I had the chance to admire and play this nice guitar a few weeks ago and I thought I would share some pics for everyone's enjoyment. This particular guitar has some interesting history behind it. It was built for Ralph Towner by Jeff and Cyndy, and is one of just a few guitars that they built together in collaboration. As the story goes, Jeff and Cyndy had booths next to each other at an instrument show and Ralph Towner came up to the guitar Cyndy was exhibiting; lightly strumming the strings. He then walked over to Jeff's booth and proceeded to do the same... after some quiet thought he looked up and said "I'd like you to build me a guitar... I want her basses but your trebles." The project soon came about with some unique features. It would be the first guitar where they broke with traditional classical guitar aesthetics, using a piece of desert ironwood in place of the usual mosaic rosette. Jeff tells me that it was a pretty risky move in the ultra conservative market back then. The guitar was also the first guitar to be built with African Blackwood for the back and sides, and featured a slightly larger plantilla of just a couple mm's in all directions. Towner loved the guitar and went on to record most of his albums on it.
The first thing I noticed about the guitar was how easy it was to play, and had I not known it was a 660 scalelength I wouldn't have guessed. It had one of the best low E strings I've played on a guitar... the sound was cathedral like yet focused and one couldn't help but go back to the bass from time to time just to hear the pleasing rumble. The trebles were beautiful as well, and the tone color range from dolce to tasto was huge--better than a lot of spruce guitars. Overall one of my favorite Elliott's that I've played.
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CE Sobel Guitars