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1998 John Kinnard Frank Hicks Model

Status: SOLD For instruments now available, please visit our Instruments page here. To be notified of examples of this model or similar instruments as they arrive, please contact joev@archtop.com. Please be specific on which instrument(s) you're looking for, and we'll be happy to contact you as soon as they become available.

Serial #:119875

Body size at lower bout: 17" Body depth: 4"-31/4" Scale length: 25" Nut width: 1 3/4"

Finish: Natural blonde finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type

Materials: Solid bookmatched Sitka spruce top; three piece highly figured solid maple back and sides; solid maple neck with centerstripe; solid ebony fingerboard and headstock facing; triple bound body, neck, headstock and soundholes.

Hardware: Solid ebony parts including tailpiece, pickguard, truss rod cover, and compensated bridge with bone saddle; gold Schaller M616X1 tuners; Benedetto floating humbucking pickup.

Notes: Many acoustic players have contacted us over the years, searching for an instrument that combines the open bass response and sustain of their dreadnoughts, with the smoother amplified voice of a carved archtop. To these and all other restless souls, we present for your consideration the Kinnard Frank Hicks Model.

Frank Hicks was a fabled player from Fresno, California, whose skill in chord backup influenced a generation of western swing players all the way to Texas and beyond. Another Californian, John Kinnard is the innovative luthier who designs and builds the renowned gypsy jazz instruments of Dell'Arte Guitars. Their combined creative vision produced this original and versatile guitar. The soundboard of the Hicks model is bowed slightly by the bracing, creating a gentle, resonant arch in the top. (Also known as tension bracing, this venerable technique has been employed by builders from Maccaferri to the Larsen Brothers to increase the carrying power of the voice.) The 17" body is roughly the size of a Gibson J-200, but with an added cutaway for improved fret access. With its lightweight construction and tapered dreadnought style depth, the result is an instrument voiced for a wide range of acoustic improvisation, from swing to gypsy jazz to the far left wing of newgrass, celtic and beyond.

The tone is as unique as the design, with a Maccaferri/Selmer type attack in the treble, combined with a distinctly more open and powerful bass register than your typical gypsy guitar. Plugged in, the Hicks really shines, producing a velvety archtop-type voice, with the added clarity and sustain of a high quality flat top, equally at home with fingers or a pick. The suspended ebony pickguard with matching control knobs supports a Benedetto floating humbucker, which amplifies with a sweetness and warmth unknown in common bridge saddle piezo systems.

This guitar is one of Kinnard's earliest examples, individually hand built before his association with Dell'Arte. The back and sides are an utter riot of the most extravagantly quilted maple, and the top is beautifully bookmatched solid Sitka spruce. The visual style of the Hicks model mirrors its traditional roots as well. The pin-type tailpiece and the solid ebony bridge are reminiscent of the early Gibson L series guitars, while the triple bound cat 's eye soundholes recall the Gretsch Synchromatic of the 40's. The guitar is in excellent condition, with all original hardware and finish. A pair of tiny grainline cracks near the pickguard have been pro resealed, and the finish is in excellent condition throughout. Rating a perfect 10 in all categories on Harmony Central, the Frank Hicks Model is rarely seen on the vintage market. With a current list of $5640, this example is in barely used condition, and priced well below the lowest discount anywhere. An American original, the Frank Hicks model is truly a guitar for the 21st century.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings.

Case: Original black plush hardshell case.
























































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