280 SL


“Like the best Mercedes”
Available on demand with any modification.

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Like the best Mercedes, perhaps a bit predictable in their classical style, even good guitars can be appreciated for the same reasons. Linearity turned into aesthetic standard, imagination as rigour, free and seductive austerity. Flamboyant and hidden at the same time. Like old-style luxury cars, outdated in technique, obsolete like the clothes that the men of those times used to wear. And for these reasons, those of the luxury that other times could hold, to be preserved and flaunted. Because if I had a ’69 Mercedes 280 SE Automatic parked in the back of my house, I certainly wouldn’t hide it. Let’s Play.

Demo at bottom of the page

A variant of the “Tangier” model, of identical shape and piezo equipment but with a different interpretation of the aesthetic factor focused, in this case, no longer on alternating wood figures, but rather on the charm of spruce painted in an gloss black hue. Interesting, in my opinion, was the choice of the 3 woods whose bottom was made, again by hand carving from solid wood, of the best piece of olive ash I had available. Binding painted in antique gold color.

The challenge was to adequately size the body, especially in terms of thickness, to make the widest possible spectrum and depth of tone of the instrument given the size and overall volume definitely smaller than a traditional acoustic guitar. It must be said that the instrument was designed essentially for use in an amplified context via piezo and in this perspective has been developed from the beginning.

For the rest, the project refers to the traditional manufacturing technique of an archtop instrument. Soundboard hand carved by hand from solid figured spruce wood in this case, curly maple and ash back.

The neck size was meant to provide the musician with a support that would allow him to range rather easily between the different genres that can be expressed through an acoustic instrument, without sacrificing or affecting the overall feeling of a traditional neck with “classical” measures, although with different measures in terms of width at nut.

The goal, which I believe has been achieved, is to propose an instrument with a strong classical setting on a constructive and conceptual basis typical of archtop guitars with a look, that I hope will be appreciated, at innovative design.

All archtop models presented on these pages are completely handmade by luthier Emanuele D’Alò, owner of the Shank Instruments brand. The instruments are built according to the dictates of the Robert Benedetto method, and both soundboards and backs are hand-cut from solid boards.

  • Top: solid quarter sawn spruce, handcarved
  • Back: ash, handcarved
  • Sides: curly maple
  • Size: 14″
  • Side height: 2,7″
  • Neck: red cedar (cedrela), D shape. Thickness at 1st fret: 0,88″
  • Fretboard: ebony, 24 frets medium jumbo
  • Radius: 16″
  • Bracing: parallel
  • Diapason: 25,5″
  • Nut: 1,9″ – Bone
  • Pickup: piezo – MiSi Acoustic Trio
  • Bridge: ebony
  • Finish: polyurethane
  • Weight: 5,5 lbs


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