The Recording King Dirty Thirties offer three affordable vintage style guitars, a dreadnought, a triple O (000), and the smallest model single O shape. The smallest model RPH-05 is of particular interest because of its parlor guitar style appearance and tone, and because of its status as one of the best parlor guitars.
The RPH-05 has all the makings of a parlor guitar, sporting a small body with a slightly elongated body. Its shape together with the regular sized soundhole makes it appear smaller than it actually is. The sunburst finish and overall vintage appearance also helps, giving it a convincing “blues box” look, similar to the old Montgomery Ward mail order guitars that were available in the first half of the century.
And it’s not all about looks, because Recording King builds the Dirty Thirties RPH-05 with a solid spruce top, quite surprising for its price. This feature alone makes my great guitar deal radar ring, especially since the overall look of the guitar does not warrant “cheap” as one of its descriptions.
Supporting the solid spruce top are back and sides crafted from laminated “white wood”. White wood is a generic term that refers to pine and spruce type wood. This is an interesting choice for a small guitar tonally because it would emphasize the upper mids, which would balance the extra low frequencies that it would get because of its size. Also, laminate back and sides offer reliable support to solid tops, ideal for workhorse instruments so you won’t have to worry much about humidity changes and bumps as you would on an all-solid instrument.
The nato neck is topped by a rosewood fretboard, it has 20 frets and meets the guitar body at the 12 fret, another parlor guitar style feature. The nutwidth is 1.6875″, scale length is 25.4″ and the neck profile is described as “contemporary C” shape.
Check out the guitar in action in the demo video below:
As expected from a sub $200 instrument, there aren’t too many aesthetic embellishments and other premium features. The RPH-05 one has a straightforward appearance that looks elegant rather than cheap. Other features include a rosewood bridge, aged ivoroid body binding, extra large fingerboard dots, vintage-style tuning machines and a retro inspired Recording King headstock.
The subtly distorted-like tone of this acoustic makes it ideal for some classic blues tunes, but it would also work on a variety of other music styles. The RPH-05’s old school appeal and sound, plus its affordable price makes it a practical parlor guitar for budget-conscious players. It’s compact body makes it more conducive to play on, while its vintage appearance will inspire you to hone your craft and maybe even write songs. And since its affordable and reliable, you won’t have to worry much about its maintenance.
The Recording King Dirty Thirties RPH-05 is currently retailing for around $200.