids which keeps the top end from being overly bright.
While mainly directed toward the jazzers, the Montreux seems like it would be comfortable at an R&B gig and maybe doing the blues thing as well. With great looks and sound, Stromberg® Montreux represents an excellent value at an excellent price."

Christian Eckert, Jazz guitarist,

"I've owned my Stromberg Newport guitar for a couple of weeks now, and tested it in different situations. For this price it´s the nicest "jazz-box" I've ever tried. It comes near to the vintage sound you usually pay twice as much for. This guitar is really loud when you play it acoustically and has a real warm and smooth tone. Played in a band it has a very present sound, so you don´t have to turn up the amp so much. For accompanying, the mix of the acoustic sound and the amplified sound is perfect. This archtop is the perfect instrument to play in small settings as well as in big bands."

Dave 'D.C.' Cosby, Jazz Guitarist,

"My relationship and interest in Stromberg® guitars began at the 2002 Great American Guitar Show in New York. My good friend and fellow guitarist Eric Elias was manning the Stromberg® booth at the show, and I stopped by to see the guitars that Eric was so excited about. Eric and I played a few tunes together, and I was quite impressed with the instrument. After I found out more about the instruments, their quality and reasonable price, I was sold on the Stromberg®. I have now had my Montreux for over eight months, and it has been in almost every playing situation possible. I have performed everything from solo pieces to big bands with it. I once had to play an entire wedding reception with a Sax and Acoustic bass acoustically, because the zoning in Historic Alexandria Virginia did not allow for amplified music. I have found that I can consistently get a great tone in a wide variety of performing situations with my Montreux, probably because they are loaded with Kent Armstrong pickups. I have also found the Montreux to play remarkably well, and to require very little adjustment of my playing approach despite the fact that I had played a Gibson® 175 for over ten years now. In addition to the Stromberg® being a great instrument, I have found my dealings with the company to quite enjoyable experiences, especially Larry Davis, who has been a great help and source of information to me since Eric Elias first got me interested in Stromberg® Guitars.
All in all, I have to say the Stromberg® Montreux is an excellent instrument, especially for the price. It is a great gig guitar for the professional musician who doesn't want to bring his $10,000 prized vintage instrument to a gig. I strongly encourage anyone to check out any of the models of Stromberg® guitars: The Montreux, The Newport, and the Monterey. Also check out the listing of where I am playing on my web site, http://www.davecosby.com so you can hear my Stromberg® live and in action. I am glad that I chose a Stromberg®, and I'm sure you will be too."

Eric Elias, Jazz Guitarist,

"This past winter I was in the market for a good, sturdy gig guitar that wouldn't be too fragile to take into a club or an outdoor gig. Sound and playability were very important to me but so was cost. I knew that most good instruments would meet my criteria, but the price tag needed to make it worthwhile as well. Around that time a student of mine brought a Stromberg® Newport to his lesson and I found what I was looking for.
When I saw the guitar I was immediately impressed by three things. First, the instrument itself looked great. It was spotless. The finish was very well done. The binding, pick guard and accessories were very classy looking. Second, it sounded great. The Newport is about the size of a Gibson ES 125, so it is slightly smaller than a full sized arch top. I thought its size might affect the tone, but it did not. The Newport actually sounded noticeably fuller than my re-issue Epiphone Emperor. The third thing that I realized was that this guitar played fantastically. It was set up beautifully and the neck felt very comfortable.
The Stromberg® motto is "affordable excellence." I discovered how true that is with a list price of $1195. Through a little web research I also found out that even though the Stromberg®'s are imports, the guitars come with parts manufactured by WD products in Florida (Kent Armstrong pickups, WD pickguards, switches, bridges and pots, as well as Kluson tuners). The guitars are also individually set up in Florida by a luthier. The nuts are cut for flat wound strings (not light gauge round wounds like many imports). I realized that even though the list price on my Epiphone Emperor was slightly cheaper, I had sunk more that $300 into new parts for it. Three years ago I had purchased a Kent Armstrong pick up, a new tail piece, nut, tuners and an ebony bridge for my Emperor. Unknowingly, I had paid to make my Epiphone more like the Stromberg®. Overall, it cost me more than it would have if I had just bought a Stromberg® in the first place. It turns out the Epiphone was still not as comfortable to me and didn't sound as nice as the Newport.
That evening I sent Stromberg® Guitars an e-mail and inquired about getting a Newport. I bought one about a week later (after selling all three of my Epiphones). I currently play a Stromberg® Montreux (two pick up, single cut away) for electric jazz gigs and a Newport for trad and acoustic jazz gigs. Both guitars are consistent in comfort and playability. I did not find this to be the case with my three Epiphones. I had a great deal of difficulty going from my Deluxe, to my Emperor, to my Sheraton. I found that if I brought two of them to the same gig, my hand would cramp when I switched. The consistency between the Stromberg®'s has made switching guitars much more comfortable. The sound of the Kent Armstrong pick up is also fantastic. I am currently recording two CDs with both Stromberg® guitars and am very pleased with the results."


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