Scale and neck proportions are the same as on the Bowery, as are the neck’s three-piece construction and the pearl-oid block inlays—albeit in a lighter-colored ovangkol fretboard this time. The headstock retains the fancy inlays too, although the more austere dress elsewhere makes sense given the worn aesthetic, with the unbound body, simple black-and-white soundhole purfling, and bronze-finished tuners and trussrod cover all reinforcing the concept.
The somewhat smaller, shallower body and mahogany top add up to a more midrange-focused sound from the Tammany, but it still has decent power for an OM-sized guitar. The combination keeps the tone rich and warm, and altogether it sketches a quick reminder of why so many acoustic-blues players have enjoyed this combination. It’s a meaty voice with more plunk, snap, and compression than that of the big Bowery dreadnought, and plenty of burnished character besides, all from a guitar that makes a great blues box. There’s no pickup system on this one, so you take it as it comes or modify it to suit your needs.
The travel-sized Premier Niagara is a downsized-dreadnought style guitar that nevertheless boasts a full-sized neck and 14-fret neck joint at a scale length that’s reduced just a hair to 24 ¼”. So you don’t have to downsize your playing technique too much when you’re out on the open road, kicking back on the beach, crooning round the campfire, or enjoying this portable instrument wherever it might come in handy. The solid spruce top on this one has a fine, tightly spaced grain, and the bound body (laminated mahogany back and sides), fretboard, and headstock—along with the traditional D’Angelico headstock appointments—add a touch of class to the travel genre. The mahogany neck has the same three-piece construction as the others, with the same slim-C profile too, and its ovangkol fretboard carries simple dot inlays. D’Angelico’s proprietary preamp (with 3-band EQ, volume, and tuner) also graces this model.
The Niagara might not have quite the sonic depth or richness of a full-bodied flat-top, but the volume and projection are impressive for its size, and it boasts a lively and well-balanced tone overall. There’s a hair of that archetypal travel-guitar “plinkiness” when you strum it hard, and the vibrational energy overwhelms the structure ever so slightly—but less than I’ve found in many other compact and/or shorter-scale models, and it has an appealingly round, full low-end response that belies its size. Overall it’s a cool and likeable little road buddy that acquits itself well even up against many full-sized acoustics in its price range.