The Merida Trajan T-5 is a classical guitar the defies all logic of affordability and quality…
Finding a truly great-sounding classical guitar on a budget can be a thankless task. Whilst there are many steel-strung acoustic guitars that seem able to provide a level of quality that is way above what could be expected from a guitar at their price point, there has never really been a classical guitar that has offered the same jaw-dropping levels of value.
When the first samples of Merida guitars arrived here at Dawsons, the entire range impressed us. However, the classical guitar models were particularly impressive- and this was before we even knew the prices.
The Trajan T5 was a particular stand-out model in this regard. Being the entry-level Merida classical guitar, you’d be forgiven for expecting a guitar that perhaps played well, with some compromise in terms of tone, as is often the case with cheaper instruments.
Instead, the T5 looks, feels, and sounds like an instrument of a much higher price, with none of the ‘flabby’ tone that can plague less-expensive instruments.
Incredible build, spec and tone
The T5 is, on paper, a familiar specification in some regards. The body is constructed with a laminated spruce top, and laminated mahogany back and sides.
This combination of tone woods offers a combination of sweet upper frequencies, sustain and dynamic response from the spruce, with warmer, powerful tones with great projection thanks to the mahogany.
Seldom has it sounded so good on a classical guitar for such a low price, however. Bright, warm, with great balance and dynamics- it’s incredible that this guitar is currently less than £200 (price correct as of 1/3/13)
The neck is also mahogany, with the kind of flat, yet wide profile you might expect on a Spanish made guitar. A rosewood fingerboard finishes this nicely.
The headstock adds a beautiful cosmetic touch, finished with a darker wood fascia, and the distinctive Merida ‘M’ logo.
This classical guitar has several of specification details that you wouldn’t expect on a guitar at this price. Not least of this is the inclusion of a Graphtech Black Tusq Nut and saddle.
If you have never seen Graphtech products before, they improve tuning and reduce the chances of string breakage by reducing the friction at string contact points.
A great specification is all well and good, but it means nothing unless it delivers a great playing experience. The Merida Trajan T5 is far more than sum of its parts, however, playing beautifully with the voice of a far more expensive classical guitar.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.