The Verona Model was conceived at a cheerful meal with friend and guitar collector Massimo Raccosta from Verona. Hence the name.
Massimo had an idea for a guitar optimised for use with a pickup. My existing guitars work so well with my preferred Highlander that at first I wasn’t too interested in the idea, but more chat and more thought eventually changed my mind. And I’m so happy it did.
My first thought was I had to reduce the size of the body cavity, as has been done for semi-acoustic guitars forever. But it was important to me that whatever design made for a good pickup guitar should also make a good acoustic guitar. I came up with the following decisions.
- A shallow body to limit feedback.
- Contrary to convention, a deeper body at the neck than at the heel. Many years ago I saw a shallow bodied early English cittern built to this design; it was really attractive but I wondered, why do it this way? Now I realised the deeper box section at the neck would resist flex of the neck relative to the body better than a shallow one.
- A full size soundboard to give more bass than a smaller one, firmly braced and gently curved as on my other flattops.
- A Highlander pickup as standard with external battery box; an on-board battery would not fit well inside the body.
For the first Verona model I started with Malaysian Blackwood back and sides and a figured Sitka soundboard.
This is Verona #3. Back and sides are African Blackwood, soundboard figured Sitka spruce.
|Soundboard:||Figured (bearclaw) Sitka (other woods optional)|
|Back and sides:||Malaysian Blackwood (other woods optional)|
|Bridge:||Ebony with two piece bone saddle|
|Binding:||Black with red gold and green purfling|
|Trim:||Birdsfoot edging with red and white purfling|
|Body Width:||415 mm (16.3″)|
|Body Length:||495 mm (19.5”)|
|Depth at heel and tail:||75 mm (3.3″) and 55 mm (2.2″)|
|F/b width at nut:||45 mm (1.75″)|
|Scale:||650 mm (25.6”)|
|Tuners:||Gold Gotoh 510 with black buttons, others optional|
|Pickup||Highlander with external battery box|
This guitar more than lived up to our expectations. A defined sound across bass and treble; a very full and clear treble and a punchy bass with a volume truly surprising from such a slim guitar. And perfect through its Highlander pickup. Overall, not the loudest guitar I build, but such a satisfying sound.
I find it one of those rare guitars that feels like an old friend the moment you pick it up. At the time of writing I have kept #3 (pictured) and play it every day because as well as loving the sound, I feel so comfortable with it.