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Exclusive Conti Entrada Archtop Review



Guitarist, educator and JGT contributor Vince Lewis takes a detailed look at the Conti Entrada Archtop.

I first became aware of Robert Conti years ago when we were both living and performing in Florida. His reputation and credentials as a world-class player and educator are truly stellar and well deserved.  A long career in both music and the business world has provided Robert with a strong sense of not only instrument design and playability, but also sincere and attentive customer service.

The instrument I am reviewing here is a 2022 Conti Entrada (Disclaimer: I have just added it to my personal instrument collection). The best way to begin is to state that the look, fit and finish, and playability are what you would expect in an instrument in a much higher price range. Right out of the box it has the feel of a familiar friend that I have been playing for many years. The neck is slim and the action is superbly set to be comfortable even to my absolutely discriminating demands.

In terms of specs and features, the first look at the headstock with its Mother of Pearl flowerpot inlay, Imperial style tuners, and Ivory and Black binding is total class. The neck is Maple, with a 15.75” Radius, 24.6” Scale Length, and bone nut. The gorgeous ebony fingerboard is bound with ivory and black and inlaid with Mother of Pearl and abalone. Nut width is 1.69” and the 24 fret neck joins the body at the 16th Fret.

Conti Entrada archtop tailpiece

The body is 16” at the lower bout and has a depth of 1.73”. This makes it a thin body archtop, however, the acoustic sound is really pretty strong as it is a full hollow body with no center block inside. The construction is maple laminate finished with high gloss durable polyurethane. The F-Holes are bound with Ivory, and the top is triple bound ivory and black. The pickguard is a beautiful solid piece of ebony.

There are several options to choose from when it comes to the appointments.  The floating ebony bridge base is standard, with a choice of either a compensated ebony top or Gotoh/TonePros Gold Tune-o-Matic. The tailpiece can be either violin-style ebony, or the tension adjustable Gold Finger, which is my personal preference.

Conti Entrada archtop headstock

The single pickup is a Kent Armstrong Vintage 57 Humbucker (a double pickup model is also available) and gold volume and tone knobs with a perfectly placed Switchcraft output jack 4” up from the endpin. This is a strategic positioning that truly does make a difference in comfort when playing either sitting or standing.

The Entrada is a versatile instrument but obviously designed by a jazz player who has made a career playing other brands of high-quality archtops and finally decided to combine all of the features of importance to him in his own house brand.  The tone is rich and full electrically, and the stability of the laminate body makes it a roadworthy guitar as well.  Sustain is impressive, and the individual string tension adjustment gives the player the ability to truly fine-tune and customize the feel of the action. The unique cutaway design allows easy access to the upper register which is largely difficult to utilize on deeper body guitars.  A huge plus that increases the possibilities for the player to reach both single note and chords up the neck.

Conti Entrada archtop fret inlay

From beginning to the end of the purchasing and information gathering process the customer service is stellar. Every step is followed up with personal contact by email and even phone calls from Robert’s staff. There is a personalized video before any instrument is shipped to the buyer where Robert performs several tunes on your actual instrument. Then he takes the time to explain all of the features, and assures that it has passed his personal inspection and setup. Since this is a direct-to-consumer process, the price for an instrument of this quality is kept reasonable even in this time of rapid parts costs and inflation.

In summary, as an owner of many vintage and boutique guitars, and making my living my entire life in music performance and education, the Conti Entrada is a fine investment. It serves the demands of discriminating players whether amateur or professional well and fills the void in the market with a realistic price with high quality. Highly recommended.

Vince Lewis is the Assistant Professor of Music and Guitar at Bluefield University.

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