This maker hails from Windsor, California, in lovely Sonoma County.
Unlike most builders, who inlay their own name on the top of the headstock, this guitar has the model name at the top of the ‘stock in colorful mother of pearl. This is a fairly hefty guitar, in weight, and has a strong, solid feel to it. The guitar’s last owner says that it’s called a “Halfling” because its sound is halfway between an acoustic and an archtop, having warmth and depth that archtops do not typically have. The matte finish ebony truss rod cover is inlaid “Ribbecke” in script and underlined mother of pearl. Here’s what the builder says: “It's our revolutionary design of guitar or bass in which the soundboard is flat on the bass side & arched on the treble side. The Halflings™ are capable of large full fundamental bass response with the ability to hear and distinguish all the notes of a complex chord when ringing together. By combining the flat topped steel string guitar with an archtop we've combined the best of both worlds!” The builder pauses, and then goes on to say, about this model: If you are looking for a true crossover instrument, you want the Halfling™ Jazz Guitar!
Playing this guitar, you will experience superior separation of course (the ability to hear individual notes and complex chords in individual strings), as well as outstanding multi-dimensional acoustic imaging. It has great feedback suppression with an enhanced bass response not found in any other archtop guitar. This versatile guitar may be strung with either phosphor bronze or electric strings, we suggest you try both! It has a floating Kent Armstrong, American made, pickup which is mounted in a unique platform on the neck, giving it the ability to perform like a traditional L-5 or a -175. It features volume and tone control, mounted under the pickguard as well as unique proprietary hex adjustable thumb wheels for the bridge.
At this point the builder invites us to read an unsolicited testimonial: Kyle C., who ever that might be, says: "I have been playing for about 20 years. I have been lucky enough to own many high end custom guitars (D'Aquisto, American Archtop, Teufel, C.P. Thornton, etc.). This guitar ranks among the best. The separation of notes is equal to the D'Aquisto...you need to hear it to believe it. I actually prefer the Halfling to a traditional archtop for most styles of music. The guitar is more versatile."
- Kyle C.
The Halfling™ Jazz Guitar has a nitro-cellulose finish in the great tradition of fine guitar making; designed to age like an excellent wine. It has maple back and sides – in this instance highly quilted, and this model normally comes with a Sitka spruce or Western red cedar, however we have been advised that this is Adirondack – and it is wide grained, so it could be. The internal bracing is made of spruce and is X-shaped, the binding is surrounded by black and white purfling, the 5-piece neck is mostly maple, the fingerboard is ebony and the width of the ‘board at the nut is 1 ¾”. At the 12th fret it measures 2.2”, The nut she is bone, it has 22 frets, ebony hardware and is finished in nitro-cellulose lacquer. The maker supplies it with D’Addario .012 to .052 XL nickel electric strings.
We have personally measured the scale length as being 24 ¾” which is a short scale for an archtop, and the guitar is 16” wide as is a Model ES-175. It has a 1 3/4” nut. The owner told us that the builder told him that the top is Adirondack. Its only owner (so far) received it in February 2010 - new from the builder. He further states that the builder told him that the pickup is a specially wound Kent Armstrong that is intended to have enhanced sound including an especially smooth midrange. You don’t need an otolaryngologist or even an even more unpronounceable otorhinolaryngologist to know that this guitar is not in the slightest nasal sounding. Its tuners are gold plated Grover Rotomatics with metal tulip shaped buttons. The neck shape is low profile. This guitar is in brilliant shape, showing only some light normal signs of use and wear including a small mark (indent) in the upper treble bout of the top, light surface scratches here and there and insignificant smudges and scuffs.
This guitar is fully bound in Koa, with a ring of black and crème inside the koa. This would include the headstock, fingerboard. The sides and heel cap are also Koa but are not bound in crème and black. The soundhole on this model guitar is positioned in the upper bass bout; the pickguard is ebony and abbreviated; the Kent Armstrong pickup is black and mounted on the pickguard under the bottom of the 21 fret fingerboard. The bridge is carved of striped ebony and is large and Kasha-inspired in its asymmetrical shape. The tailpiece is also built of ebony, with a large open trapezoid as its center and the tailpin jack doubles as a strap pin; there is a gold- plated strap button on the back of the guitar, under the heel cap. This is a beautiful and majestically gracefully designed instrument, suitable for professional use, or just to stare at fixedly with the unblinking intensity of a yellow-eyed tabby housecat who is trying to will you to feed it through mental telepathy.