Purple Benedetto

MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
edited June 2008 in Gypsy Fire Posts: 6,154
Andreas is always pushing the limits with guitar finishes....his purple AJL Favino was a first. And know he's got a purple Benedetto coming! Here's the prototype:


This is one of the coolest One-off Benedettos we've seen. The story is interesting: Benedetto's latest endorser, Andreas Oberg, asked for a purple Manhattan as his first Benedetto guitar. Since Bob had never done a purple guitar he wanted to make sure he got the finish right first. This is the prototype for the purple finish that is going to be on Andreas's guitar and man did it turn out nice!

Now if we can only get Benedetto to make some Gypsy guitars!!


  • steven_eiresteven_eire Wicklow✭✭✭✭ Dupont MD50
    Posts: 172
    Now if we can only get Benedetto to make some Gypsy guitars!!

    although it's probably not likely as he said

    “For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved Gypsy jazz music, the Django Reinhardt-influenced stuff, and yet I never liked the sound of the guitars,” - Bob Benedetto

    although the guitar he built for frank vignola is supposed to be influenced by selmers so that's probably how close we will get
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    Actually, the Vignola model was in production briefly. It's a fantastic archtop that you really can play acoustic Gypsy jazz on. Not quite as loud most Selmers, but still very punchy with an ultra smooth midrange. Only around a dozen were made.

    Two are for sale here:



    I spoke to the folks at Benedetto recently and they said Bob is working on a new Gypsy model as we speak. It will have some similarities with the Vignola...but some differences too. can't wait to see that!

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    BTW, Bob's full quote was:

    “For as long as I can remember I’ve 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.”

    More about the guitar design:

    A player of Benedetto’s guitars for the past decade, Vignola didn’t have any input with his signature model’s 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 it’s Bob’s 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 it’s 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 that’s 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 guitar’s pleasing sound. “The tone of this guitar is wonderful and it records just brilliantly,” he said. “And the Benedetto neck is like butter, it’s a fast moving neck. Every note is even on the fingerboard, so if you’re 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 distinctive sound.”

    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 they’re 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 it’s readily available and affordable. The mahogany [Frank Vignola model] is less expensive because of the material.”
  • AndreasObergAndreasOberg Stockholm,SwedenModerator
    Posts: 522
    I'm getting my new purple Manhattan in a few weeks, can't wait!
    I've also heard that Bob is interested in making a gypsy guitar model at some point.
    Best Regards
  • RickDm7RickDm7 New
    Posts: 4
    Ryan Thorell of Thorell Guitars has designed a guitar WITH Frank Vignola. You can see Frank playing it on YouTube if you search Frank Vignola/Tommy Emmanuel/Soages Guitar Festival 2008. Also look at Tommy Emmanuel and others (the others being Franks quintet) which is all Frank.

    The guitar builds on the Benedetto idea and is much more innovative. Ryan has been building guitars since he was 13 and has apprenticed with some of the best. He also won a Gold Medal at the Park City Festival last year.

    He is building a limited run of 10 which should disappear quickly. I think I'm #2 or #3 in line.

    Although the delivery date is not until the end of August I am already thrilled. I have had occasion to chat with Ryan both by email and phone and he is communicative, prompt, knowledgeable and extremely funny. He is also a player and a teacher so he knows what works from both ends.

    I have discussed my "idiosyncrasies" and he is on the money with solutions. Let's face it, if a Thorell is now the "player" for Frank it is "the bomb" to quote my kids.

    Ryan is represented by Cliff Cultreri who owns Destroy All Guitars, a company that represents small companies that struggle to build and market their product. Cliff is a jewel on his own having owned his own record labeled, been an A & R man and signed, literally, all of today's guitar gods including Joe Strain, Steve Via and many others. A conversation with Cliff (you can't buy a guitar from him without an extensive one) is an unmitigated joy. I only know him over the phone and through email and consider him a friend. If he needed help, I, along with probably hundreds of others would be there. Check out his website at It's a fun trip.

    Back to the main point the Thorell VF (along with his other models) is a joy and can truly play gypsy. Best of all - hold your hats - for a custom one of ten piece of art the price is only $5,500.00.

    I talked to Stan Jay of Mandolin Brothers in Long Island who heard Frank play the Thorell (not knowing what it was, I might add) while I was negotiating to bu a Benedetto Vignola. Stan, whose knowledge of arch tops is unparalleled, said the guitar sounded superb. By the way, he was selling his used Benedetto with a renowned, but, tempermental DeArmond pickup system for $7,000.f

    The moral of the story...
    Check out the Thorell. A $10,000 instrument, completely unique, for $4.500 less.

    'Nuff said.

    Rick Weiss
    Palm Springs, California
  • RickDm7RickDm7 New
    Posts: 4
    As a postscript I spoke with Evan Ellis, who is the production manager at Benedetto last week and he confirmed that they will be producing a gypsy jazz model in the near future. The downside is that the price will be about $23,000.00.

    As I said before, check out the Thorell
  • swingitjackswingitjack Boise, IdahoNew
    Posts: 23

    Can you drive it?
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