Around 8 months ago, I started scheming. I've been playing a Shopis Model D'Artagnan with a peche a la mouche with my band for years. I love the guitar and the pickup has served me well, but it was time for something new, something without a bunch of weird chords and putty... something ELECTRIC. I hit up Rodrigo and we started talking about options. I've always been intrigued by Charlie Christian pickups and saw that he's built some really cool archtops with CC's in them. I'm also pretty old school when it comes to guitar aesthetics, so when Rodrigo sent me a photo of a Di Mauro inspired guitar he made for Dorado Schmitt the Model Baroette... I was smitten.
We talked, we nerded out on pickups (he found me a Seymour Duncan Custom Shop CC in New York!!!), we discussed fret board markers (I wanted them) we really considered a bigsby (how cool would that shit have been?) We decided against the bigsby (I think he is secretly bummed I chickened out) I paid a deposit and waited patiently.
This is my third Shopis guitar. I parted with the first one (Mark, hope you are still loving it!) My second I still have and absolutely love, and now this bad boy... Where to start??? I mean... look at this thing!!! It is so damn cool looking!!! Out of the box, as soon as I tuned up, it sounded gorgeous. Acoustically, even with the pickup and the screws in the soundboard, it sounds better than any archtop, and most selmer style guitars I've heard. The big magnetic pickup may cut a little volume, but the acoustic tone is still sweet, warm, vibey and inviting. The guitar is an absolute dream to play. The neck is fat, but not overwhelming. Chording is easy, and soloing is super fast, even with my clunky licks!
The pickup is fantastic. It is my first experience with a CC and I am pretty amazed. It can sound big, strummy and natural, or hot, stingy viscious when pushed loud through a smaller amp. Feedback is a thing, but nothing I can't handle, It's a big ass hollow guitar! What do you expect? But moving, and/or backing off the volume does wonders. The pickup is crazy responsive and I love all the colors from lower volumes, which is quite strummy and natural, to pushing it where it sounds somewhere between Django in 47 and Neil Young. The tone knob adds lots of crazy options too. I have a nice little collection of fender tweeds I've been using ranging from a 1x12 18 watt Tremolux, to a 1x8 4watt Princeton. The Princeton sounds crazy cool! That's more the Django cranked Stimer vibe... The Tremolux just sounds gorgeous, and it sounds killer with pedals too... Sacrilege... all of this... I know, but man it's fun to play Minor Swing with reverb!!! The guitar is amazing. Better than I had hoped for and I am so happy with it.
A final word about Rodrigo the man... I've gotten to know him through hanging with him in New York and getting these guitars. He is a joy to work with, and I consider him a friend. If you are thinking about getting a guitar from him, do it. Talk to him, give him he'll have some really great ideas (my other guitar has a redwood top which I would have never chosen for myself but he assured me, and it is wonderful) let him do his thing, and remember, he is an artist... and it's cool to own pieces of art you can jam on.
I'll post some sound clips if A: I can figure out how and B: I can play anything I'm not ashamed of.
Also, if anyone smarter than me want's to explain how to stick the images into this post, please let me know.
One writes music because winter is eternal and if one didn't, the wolves and the blizzards would be at one's throat all the sooner.