Archtop guitars

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“Fine archtop guitars”

There are a lot of good archtop guitars around these days, more than ever before, but it can be difficult to tell them apart! Almost by chance I came up with this new design – a “modern classic.”

This design has so many benefits for the player – the sustain of an electric guitar coupled with the broad tonal range and resonance only possible from an acoustic instrument. Add to this great access to the upper frets, a compensated zero fret and saddle making for super accurate intonation over the whole fretboard.

This “long neck” design is a total rethink of how archtop guitars work, there is nothing quite like this around anywhere.

Soundboard: Carved European spruce
Back and sides: carved maple
Neck: mahogany or flame maple
Fretboard and bridge – Sri Lanka ebony

Tuners: Gold open gear Hipshot tuners or Gotoh 510
Pickup: Handmade Kent Armstrong AlNiCo III handmade jazz humbucker coupled with an old school paper in oil capacitor.

Here, the aesthetic influence is clearly from the great American archtop makers:a design that begin with Orville Gibson, and blossomed in the workshops of  legendary luthiers D’Angelico and Elmer Stromberg,  and later with James D’Aquisto, Tom Ribbecke, Bob Benedetto, John Monteleone, Steve Grimes and Steve Andersen, and many others.

Whist “tipping my hat” to these master luthiers, I’ve taken this classic aesthetic, stripped it down and applied it to the superior “long neck” design.

The bracing and arching of Oscar is a little different to that of “Charlie” and the sound is more “direct.” Electric guitar sustain without the weight. Resonance without the feedback.

A superior semi!

Soundboard: Carved European spruce
Back and sides:carved figured maple
Neck: flame maple
Fretboard and bridge – Sri Lanka ebony

Tuners: Gold open gear Hipshot tuners or Gotoh 510
Pickup: Handmade Kent Armstrong AlNiCo III handmade jazz humbucker coupled with an old school paper in oil capacitor.

Many of you will know how fond I am of Selmer guitars and the work of Mario Maccaferri. This fondness fed into this new model – “Samois.”

This feller pictured though has stunning cocobolo back and ribs and a solid Indian rosewood neck and fretboard (all one piece) for even more sustain depth and clarity. Looks nice too!

Soundboard: Carved European spruce
Back and sides: Indian rosewood
Necks: mahogany, flame maple or walnut
Fretboard and bridge – Sri Lanka ebony

Tuners: Gold open gear Hipshot tuners or Gotoh 510
Pickup: Handmade Kent Armstrong AlNiCo III handmade jazz humbucker coupled with an old school paper in oil capacitor.

So this time the inspiration came form the wood itself. Years ago when I worked for Stefan Sobell we came across a huge board of reclaimed Cuban mahogany. It must have been decades old as this timber has been commercially extinct for many years.

This huge chunk of history sat around my workshop for years and was very good at collecting dust and getting in the way, and tempted though I was to cut it up, I was just waiting for the right project. With timber like that you can’t just start cutting it Up and hoping for the best. It’s just to valuable. It’s no joke to say that this stuff “really doesn’t grow on trees any more…” That said, I’ve enough of this stuff for just a few more, but once it’s gone, it’s gone.

So, then last year, finally it came to me – a solid carved arch top guitar back.  I’ve married it to a nice European spruce soundboard and a Honduras mahogany neck. The basic design is similar to “Charlie”, but seeing as he’s mostly Cuban, I’ve called him “Carlos”

Soundboard: Carved European spruce
Back and sides: reclaimed Cuban mahogany
Necks: mahogany
Fretboard and bridge – Sri Lanka ebony

Tuners: Gold open gear Hipshot tuners or Gotoh 510
Pickup: Handmade Kent Armstrong Johnny Smith handmade jazz humbucker coupled with an old school paper in oil capacitor.

This is what you get when you cross a “Charlie” with as “Oscar.” The guitar body is the same as “Oscar” – a large, shallow full bodied jazz guitar. The classic curves are reminiscent of great American archtop makes like D’Angelico and Stromberg, but then I’ve added “Charlie’s” modern elliptical offset sound hole.

The guitar has a lovely vintage style sunburst, sprayed directly on the wood and finished with nitro cellulose. The guitar then had a little spell in the “time machine” to crack and craze the lacquer, and to bring up a lovely patina and luster that new guitars just don’t have.

So who is Teddy? Well, in my 20’s, one of my favourite players was Teddy Bunn, a little known swing guitarist. His music inspired this latest addition to my archtop range.

Another fine archtop!

Soundboard: Carved European spruce
Back and sides: carved figured maple
Necks: flame maple
Fretboard and bridge – Sri Lanka ebony

Tuners: Klusons
Pickup: Handmade Kent Armstrong AlNiCo III handmade jazz humbucker coupled with an old school paper in oil capacitor.


max body width: 390mm
body Length: 490mm
depth: 50mm
nut: 43mm
bridge spacing: 55mm
scale: 630mm or custom