Bob Benedetto and Howard Paul discuss the finer points of making archtops
Small builders of this niche guitar, however, are still out there and thriving, even though they are getting harder to find. This is why Bob Benedetto and his evolving line of archtop guitars are still a breath of fresh air for anyone looking to buy a quality jazz guitar. Benedetto – now entering his 40th year of guitar making – and his current lineup of guitars were on display last week during an event at Nashville’s new Hilton Garden Inn, which is not far from Music City’s famed Music Row. The free event – titled “Benedetto: The Jazz Guitar” – was a workshop devoted to archtop guitars, and also part of the guitar maker’s unveiling as the main theme behind the new hotel’s interior design. Future visitors to the hotel will find Benedetto’s beautiful guitars blended into the hotel’s décor. They’ll be featured behind the main desk, in the lobby, in the hallways and in the restaurants. Exact details were still being worked out, but rest assured there will be plenty of Benedetto’s masterpieces for everyone to gawk at. And yes, all guitars will be available for sale locally.
"There are very few companies that started out making jazz guitars that are still making them, and in a marketplace where there is so much competition in all the different segments, Benedetto has really tried to stay focused on what we do best, which is make quality jazz guitars," said Howard Paul, president of Benedetto Guitars. "Since 1968 when Bob first started making jazz guitars, that's pretty much all we've made. We focus on jazz players, and hopefully we know our audience better than anybody else because we have maintained that focus."
Attendees to the workshop got a chance to hear Benedetto and Paul discuss the company’s unique construction techniques and designs, as well as industry trends in regards to the archtop guitar. Also on hand was George Gruhn, vintage guitar expert and owner of Nashville’s famed Gruhn Guitars, who offered his opinion on the state of the current vintage guitar market.
Bob Benedetto, George Gruhn, Howard Paul
“The [vintage guitar] market is not what it was several years ago, and many of today’s prices are still very much inflated with regards to the actual prices being paid for some of the guitars,” Gruhn told attendees. “That said, I believe some of the finest guitars today are being made by builders like Bob Benedetto, who only seems to get better with time.”
Benedetto also brought along several of his most recent works, including a new chambered/solid body design called the “Benny”, along with a few of his classic archtop models, such as the Manhattan, Bambino, and Bravo. Additionally, all Benedetto guitars on display at the Hilton will be available for purchase through Gruhn Guitars in Nashville.
Check out additional photos from the event:
Benedetto Bravo Elite in opulent brown; Bravo Deluxe in honey blonde; Bravo in honey blonde/espresso; and a 40th Anniversary Bravo Deluxe in plum burst
Bob Benedetto and Howard Paul discussing the finer points of making archtops
Chris DiMella, aka "Nashville Rocker", checks out the new Benedetto Benny
John Pell, Faculty/Coordinator of Guitar Studies, Belmont University, starts an impromptu jam session on a Benedetto Manhattan, accompanied by his son on violin.
A Benedetto 'Bambino' model hangs in the lobby of the new Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Nashville, Tenn.