Each month Jazz Guitar Today spotlights a very special ‘one of a kind’ guitar from some of the finest luthiers in the world. This month we take a look at the Victor Baker Guitars 500th instrument!
Victor Baker is an avid jazz guitarist, prolific composer and performer who recently relocated to San Diego after many years in NYC. He is a world renowned luthier, making instruments for such players as Gilad Hekselman and Kurt Rosenwinkel in the jazz world as well as luminaries Jimmy Page and Bob Weir in the rock world. When in NYC he worked with the D’Angelico company on a series of 30+ instruments many of which were reproductions of classic early jazz guitars. Victor self identifies as a player first and foremost and has performed as both a leader and sideman in many of New York’s jazz clubs including the 55 Bar, Birdland, Smalls, and the Cornelia St. Cafe. He is becoming more active in the San Diego Jazz scene as well with several performances per month.
Victor just finished up a very special project, which was his 500th instrument. It is the culmination of his 20 years in luthiery. The guitar combines a lot of the elements he incorporates in his regular guitars which he has researched over his years of making performance level instruments. Plus it features some special artwork such as a headstock inlay reproduction of 19th / 20th century Czech painter Alphonse Mucha’s work ”The Moon and the Stars”. He also Incorporated some art deco elements with an engraved crown theme on the fingerboard as well as aesthetically matched artwork on the tailpiece and back of the guitar. The finish color on this project was inspired by an old Spanish armoire he found in California.
Victor is known for making very organic looking instruments that are inspired by the look of old cellos and double basses. He got this inspiration by always looking at and admiring the beautiful double basses that he sees bass colleagues using in playing situations. This seems to resonate with other jazz-oriented players as well. Victor’s instruments are well thought-out and researched, and are meant to be workhorse everyday-use performance instruments. He prices them to be cost-effective as well. Victor does not make many special edition instruments, but decided to pull out all the stops when coming up with ideas for this milestone project in his career.
SPECIFICATIONS of # 500
Guitar Style: Model 14
Semi Hollow Special Edition
1-3/4″ (44.5mm) body depth,
Model 14: 14″ (356mm)
Soundboard material: Master Grade Bearclaw Sitka Spruce
Body Core material: Quartersawn single piece Sitka spruce fully chambered
Special arched back with engraved artwork
Soundholes: Catseye shape with engraved purfling
Neck material: Quartesawn flame honduras mahogany w/two way adjustable truss rod
Headstock overlay: ebony
Nut width: 1-11/16” (43mm)
Nut Material: bone
Headstock inlay: VB Logo with Alphonse Mucha ”The Moon and the Stars” theme artwork
Fingerboard material: Quartersawn ebony
Fingerboard radius: 12″” (305 mm)
Scale length: 25″” (635 mm)
No of frets: 21
Fret size: jumbo
Fingerboard inlay: Engraved intricate Deco crown fingerboard theme with No 500 designation
OVERALL BINDING SCHEME: Full custom multi purfling package, scraped rustic body edge and soundhole design
FINISH: Antique Spanish Natural in full high gloss
Bridge: Ebony base with Tunomatic saddle
Tailpiece: Commemorative ebony engraved “500” tailpiece
Tuning gears: Gotoh 510’s in antique gold with ebony buttons
Pickups: (1) Kent Armstrong full size built in, with custom ebony mount tabs
Hardware and electronics: Volume and Tone mounted to top, black mini knobs
For more on Victor Baker Guitars.