Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase
No, I was not invited in the first year of my US presence to exhibit my guitars at WILS. I was helping The Archtop Foundation to show the most prominent collection of archtop guitars that ever existed. Scott's Chinery Blue Guitar Collection. Ty Danco and Doug Baumoel, whom I met during Rocky Mountain are now custodians of these marvels. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to be close to these guitars. I was fascinated by the collection for the last 15 years. You can see photographs from the event. I was helping the Foundation staying at the booth, and telling the story to anybody wanted to hear.
Here is the story.
The greatest, in my opinion, collection of purely acoustic archtop guitars is the Blue Archtop Collection (BAC), commissioned by Scott Chinery and started with Blue Centura Deluxe by great Jimmy D’Aquisto. It was one of the last guitars Jimmy built before his passing in 1995. This particular guitar was a spark to the blue collection. Scott's wife, a painter, suggested that there were examples of painters painting the same subject and composers composing variations on the same theme. They both discussed what luthiers could do with a similar challenge. And this is how the BAC started. Scott initially contacted 14 accomplished luthiers and commissioned one archtop from each. Later he enhanced the list making the final collection count of 22 guitars including Blue Centura Deluxe.
The requirements for the luthiers were:
1) make the best purely acoustic archtop you can
2) lower bout should be 18 inches
3) neck width at the nut should be 1.875 (1 and 7/8) inches - Scott was a BIG man!
4) guitar must be finished with the same blue dye as Jimmy used for the Blue Centura Deluxe - Ultra Blue Penetrating Stain #M 520 from Mohawk Finishing in Amsterdam, New York.
Participating luthiers created masterpieces. Scott was making the collection available to a limited number of players and luthiers. The blue guitars were also displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History from the fall of 1997 through the fall of 1998. After Scott Chinery passing in 2000, the collection was not available to the public. Last year the BAC was presented for sale. The collection has been acquired by The Archtop Foundation, which was set up for this purpose. The foundation aims to make the collection available to players, luthiers, researchers, and the public. The collection was shown at the 2022 Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival in Arvada this September and at the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase.
Many guitars in the blue collection are built by my luthier idols. I have enormous respect for and feel extremely grateful to Mr. Chinery and participating luthiers to create BAC and now the Archtop Foundation. Making The Blue Collection Available to great players, and allowing research on these masterpieces is an enormous service to society.
There are many, many videos on The Archtop Foundation Youtube channel. These guitars are played by superb guitar players. It is difficult to choose one to post here, but definitely, Jimmy’s Blue Centura Deluxe is a reference. So here it is:
More information and all videos of The Archtop Foundation you can find here: