Here is a very, very rare and unusual guitar. Bob Benedetto came up
with this Selmer/Archtop hybrid design for Frank Vignola. It combines
the Selmer body (15 3/4" wide, 3 5/8" deep) with a carved top/back and
a 25" scale length. The result is the ultimate Gypsy crossover guitar!
It has the acoustic volume to play unamplified (much louder then
regular archtops, even other Benedettos are rarely this loud!) while
simultaneously having a warm, fat, but acoustic like amplified sound
when using the amazing Benedetto S-6 humbucker. A great guitar for
someone who needs the best of both worlds (acoustic and electric). I
know of no other guitar that does this so well!
This model is exceedingly rare. It was built during Benedetto's tenure
at Fender's custom shop (1999-2006). Only 13 Vignola models were made
during this time, making this a very, very difficult guitar to find.
Benedetto's new Savannah facility continues to make a version of this
guitar called the "Gypsy," however it is not a standard model and
starts at 40,000 (see: Benedetto Gypsy
). The MSRP for the Vignola model was 18,000 (see: Benedetto
). So considering it's original price and extreme
rarity, the guitar is quite a deal at 8,000!
The guitar is in near mint condition. It has one small surface crack on
side of the cutaway. It's not a full crack, looks like it happened when
they made the guitar, very hard to see. There is also a small ding on
top/back of the headstock. Other then that, the guitar is like new!
It is strung with 12-52 gauge roundwound nickel strings and the action
is at an astonishingly low 2.4mm. Playability is as good as it gets,
the guitar takes almost no effort to play! It has a super fast,
comfortable C profile neck and is featherweight at just under 5lbs.
The label is signed by Bob Benedetto himself. The owner's certificate
is also signed by Bob.
Here's some info from Benedetto's original copy (see the old site here:
The Frank Vignola signature model benefits from Benedetto's 37 years of
carving experience. The player can now enjoy the refined, rich voice of
this unique archtop gypsy jazz guitar. With its delicately carved Sitka
spruce top and carved mahogany back, echoes of hot Paris nights can be
effortlessly coaxed from this magnificent instrument - the vibe
||Single Cutaway Acoustic Archtop (15 3/4 " Width, 3 1/4 "
||Carved, Hand Graduated and Tuned Select Sitka Spruce
||X-Braced European Spruce
||BACK AND SIDES
||Carved, Two-Piece Select Mahogany Back with matching sides
||12" radius, ebony, with abalone inlay at 12th fret
||WIDTH AT NUT
||1 3/4", ebony
||NUMBER OF FRETS
||Black Chrome Schaller Mini with Ebony Buttons
|Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
And here is a history of how this model came about:
Benedetto Builds Vignola Guitar with Django Style
When the time came for Frank Vignola to offer his input for the
signature guitar built for him by luthier Bob Benedetto, all he had to
do was open the mail. Bob called up and said I have an idea for a
guitar for you, Vignola said.
A year-and-a-half later, he showed up at my house one day, took some
measurements of my other guitars and talked to me about what I like. A
few months later this thing comes in the mail. That thing was the
prototype Frank Vignola signature guitar, built by Benedetto
specifically for Vignola. For as long as I can remember Ive always
loved Gypsy jazz music, the Django Reinhardt-influenced stuff, and yet
I never liked the sound of the guitars, Benedetto said. They always had
a thin, tinny sound to them. I can appreciate the sound of that style,
but it never sounded right, it was like great musicians playing on bad
instruments. That was the impression I always had and I always wanted
to make a guitar more suitable. Frank was a likely candidate because I
had made a few guitars for him already and he was into that style.
A player of Benedettos guitars for the past decade, Vignola didnt have
any input with his signature models design. I wish I knew more about
design, he said. I know what I like and Bob nailed it with this guitar.
One of my main influences was Django Reinhardt, and this model is the
same size as the Selmer Maccaferri guitar that Django played. But its
Bobs design with the archtop and the asymmetrical V holes.
Benedetto based the outline of the Frank Vignola Signature model guitar
on the Selmer Gypsy body guitar style. I took the Selmer body line and
varied it ever so slightly so its not a carbon copy, yet I maintained
that general silhouette, Benedetto said. I made a carved top and a
carved back. I Xbraced it and I used soundholes positioned where we
would normally have an F hole as opposed to that flattop round oval or
D hole. And then I also used my own neck specs, a round neck thats 13/4
wide at the nut and a 25-inch scale. The objective was to enrich the
sound of the guitar by making it a carved top rather than a flat top.
Vignola attests to the guitars pleasing sound. The tone of this guitar
is wonderful and it records just brilliantly, he said. And the
Benedetto neck is like butter, its a fast moving neck. Every note is
even on the fingerboard, so if youre playing up high on the high E
string or down low on the low A string, the notes are the same volume
and the same preciseness. When you plug this thing in it sounds
acoustic. And you can crank up the guitar. With the Frank and Joe Show,
I plug in and we go from a whisper to a roar, and it always has that
Benedetto Guitars offers Frank Vignola and Frank Vignola Deluxe models.
The Deluxe model features flamed maple back and sides and a European
spruce top. The Frank Vignola model features mahogany back and sides
and a sitka spruce top. On the Deluxe model I use the most expensive
tone woods available, Benedetto said. Those are the European cello
woods and theyre expensive. They have a classic look just like on a
cello. Traditionally within the industry, mahogany has been used on
lower-priced instruments. I never considered it a lesser tonewood, but
its readily available and affordable. The mahogany [Frank Vignola
model] is less expensive because of the material.
This is the CASH price...add 3% if you'd like to pay with a credit
card. Add 4% for international credit card orders.