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  1. #1

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    Hi all,
    I'm fairly new to the Jazz forum and have enjoyed reading your many interesting posts. I live in the New Orleans area and love our local Jazz scene though I don't get to gig out as much as I would like.

    My current primary gtr is a Collings Eastside Jazz--a 15" guitar that is 1.75" deep. Though I like my current Jazz guitar, I am looking for something with better acoustic sound. I contacted Frans yesterday and he replied this morning. I should have a quote from him within the next 3 business days.

    If you would like to follow along as I order this guitar, receive updated pix, and receive the final results please feel free. Also feel free to comment on Elferinks in general and/or my requests/specifications. Note that I am not easily offended. Feel free to disagree with my thoughts/specs as you wish (happy thoughts and smiles are excepted as well).

    I have provided excerpts from my original email to Frans below to help you understand my specs/request:


    ***********Excerpts of email to Frans Elferink*************************
    1) I am older and occasionally have minor back issues--especially after playing a long gig. Therefore, I need a guitar that is very light-weight. No more than 7 lbs. and preferably closer to 6 lbs.
    2) I am 6'1" so I can easily hold a 17" guitar while seated. I don't think I would want to go 18" though. I might even like 16.5".
    3) I will only play smaller gigs with this guitar. Therefore, feedback should be controllable. Larger gigs where the volume must be very loud I use my Collings I-35 (ES-335 copy) or a solid body guitar.


    Sound
    1) I do want a guitar that produces more acoustic sound. However, some "traditional" jazz guitars sound muddy or "thunky" to me. Conversely, I listened to several of your guitars that have good sustain and clarity. That is what I'm going for--toward a more modern jazz sound that does not step too much on the bass register.


    I was particularly impressed by these demos of your guitars and would want something similar:


    1) Daan Kleijn--https://youtu.be/hKj_x50pibw - Beautiful rich bass, did not sound "muddy" at all! Mid-range and highs evenly balanced. Beautiful note complexity.
    2) Alfie, Daan Kleijn--https://youtu.be/92kW_BHGQ_A. - Beautifully balanced (a little less bass?). Notes are soooo articulate! I've never heard an archtop do that before. Amazing! I love the color and headstock design on this one. Do you sacrifice anything with this headstock design? Tuning stability?
    3) Bram Stadhouders--https://youtu.be/r954SipHXLM. -- This one sounds wonderful as well. Again, very articulate and even across the sonic spectrum. I must prefer the soundholes on this guitar to traditional soundholes.


    Playability
    This is very important to me. From comments that others have made about your instruments I am certain this will not be a problem. Here are my preferences.


    1) Relatively flat fingerboard (12" or better radius).
    2) Short scale (25" or smaller; definitely do not like 25.5")
    3) No knobs on the pickguard (underneath is ok; or mounted on top of soundboard--lower bout)
    4) Usually prefer 1 11/16" nut width.
    5) Neck Profile--I have attached the dimensions of the neck on my Collings Eastside Jazz for reference. This is only for reference to give you an idea. The neck profile does not have to be those exact measurements but should be similar.
    6) String height--should be relatively low. I am not one of those guys who obsesses about this. I simply want to be able to play effortlessly even on higher frets. I play lightly (not a heavy picker, strummer). Therefore, you should be able to set the action low with no problems.
    7) Armrest-I noticed that the guitar in the Bram Stoudhouders video has an armrest. I really like this and will get one if I can afford it.


    Notes:
    Sound holes--In general, I prefer more modern soundholes (not f-Holes). As previously stated, I like the soundholes in the video by Brand Stadhouders. I also very much like the soundholes in the Moderne model on your website (inspired by D'Aquisto's Solo Model). In fact, I like those best of all.
    Do your guitars vary in depth? It seems that the one in the Bram S. video is thinner? Perhaps and optical illusion?
    I only want fret markers on top--where I can see them--not on the face of the fretboard.
    *********End of email excerpts to Frans*********************


    I just discovered you via the Jazz Guitar Forum. Everyone there has wonderful things to say about you and your guitars. I gig in the New Orleans, LA, USA area. I am interested in a build and would like a quote.


    I apologize in advance for the length of this message. I do want to give you an idea of what I prefer in a guitar. Note that I am 7 hours behind you in time zone.


    I have been playing for over 40 years but have only recently gotten more heavily into Jazz. I am currently gigging with a Collings Eastside Jazz--a 15" guitar that is 1.75" deep. Though I like my current Jazz guitar, I am looking for something with better acoustic sound.


    1) I am older and occasionally have minor back issues--especially after playing a long gig. Therefore, I need a guitar that is very light-weight. No more than 7 lbs. and preferably closer to 6 lbs.
    2) I am 6'1" so I can easily hold a 17" guitar while seated. I don't think I would want to go 18" though. I might even like 16.5".
    3) I will only play smaller gigs with this guitar. Therefore, feedback should be controllable. Larger gigs where the volume must be very loud I use my Collings I-35 (ES-335 copy) or a solid body guitar.


    Sound
    1) I do want a guitar that produces more acoustic sound. However, some "traditional" jazz guitars sound muddy or "thunky" to me. Conversely, I listened to several of your guitars that have good sustain and clarity. That is what I'm going for--toward a more modern jazz sound that does not step too much on the bass register.


    I was particularly impressed by these demos of your guitars and would want something similar:


    1) Daan Kleijn--
    - Beautiful rich bass, did not sound "muddy" at all! Mid-range and highs evenly balanced. Beautiful note complexity.
    2) Alfie, Daan Kleijn--
    . - Beautifully balanced (a little less bass?). Notes are soooo articulate! I've never heard an archtop do that before. Amazing! I love the color and headstock design on this one. Do you sacrifice anything with this headstock design? Tuning stability?
    3) Bram Stadhouders--
    . -- This one sounds wonderful as well. Again, very articulate and even across the sonic spectrum. I must prefer the soundholes on this guitar to traditional soundholes.


    Playability
    This is very important to me. From comments that others have made about your instruments I am certain this will not be a problem. Here are my preferences.


    1) Relatively flat fingerboard (12" or better radius).
    2) Short scale (25" or smaller; definitely do not like 25.5")
    3) No knobs on the pickguard (underneath is ok; or mounted on top of soundboard--lower bout)
    4) Usually prefer 1 11/16" nut width.
    5) Neck Profile--I have attached the dimensions of the neck on my Collings Eastside Jazz for reference. This is only for reference to give you an idea. The neck profile does not have to be those exact measurements but should be similar.
    6) String height--should be relatively low. I am not one of those guys who obsesses about this. I simply want to be able to play effortlessly even on higher frets. I play lightly (not a heavy picker, strummer). Therefore, you should be able to set the action low with no problems.
    7) Armrest-I noticed that the guitar in the Bram Stoudhouders video has an armrest. I really like this and will get one if I can afford it.


    Notes:
    Sound holes--In general, I prefer more modern soundholes (not f-Holes). As previously stated, I like the soundholes in the video by Brand Stadhouders. I also very much like the soundholes in the Moderne model on your website (inspired by D'Aquisto's Solo Model). In fact, I like those best of all.
    Do your guitars vary in depth? It seems that the one in the Bram S. video is thinner? Perhaps and optical illusion?
    I only want fret markers on top--where I can see them--not on the face of the fretboard.

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  3. #2

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    I own a Elferink Tonemaster archtop with a slightly less depth at 2&1/2" to 3"
    I went with a wider 1&3/4" nut width and a fuller profile as well.
    I basically wanted a thinner L-5 C with a floating pickup a la Johnny Smith. And also slightly smaller at 16&1/2" body size.

    I definitely wanted a heavier Gibson build style as opposed to the thinner Benedetto or newer thinner builds. I have been gigging this guitar for about 5 years or so,and am extremely happy with it.
    One change I made was to replace the stock wood bridge with a Brass Wayne Compton hollow model. This definitely gives the guitar more sustain as well as a fuller acoustic tone which I prefer.

    There really are no downsides on having Franz Elferink build your guitar. It's just a matter of time before his prices become more expensive. Best of luck and enjoy your new Elferink !

  4. #3

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    As you noted, Elferinks' guitars are highly regarded here at JGO. You should be very happy with this world-class maker.
    Best regards, k

  5. #4

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    Interesting about the bridge. I will keep that in mind.

    ThanksElfeRink Build Order

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  6. #5

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    I saw the part about you living in New Orleans. I Lived there in my teenage years as well,back from 1970 to 1976. I used to see Ellis Marsalis preform regularly at a club on Rampart Street called Lou and Charlie's.
    I also took lessons from guitarist Hank Mackie at Roger Filiberto`s World of Strings. Another great player from there is Steve Mezakowski,maybe he still preforms around. And not to forget Bill Hunnington as well who used to play with saxophonist Al Belleto at the Playboy Club.

  7. #6

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    Great memories I bet. I never went to Lu and Charlie's. Unfortunately, they closed down (maybe early 80's?). Hank Mackie and Steve Masakowski both taught at University of New Orleans (UNO) for years. I believe that Hank retired a few years ago. Here's a link to an interesting article that includes info about these two great players and their relationship with the UNO Jazz Guitar Ensemble--some great photos as well--University of New Orleans Jazz Guitar Ensemble with Hank Mackie - A Pilgrimage Of Sorts — Scott Myers.

  8. #7

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    Back around 1974 or so Lou and Charlie's was really the only venue hosting any kind of real Jazz,as opposed to Tourist Dixieland type of Jazz.
    Ellis Marsalis had the Elm Music Co. Band every weekend from 10pm till 2am
    The band was a Miles Davis quintet type of band performing originals as well as music from Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, as well as other composers.

    The drummer was James Black,who was most excellent ! Sundays would feature various contemporary Jazz as well. I believe Earl Turbington(sax) along with electric bassist Julius Farmer played there on a regular basis as well.

    I was very lucky and priveledged to be able see such great Music in my teens.

  9. #8

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    You were indeed lucky. Frenchman Street is the place to be for good, non-touristy jazz now.

    However, I do long for more contemporary jazz venues. For me that means from the 60's until now.



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  10. #9

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    I'm afraid aside from maybe New York city and maybe Japan and some select European cities. Jazz is pretty much limited to the few venues willing to embrace it. I guess having YouTube is a good thing in that regard.

  11. #10

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    Off topic reply, re live jazz :
    You can go see fine jazz musicians (not only the locals that is) in pretty much every european city with a population over say 250.000 , although you do have to make a little effort finding the places where they play. It's seldom in highstreet venues, more so on the fringes, near campuses etc. When you go to the major cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Milano, Rome, Hamburg, Munich, Prague, Lyon, Stockholm, Kopenhagen, etc. you'll find international artists playing there all year round. The number of Jazz-festivals is still increasing- not the big ones but on a smaller scale and not only during the summer months. In almost every european country the music conservatories have a Jazz/Popular Music program and these students are out there playing all kinds of jazz. They don't earn much money but that's not the reason why they're doin' it .... just sayin.

  12. #11

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    I am very glad to hear that! We do have a thriving jazz scene here in New Orleans--primarily in numerous venues on Frenchman Street. I am very fortunate to live in this city.

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  13. #12

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    Even though younger musicians are discovering and playing Jazz. It seems to be more of a technical type of endevour vs a groove type of thing. When I used to see Ellis Marsalis his group played with a serious soulful attitude.
    I'm sure Black Gospel music had a large part of their influence in their performing.

    I also remember in the 1970's R&B, Black Gospel was in much of the Pop Music of the day. EW&Fire,Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Spinners,AWB, Tower of Power,etc
    So no surprise it it affected Jazz as well.
    I find that even Miles Davis, and many of his contemporaries played more Blues,than what is common place nowadays. Even funnier what passes for Blues nowadays is really more simplified I,IV,V changes with a rock attitude.

    I guess I'm just old and somewhat jaded in my tastes.But I find most music very void of Soul and Groove. I feel like it's very reflective of our current society, which is very narcissistic. It used to be about the group,not the individual promotion of oneself. But I guess this is what is hip now.

  14. #13

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    Congrats!
    I am also Elferink Tonemaster owner and have to say after this guitar many other, more expensive guitars, are disappointing me. Frans is very kind and professional.

    All the best.

  15. #14

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    Thanks! That is good to hear. I am very much looking forward to this guitar!

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  16. #15

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    Saw Elferink today, at a guitar show. Super nice guy. There he was presenting his 25th anniversary model

    ElfeRink Build Order-3e43a965-b05b-43f7-af92-0bb53cf28852-jpg
    "Oh, those jazz guys are just making that stuff up!" - Homer

  17. #16

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    Lots of interest in Elferink on this thread, mine is still for sale maybe I should do a bump, check the for sale section. Excalibur Blond great guitar it can be had right now.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  18. #17

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    Hi all,

    I just finished the specification sheet with Frans for this guitar. Currently, I have specified a Kent Armstrong floating humbucker. I think this pickup sounds great. However, I have never tried to play live with a floating pickup. I am under the impression that they are more likely to feedback.

    Should I stick with a floating pickup or not? Will I have excessive feedback problems? Advice and comments appreciated.

    Chris

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Tarlow View Post
    Congrats!
    I am also Elferink Tonemaster owner and have to say after this guitar many other, more expensive guitars, are disappointing me. Frans is very kind and professional.

    All the best.
    Can you explain more?

  20. #19

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    Franz said to me when I ordered my Tonemaster archtop a built in humbucker could always be installed later. In case the KA floater didn't work out for me. I ended up having Peter Biltoft of Vintage Vibe Pickups custom build me a CC Humbucking floater to replace the KA pickup.
    Not a huge difference overall,but I like it!

    To the above post AKA: Elferink builds are on par with many more expensive luthier Archtops Comins, Campellone,etc. While each luthier may have slightly different appointments or design qualities.All of these guitars are of very high quality tone,playability, etc. Just like anything, depends which you prefer or can afford. The thing that sold me was the price initially , but am as happy as anything else Ive played. Comins,Campellone, Unger, Benedetto, Gibson, etc.
    Buscarino Artisan was probably the best sounding by a slight bit. But 2x's the price for 10 % better?

  21. #20

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    Thanks for the pickup info, Jads57. Do you play gigs with the floater? Any feedback issues?

    Also, what do you like about your new pickup over the KA?

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  22. #21

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    Ive neen gigging for over 4 years with the Elferink Tonemaster archtop no feedback issues for the most part. But I use a Quilter Aviator 1x8" combo which also reduces chances of feedback. Also I requested a heavier build with a ticker top like Gibson builds as opposed to the thinner Benedetto or Heritage builds..

    The CC or Charlie Christian Humbucking pickup has blades as oppose to pole peice magnets. They are both good choices,just a bit smoother with the CC floater pickup.

  23. #22

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    Thanks Jads57. I've never had a guitar with a floating pickup and I just don't know much about them. From your explanation it sounds like there should be no significant issues other than those that you always face with a guitar that acoustically moves a significant amount of air.

    Good information and much appreciated

  24. #23

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    Basically don't expect it to be a solid body guitar as far as playing in a really loud Rock Band LOL!

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    Basically don't expect it to be a solid body guitar as far as playing in a really loud Rock Band LOL!
    Exactly. I don't play rock any more because of my hearing improvement. Basically, I've discovered that as I have gotten older my hearing has improved to the point that the volume at most rock shows hurts my ears.

    So I shouldn't have that issue with this archtop as I will keep the volume at manageable levels.

  26. #25

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    Congratulations on your upcoming Elferink. I have a build just started with Frans due next year. The wait begins!

  27. #26

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    Thanks! Keep us posted. I would love to see yours when it comes in.

    Chris

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  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Superfly6928 View Post
    Thanks! Keep us posted. I would love to see yours when it comes in.

    Chris

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    Will do, it’s a little bit away from his traditional builds in that it will incorporate an arched back and flat top construction. I believe Frans has done something similar in a Nylon guitar.


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  29. #28

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    Sorry AKA I noticed Your question now,

    First of all, for my style (fingerstyle playing, chord melody) wide, masive neck with 14th strings is a solutions that suits to me. Elferink guitar is ideal and I chose it.
    I played on many (mostly laminated guitars- Guild, Gibson, even Benedetto), but always returned to my Tonemaster.

    That is in my case and it doesn't have to be a rule.