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2003 Michael Dunn Patenotte

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Serial #: 451

Body size at lower bout: 16" (410mm) Body depth: 4" (100mm) Scale length: 26 3/8" (670mm)

Nut width: 1 13/16" (46mm)

Materials: Solid fine grained Sitka spruce top; solid zebrawood back and sides; ebony headplate; solid mahogany neck; solid ebony fingerboard; solid stained rosewood compensated bridge; clear scratchplate.

Hardware: Sperzel 16X1 tuners; machine-turned brass tailpiece with zebrawood inset.

Notes: Starting in the late 1960's, Michael Dunn virtually single-handedly jump-started the revival of Selmer/Macafferri style guitars in North America. An influential teacher whose students include accomplished builders Shelley Park and Chuck Shifflett, Dunn remains the single most imaginative builder in the Gypsy jazz revival. Working in the classical and flamenco style of his Spanish teachers, Michael shapes each guitar by hand, without a form. With his restless creativity in design and materials, each Dunn guitar is unique unto itself, a work of visual as well as audible art.

The town of Mirecourt, in France's northwest Lorraine region, has been famed for its stringed instruments since the end of the 16th century. It's also been home to luthiery dynasties, including the renowned Villaume family of violin fame. By the 1930's, luthier Louis Patenotte was producing guitars with his signature 'bean shaped' soundhole, a design favored by a number early gypsy jazz guitarists. His son Claude continued building these distinctive creations until his retirement in 2010, and Patenotte instruments have since become collectibles in the world of guitares manouche.

Dunn is one of the few contemporary builders to have recreated this iconic design, and this rare example is crafted of tonewoods equally dramatic in appearance. With a soundboard of solid vintage-toned Sitka spruce, the body has back and sides are built of intensely figured zebrawood, a rare and eyecatching tonewood native to Central America. In Dunn's style, the solid ebony fingerboard has a generous 1 13/16" nut width, and a hand scalloped bone nut.

At just 4lb 4oz, the instrument is wonderfully lightweight and well balanced, and Michael is known for his elegant touches, like the colorful soundhole rosette and powder-coated tailpiece, both matching the handsome red Sperzel tuners. Dunn's instruments are known for their power and projection, and also show markedly fuller bass response than many other gypsy guitars. This example is one thunderingly strong guitar, clear and open, with headroom to burn: it gives every bit as good as it gets. Maintained in immaculate condition, the guitar is without apparent playwear, and is fitted with its original clear scratchplate. Action is smooth and low, with a fresh high-precision setup over a comfy, flattened D profile neck in the classical style.

Michael's many fans will be happy to hear that his performing career is keeping him quite in demand. But it's also meant that after producing almost 600 individually crafted instruments, this prolific builder has recently announced his retirement from full time luthiery, and is no longer accepting new orders. Dunn owners tend to be keeprs, so this is a rare opportunity to acquire a unique creation from a visionary builder. One only: call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with light gauge silvered steel strings (.011-.046). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference.

Case: Original deluxe arched black plush lined hardshell case.






















































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