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Orangewood Rey Review: Best Acoustic Guitar Under 150$

Orangewood Rey Review: Best Acoustic Guitar Under 150$

Finding an acoustic guitar for under 150$ that plays smoothly and has a decent tone is challenging. I purchased Orangewood Rey as a gift for a beginner and was surprised. The quality-price ratio of this guitar is so good that I decided to write an Orangewood Rey review to help you find out if it’s worth the hype.

Bottom line up-front

The Orangewood Rey is the ultimate first acoustic guitar I would have wanted to have as a beginner. It looks good, plays well, and sounds more than decent enough. Combine these with a price lower than 150$ for an unbeatable value guitar.

It surely has its flaws, and it’s not an instrument you can play on a stage. Like all less expensive guitars, some compromises have been made to keep the costs low. However, Orangewood has a classy way of doing so while keeping the guitars easy to play and eye-catching.

The Orangewood Rey comes in two versions; Mahogany and Spruce Cutaway. I made sure to explain the difference and make it easier for you to choose.

Orangewood Rey Review: mahogany orangewood guitar

What Makes a Good Beginner Acoustic Guitar?

If you know what to look for, you will find it. Looking for a new guitar is like looking for the perfect tone. It would be best to have it in your head first to know when the right one comes.

When I got the Orangewood Rey guitar, luckily, I had the experience of being a total beginner. At first, I only had a cheap classical guitar with a heavy steel string that I’d never pick up today. 15 years later, I know what I truly needed at the time.

The first rule is to look for a guitar that stays in tune while playing it. Strum some chords and play for about 10 minutes. If any severe tuning issues appear, there is something wrong with the nut, tuners, and bridge, and it’s not worth changing them.

The 2nd is overall feel and playability. You won’t have a super slick neck for such a low price. The action should be low enough to make barre chords easy to play.

Open chords tend to sound and play well on almost every guitar due to the sympathetic ringing of the open string. The best way to judge an acoustic is by playing barre chords and closed shapes and seeing how those feel. The tone is not essential at this stage, as a total beginner won’t be able to bring a good sound out of the guitar. If you have the option of a guitar with a better tone, that’s great; if not, go for playability first.

Slight fret buzzes and visual flaws are acceptable if they are not very bad. Remember that it’s a guitar for practicing or a spare one, so looks should come last!

Orangewood Rey Specs

Orangewood Rey Review: the guitars' specifics

  • Grand Auditorium Cutaway body shape 
  • Satin Finish and Scalloped X bracing
  • Layered Mahogany top, back, and sides.
  • Mahogany Neck with Purple Heart Fretboard
  • Chrome Die-Cast Tuners, 43mm wide Bone nut
  • Modern C Neck Shape
  • 25.5″ scale length

Pros:

  • Very affordable for beginners 
  • Built quality is decent
  • The Tonewood choice is good
  • The tone is balanced 
  • The cutaway helps to access higher frets

Cons:

  • While it’s balanced, the tone is not rich 
  • The guitar feels fragile
  • You can only order from the LA shop

Orangewood Rey Design

Orangewood guitars always look more expensive than they are. The Orangewood Rey is not fancy-looking, but it has a shade of vintage with the Satin Finish.

I prefer the Mahogany version as it looks more stylish with dark brown. The Spruce one on the other end is a simple look. The black fretboard and the pickguard make for quite a pleasant contrast of colors. Careful when adding the pickguard. Once you install it, you can’t return the guitar anymore for any issues.

I like how effective the guitar’s body shape is. It’s not a big guitar, which means it’s suitable for children and any body size. The cutaway makes it simple to reach higher frets if you’re into rock music. 

What makes the Grand Auditorium shape a good choice is its versatility. It’s equally suited to fingerpicking and strumming. If you still don’t know what you will want to play or, like every beginner, want to explore, this guitar is excellent.

Orangewood Rey Built Quality

A guitar in this price range won’t compare to a $500 one. Luckily, it doesn’t have to. The Orangewood Rey ticks all the necessary quality boxes for a beginner guitar, nothing more than that. Even though the guitar is manufactured in China, the LA shop does quality control and final shipping. That doesn’t necessarily mean the guitar won’t have any small visual flaw; it will probably play well without any fret buzz.

The fretwork is decent enough, and while the hardware is pretty basic, it responds well. The tuners are not the smoothest, but they do the job and hold the guitar in tune relatively well.

This is not a guitar you tune once a week or even once per day. You might need to tune slightly before almost every usage and adjust the truss rod every few weeks or months. Cheap wood is highly affected by weather conditions. A setup should fix any issue if the guitar starts to feel odd.

For the price, I don’t think there are many better options. It won’t stun you, but it won’t even disappoint. I didn’t like how fragile it felt when I held it. Having a light guitar is good, but this feels extra light and won’t probably handle bumps well.

orangewood

Orangewood Playability 

I have played guitars double the price that don’t play as well as the Orangewood Rey. Don’t get your expectations very high; however, you won’t have any issues with playing almost anything. The C-neck shape is a modern choice that plenty of high-end instruments use. It’s an excellent middle ground for all players and fits any hand size. It felt very similar to the mid-range Orangewood Hudson neck.

The only thing I didn’t like was how the guitar felt on the higher frets. I don’t think that will affect your playing, though, as the first octave where most of the playing is done is solid. Intonation plays a big part in playability and differentiates between a good and not-so-good cheap acoustic. Orangewood got it right. The slight intonation issues happen up the neck when not many beginners usually play.

Overall, even a seasoned player would not tell that the guitar sells for under $150 while playing it. 

Orangewood Rey Tonewood and Tone 

There is not much tone to the Orangewood Rey. I can’t easily classify it as bright or warm, but it’s well-balanced and resonates well. 

I have played guitar for around $200 with no resonance at all. The Orangewood Rey has no similar issues and responds decently to touch. It doesn’t fill the body with vibrations like a Marting, but it sounds almost like a mid-range guitar.

The Tonewood choice is interesting. Layered Mahogany and Spruce are standard for mid-range instruments, while the back is usually solid wood. Orangewood used layered wood for the front, back, and sides. The layered wood makes the guitar strong but doesn’t add much to the tone.

The Neck is Mahogany like many acoustic guitars, while the fretboard is made out of a low-cost Rosewood replacement, Purple Heart. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s much inferior to Rosewood.  

I can’t think of any guitar that uses better Tonewoods at this price point. They are far from the best but not the worst. I would pick it up anytime for a beginner or myself as a travel guitar. 

Orangewood Rey Spruce vs. Orangewood Rey Mahogany 

Rey Spruce

Apart from the noticeable color difference, there’s a very slight tone difference between the two. The Mahogany top makes the guitars sound warmer, while the Spruce top makes it brighter. We are talking about Layered woods here, so that difference is minimal and probably won’t change much.

My recommendation is to go for the Mahogany as it’s a firmer wood, and I feel that it makes the guitar look more expensive. Even if you go by what’s available in stock, you won’t regret it.

Orangewood Rey Alternatives

There are not many other better guitars at this price point, so I included only one such and some more expensive ones. I am a big fan of Orangewood for what they offer for the price, so I highly recommend you look at their other guitars.

Orangewood Rey vs Orangewood Dana

Dana Mahogany (Mini Guitar)

The Orangewood Dana is very similar to the Rey, only that it’s compressed to a ¾ size travel guitar. Besides being a great value travel companion, it is an excellent choice for beginners, especially younger children. The only downside is that it’s less loud.

Like with the Rey, it’s hard to find better value for the money.

Orangewood Rey vs Yamaha FG800 Dreadnought

Yamaha FG800 Dreadnought

The Yamaha FG800 is a good choice for players that want to spend slightly and get a better sound. Its big dreadnought shape helps the guitar deliver a louder, fuller sound tone.

Apart from the shape, the Yamaha sounds better due to its solid top. Solid tops are rare even on guitar at the 300-400USD price, and it’s surprising to find one at this entry-level instrument. On the other hand, the playability might not be as good as the Orangewood, but not much different either.

Overall if you have the budget, go for the better tone of the Yamaha.

Orangewood Rey vs Epiphone AJ-100CE Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Epiphone AJ-100CE Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Epiphone AJ-100CE is one of the best entry-level Acoustic-Electric guitars. You can have a feature-packed instrument for just slightly more than the Yamaha and around 100$ more than the Rey. Tone-wise, the guitar is not superior to the Rey and is not the best sounding guitar when plugged in either. However, the flexibility it gives for playing on small stages or recording your playing at home at this price is unmatched.

FAQs

Question: Can you find Orangewood Guitars in retail stores?

Answer: Unfortunately no. The company keeps the guitars cheap by adapting its distribution model. You can only order online and receive your guitar at home.

Question: Does Orangewood offer international shipping?

Answer: Currently, the company only ships to the United States and Canada. You can contact them directly if you have any specific requests.

Question: Does the Orangewood Rey come with a gig bag?

Answer: Yes, it does. The gig bag is not expensive, but it does the job.

Orangewood Rey Review: Final Thoughts 

The Orangewood Rey won’t disappoint any intermediate player looking for a spare instrument and make a perfect first guitar for beginners. It ticks all the necessary boxes while excelling in some areas. 

When you consider the price, there are no downsides that can make you regret your choice. Even if you use the guitar for around two years and then purchase another, it’s still worth it. The biggest struggle with Orangewood is only finding the guitars in stock, as it’s common for them to periodically ran out of it due to their distribution system.