The original design of the Little Sister is the archetype of the B&G approach. We distilled the essential elements that made those vintage parlor acoustic guitars from the pre-war era so unique, and we electrified and amplified them. We wanted the warmth, the vocal qualities, and the personality, with that sweet roughness, those resonances. We also wanted the best possible playability, with perfect intonation, as demanded by today's quality standards.
All these elements translated into the Little Sister – in her fundamental form, a small body guitar, with a chambered African mahogany body and solid maple top. The Little Sister can be ordered in the traditional, historic non-cutaway shape, with a slightly thicker body, as well as in the cutaway version, for better access to the highest of the 20 frets.
The Little Sister features a slotted headstock, paying homage to the traditional look of those old-time guitars. The 24 ¾" scale, calculated with the historic ‘Rule of 18', offers the classic feel of an acclaimed, yet familiar instrument.
The beautiful brass hardware serves a double purpose. Firstly, it makes the instrument as visually stunning as a handmade piece of jewelry. Secondly, it adds a precisely calculated element of resonance and overtones to the acoustic voice of the guitar.
The success of the Little Sister has been overwhelming for such a young and relatively small company as B&G Guitars. On the back of this success, we received so many requests for a sleeker, slightly more modern version of the Little Sister, that we felt we could not ignore them. Instead, we gladly accepted this intriguing challenge!
And then came the Step Sister.
Yes, she shares most of the same DNA as the Little Sister. The same building techniques, scale length, hardware, electronics, and pickups. The same uncanny attention to detail, to the wood selection, to the quality of the finish. Yet somehow, the Step Sister can be meaner if pushed in the right direction.
The most evident difference is the longer neck with 22 frets. Then the body shape -- very similar, but slightly shortened, joining the neck at the 16th fret instead of the 14th. This, together with the redesigned neck heel, allows unrestricted access to all 22 frets.
The Step Sister also features a solid headstock, while the slotted version is available as a custom option.
Finally, the body construction -- the Step Sister offers the broadest range of options in the family. She can be either chambered just like the Little Sister, with or without the F-holes, or she can have a solid body.
The solid body Step Sister is built with a specially reserved, ultralight mahogany selection, to match the same weight of the chambered version. The top can either be all figured maple, or figured maple with a ‘sunk-in' overlay in exotic woods like Hawaiian koa or ziricote.
So what does this difference mean to you, the player?
The chambered body Step Sister gains a little more definition and detail, and a slightly tighter tone in the bass range, trading off a bit of the roundness and warmth of the Little Sister. The midrange and treble ranges remain expressive and vocal, with a delicate balance of sweetness and clarity. The neck pickup, placed closer to the bridge because of the extended fingerboard, delivers a leaner tone on its own, and a beautiful hollow quality in the middle position when joined to the bridge pickup.
The solid body Step Sister goes one step further, with a drier character, a sharper attack, and a crispier tone, that can really cut through the band. The easier access to the upper frets, and the sleeker neck heel, make the Step Sister a perfect axe for rock and fusion solos.
All in all, the Little Sister may be sweeter, with a gentler tone that shimmers with harmonics, but when pushed hard, can develop a throaty grit that sits beautifully in those roots-styled blues, rock, folk and Americana genres. The Step Sister can also rock harder, especially in the solid body version, exhibiting a brighter, more focused tone.