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Carvin Allan Holdsworth HF2 Fatboy Guitar

In that brief interval following World War II and just preceding the introduction of the Fender Telecaster and the Gibson Les Paul, the electric guitar was essentially an archtop acoustic instrument: carved from solid tone woods, retrofitted with magnetic pickups and plugged into low-powered tube amplifiers. Proceeding from the popular L-5 design of the 1920s, the archtop guitar evolved as a rhythm instrument, with a bass-bar style of internal bracing, its acoustic qualities augmented for maximum attack and projection-the better to chunka-chunk its way through a big band.

However, the complex acoustic characteristics of carved spruce tops and maple backs didn’t necessarily translate through the pickups, cables and amps in use at that time. In fact, when you pushed the instrument a little harder to project over a drummer, all those lovely overtones and timbral resonances could generate feedback. And God forbid that during the carving process the luthier tap-tuned the spruce top to a specific note. The player might find himself alighting upon a low D on the 10th fret of the sixth string only to have his whole rig howl like a hound in heat.

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