Jazz Guitar Beauty: Luthier Petr Rohlik

Jazz Guitar Life would like to thank Luthier Petr Rohlík for sharing this Jazz Guitar Beauty with us all. Well done Petr! Enjoy 🙂

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I am a luthier from the Czech Republic and I always wanted to make mainly, if not only, violins. But it seems to me that if you want to be creative and come up with something new in violin construction, you don’t have much room to do it. It’s a very strict and traditional field of luthiery. If you make any change in its construction or shape or anything else, it’s rarely appreciated.

But that’s not how it works in the guitar world. You can virtually do whatever you want, since the guitar is a much younger instrument than violin, its construction does not depend so heavily on tradition. So I thought to myself, if I want to make a living as a luthier, I don’t want to just sit in front of posters of violins made by old masters and make copies of instruments that had already been copied thousand times over, so I began to focus mainly on archtop and electric guitars.

This guitar is a modified model of my first personal model, which I named Wavy. It is 17″ with a 648mm scale length, modern C neck profile and 9.5″ fretboard radius. What makes it different from standard guitars is the shape of the F-holes. I cut them in a way that they are split in half with this kind of “bridge” that lowers the effects of feedback. The customer of this exact piece wanted it to look more traditional, so it has standard F-holes. I also use very subtle X brace pattern, similar to how Ken Parker does his braces, but I keep my top and back thickness very close to the standard, which results in the guitar not sounding like a flat top.

The back and sides are made from Bosnian maple, soundboard is alpine spruce and fingerboard, headplate, pickguard, bridge and tailpiece are made from brown ebony. It has colored oil varnish on it that I cook myself with amber and linseed oil. The sides are a little lower than usual, which results in a brighter, clearer and more articulated sound, as the customer requested. It has position marks inlayed not only into the fretboard but also into the binding, ensuring visibility for the player as well as for the audience. Since the customer is a cave explorer, I offered to make the inlay on the 12th fret to be in the shape of a bat that glows in the dark, and he absolutely loved the idea. Pickup used is a DeArmond rhythm chief with Schatten thumbwheels under the pickup, so there are no knobs to get in the way of your strumming.

Photos courtesy of Petr Rohlik

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About Lyle Robinson 266 Articles
Lyle Robinson is the owner/creator/publisher and editor of Jazz Guitar Life, an online magazine dedicated to the Jazz Guitar and its community of fine players worldwide.

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