PHOTOS: Highly figured claro walnut body with eastern maple accents. Custom DiMarzio OEM pickups designed by Steve Blucher & Eric Corpus, voiced specifically for jazz & metal. 5-way switching. 10-step ToneStyler studio-grade EQ control.
I've wanted to make a modern archtop guitar for some time and have been slowly feeling my way towards a finalized design. I'd say we're there. I'm delighted with this guitar, and by what it can do.
To my ear a successful archtop achieves a very specific organic woodiness which is highly accurate to the nuances of the tone wood. Responsiveness and attack much like an acoustic guitar, with note fullness trending toward a solid body instrument.
But I also find traditional archtops to be tonally limited, oversized hollow boxes prone to feedback and lack of acoustic sustain.
Suppose you seek acoustic responsiveness necessary for intricate traditional jazz...combined with the ability to play fusion and modern metal?
This guitar does both, exceptionally well.
Sorry that it has taken so long, but I wanted to play the Modern Archtop through all my amps including the latest addition which is the Bob Gore Special model made by Bludotone. (I will send you a picture).
I have an eclectic amp collection...Polytone MiniBrute II, Clark Custom made tweed 1x12 combo, a custom featured Fargen Blackbird v.2, Jim Kelley SCR, a Mesa Boogie King Snake, two custom made Bludotone Bludo Drives and two Bob Gore Special Bludotone amps. I also have a collection of Pearce amps. Let's not forget the Axe Fx II which I have yet to master.
I wanted to play the guitar through all the amps to get an idea of its versatility. It is amazing. It keeps its character with each amp.
The balance of the tone is exceptional and I can play jazz chord solos as well as signature "Speed Metal God" pieces on this instrument.
Another amazing thing was how easy it is to switch between the TigerShark 8 and the Modern Archtop. It is a true attestation of exceptional lutherie that the guitar necks feel consistent between the two guitars. It is no simple feat to do this, since we are talking about an 8-string neck and a 6-string neck.
I also want to tell you how pedal friendly the guitar is...usually we think of amps in this way but some guitars react differently to pedals than others.
Speaker-wise, in my cabinets, I have EVM 12Ls I use with the Bludo Drives and the Kelley SCR, old Celestion Vintage 30s I use with the Fargen, old EVM 12 S speakers with the Bob Gore Specials. The MiniBrute has the original speaker and the Boogie has the one it comes with also. The Clark combo has a custom tweaked Weber speaker.
All of the amps and speakers sound great with the Modern Archtop.
My most sincere thanks for giving me the opportunity to expand my sonic palette and create pieces that before now I was not able to play.
PHOTOS: Stainless steel pickup height adjust system allows for real-time tool-free control over your pickup attack and treble-to-bass string response.
Highly figured claro walnut forms the arched soundboard of the guitar. The soundboard is free floating, curved and ergonomic, supported by two pods which house electronics plus the patented TOONE & TOWNSEND tuning mechanism.
A carbon fiber structural plate forms the back of the instrument, resting against your torso and designed to allow the soundboard to vibrate without restrictive damping. The carbon fiber is lightweight, incredibly strong, and impervious to moisture.
Element™ machined aircraft aluminum neck and Hybrid™ bridges attach to the floating soundboard, creating a contiguous structure that facilitates string vibration and results in exceptionally even string-to-string balance, enhanced sustain, and smooth extended decay.
The guitar balances perfectly in right or left leg seated position, with a comfortable neck-up hands-free natural posture. Weight is 7.75 lbs. Dimensions are a compact 34.5" x 14" size, perfect for travel. Quick release stainless steel bolts enable neck removal or installation within moments.