The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    The guitar arrived late yesterday evening, and I let it acclimatise overnight. After tuning it up and trying a couple of chords, I made this video. I intended to just record the first item, but kept going. There are a few mistakes here and there, but I'm getting used to the instrument, and also playing from memory.

    What it amounts to is a kind of manifesto of my vision for the acoustic archtop. Yes, it's great for jazz, but has much more going for it. So, you will hear compositions written for solo archtop by Barney Kessel, Gilbert Isbin, and William Bay, but also some serial 12-tone music written by Reginald Smith Brindle (who once gigged as a Charlie Parker wannabe in London), in an homage to his composition teacher, Luigi Dallapicolla, and also his setting of an 11th-century plainchant.

    As for the guitar, it is magnificent!!!! The strings (Soft Brass by Philippe Bosset) are new on, and a bit squeaky in the bass. But the treble is really strong already. I look forward to seeing how the guitar changes over time.

    Please use the most expensive headphones you can afford ;-)

    more about it on my website:

    Frans Elferink’s Excalibur –

    The guitar is part homage to the Gibsons on the 20s and 30s, but with x-bracing for more tonal variety. It's a loud instrument, for sure, and a breeze to play. Frans is a major-league luthier!


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    Sounds great Rob...Congrats!

  4. #3

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    I can not get over that sustain. What a wonderful guitar!

  5. #4

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    Congrats and Happy New Guitar Day, Rob! Stunning instrument!!!

  6. #5

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    Just exquisite. The guitar suits you perfectly. It reminds me of the 34 Super 400 I played, but it sounds even better! From watching your videos on your Eastman(/Eastmen), Loar, Godin, D'Aquisto, &c I feel like you've found the perfect archtop for what you play. You certainly deserve the best, and I'm very happy to know that now you've got it!

    I'm hoping this means you'll be recording and sharing much more archtop music in the coming years.

    Ok time to rewatch the video.

  7. #6

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    Wonderful! I love the clarity and crispness of the bass and roundness of the higher strings. And, it will only improve with time. Wow. Congrats, friend!

  8. #7

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    Holy Moly what a sweet axe that is in more than very capable hands. A big CONGRATS ! Rob. May she serve you well.

  9. #8

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    WOW !!!! Later when things really quiet down here I'll strap on my Beats Solo 3's and give it a full run...
    Congratulations !!!!!

  10. #9

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    so happy it arrived safe and sound and is already being put to great use in your capable hands!!

    huge acoustic tone! as you wanted

    i knew the elferink/mackillop pairing was gonna be a good one!! kudos all around

    congrats and enjoy (as i see you already are!! hah)


    ps- loved the bell like harmonics of the brindle piece....nice piece! "amazing guitar" indeed

  11. #10

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    Magnificent sound !!! Lord have mercy. That axe is a masterpiece. It is in the right hands for sure.

  12. #11

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    Beautiful guitar and already sounds great. I've been following your posts on getting an Elferink quite intently as I've been thinking about commissioning a guitar from Frans. This confirms it. It's definitely going to happen.

  13. #12

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    Congrats! A beauty made by a master.

  14. #13

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    Wow, wow, wow.

    Funny to think how the pinnacle of acoustic archtop instruments, strings, and solo playing may very well be the present.

    So nice of you Rob to try find faults with this. But you have failed miserably to do so. Fingers on hand-made strings are supposed to sound this way in my opinion - or at least aspire to sound this way.

    Damn, this is great, really.


  15. #14

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    I played this back with a Bose mini Soundlink II wedged between my neck and the back of a chair.

    I recommend this experience.

  16. #15

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    Oh man Robster!

    18" guitars do something that no other size guitar I've ever played can do. You cant put it into words. You just have to listen.
    This one has that elusive "touch sensitivity" that I think is important in a guitar. I love it.
    Rob, your treat is everyone else's treat. What you do is very difficult. Playing in front of a recorder is one thing. But playing pieces, unedited in front a CAMERA is very difficult. It takes talent, courage, memory and technical expertise all coverging at the same time. You did it bro. You did it.

    Beautiful Guitar Rob. And you play it so sweetly. Outstanding.

    Joe DeNisco

  17. #16

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    Can't stop smiling, huh Rob? I can't blame you. It's a wonderful sounding guitar. And I doubt you'll need to install a new nut and tuners or get a fret job done. Congratulations.

  18. #17

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    By the way, this post single handedly changed the tone of this forum.
    Respect and admiration. Across the board. Just what we needed.
    Delivered by Rob and his Elf!
    Get ready to be typing out replies for days to come!

  19. #18

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    Wow! That's gorgeous - both the guitar and the playing.

    Congratulations Rob.

  20. #19

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    Wow....great playing and an impressive great sounding instrument.

    Sounds both rich, and well-defined. Hard to get both in a guitar, and I think lots of instruments veer toward one side or another. This seems to have both.

  21. #20

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    The guitar is worthy of you, Rob. You brought out the goodness in it.

    Congrats! A fitting match for each other.

  22. #21

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    Oh, thanks guys. I'll write more later, once my eyes have stopped welling up!

  23. #22

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    Congratulations Rob. What a fine guitar in the hands of a great player - it certainly was worthwhile to wait.

  24. #23

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    I can only add as an Elferink Tone master owner, it just gets better!

  25. #24

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    I literally can't imagine a better sounding guitar, Rob. Congrats!

  26. #25

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    NOW! That's what I'm talking about! I LOVE acoustic archtop guitars. 18">17">16"...with the exception of 20s Gibson L5 guitars.

    Boy, howdy, is Rob's Elferink a beautiful sounding guitar.