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Stephen Marchione Custom Spruce Hardtail

Stephen Marchione Custom Spruce Hardtail

Price: $--SOLD

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hard shell case included

This twin humbucker Marchione has that very wide range sound one would expect in an electric archtop. It’s fat and articulate but with a bit of greasy soul in its high overtones. Very sweet and creamy. The bridge pickup really rips without being overly bright. At the same time, it's all very well balanced with an honest, resonant voice.

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To paraphrase a master car designer: "Any toaster can make toast but it takes a very special toaster to make toast that you covet." Marchione's Vintage S Style guitars are his interpretations of a familiar design platform that are handmade with the same love and attention that Stephen gives his superb archtops. They are guitars that you want to covet and lust over. From the finest personal wood selection, body contouring and neck shape, to the outrageously beautiful finishes and final detailing they are the masterbuilder's Masterbuilt guitars.


In my mind, there is a spectrum of guitar builders. It ranges from assemblers to builders to craftsmen, to artisans, to artists. An artist imbues every one of his (or her) creations with a part of his or her soul. It’s something that’s hard to characterize is words, but it’s something you can feel the moment you touch the instruments. There’s no question that Stephen is a true artist.

And for proof, you need look no further than these two guitars (the other one in this pair is here). They’re a very special custom build that I commissioned from Stephen a year ago.

First, a back story of how they came to be. I have been a huge fan of spruce body bolt on guitars since I first experienced one in the early 80's. A fellow session player had one custom built by Pensa Suhr, and started using it as his main studio guitar.

I was really taken by the sonic quality of spruce. It was articulate, refined, resonant and honest. It had that open vintage airy quality that I love, but with the addition of a real spine. Once I had heard that, my search was on. Over the years I’ve been able to have a few spruce solid bodies made for me in search of the perfect recipe of neck, body, electronics and most of all, builder. My most recent acquisition was a Spotlight model built by the late, great Taku Sakashta (it's actually the last guitar he ever made). The guitar was brilliantly made and taught me a great deal about the recipe. Taku used a sitka spruce body from his archtop stash paired with a Wenge neck. The sound and mojo were all there. The combination of resonant spruce with a dense neck was clearly a key part of the secret. My only issue was the Wenge. It’s a very open grain wood and takes a bit of getting used to.

Given my issue with the Wenge, I decided that the combination should be spruce and rosewood. And I also decided that the artist to create them was Stephen Marchione. Not only was he very familiar with the Pensa Suhr spruce guitar (having worked on it many times while he was in NYC) he’s also a fantastic archtop maker who was willing to part with some of his highest quality spruce for this project. And if you need any reminding, Stephen is simply among that rarified group of artists who make some of the most refined and exquisite S style electrics in the world.

These stunning guitars just came off Marchione’s bench. They’re beautiful to look at and exquisitely made. There is a simple elegance at play here from the choice of hardware to the deep amber nitro finish on the body.

The woods are so simple and impressive. Clean, perfectly grained Sitka is paired with a matched-from-the-same-plank Indian rosewood neck and fingerboard. Only hide glue is used in construction.

Stephen was very selective in his wood choices; weighing everything to make sure the guitar would be perfectly balanced. The finish on the necks are, without a doubt the nicest I've ever come across on rosewood necked guitars. Here’s how he accomplished it (it’s neither simple nor fast): First, Stephen sun baked an oil finish on the necks, then actually french polished them at the end of the process. They look and feel just luscious. And right.

Acoustically both guitars are resonant, articulate, and have an addictive clarity.

The twin humbucker version has that very wide range sound I would expect in an electric archtop. It’s fat and articulate but with a bit of greasy soul in its high overtones. Very sweet and creamy. The bridge pickup really rips without being overly bright. At the same time, it's all very well balanced with an honest, resonant voice.

The tremolo version has all the same phenomenal acoustic properties but with the obvious differences once it’s plugged in. It has all the Strat sounds from a guitar created by a master, but with added sweetness and articulation from the great wood combination, and that extra bit of soul that only an artist can imbue into an instrument.

In short, here’s a real opportunity to experience a fantastic guitar from a very special builder.

If you'd like to find out more about this item, just call or e-mail me. It would be my pleasure to talk to you about it.

At one time in his life, Stephen Marchione spent six hours a day playing the guitar. Now he makes them—in fact, since beginning his career as a guitar maker in 1989, Stephen has created more than three-hundred guitars for some of the best guitar players in the world. The journey from high-school jazz devotee to “the finest young guitar maker working today,” according to Chamber Music America, was a rich and complicated one. After establishing his own brand and working for several years in New York, Stephen Marchione moved to Houston, Texas, where he builds his entire family of guitars, but Marchione has also studied privately since 1994 with Manhattan-based violin maker Guy Rabut. "I try to build one violin a year to keep my chops up" Says Marchione. He feels that building classical guitars and violins broadens his understanding of top thicknessing, tap tuning, and surface preparation. On the other hand, building electric guitars has taught him the importance of the fretboard in a player's appreciation of a guitar. Marchione is considered one of a very few leading-edge pioneers in the design of guitars that combine elements of both jazz and classical construction. This well-rounded approach contributes to the magic one finds in a Marchione instrument, a magic that is at once very broad yet truly individual.

Bodyselect sitka spruce-premium archtop quality
NeckIndian rosewood w/ Indian rosewood fingerboard
Nut width42.5mm vintage bone
Neck profilemedium C
Fretsstainless steel
Finishnitrocellulose amber color w/ French polished neck
Scale length25 1/2"
FB radius12-14"
TunersSperzel locking
BridgeWilkinson hardtail
PickupsMarchione custom designed PAFs
Electronicsvolume, tone 3 way switch w/ highest grade Evidence Audio cables and USA electronic components
CaseMarchione custom designed Ameritage hard shell
Weight6.4 lbs
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