I purchased my new McIlroy A35c (cedar top, EIR back and sides) from John at Shoreline Music on June 19, 2016 and am reaching the end of my 30-day trial period. From early on I knew that this one was a keeper and that I would not be returning it. : )
The A35c is like no other guitar I have ever played. It is my first guitar with a five-piece neck, a satin finish and a pinless bridge which are all welcome features to me. The sound of this gem is also unique to my experience. It is very responsive to my light fingerstyle touch. Precise intonation with easy action up to the 12th fret and beyond. Beautifully ringing notes and chords all the way up the neck.
This guitar is a beaut. I did make one cosmetic change in replacing the oval amber pearloid tuner knobs with half-oval white buffalo bone knobs. The white knobs contrast nicely with the gold tuners and rosewood headstock and in my opinion accentuate the guitar's attractive visual features.
I also replaced the existing 1 3/4 bone nut (1 15/32" string spacing at the nut) with a 1 3/4" bone nut (with wider 1 17/32" string spacing). This increase is perfect for my larger fingers and fingerstyle playing.
Another change I found necessary was to sand down the saddle a bit. The original 2.75mm-E, 2.25mm-e action was too high for me. I contacted Dermot McIlroy about this and appreciated his prompt reply and guidance in my lowering the action a bit.
The guitar now plays comfortably and beautifully. I just love it. The size of the body is perfect with the 4 23/32" lower bout depth contributing to a lovely rich bass sound. I replaced the original D'Addario Exp 16 strings with a set of medium "Straight Up Strings" by Siminoff (.0535, .044, .030, .0215, .016, .012") which give a nice balance to my ears.
John at Shoreline has been a pleasure to work with and the McIlroy A35c a delight to play.