BLUE GUITAR - by Ken Vose


Benedetto Cremona
Bob Benedetto's exquisite
La Cremona Azzurra

After acquiring over 1,000 guitars, collector Scott Chinery bought one that refueled his passion for the instrument. It was an 18-inch archtop guitar designed by Jimmy D'Aquisto, a man considered by many guitar aficionados to be the greatest luthier who ever lived. D'Aquisto finished off his creation with a blue sunburst design that inspired its new owner to commission a series of blue guitars because "blue just seemed the perfect color to jolt people out of the old, staid, traditional way of looking at the archtop."

Chinery tracked down 22 of the world's finest luthiers, sent them each a bottle of Ultra Blue Penetrating Stain #M 520, and told them to make the archtop guitar of their dreams. The results are as beautiful as they are varied. Bozo Podunavac named his creation, which features an intricate abalone and pearl inlay, the "Bozo Chicagoan". Bill Collings created the "Collings Custom" in his state-of-the-art, climate-controlled workshop in order to ensure the highest sound quality. Linda Manzer, inspired by the intoxicating French liqueur, constructed the "Blue Absynthe" from ebony and curly maple.

A solid history of the evolution of the archtop and anecdotes about guitar making by the featured luthiers help expand readers' appreciation of the craft and are a real treat for guitar lovers.


Blue Guitar - Chronicle Books, 1998


Blue Guitar: Review by Charles H. Chapman
Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, August 1998

       This Book is a little gem! It is 130 pages of text, photos and graphics that should satisfy not only the archtop enthusiast, but anyone that has an interest in guitars. It starts with a very insightful forward by the godfather of jazz guitar - George Benson. It continues with a brief history of the archtop guitar as well as Scott Chinery's genesis in creating the Blue Guitar collection. The book then gives a general history of the archtop guitar as well as a synopsis of each of the 22 guitar makers that created these works of art. Ken Vose is very even-handed with the text putting the luthiers in alphabetical order with approximately same word count and amount and size of pictures. The text is written in a very friendly manner never verging on "lutherie technobabble" and in general makes a very comfortable easy read.
       The pictures are the piece-de-resistance of the book. Each luthier has a portrait type picture as well as informal photos in their shops. The photos are so vivid and lifelike that you can almost smell the sawdust in the shops and want to reach out and give those blue beauties a strum.
       An added aspect of the book is the art work created by the book's photographer, Leslie Jean-Bart. These are photos of different guitars from the collection integrated with other photos and graphics of people, places and scenes. They are done in an extremely imaginative manner and are beautiful works of art that are truly deserving a book or show of their own.
       Blue Guitar is hard cover with a suggested list price of $19.95 US. Informative, well written, great pictures, great price and truly fascinating read. What's not to like?

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