Jazz Guitar Beauties: Scharpach OpusG – Neff Irizarry

Jazz Guitar Life would like to thank Latin Jazz Guitarist Neff Irizarry and Theo Scharpach for sharing these beautiful arch-tops with us all! Enjoy 🙂

Theo Scharpach first received worldwide recognition when his “Blue Vienna Guitar” became part of the “Blue Guitar Collection” of Scott Chinery. As you might know, the whole collection is now on auction at Rudy’s, New York.  Twenty-five years ago, he was introduced, by Steve Howe, a collector in his own right, to Scott Chinery.  It’s interesting to note that Theo Scharpach was the only European guitar maker invited by Scott Chinery. After that big event, many collectors found his workshop and commissioned some fine guitars at Theo Scharpach’s place, such as Randy Bachman and Michael Thompson.

Scharpach models are all made with the utmost care, consistently utilizing 30 to 40-year-old European woods that are sometimes even over 80 years old, like the woods from the late Artur Lang. Scharpach woods are all sourced from his reliable network of befriended wood sellers.

The sonic characteristics of a Scharpach guitar are partly due to the tuning of the top and the back to give the best resonances, creating an always fabulous acoustic presence that the player instantly feels.

The top of the line guitar is the Vienna Archtop. A new Vienna model is under development at the time of this article. It will be called the “Vienna Vintage Imperial, a non-cutaway high-end acoustic Archtop guitar. The OpusG is quickly becoming the player’s preference because of its’ extremely high response and ease of control. The Opus G resulted from a joint project with the US collector Michael Thompson, who owns some great vintage Archtops. 

I first got acquainted with Scharpach Guitars a few months ago when my music and guitar playing impressed Theo so much that he contacted me about making an OpusG for me. After corresponding with him, I decided to meet Theo and the OpusG in person at his atelier in Schaijk.

My first impression of the OpusG was astonishing. As an owner of a 1964 Gibson ES-175D, I felt that it constantly had some dead spots, and specific keys didn’t sing as much as others. However, the OpusG was quite the opposite. The OpusG instantly reacted to every nuance with superiority while adding that unique sonic “wow” factor that only comes from a luthier who listens to his client and makes that mark in the instrument’s soul. Music is about timing, and Scharpach’s OpusG came into my life at the ideal moment. I’m currently releasing my first book with Sher Music Co entitled “Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar.” It is the most comprehensive book on Latin Jazz guitar ever written- from its roots in Afro-Cuban music to the contemporary masters. The OpusG will be featured on my next Latin Jazz CD featuring Victor Mendoza, and look out for the instructional videos in support of the book that features the OpusG.

– Neff Irizarry

Neff Irizarry– originally from Puerto Rico – studied Jazz guitar in the US at the famous Berklee College of Music where he met and studied with the equally famous Latin/Jazz Guitarist Steve Khan. Neff – who now lives in Europe and is an impressive Jazz player and composer – is endorsed by Curt Mangan Strings, Vovox Cables and Reflector Audio USA.

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