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1998 Mortoro Starling, 'George Benson'

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SN# 3398. Signed by the maker, March, 1998

Body size at lower bout: 17", Body Depth: 3" Scale length: 25" Nut: 1 11/16" Neck depth: .81/.89 1st/10th fret

Materials: Solid hand graduated tap tuned spruce soundboard; handcarved solid tiger flame maple back , sides, and neck; solid tiger flame maple neck; solid ebony fingerboard; pearl headstock logo and fretboard inlay.

Hardware: Solid ebony hardware includes abalone inlaid pickguard; Benedetto style tailpiece; compensated adjustable bridge. Gold Schaller M6 16:1 tuners with ebony keys; Mortoro logo Kent Armstrong floating humbucking pickup with volume and tone controls, endpin jack.

Notes: Multiple Grammy winner George Benson is not only the largest selling jazz guitarist of all time, but with a triple platinum album among his many credits, is rivalled by only Miles Davis himself as the best selling jazz artist, period.

Like Benson, Master luthier Gary Mortoro worked with an impressive roster of top instrumentalists as well. Mortoro players included Tonight Show guitarist Tony Mottola, Conan bandleader Jimmy Vivino, Gene Bertoncini, and even Parrothead Premier Jimmy Buffet. An acolyte of the great Bob Benedetto, Gary produced meticulously crafted instruments from his south Florida workshop for almost two decades, building a formidable reputation among top players, until his untimely passing late in 2020.

Christened his Starling (Il Storno) model, this striking guitar was commisioned by the Benson himself and was a particular favorite of his personal instruments. With a full depth 17" body of handsomely figured, bookmatched curly maple, the guitar has a bearclaw spruce soundboard, hand graduated, tap tuned, and graced with distinctive art deco soundholes in an avian motif. Exquisitely crafted, the instrument is fitted with dark ebony hardware, including a pickguard inlaid with the artist's name in colorful Paua abalone script.

A true acoustic guitar, rich and warm with depth, focus, and an even response along the entire scale, the Benson Starling conveys its voice faithfully to the amp through a custom built Armstrong Handwound floating humbucking pickup, with volume and tone controls and an endpin jack. The neck has an gentle, slightly flattened D profile, with fine medium frets over a fingerboard of solid black ebony, with smooth low action over a fresh high-precision setup.

This guitar has all original finish and hardware, and has been maintained in showroom condition, without pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. Accompanied by its Certificate of Authenticity signed by the artist, this unique instrument is also supplied with a number of photos of Benson in action, enjoying this notable work of modern luthiery.

When two superlative talents collaborate, remarkable things happen. And this exceptional instrument is the happy result: a matchless opportunity to own the product of two creative masters. One only: call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge flatwound strings (.012-.054). 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: Original deluxe arched black plush lined hardshell case




















































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