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The Elmer

Back in february of 93, I purchased copy of Acoustic guitar magazine at a news stand. The theme of the issue was “Archtop artistry”. This issue cemented my more than casual interest in the big bodied jazz archtop guitar. It was an issue all about the artistry of not only playing archtops, but also building them. The issue also covered the history of some of the most influential players and builders. Before I knew it, I was building my first archtop, but not before actually being introduced to a real D’Angelico New Yorker owned by a local dealer. What a thrill!!

Still Have the issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine

The first thing I noticed about the D’Angelico was the size of the neck! Having only really played guitars with contemporary necks up until that point in my history of being a guitar player, it took a little bit, but I came to understand the magic of a lager neck.

Over the next few years I found myself trying several 1950s large neck guitars. Eventually I came to really like these guitars.

After really diving into archtop guitars, I eventually found my way to the Gibson Byrdland! it did not really have a comparably large neck, But I immediately I fell for the 23.5 scale length. This scale and the neck size of the big jazz boxes were elements I knew I wanted to work with.

The Elmer is a Guitar that is born of these experiences.

It feels like a bigger guitar than it really is because of the weight and large neck. Most importantly, it has big sound!! I also incorporated the 23.5 scale which allows for medium and heavy gauge flat strings without the tight string tension. This tension is welcomed on the old big bodied archtops to get a credible volume need in orchestra settings. However the Elmer is a solid body electric. Also I finished it to have the look of a large vintage archtop from the days of D’Angelico and The Stromberg Jazz boxes. The top is sprayed to allow the lines of the grain to pop a bit. Kinda emulates an aged finish of a 1950 arch top. It's name comes from my fascination with the archtop builder Elmer Stromberg. His Master 400 model in blond with black headstock to me is so very visually striking that I mimicked the gold logo on the black headstock too. So Cool!

Yes, the Elmer is a short scale solid body, but it’s got a very versatile favor for everything from blues and rock, to straight up jazz. It’s equipped with two very versatile single coil pickups. Both are dedicated to the positions they are installed. The controls are from front to back: Volume, Blend and tone. The blend allows for varying degrees of balance between the two pickups, or either pickup independently. Also there is a push/pull bright switch on the tone control.

We don’t get the chance build non commission guitars very often, but here is the opportunity to get one of our instruments without the 6 month wait. If you have an interest in Elmer, get in touch at the sight for photos and more details. There is a custom case made for it, but is an option. Send us your questions!

See ya next time,


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