Fi­bonacci Chiq­uita £3,499

Guitarist - - Audition - CON­TACT Fi­bonacci Gui­tars PHONE 07838 667630 WEB­bonac­ci­gu­i­

on the niche world of the jazz gui­tar, Fi­bon­naci is a new name on the scene, al­though the brand’s founder Gra­ham Essen is no new­comer, hav­ing looked af­ter Peer­less in the UK for many years. But while gui­tars like the Retro­matic cer­tainly put Peer­less on the orig­i­nal retro map, Gra­ham wanted more con­trol over the di­rec­tion and qual­ity of the gui­tars he and his small team were cre­at­ing. Fi­bon­naci is a mar­riage of (mainly) Far Eastern gui­tar build­ing that is as­sem­bled, sprayed and fin­ished in the UK.

“We use peo­ple in Korea, China, Croa­tia and we’re speak­ing to mak­ers like Scharpach Gui­tars in Hol­land about carv­ing some sound­boards,” he tells us. “It is quite con­vo­luted but each source is good at cer­tain things, be it hand carv­ing or lam­i­nat­ing. We then bring it all to­gether here in the UK: some bod­ies might be done but need the necks ad­ding. All the pe­riph­er­als are done here like the tail­pieces, bridges and fin­ger­boards which are CNC’d here in the UK.”

Our pro­to­type, 625mm (24.6") scale Chiq­uita is the small­est gui­tar in the cur­rent five-string range (which starts at £1,799 with the lam­i­nate Tom­cat) and, as its price sug­gests, is all hand-crafted from solid woods – Amer­i­can AAA spruce top and flame maple back and sides. It’s also the small­est body gui­tar in the range, vir­tu­ally the same width as a Les Paul 325mm (12.8") but with a depth of 76mm. “It’s aimed at the player per­haps mak­ing the tran­si­tion from play­ing rock and blues to jazz,” says Gra­ham, “a sort of small Les Paul-sized jazz gui­tar whereas a 432mm (17-inch) wide, more tra­di­tional style might sim­ply be too cum­ber­some.” It’s a classy pack­age with a nicely un­der­stated vi­o­lin-like gloss ni­tro Auburn Si­enna ’burst – the stan­dard fin­ishes are an­tique nat­u­ral and an­tique honey. The maple isn’t overly flamed and gives a very clas­sic ap­pear­ance – this is cer­tainly not an over-blinged piece.

The clas­sic sim­plic­ity ex­tends to the gui­tar’s de­tails – a sim­ple script-in­laid logo on the head that’s bound, like the fingerboard, with a fig­ured maple, its black (ebony) fac­ing match­ing the fingerboard which joins the cut­away body at the 15th fret. Dense black ebony is used for the tail­piece, bridge and min­i­mal­ist pick­guard to which the Kent Arm­strong Smooth Sam hum­bucker is at­tached, which ‘floats’ free of the top or in­deed the fingerboard end. The slot sound­holes al­low you to see the clean in­ter­nal con­struc­tion with kerfed lin­ings from what looks like ma­hogany, while the side braces and the top’s lon­gi­tu­di­nal braces are spruce.


Played seated with legs crossed fla­men­costyle or with a strap – seated or stand­ing – the Chiq­uita, de­spite the depth, vir­tu­ally dis­ap­pears: its light weight and com­pact body size sug­gests smaller in­stru­ments like this have been rather over­looked. The playa­bil­ity is first class and any­one cross­ing over to this style should feel at home with its 43.5mm nut width and 54mm spac­ing at the bridge. The neck mea­sures 21mm at the 1st fret and 23.3mm by the 10th fret with an en­dear­ing full oval shape.

If it looks al­most de­mure its sound, played acous­ti­cally, matches. The flat­wound strings give a slip­pery smooth feel yet there’s sur­pris­ing crisp­ness to the bal­anced voice, the tre­bles are strong and the basses have a cen­tred fun­da­men­tal tone that sounds per­cus­sive and clipped played with a pick and much silkier smooth played with the side of your thumb, per­fect for bass lines to un­der­pin those crisper highs. Cer­tainly mic’d the woody voice isn’t over­run with low end and mix­ing this with the more mel­low and prob­a­bly more clas­sic jazz voice from the neck pickup achieves both clar­ity and thru­mi­ness that’s rather spe­cial.


With a price that re­flects its con­sid­ered de­sign and build it might not be the cheap­est hand-carved gui­tar of its type, com­pared to brands like Peer­less and East­man, but it’s made of the right stuff, im­pec­ca­bly ni­tro fin­ished (by Bow Fin­ish­ing here in the UK) and can be cus­tom spec’d if you want some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. Classy stuff for the se­ri­ous jazz afi­cionado with a timeless, clas­sic voice in an al­to­gether more con­densed pack­age. A new brand to keep your eye on. [DB]

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.