Photos by David Wren
Metheny/Manzer Signature 6 Limited Edition and detail of thumbgroove.
Two mounting holes on the treble side (knee
side) allow the guitar to be mounted on
internal brass insets attaching to a stand, leaving hands free for playing or viewing. The
brass side bridges were made with help from
machinist Bruce West. The Pikasso is really
showcased in the song “Into the Dream” from
the CD Imaginary Day.
Tell us what you find interesting
They can do anything, depending on how you
set them up: jazz, folk, fingerstyle, traditional
chunky jazz chords, anything. And in the hands
of the right player, they can be magical. The
traditional acoustic archtop set up and played
by the right person can add an extra something
in the music. I can’t quite pin it down, maybe
it’s the reverb. But when an archtop is played
by someone who can meet the power of the
Do you build your archtops in a certain way
if a customer wants a more electric or a more
Definitely. If it’s a laminate, it will obviously be
meant to be plugged in primarily. I try to make
whatever I build have as much life as possible.
On my carved solid-top/back acoustics the
pickup will be the afterthought. I presume it
will be acoustic and concentrate on nailing that.
Pickups can always be added or changed, but
you really have to nail the pure acoustics of the
guitar without thinking about the pickups.
Have you tried woods other than spruce or
maple for your archtops?
Yes, I used cedar on a few archtop classicals, it sounds great! And it’s perfect for the
lighter string tension.
How about your flat tops, what inspires you?
I aim for a fat piano sound, almost dark.
Response, sustain... those are good things, too!
I want the player to be happy and inspired;
that’s my goal. It’s their guitar, not mine.