Brand/Model: Riversong Soulstice HB DLX
Number of Strings: 6
Hand Orientation: Right
Body Material: Maple/Spruce top
Neck Material: Composite
Fretboard Material: Walnut
Price Range: Under $1000
Our Rating: 8.4/10
Riversong Soulstice HB Acoustic Guitar Review
Riversong Guitars has a unique story and a forward-thinking approach to getting a guitar to sound its best.
You might have heard of them for their Canadian woods, hand-built guitars, or their through-body necks. Eh? Yes, this brand isn’t for the faint of heart, and purists and traditionalists may very well be offended at what we’re about to get into.
The Riversong Soulstice guitar is obviously a stunner to look at. The Harvest Burst finish is something different with the spruce wood coming through and a striking black burst making for an eye-catching first impression.
Even the headstock has some sexy appeal to it with its straight pull design. Strings are exactly in line as they come over the nut to meet their respective tuning posts. With no sideways tension through the nut, tuning is stable, and tone is consistent.
This guitar has a grand auditorium body shape, and all the woods used to make this guitar have been locally sourced in Kamloops BC, Canada – the home of Riversong Guitars. The Soulstice sports a solid West coast Sitka spruce top, solid AAA Chillakwian maple back and sides, and a walnut fretboard.
What’s Chillakwian maple? It’s wood that Riversong found in local tonewood sawmills that wasn’t thought of as good enough for use and was discarded as waste wood. Instead of waste, the owner found that it was unique and wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it’s what he’s used to put this solid wood guitar together.
But, the neck is something different altogether. Apparently, the neck runs through the entire body of the guitar right down to the end block. As you can see, the fretboard runs even longer at 24 frets than the standard 20-21-fret fingerboards.
The neck is the source for the entire guitar’s stability. Additionally, the neck is removable, and the neck angle can be adjusted. But, we’ll get into more on this in the Q&A – time to move on!
- Solid tonewoods
- Adjustable neck
- Straight pull headstock
- 24 frets
- Too forward a design
This is a new guitar that hasn’t been in the market for long. As you can tell, Riversong offers a unique and non-traditional approach to guitar making, and it may not be for everyone. However, those who have strummed on a Riversong have been blown away.
The resonance and intonation that comes with solid wood and a braceless design has never been heard before because it hasn’t been done before, until now.
There’s only one way to know how you’d feel about it – play it. Before then, hold your judgement and be open to perhaps a new way to moving past your preconceptions.
Alternatives to Consider
Since we’re on the topic of modern design elements when it comes to necks, we can’t let you go without seeing what Voyage-Air has to offer. The Songwriter VAD-04 guitar has a few quirks that may also take some getting used to. It has a folding neck!
Where the neck meets the body of the guitar, it has a hinge that allows the neck to be folded down against the soundboard for size convenience during travel and storage. You don’t have to remove the strings, and it even comes with a Transit Bag made just for this foldable feature.
However, these features may just be too bold and unorthodox for you to consider.
No worries, there’s a dime a dozen traditional models waiting for you elsewhere. But, we’ve reviewed the best in this budget range, and the Ibanez AVC10MH Artwood Vintage Thermo Aged acoustic guitar is a stunner that follows the traditional route with its vintage appeal. It’s an all-wood mahogany guitar with an open pore finish.
It’s gorgeous and sweet-sounding even with its conventional neck design.
Riversong Soulstice HB Q&A
The guitar has a satin finish.
It’s made in Kamloops BC, Canada by Riversong Guitars.
It serves a few functions, but primarily, it’s used as the source of stability for the entire guitar. The idea is that a soundboard’s bracing is fundamentally used to provide stability and rigidity for the soundboard to reinforce it against the tension created from the pull of the strings.
Additionally, if there’s reduced tension on the soundboard, less interior binding glue (kerfling) is needed between the sides and the top. In this way, all the tension and stability are focused on the through-body neck that’s attached to structural bracing on the bottom instead of the top.
The neck is made with composite fiber for ultimate strength.
Riversong has built the guitar so that the neck is both removable and adjustable. The removable part is extremely convenient for if it would ever need repair or replacing.
The adjustable feature may sound like nothing new, but on a Riversong guitar, changing the neck angle on the guitar can be done with just an Allen key and a few seconds.
With just a twist of the Allen key on the bottom of the guitar, you can adjust the neck angle to change tension for your preferences by millimeters.
None! This is a brilliant method since the neck-thru neck allows for adjustments without having to undo strings, sand down the saddle, and mess with the break angle of the strings on the saddle multiple times.
With the redesigned neck taking on the brunt of tension and being the source for guitar strength, Riversong says there’s no need for a traditional soundboard bracing. Resonance and vibration remains uninhibited as the top is now free to move and vibrate as it should.
Hardware/Electronics You’ll Need:
This is not a cheap guitar, and it will be even pricier having to purchase a case for this special, custom instrument. This isn’t a guitar you want to throw into a nylon gig bag.
It costs too much to treat it that way. You’ll want a quality hardshell case and a guitar humidifier to protect the soundboard, back, and sides during climate changes. But, you can rest assured that the composite neck will withstand almost all abuse you can think of.
If you want to start fresh with new supplies for this guitar, see our “Must-Have Accessories Guide” to help you prioritize. For some no-brainer accessories, start with our list.
- NeckNology Tech
- Adjustable neck
- Solid Canadian tonewoods
Our Verdict on the Soulstice HB
To strum it up, the Riversong Soulstice HB guitar is one tough cookie to try to describe. It’s one of those instruments you have to get your hands on to try out yourself.
It’s easy to be critical and judgmental of innovations that stray from the conventional, but that’s exactly what innovation is – a revolution of change to make something good, great!