Froggy Bottom Guitars is well-known for crafting guitars that are inspired by classic American flattops without attempting to recreate any particular model. But even within this framework, Froggy Bottom’s F12 instruments are among its most original. Peghead Nation’s Scott Nygaard and I recently had a chance to check out a spectacular F12 Deluxe.
Froggy Bottom’s F12 uses a 16-inch-wide body that is loosely based on Martin’s F-7 archtops, some of which were converted to flattops in the 1960s, and ultimately led to the M/0000 design. Most guitars that follow this general template use a 14-fret layout (which Froggy Bottom also offers by way of its F14), but the F12 is built with a 12-fret neck, which moves the bridge closer to the center of the lower bout. Like all Froggy Bottoms, the F12 is available in a variety of woods, and our demo guitar featured incredibly beautiful Guatemalan rosewood for its back and sides and German spruce for its top. The Guatemalan rosewood in particular was a serious eye-catcher, featuring distinctive coloring and grain, and book-matched sapwood in the center of the back. The guitar had koa binding, Froggy Bottom’s “#3” fretboard inlay, and the typical high-level appointments of the company’s “deluxe” package. Our demo F12 also included the unique Froggy Bottom option of a scrimshaw design on its heel cap, in this case featuring a monarch butterfly resting on a flower. A deep Florentine cutaway ensured upper fret access that surpasses that of many 14-fret guitars.
I found the F12 Deluxe to be an incredibly satisfying guitar. Regardless of how it is played, it’s a very powerful instrument, with lots of volume, and a rich, full, frequency spectrum. With its relatively wide string-spacing, I found it to be an ideal guitar for playing fingerstyle in settings where a muscular sound is needed. But the guitar also worked its magic when Scott Nygaard played it with a flatpick, displaying great balance and string-to-string separation. With its contemporary neck profile and easy setup, the guitar was a joy to play.
Overall, the F12 Deluxe is a wonderful flattop, and players looking for a powerful instrument built from some of the finest materials available should take into close consideration.
SPECS: 12-fret 0000 body. German spruce top with X-bracing. Guatemalan rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25 ¼-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₁₆-inch string-spacing at the saddle. Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $14,420 as shown (standard models start at $8,645). froggybottomguitars.com