Jazz Guitar Beauties: Engel Guitars – Bob DeVos

Jazz Guitar Life would like to thank Jazz Guitarist Bob DeVos for sharing this intriguingly beautiful Rob Engel arch-top with us all along with a video and personal transcription! Enjoy 🙂

Bob DeVos: Thirty-Years with Engel Guitars

I am a jazz guitarist with a strong blues influence. I perform and record in every configuration from solo to big band and in every setting from intimate NYC clubs to concert halls.

A musician’s sound is his identity. My sound is integral to who I am as a musician. I worked for years to eliminate the sound of the pick hitting the string, to have pure sound emerge. With a Rob Engel guitar, I attain the sound I hear in my head both performing live and on recordings. His instruments are both impeccably crafted and extremely evenly responsive. The neck is especially comfortable to play. And, no feedback. No feedback.

So, to step back. Who is Rob Engel? He has been making guitars for over 30 years, both with luthier Tom Doyle in New Jersey and, since 1995, in his own Connecticut shop. He is a great friend, someone with whom I can really talk guitars and music. I had the privilege of working with him on the design of his first hollow body guitar along with another good friend, the late guitarist Lenny Argese.

When Rob made that first Engel guitar I was touring and recording with legendary organist Charles “The Mighty Burner” Earland. Charles played loud. I needed a versatile guitar that wouldn’t feedback at those volume levels, and I wanted a 16-inch body size with a 2 ½” depth and 25 ½” scale length. And so, in 1991 the first Engel Hollow Body #001 was created, a beauty I own and enjoy playing these three decades later.

About 16 years later, I asked Rob to build a 15-inch guitar for me, a size better suited to airline overhead bins. That request became the beloved guitar you are looking at now: Engel Hollow Body #07008. Rob and I discussed wood preferences, electronics, hardware, etc. He took measurements of the neck shape of my Gibson L-5CES. I played the guitar before the finish was applied and the electronics installed. Rob shaved and final sanded the neck until I felt it was the perfect match. I believe this is his standard neck shape now, but every guitarist gets to specify a choice.

This Engel guitar was completed in October 2007, just in time for me to take it on a three-week tour of Belgium. It was ideal.

Engel guitars fit the needs of jazz, blues, or rock players. They have a traditional shape but–as you can see–sport a hip, modern look.

Many of my fellow guitarists and students try my Engel guitars and order their own. They all value owning a beautiful, custom, high quality guitar at a truly affordable price.

  • Serial number #07008
  • Dated 10/07/2007
  • 15-inch lower bout, 2 ⅛ inch depth
  • Carved solid spruce top
  • Book-matched fiddleback figured maple back w/electronic cover plate cut out from the same piece of wood
  • Maple sides
  • Nitro cellulose binding
  • Seven-piece maple neck with ebony headstock veneer
  • Brazilian rosewood fingerboard 25 ½ inch scale length
  • 12-inch compound fingerboard radius
  • Nashville bridge w/Graph Tech saddles
  • Schaller locking tuners and fine-tuning tailpiece
  • Lindy Fralin Pure PAF pickups w/series and parallel switching
  • Nitro cellulose finish

Bob DeVos – Studio recording of Wives and Lovers from my CD Shadow Box: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoPsMPn4_TQ

Acclaimed guitarist and composer Bob DeVos is a NYC-based longtime in–demand player. With long, blues-drenched melodic lines and a horn-like approach, he has a signature style of groove and sophistication. Bob is a modern player with strong traditional roots, equally at home with straight-ahead jazz, blues, Rhythm & Blues, funk, Latin, and more. He has played on hundreds of recordings and his CDs as a leader highlight his compositional skills. Bob has performed and recorded with a Who’s Who of jazz legends including in his earlier years Richard “Groove” Holmes-Sonny Stitt, Jimmy McGriff-Hank Crawford and Charles Earland. “I feel fortunate to have played with these larger-than-life masters; each had a strong identity. I gained profound insights into the music, how to be a musician, and finding my own voice.” – http://www.bobdevosjazzguitar.com/

Please consider spreading the word about Bob, Engel Guitars and Jazz Guitar Life by sharing this Beauty amongst your social media pals and please feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you 🙂

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About Lyle Robinson 350 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.


    • Hi Joe and thanks for dropping by. Very cool that you have two Engel Guitars. They certainly are beautiful instruments. The unique design is definitely a conversation starter 🙂

      Take care and all the best.

      Lyle – Jazz Guitar Life

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