Jazz Guitar Beauties: Koentopp Chicagoan – Tony Richards

Jazz Guitar Life would like to thank Jazz Guitarist Tony Richards for sharing his beautiful arch-top with us all! Enjoy 🙂

To start with, Danny Koentopp who built this guitar is family to me. It is the first guitar that he built (summer 2009) after leaving Darnton & Hersch, Fine Violins. I fell in love with itthe first time I picked it up. It is one of the few guitars that he has made for himself and luckily, I was able to get him to sell it to me. 

The feel and tone of this guitar is home to me. I play with my fingers and this guitar, in terms of its dimensions and tonal qualities, really brings out the best in what I can do as a player. The guitar is an amazing acoustic instrument, very clear and loud. The fact that the pickup is floating and not cut into the body of the guitar really promotes the true acoustic properties of this instrument, even when amplified.

I have never played a guitar that is so accurate all over the neck.  There are no “wolf” notes anywhere, and the intonation is always spot on.

The neck – which is C shaped with a 1.75” nut width – gives me all the room and feel that I need to really articulate everything that I do. That is very different from some of my other archtops.

The guitar is completely handcarved and has beautiful maple flame back and sides, with anEnglemann Spruce Top.  The X-bracing really unties the top to give it great clarity and again, that really special tone that I love.

I would also add that Danny is a pleasure to work with. He upgraded some of the fittings and redid the frets about 4 years ago.  I am blessed to own three of his fine instruments.

This is my dream guitar and I am lucky to have been playing it for about 12 years now! 

  • Serial number #0709009
  • Built 7”17”2009
  • 17″ Lower Bout, 3″ depth
  • X-Braced, Cutaway
  • Engelmann Spruce Top
  • Flamed Bigleaf Maple Back and Sides
  • 3 Piece laminated Flame Maple neck
  • 1.75″ Nut Width
  • 12″ Fingerboard Radius
  • 25″ scale
  • Ebony Fingerboard
  • Hand carved Ebony Tailpiece and compensated/adjustable bridge
  • Ebony Headstock veneers
  • Flame Maple Binding with multi-line purfling
  • Schaller Tuners with Ebony buttons
  • Natural lacquer finish
  • Kent Armstrong floating humbucker
  • Stealth volume and tone knobs beneath finger-rest

Tony Richards is a Chicago based guitarist, writer and arranger born in New York City. As a teen he was fortunate to see live performances by Thelonius Monk, Vladimir Horowitz and Andrés Segovia. Tony is now an accomplished solo jazz guitarist and has been arranging music for the instrument over the last 10 years. He is inspired by Lenny Breau, Ted Greene, Joe Pass, George Van Eps and his good friend Andy Brown.

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