Fans of jazz guitar have no doubt noticed more and more players moving towards smaller, easier to manage guitars, specifically the Fender Telecaster (the brilliant playing and tones of Bill Frisell and Julian Lage are certainly what's behind this "movement").
As much as we love our Telecasters and use/play them regularly, we have to admit there are times when the sound and feel of a great archtop are called for, either for the gig, session, or just purely for the enjoyment of making music on this classic style of guitar. But - and you could hear it coming - but...much like a great dreadnought, the physical stature and string tension of a traditional archtop can make these guitars quite difficult for new or even seasoned players to manage.
Enter Pasadena, MD-based luthier Tim Bram. We've been following Tim's work for a few years and marveling at his concept, design, and execution - and let's face it, these guitars are gorgeous. You've probably gathered what he's up to just based on the pics - it's a Tele shaped, and sized to some degree, archtop. Ie, a smaller, more manageable instrument that's a breeze to play and delivers classic archtop sounds.
This 2 1/2" deep "Tribute" archop, #39 and featured at the recent NAMM show, is exactly what we hoped it would be after looking at Tim's work online over the years. Featuring a European Spruce carved top, Curly Maple back, sides, and neck, an Ebony fingerboard, bridge, tailpiece, and guard, the build quality and attention to detail is very, very high. It's a lightweight guitar, the neck is super comfortable (and based off a 50s Tele), and most importantly for us? It's incredibly musical, beautiful sounding, and really, really fun to play. That's really the whole point, no?
Quick side note - yes, we too were a little curious about the choice of a Lollar Goldfoil in the neck pickup position (floating, btw) - but - Tim assured us it sounds wonderful and he was 100% correct. Plugged into our Victoria Club Deluxe 2x10, we were able to pull an intoxicating Jim Hall-esq tone with ease. Part amplified tone, part acoustic tone...truly inspirational with incredible sustain to boot. What more could you really ask for, right? Gorgeous tones, looks, effortless playability, it's all here.
These will be limited with regards to how many we'll see per year so don't wait if you're responding to Tim's concept - we think you'll love this guitar just as much as we do! Priced with hardshell case.
- Curly Maple back, sides, and neck
- European Spruce top
- 14.5" Lower Bout
- 25" Scale
- 12" Radius Fretboard
- 1-11/16" Nut
- 2 1/2" deep body
- Vintage Amber Nitro Cellulose Lacquer Finish
- Mother of Pearl fretboard inlays
- Floating Lollar Gold Foil pickup
- Ebony Fretboard, tail piece, bridge, and finger rest
Martin Retro strings, 12-54