Archtop guitars are the most sculptural instruments in the guitar family. There is something captivating about the elegant shapes and subtle curves that make them beautiful. Those who don’t play guitar can still appreciate the beauty of an archtop guitar as a piece of artwork and craftsmanship.
The uniqueness continues when you hear the sound of a finely crafted archtop guitar. The warm, rich tone of our guitars has become a favourite among many of Australia’s leading jazz guitarists.
All of our acoustic and semi-acoustic archtop guitars feature tops and backs carved from solid timber. The process of sculpting a rough piece of timber into a finely tuned soundboard or back is a time-consuming one – mostly done by eye and feel. This hand tuning not only gives the finished guitar its beautiful curves but also its signature sound of rich complex tones.
The fine-tuning doesn’t stop with the carving of the top and back plates. It follows through every process culminating in the final setup in which frets are carefully dressed and the bridge and other fittings are crafted by hand to guarantee the most playable instrument possible.
We use both traditional European cello timbers and Australian tone woods in our archtop guitars. Normally, we couple a top carved from German Spruce with back and sides from flamed German Maple. Stringed instrument makers have used this combination for centuries. We also have used Australian species with great success including Queensland Maple, Blackwood and King William Pine. These timbers are equal in quality to the traditional European woods but give a unique flavour to the tone of the finished guitar.
The electrified sound of our archtop guitars is delivered by Kent Armstrong hand-wound humbucking pickups. These pickups have a beautiful warm tone perfect for jazz while maintaining definition in every note played. Our semi-acoustic models have a floating pickup mounted to the pickguard or finger rest where volume and tone are controlled using discreet thumbwheel controls. Our fully electric models feature built-in pickups in the neck position and sometimes in bridge position where the controls are mounted on top.
Our archtop guitars are finished in traditional Nitrocellulose Lacquer, a finish that is both durable and relatively thin. It is a superior finish to the modern poly finishes which are very thick and can impede the resonance of the timber they protect. We offer a range of Sunburst colours as well as clear finishes which highlight the natural beauty of the timbers.
Our archtop guitars are priced from $8,000. The model, materials, trim, inlay and finish affect the price of each individual instrument.