• Arlen Roth's Guitar
  • Arlen-Roth-LC0A5885
  • Arlen-Roth-LC0A5893
  • Arlen-Roth-LC0A5899
  • Arlen-Roth-LC0A5830

Arlen Roth's Guitar

Surely you have heard of Arlen?  "Master of the Telecaster". "One of the most influential guitarists of all time" etc. etc.

Arlen was one of my first endorsees in the USA around 1979, when he described his Falstaff as “The best new acoustic I have played - by far”. Recently, he saw a video where Clive Carroll was talking about his own Fylde, ("he's so incredible ... I'm a new fan!") which prompted him to drop me a line. Arlen attended NYC Music and Art College at the same time as Eric Bibb, so we had a lot to talk about.

Arlen wanted a new Fylde guitar, but lots has changed in music and guitars in the intervening years. There are body shapes and styles that weren't thought of, timbers that had never been used and pickups that hadn't been invented.

The discussion was the usual back and forth, suggestions, questions, comparisons, essential features, I sent him video clips of lots of Fylde players, and the final decision was a guitar very much like John Smith's and Antonio Forcione's - a cutaway Alexander, with a short scale to keep the string tension low and facilitate bending. African Blackwood back and sides and a Bear Claw Italian Spruce sound board, all excellent choices. At one point we had a near disaster, a tiny resin pocket ambushed me, it jumped out of the Spruce and said. "Here I am, what are you going to do about me huh?" It happens, no matter how careful we are, but I knew the wood was wonderful, and it's not right to scrap so much of an excellent guitar just because of a tiny visual flaw, and it really was tiny. So, I sent a picture and got an instant reply. “If it doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother me”. You might not be able to see it in the photographs. It's a beauty spot.

I thought the guitar and the materials deserved some celebration, so I used Snakewood bindings, and my fun little "Twisty cutaway" Isn't it lovely?

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