Archtop Guitar Headstock

When I began to make instruments, I wondered if it were possible to make musical instruments that could sustain the earth while sustaining the craft of lutherie. It seems to me that the methods of some builders contribute to the overall depletion of natural resources, effectively crippling the earth and what can be built from it. I remember reading an experienced luthier who said, “Don’t bother to be a luthier anymore; all of the good wood has been used.” And yet, Bob Benedetto built a guitar out of a douglas fir and pine pallet, with a tone that was comparable to his finely aged and rare European spruce and maple instruments. All of this to say, it is possible for luthiers to use materials from their own backyards while taking time to consider replanting for the future. I believe some of the most stunning instruments available have yet to come. More importantly, we all benefit; it’s the act of making beautiful music together.

Humco Models Type
Humco Guitar Models

Currently, four different body sizes are being offered, with the option of either a flat-top or carved archtop, for all my current body shapes and sizes. I don't discriminate.

The flat-top guitar is what most people expect out of an acoustic guitar maker, and I can't blame them. These are versatile and more simple to produce, with a timeless sound. This is why flat-top guitars are the most common form of acoustic string instrument (other than the violin) in production on earth. As an apprentice guitar maker, I learned exactly what needed to be done to maximize the potential of the traditional X-brace; leave material where strength is required while removing material in other places to allow for flexibility. In the end, you have an instrument that is free to vibrate, with structural integrity to last for the ages.

Petit Dinger Logotype
Petit Dinger Guitar
Petit Dinger Logotype
Lil Dinger Guitar
Old Dinger Logotype
Old Dinger Guitar

Standard Specs for lil', p'ti & old dinger models (which can be customized to your choice)

all material is hand selected to my standards

top:
Sitka Spruce, Englemann Spruce, Red Cedar & *Eastern White Spruce
back & sides:
Black Walnut, Flamed Sugar Maple, Flamed Broadleaf Maple, **Indian Rosewood
neck:
Flamed Maple, Spanish Cedar, Black Walnut, FSC approved Mahogany
fingerboard:
Indian Rosewood, Recycled Ebony, Black Walnut
& bridge:
Traditional Scalloped Bridge, Pyramid Bridge or Floating Adjustable Bridge & Tailpiece
bracing:
Traditional X-style, scalloped, same material as top choice
binding:
Flamed Maple, Rosewood, Walnut - inquire about what is available
rosette:
Classical style rosette, custom wood mosaic
pickup:
Passive Schatten Soundboard Conductor (upgrades available)
tuners:
Grover Sta-Tite
pickguard:
Clear adhesive plastic
finish:
High gloss nitro cellulose lacquer, Hard shellac French Polish
strings:
D'addario light guage 0.52 to 0.13
truss rod:
Two-way 4mm allen
Measurements
scales:
25", 25.5" & 22.75"
nut width:
1.5", 1.63" & 1.75"
fingerboard radius:
12", 16" & 20"
frets:
19 to 23
neck to body joint:
12th, 13th & 14th fret (16th for p'ti dinger)
body depth:
3” to 5.125”
body-radius:
15’ for back, 30’ for top
lower bout:
10” for p’ti dinger, 12” for lil’ dinger, 15.5” for old dinger
Introducing Logotype
Archy Futura Guitar
Archy Futura Logotype
Archy Futura Guitar

Introducing a few years worth of inspiration, Archy Futura. Named after the art deco font, it represents just what Futura did in its time - a forward step. A fully removable neck gives you the freedom to pack it into overhead airplane storages, suitcases & tight places. You also get the freedom to adjust the action while the guitar is under string tension. All this with a simple allen key.

Getting this step right allows for the next one - a one piece bridge. One of the most renowned modern archtop makers claims the archtop guitar would benefit from a solid, one piece bridge. Similar to the violin family, this form really maximizes the transfer of energy from the strings to the top. This is what I do.

The result is a less muffled voice with greater sustain & reasonance. It’s a guitar that will make you look twice. If you're interested in finding out more on this design, please contact me.

Archy Futura Guitar Back

All my archtop guitars have hand carved tops and backs. Everything from the bulk removal of material, to the final shaping, is done with a combination of hand planes, gouges, finger planes, cabinet scrapers, & sandpaper. This allows me the freedom to tune the tops and backs to relative nodes of one another, which makes the difference in a great sounding instrument. No pre-fabricated parts either - bridges, tailpieces, finger rests & inlays are made in house, by me. Necks are hand carved from scratch, and can be carved to any desired custom shape. I do the finishing, final setups and assembly too. Instruments remain under my careful supervision for a few months after first assembled, to allow breaking in.

Archy Futura Guitar Top

Standard Specs for archy futura model (which can be customized to your choice)

all material is hand selected to my standards

top:
Hand Carved Sitka Spruce, Englemann Spruce, Red Cedar & *Eastern White Spruce
back & sides:
Hand Carved Flamed Sugar or Broadleaf Maple, **Indian Rosewood flat-back
neck:
Flamed Maple, Spanish Cedar, Black Walnut, FSC approved Mahogany
fingerboard:
Indian Rosewood, Recycled Ebony, Black Walnut
& bridge:
Solid Maple, Rosewood or Ebony violin style bridge
tailpiece:
Rosewood, Ebony or Black Walnut
bracing:
Traditional Parallel bars or X-brace
binding:
Flamed Maple, Rosewood, Walnut - inquire about what is available
finger rest:
Flamed Maple, Rosewood, Ebony or Walnut
pickup:
Kent Armstrong Jazz Humbucker
tuners:
Grover Sta-Tite or Gotoh Stealth
pickguard:
Clear adhesive plastic
finish:
High gloss nitro cellulose lacquer, Hard shellac French Polish
strings:
D'addario light guage 0.52 to 0.13
truss rod:
Two-way 4mm allen
Measurements
scales:
25", 25.5" & 22.75"
nut width:
1.5", 1.63" & 1.75"
fingerboard radius:
12", 16" & 20"
frets:
19 to 23
neck to body joint:
12th, 13th & 14th fret (16th for p'ti dinger)
body depth:
3”
*Standard Dovetail neck joint also available
Archy Futura Guitar Side

In order to minimize environmental impact, all instruments can be built completely out of sustainably sourced wood, non-chemical glues and finishes. Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) approved materials are readily available from my suppliers, so please ask for them. I've also managed to use rosewoods, ebony, mahogany & other exotics from solid wood furniture, so ask about that too. This method of acquiring material is especially effective when the furniture is damaged and doesn't serve its purpose anymore. The fingerboards I’m using right now came from a solid ebony table my friend found on the side of the road! Antique stores & markets are some of the best wood suppliers I know, as long as you aren’t fooled by veneer (which, if thick enough, could be re-used). Perhaps I could recycle a worn out, treasured piece already in your collection?

*White Spruce is an Eastern Ontario alternative to Englemann Spruce from B.C. It’s also a relative species of European White Spruce, which is prized amongst tonewoods.

**Most guitar makers can't avoid using rosewoods if they'd like to remain in business, so my choice is Indian Rosewood. What I prefer about this type of rosewood is the method in which it is harvested, and the fact that it is nowhere near extinction. In fact, it is constantly being replanted to shade the acres of coffee plantations all over India. Although the demand for this wood is high, it's a relatively quick growing tree, only needing 20 to 30 years time before reaching an appropriate size suitable for musical instruments. No one can deny its musicality, as many rank it as the most suitable alternative to Brazilian Rosewood.

What inspired me to study as an apprentice luthier at Summit School of Guitar Building and Repair was the lack of skilled instrument repair persons in Northern Ontario. I wondered how many people, like me, had lamented the perpetual state of disrepair their vintage Martins were in, and how long they would remain that way? What can I say? I entered this profession for self-serving purposes.

It wasn't until I built my first guitar that I realized how much room for improvement there was for guitar functionality. Each time I build, there is the inevitable trial of trying to make a better sounding instrument. This is what drives me to improve my process, my selection of material, and experiments in maximizing tone. All this to consider while staying true to traditional building principles.