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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 – ArchtopGuitar.net

    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!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Sounds great Rob...Congrats!
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  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!!!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  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)

    cheers

    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.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  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.

    Wowie.

  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!
    JD

  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.
    _________
    JazzNote

  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!
    White belt
    My Youtube

  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.

  27. #26

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    Fantastic Rob, wonderful sound

  28. #27

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    Magnificent sounding and looking guitar and great playing. It should be a keeper.. Keep those video clips coming our way.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  29. #28

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    Congrats and play in good health !
    "Oh, those jazz guys are just making that stuff up!" - Homer

  30. #29

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    Well, I'd like to thank you all individually, but time is in short supply at the moment (I have a new guitar to play! and many other things to do, unfortunately). So, please note that I appreciate ALL the comments, and thank you for them.

    One of my main worries was making such a beautiful instrument sound bad, as I felt I was not just presenting the guitar, but also the luthier. He just wrote to me, giving the thumbs up, so I can relax!

    I also worry about misrepresenting the compositions for their composers. I plan to record some of those pieces again, just one per video, as I haven't played them to my satisfaction.

    And all of this goes to confirm, that there is no such thing as a solo performer. I'm supported by appreciative people, but also luthiers and composers. And each of them has their own influences and inspirations, and so on back through centuries. We are not alone.

    And I can promise you that it's not the last you'll hear from that guitar!

  31. #30

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    Class.

  32. #31

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    Forget the thumbs up, he should have given you hug!
    You are a good guy Robster. I learn from you. Not sure I can ever emulate your grace exactly, but i'll try..
    Joe D

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Well, I'd like to thank you all individually, but time is in short supply at the moment (I have a new guitar to play! and many other things to do, unfortunately). So, please note that I appreciate ALL the comments, and thank you for them.

    One of my main worries was making such a beautiful instrument sound bad, as I felt I was not just presenting the guitar, but also the luthier. He just wrote to me, giving the thumbs up, so I can relax!

    I also worry about misrepresenting the compositions for their composers. I plan to record some of those pieces again, just one per video, as I haven't played them to my satisfaction.

    And all of this goes to confirm, that there is no such thing as a solo performer. I'm supported by appreciative people, but also luthiers and composers. And each of them has their own influences and inspirations, and so on back through centuries. We are not alone.

    And I can promise you that it's not the last you'll hear from that guitar!

  33. #32

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    A Masterpiece




    Congratulations Rob



    Alan

  34. #33

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    Someone has to say something negative here.

    It's not my guitar. Or me playing it so beautifully.

    There, I've said it.

  35. #34

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    What a treat to see and hear such a superb instrument fittingly matched to a superb player and interpreter of timeless music. "De Angelis" was sublime. Thank you, Rob. I look forward to more of your playing, and to the delicious sonorities of Mr. Elferink's exemplary instrument.
    Best regards, k

  36. #35

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    Haha. My wife just asked me if someone had said something negative.

    Cheers, Alan. It certainly is.

    Joe, my wife hasn't stopped laughing at the word grace. I often bang into things, break things. Grace isn't a word used around me.

  37. #36

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    citizenk, thank you for your eloquent words. Mr Elferink is aware of this thread, and is very happy with all the nice comments.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post

    Joe, my wife hasn't stopped laughing at the word grace. I often bang into things, break things. Grace isn't a word used around me.

    that's only because you save it all for your music!!! hah

    cheers

  39. #38

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    Beautiful instrument and playing. It is going be a joy watching the two of you get to know each other

    Will

  40. #39

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    Forgive me if I say, but I saw this coming from the outset.

    The design, the builder, the strings...all the choices made and anticipated to us by Rob were obviously aiming at a sound he had in his mind, and that we could hint from his style.

    The result is so... musical...This guitar makes him be him at its best.

    Congratulations Rob Mc Killop. You did it.

  41. #40

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    Not much more kudos can be added, but I hear the sensitivity of the instrument for sure. You can bash it or tickle it and it rings out with an appropriate degree of volume and quality of timbre. That's the best experience for a discerning player! You can count on a guitar like this to speak your intentions with lots of breathing room to spare, meaning you'll never outgrow it as a player.

    Happy for ya Rob... Glad you finally have in your hands what you've probably imagined owning for years.
    Permanent favorites: 2016 Gibson L-5 WesMo, 1999 Gibson L-5CESN, 1928 Gibson L-5
    Play more, buy less

  42. #41

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    Thanks, guys. Those last two comments are particularly interesting. I've had a sound in my head for a long, long time, but never quite found it. Until now. It's both old and new, as is the music I play. I'm a lucky guy. But it took a long time to get here. I sincerely hope you all find what you are looking for!

  43. #42

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    Some of us have been singing the praises of 18" archtops for years. There's nothing that can be said better than the sound from that beautiful 18! And to think, it's not even broken in!!! 18's provide a sense of warmth, depth, and sonorous body greater than any smaller archtop I've owned. Once you experience a great 18" nothing else will do. Go big or go home. Great playing too Rob! That should be the last guitar you'll ever need. Thanks for sharing some of your joy!
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  44. #43

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    Thanks, 2B. And I have to add that the guitar feels very comfortable to me, not large at all. "Just right!" as Goldilocks would say!

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    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.
    lol. What? You bought your 18" Chinese archtop used for 35% of what that guitar costs. You just can't let it go can you. Leave the man's NGD thread alone.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    And I have to add that feels very comfortable to me, not large at all. "Just right!"
    That's what she said!

    Hey, I applaud your playing man! That guitar is a beauty inside and out!
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  47. #46

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    I can't help but believe that Elferink's phone will be ringing for a few more of these.

    Really nice sounding guitar and it handles dynamics well.

    Congrats.

  48. #47

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    2b, I think you got me a little wrong. I'm not complaining, and I did not mean to ruin his NGD. He has a wonderful instrument and knows it. I make what I thought was a gentle joke and get this?

  49. #48

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    I thought you were being funny. Made me smile.

    PS As if anything anyone says could spoil this day!

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gramps View Post
    I can't help but believe that Elferink's phone will be ringing for a few more of these.

    Really nice sounding guitar and it handles dynamics well.

    and that was built for robs very specific acoustic wants in mind..with bosset bronze/brass strings..no pup..etc..a true collab

    but an elferink 18" pitched at the thom flatwound/dearmond floater sound, i'm sure would be equally amazing

    that's the beauty of working with a gent like mr. elferink..he gets it!!!...he's a great luthier and yet a student of classic designs and tone!

    i read his regular posts on the (late lamented) prepared guitar site faithfully..always great stuff

    PREPARED GUITAR

    why i always knew he would be the perfect match with rob!!

    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 02-22-2018 at 09:03 PM. Reason: add-

  51. #50

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    The inspiration that this guitar will give you is priceless. Well done sir!