Jazz Guitar Beauty: Jorge Sepulveda’s Guzman 13-inch Archtop

While browsing through Facebook one day, I came across a post from Chilean Jazz Guitarist and educator Jorge Sepulveda featuring a gorgeous Archtop by Chilean Luthier Juan Guzman. I reached out to Jorge and he graciously agreed to feature the guitar on Jazz Guitar Life. Below is his story…

But first…

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For many years, I’ve held a deep affection for archtop guitars—their sound, their feel, their aesthetic appeal. Growing up in Chile, options were limited, but I always admired the craftsmanship of luthiers like John D’angelico, James D’aquisto, and Bob Benedetto, even as their creations seemed out of reach. At some point I decided to look for a local luthier. However, in Chile there weren’t many craftsmen making archtop guitars; most were focused on solid-body or flat-top acoustics. Luckily I stumbled upon Juan Guzman, a promising young luthier willing to collaborate with me. Together we embarked on crafting my first high-quality archtop guitar—a Benedetto inspired 17” model, a ‘big box’. The journey was as rewarding as the result as Juan and I were able to collaborate and learn together.

However, as time passed, I realized that a 17” body with a 25” neck was just too big for me. I’m not a tall guy and I have shorter hands, and in the past few years I have been traveling a lot, forcing me to take travel sized guitars with me. I realized that shorter scale smaller guitars worked way better for me so I started dreaming about a smaller archtop. Doing some research I came across Fibonacci guitars, a London based company that builds exquisite 13” and 14” archtops. So inspired by their designs I contacted Juan again and we started planning this guitar.

I spent many hours researching, thinking, drawing and planning. I wanted a special look, so inspired by some Benedetto creations I designed a unique ‘f hole’ pattern for the guitar. Opting for a 13” body and a shorter 23 ¾” neck, Juan was ready to take on the challenge. Now a seasoned master luthier, Juan’s expertise shone through as he meticulously translated my vision into reality. Throughout the process he attentively catered to my preferences, resulting in an instrument that surpassed all expectations.

Equipped with a to-the-top humbucker—a DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary—It has a great round humbucker sound that still conserves some of the acoustic qualities of the guitar. Acoustically the guitar is clear and resonant, but of course not as loud as a bigger archtop.  Feedback was something that was worrying me a bit, being a fully hollow guitar, but I’m pleased to say that I have already performed live with it and there were zero feedback issues. I really think Juan achieved the perfect balance between an electric and a fully hollow archtop sound.

Since it’s finished I can’t put this guitar down, I feel inspired just by looking at it and I look forward to making lots of music with it!

If you want to follow this guitar’s journey you can follow me on Instagram: @jsepulvedaguitar

I would also like to recommend Juan’s work. He has been building locally in Chile for many years but I would love for him to get the recognition he deserves internationally, so please check him out: @Gatonegroluthiers


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

If you would like to support all the work I do on Jazz Guitar Life, please consider buying me a coffee or visiting the Jazz Guitar Life sponsors. Thank you and your patronage is greatly appreciated regardless if you buy me a coffee or not 🙂

About Lyle Robinson 353 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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