Howard Paul of Benedetto Guitars on the making of a ‘classic’ signature guitar.
The collaboration between Pat Martino and Benedetto Guitars began with a phone call the week of May 18, 2009. Bob Benedetto and Pat Martino had been acquaintances for years, but there was never a discussion of Bob building an instrument for Pat because of Pat’s longstanding endorsement of the Gibson Pat Martino Model. But in 2009 after the endorsement agreement lapsed, Pat was interested in a more refined instrument, and he was attracted to Benedetto’s reputation as the premier jazz guitar luthier. So on May 18, Benedetto CEO spoke with Pat and his manager Joe Donofrio about finding the right Benedetto platform.
In May 2009, Bob Benedetto and I loaded an SUV with 7 or 8 standard models and drove to Pat’s home in South Philadelphia. With cases filling Pat’s living room, Pat moved from one model to another, eventually asking to hold onto to a Bambino Deluxe and a Benny Deluxe model. Within a week or two, Pat settled on a Benny-style but with a number of custom appointments reminiscent of several previously owned guitars.
The resulting PM retained the Benny model body shape and headstock, but reduced the body depth to 1-5/8” and added a beveled back.
Bob maintained the pickup configuration but added a second volume/tone control and moved the selector switch, shortened the scale to 24-5/8” and modified the neck shape to Pat’s preference, added locking tuners, and switched f
In refining the neck’s feel for Pat, on one occasion Pat flew to Savannah with musician/tech Kirk Yano to try a built-but-not-finished PM model, with Bob Benedetto sanding and shaping the neck during the road test. On another occasion, luthier Damon Mailand skillfully shaped PM neck on Pat’s back patio in Philly, before taking the instrument back to Savannah for finishing. In all cases the resulting modifications were incorporated into the standard model.
Today, Benedetto builds three standard Pat Martino models with Autumnburst, Black-on-Black, or Walnut stained tops.
The company has also made a number of custom Pat Martinos, including Spalted tops and Translucent Black finishes. Benedetto is careful to keep all other specifications true to Pat’s original guitar in order to retain the authenticity of the model.
Benedetto has produced just under 50 Pat Martino models since completing the first prototype on 10/3/09.
Visit Pat’s Page at benedettoguitars.com