Thomas Humphrey Owned and used by Marc Ribot Classical Guitar (1978)

Thomas Humphrey  Owned and used by Marc Ribot Classical Guitar  (1978)
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Item # 11305
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Thomas Humphrey Owned and used by Marc Ribot Model Classical Guitar (1978), made in New York, NY, French polish finish, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top, Spanish cedar neck with ebony fingerboard, molded plastic hard shell case.

At first glance this guitar may not look like much; it is heavily worn and admittedly scruffy looking but a lot of wonderful music has come out of this sound hole. The guitar was built by Thomas Humphrey, one of the best known later 20th century American luthiers. The label was hand-signed and dated to 1978, making this is a fairly early example of Humphrey's work. This is the period before he designed the highly innovative "Millennium" models that became his signature instrument. This is a more conventional Torres-style guitar built with the traditional Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top and Spanish cedar neck with an ebony fingerboard. The bracing pattern is unusual, with a tight "X" directly behind the soundhole and several small longitudinal braces behind it. All Humphrey instruments are built to a very high standard, and this one is no exception.

For many years this was the primary classical guitar of Marc Ribot, a player who rather like Humphrey is steeped in history but wholly unbound by conventional limitations. It can be heard in a solo context on the LP "Marc Ribot Plays Solo guitar works by Frantz Casseus" (KW-002); a signed copy of this LP is included. It can also be heard in Ribot's hands on recordings on Crepuscule And "Exercises in Futility" (Tzadik TZA-CD-8046) and was used extensively for film score work through 2010 including "The Departed". The guitar was previously owned by Classical Guitarist Robert Secrist; Marc believes it was made for him by Humphrey. The guitar was used on Secrists's acclaimed 1980 recording of Fernando Sor ("Great Rivals" MHS 4285).
Overall length is 39 1/8 in. (99.4 cm.), 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 in. (10.2 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 3/4 in. (654 mm.). Width of nut is 2 1/4 in. (57 mm.).

This is a VERY well worn, heavily played guitar. The top shows extensive wear through the finish into the wood on both sides of the strings above and below the soundhole and fingerboard. The original finish has dings, scuffs, scratches and dents everywhere, and is partially worn through on the back of the neck from play. The back and sides are less affected than the top.

There are repaired spruce grain splits to the top, two below the bridge behind the A and high E strings, right off the apex of the treble side and bass side lower bouts and off either side of the fingerboard. All are solidly sealed with no notable touch up. There is a long sealed crack through the treble side waist and a couple of splits on the back, one running nearly the entire length of the back cleated internally. The ebony fingerboard was refretted at some point and bears a few chip scars from this but nothing intrusive; the nut is later as well.

This guitar has a big incisive sound with the action is set at 3/16" treble and 4/16" bass. The saddle is quite low and there is no range for future reduction. The guitar remains as Marc Ribot played it, structurally fine but very much a played-in veteran guitar with the genuine wear to show for it. It resides in a later molded plastic case. Overall Very Good + Condition.