Someone posted some pictures of the guitars Bill Frisell used during his four night residency at the Freight & Salvage in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of them looked very unusual. It was not the typical Tele, Jazzmaster, Strat, or archtop shape he usually favors. I emailed him to ask, “What is that guitar?” Bill was kind enough to answer in detail, as well as sending gorgeous pictures of this unique instrument.
Here is what he said:
“John ‘Woody’ Woodland designed it. Woody is the Mastery Bridge guy, so of course it has all Mastery stuff on it.
He used old Art Deco techniques for all the lines: bending wires between nails. I guess that’s how Martin Guitars came up with the first dreadnought shape. Woody is a Martin scholar and also a Paul Bigsby scholar. I think the neck joint on this guitar is similar to the neck joint on the first solid body that Bigsby made for Merle Travis.
The pickups are a one of a kind prototype design.The pickguard is art by Jim Woodring, laser engraved into anodized aluminum. It was all put together by Bilt guitars.
It sounds really dark, thick, fat, and warm, but very clear. Kind of reminds me of good old arch top. You can feel the body vibrating. I like that.
I’m loving it. It’s pretty crazy.”