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American Archtop by Dale Unger
Limited Edition 7 String Benedetto Tribute Model
This is my main
guitar. It is an American Archtop Limited Edition 7 String Benedetto Tribute
Model, Serial #002.
It is Handmade by Dale Unger. It features a carved, supremely voiced top
& back, solid German spruce top & solid highly flamed European maple back.
17" Body. All appointments are solid ebony. Kent Armstrong floating pickup.
I met Dale at the 1996
A.I.S.A. (Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans) symposium. Jimmy Bruno
talked me into switching to 7-String and showed me over to Dale's display table.
Three days later I ordered a guitar from Dale. I seemed to happen along at the
right time. He was just introducing a limited edition model he called "The
Benedetto Tribute Model". It features a carved German spruce top &
carved European flamed maple back & sides. To my knowledge he only made ten
of these. I've got Number 2 (seething with jealousy aren't you) As far as I'm
concerned, Dale is destined to be one of his generation's great guitar makers.
He's also a great guy with a sharp sense of humor & a great laugh.
In my opinion, Dale Unger
is by far the best archtop builder around today.
Here is a picture of Dale and I at a recent trip to his shop in Stroudsburg,
Here is a Picture of Dale, Sharon and I at the
International Guitarmaker Festival In Nashville
Cort Joe Beck Alto Guitar Prototype
Here is my Alto Guitar. It was actually a gift from Joe Beck
as a "Thank You" for a favor I did for him. - Thanks Joe.
It is a very unique instrument - The guitar is tuned down to A
- the Low a is pitched
to that of the second string on an electric bass.
The tuning of the guitar is as follows, Low to High
A- D - G 8va - C 8va - E - A
The pickup is a stereo humbucker. It is built in to the top. I think
worth while to have Kent Armstrong to build the original Alto pickup for the
guitar. That is what Joe had us do for his production model. I had
the same for mine - While the original pickup is pretty good, it can't
compare to the clarity of the Kent Armstrong pickup.
I think the guitar is a gas. It is really an accompany instrument at
heart - however if you are into solo guitar playing like I am, it opens up a
world to chord melody playing - due to the octave displacement of both the
bass strings and the middle strings it is a little difficult to get long
melody lines to happen - overall it is a great deal of fun to play - The
learning curve is not as bad as you would think - you can pretty much get
things to start happening after you spend a couple of days with it - then
stuff really starts happening. The only problem I had to start with is the
transposition thing if you are playing it in an ensemble.
out more about the Alto Guitar Here
Ibanez AJ 307 CE NT
After making the switch to 7-String. I had a hard time
going back and forth
between 6 and 7 string every time I needed to play an acoustic flat top.
I found this to be a relatively inexpensive solution. The
guitar has a great sound.
It does have a bit of a chunky neck though.
I used to use a Pearce G2r and loved the sound of that amp.
Occasionally a gig would be too loud for that rig and things would get a bit
For a few years I have been searching for the right amp - I found it.
My new Evans GH200S is the cleanest sounding amp I have ever used
and it is powerful enough for almost any gig I run into.
I bought mine from Bill Fender at Legato Guitars
Raezer's Edge Stealth 12
If there is anything in the world that could make my American
Archtop and My Evans head sound better,
it is my new Raezer's Edge Stealth 12 Cabinet. I have to admit that this
was the first time I ever bought
a speaker cabinet before I bought a head to go with it. Rich Raezer makes
incredible speaker cabinets.
Unlike a lot of jazz players - I like my toys. I wasn't
crazy about the Evans reverb ( I got used to digital effects
with my old Pearce). I also wanted to be able to use on amp head with a
multitude of different guitars without
having to "unplug" - Plus I wanted to be able to use my Alto guitar
with complete separation of the stereo
pickup even when playing mono so I could still process the treble strings separately
from the bass strings.
Here is my answer. The Fostex VM08 is an 8 channel Digital mixer with two
banks of DSP effects and independent EQ
for all channels. It's portable, fits right on top of my Evans and sounds great.