Since the early 1970's, Tom Ribbecke has gained worldwide attention for building flawless archtop guitars that sit perfectly at the intersection of instrument and art. Ribbecke's woodworking is second to none. Building fine instruments in the tradition of the famed Luthiers at D'Aquisto and D'Angelico, Ribbecke now enjoys a place in the pantheon of modern archtop builders including Linda Manzer and John Monteleone. Using the finest techniques and the rarest woods, each Ribbecke guitar is worthy of respect and awe.
This Ribbecke Monterey 17 was built in 2002 for a collector who ordered the instrument as a showpiece for his collection. This custom Monterey 17 was the first guitar ever built by Ribbecke to feature matching double sound holes on the upper and lower bout. This guitar also holds a special place in the history of Master Archtop Builders, as the flamed Fiddleback Maple used for the neck came directly from the shop of the legendary guitar builder Jimmy D’Aquisto.
In 2003, shortly after this guitar was completed, Ribbecke ceased production of the Monterey 17 and began designing and building his most well-known model, the Halfling. This 2002 archtop is one of the last Monterey 17's ever built, in what can now be called Ribbecke's pre-Halfling era. These days, Tom Ribbecke is semi-retired, with custom archtops from his shop becoming rarer (and more expensive) by the moment. These days, a custom-built Ribbecke archtop costs $30k-$50k, making this rare Monterey 17 a tremendous value at nearly 1/3 the price.
About the Monterey
The Monterey 17 is acoustic archtop tone in its purest distillation. Built using the same techniques perfected by 20th century masters John D'Angelico and his apprentice Jimmy D'Aquisto, the Ribbecke Monterey 17 carries on the tradition of 1930's archtops. Before the advent of electric guitar pickups and amps, acoustic archtops were designed for maximum volume, giving guitarists playing them a chance to be heard among the blaring horns and thumping drums of the Big Band era.
This Monterey 17 is built from some of the finest woods in the world. The premium Sitka Spruce top has nearly perfect graining, allowing for maximum transmission of vibration, giving the guitar a huge sound that can be heard in the back row of any concert or dance hall. The back and sides are west coast Big Leaf Maple, with nearly holographic, three-dimensional bookmatched quilting. The depth and color of these body woods are only comparable to the tone they produce. The combination of Sitka Spruce and Big Leaf Maple gives the Monterey a balanced, even tone - full of depth and sparkle, with a smooth midrange that refuses to go unheard.
Ribbecke's unrivaled woodworking skill is on full display here, with perfect joins and hand-laid binding at every turn. The flamed Fiddleback Maple neck joins perfectly to the body, complete with multi-layer and multi-wood binding at the joints. As mentioned above, this rare piece of Fiddleback Maple was obtained directly from Master Builder Jimmy D'Aquisto's woodshop. The neck's flame shimmers and shines, seemingly coming alive as the light passes over it. The neck is topped with an Ebony fingerboard, flanked with figured Maple binding.
Ribbecke is a master of his craft, and proof of this is evident in the smaller details of this Monterey 17. Note the compensated Rosewood bridge and carved-hinge Rosewood tailpiece. These dark woods stand in stark contrast to the brighter woods used for the top, back, and sides of the guitar. Finishing touches like the burled Myrtle pickguard and hand-inlaid Tulip on the headstock are perfect complements to the craftsmanship and quality of this instrument. The Monterey 17 is extremely playable, featuring a 17" body an extremely comfortable medium C-shaped neck.
Despite the countless hours devoted to creating the Monterey 17, the guitar itself is not gaudy or ostentatious in any way. All the details of this guitar are expertly refined and elegantly understated, allowing the wood and build quality of the instrument to speak for itself.
Model: Monterey 17
Back and Sides: premium uber-quilted Big Leaf Maple
Top: premium hand carved Sitka Spruce
Body Size: 17”
Neck: Fiddleback Maple
Neck Profile: medium C, 1 3/4” at nut
Fingerboard: Ebony, with figured Maple binding
Bridge: Rosewood compensated
Pickguard: Burled Myrtle
Finish: Apricot violin lacquer
Tuners: gold Schaller with ebony buttons
Tailpiece: Ribbecke premium rosewood
Scale: 25 1/4”
Weight: 5 lbs 13.4 oz
Case: hard case
Museum/Collector Grade Condition; No notable damage or flaws. This is a handmade instrument made from all natural woods. Some variance in the grain and character of the woods is expected. Please view the pictures carefully and consider them part of the description. Additional photos available upon request.
Due to the high value of this guitar, the shipping cost will be increased to cover proper packing materials and insurance. International customers please contact us before ordering to discuss overseas shipping options and security.