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A Guitar With Something To Say…



Guitarist Ray Matuza is helping sell a guitar to help luthier Gary Mortoro’s widow – check out this guitar.

The nineties saw a resurgence of interest in the archtop, specifically in custom-made instruments, thanks partly to collector Scott Chinery, who commissioned the renowned Blue Guitar Collection and Twentieth Century Guitar Magazine’s Classic American Guitar Show held each May on Long Island.  The highly touted event became a showcase for over 40 luthiers which subsequently brought in major jazz players from all over the globe who played, mingled, and did all things guitar over the course of those glorious weekends. The late great luthier Gary Mortoro built this 17” 7 string “Il Volo Libero” (Free Flight)  in 1996 (Serial # 1196-7) with the insight to have the guitar serve as a documentation of all the greats who attended by having them sign the instrument. As many of the signees have passed, it serves as a testament to their legacy and is truly an heirloom of the jazz guitar world.

Currently being offered for sale – any interested parties can contact Ray via his Facebook page.

The signatures in gold marker are in striking contrast against the black finish and has been clear-coated to preserve them. Some notable signatures include Les Paul, Pat Martino, George Benson, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Gene Bertoncini, Tony Mottola and a host of others. The instrument is very light and vibrant which would lead me to suspect a solid spruce carved top although the black finish makes it hard to visually confirm. Ebony appointments include the bridge, pickguard, and cello-style tailpiece (with inlaid “7”) as well as the fingerboard. Tuning pegs are Schaller. The neck width is approximately  2-3/16” at the nut and features a fairly flat comfortably playing profile. Body depth is 3 ¼”. A custom-wound Kent Armstrong pickup is mounted on the pickguard. The neck heel has a slight chip in one corner and there is a finish checking around the neck joint (See pics). There are 2 hardly noticeable minor dings on the body. The guitar resides in a well-padded Reunion Blues leather gig bag. As much as the signatures enhance the vibe of this guitar, it’s an extremely wonderful sounding and playing instrument. The guitar is currently being offered for sale and any interested parties can contact Ray via his Facebook page.

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