There is a point where a guitar becomes a work of art rather than merely an instrument. The Phantom is an instrument which has clearly crossed this point.
While it is a beautifully functioning jazz guitar, with a sound equal to any of our other instruments, the design and styling has pushed the Phantom beyond the conventions of archtop guitars into avant-garde territory.
The design of the Phantom began with the basic size and outline of our 17” archtop guitars. We wanted to make a striking looking instrument but the primary consideration of the design process was on function, maintaining the optimum sound and playability. We took a minimalist approach to the aesthetics, keeping the ornamentation light and focusing on form, proportion and flow. The lines of the various parts of the instrument complement each other to form a very balanced looking guitar which keeps drawing the eye from one part to the next.
We have escaped the traditional look of the archtop guitar’s f-holes with the asymmetrical soundports, which flow from one side of the body to the other. This flow of lines continues through to the headstock, which has a bold profile and simple yet elegant ornamentation. The headstock is both physically and aesthetically in perfect balance with the body.
A unique instrument must have a unique finish and we decided to apply a ’smoke sunburst’ shaded Nitrocellulose lacquer to the Phantom. The subtle colouration of the finish complements the black African Ebony used in the fingerboard, headplate and fittings. A fine inlay of Mother of Pearl borders the fingerboard and headplate, contrasting the black Ebony while bringing out the silver hues in the sunburst.
The sound of the Phantom is quite similar to our standard acoustic archtop guitars, but with a distinct set of overtones influenced by the unique soundports. The timbers used are traditional cello woods, European Spruce on the top and European Maple on the back and sides. The sound is duplicated electronically through a slimline Kent Armstrong handwound PAF humbucker pickup.
The Phantom is a leap forward in the designs of our instruments and we are very pleased with it, both as a guitar and as a object of art. We are looking forward to incorporating elements from the Phantom into instruments we build in years to come.