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Eric Clapton's 2012 Alexander Svistunov 17

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Label dated: 2012

Body size at lower bout: 17" Body depth: 4' Scale length: 25 1/2". Nut width: 1 13/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .86/.96

Materials: Solid handcarved tiger-flame maple back, sides and neck; solid hand-graduated spruce soundboard; solid ebony fingerboard; solid bone nut.

Hardware: Solid ebony tailpiece, pickguard, and compensated adjustable ebony bridge, antique nickel Waverly 16:1 butterbean tuners, adjustable truss rod.

Notes: On occasion, when we are asked to describe the concept of the archtop guitar, we have resorted to a simple analogy: it's like a cello, with frets. The two instruments generally share similar materials (spruce, maple, ebony), an arched, carved body with twin f-holes, and historically, a similar tone bar bracing system.

Archtop pioneer Lloyd Loar was clearly inspired by viol family design with his iconic L-5 and F-5 instruments, and prominent luthiers including D'Angelico, Albanus, and Benedetto all had experience in violin construction. However, very few professional violin makers have ever ventured into the building of plectrum instruments, with a few notable exceptions including the legendary William Wilkanowski, whose viol-based archtops command princely sums, so rarely are they found on the market.

Joining this select cadre is Alexander Svistunov, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, who has built an enviable career crafting master quality cellos and string basses over the course of several decades. Located now near Kansas City, Svistunov has brought his classical training to the archtop guitar, with spectacular success. Of his first three offerings, two are played by Nashville superstar Zac Brown, with the third featured prominently in the collection of a noted British picker, whose done passably well since joining John Mayall's Bluesbreakers back in '65.

The Clapton guitar is a traditionally designed acoustic archtop, exquisitely hand-graduated with meticulous violin quality craftsmanship. The 17" body is carved of intensely figured curly maple in the back, sides and neck, and a deeply grained soundboard with mineral streaking strongly suggestive of Adirondack spruce. Weighing in at an astounding 5lb even, the instrument is almost impossibly light for a full sized 17" archtop, and deftly balanced on the lap. This feather light construction, extra deep 4" body, and whisper-thin violin varnish finish all combine to produce an instrument with simply thunderous acoustic resonance and projection.

The full length long scale neck is carved with a generous 1 13/16' solid ebony fingerboard, a marvel of comfort for both pick and fingerstyle play. The cello style rolled body edges and maple covered heel cap are all painstaking features of classical viol craft, along with the hand carved solid ebony tailpiece, bridge and pickguard, which includes a custom carved ebony bracket foot. The tiger flame maple neck is left smooth and unfinished, in traditional style, for an effortless feel under the palm. With its gentle C profile, the neck has smooth, low action over a fresh high-precision setup.

The tap-tuned, hand-graduated soundboard is supported by a single diagonal brace, much like those used in Stromberg's legendary, horn-busting archtops. The result is a massive acoustic voice: clear, throaty and deeply resonant, with remarkable power and dynamic range. Carefully maintained in Eric Claption's personal collection, the instrument remains in 100% original condition, without cracks, pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. As the original owner, Mr. Clapton has included a signed letter of authenticity, along with a photograph of him holding the guitar. A video demo of the instrument may be found here, along with further details of the guitar and its builder.

A true showpiece, and an exceptional player, at the crossroads where Cremonese artistry meets Claptonesque performance. One only, call now.

Setup: Trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge conditioned; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium phosphor bronze wound strings. The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: Vintage deluxe brown arched plush lined hardshell case.













































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