I have purchased a new guitar. It is an archtop jazz guitar. She has been named Sophia.

Carl Barney JazzMaster Handmade Guitar: Sophia

This guitar was built by Carl Barney. Carl is a CT Luthier who is an extremely skilled instrument craftsman. He’s also a wood trader, which results in not only top notch handiwork, but also an impressive selection of wood used in the guitar. The face of the guitar is Maple, the back is beautiful Cocobolo.

Exceptional Cocobolo Wood

Note the five strips of wood in the neck. The center wood is Cocobolo sandwiched between thin strips of ebony, then maple. The wood and direction of grain is chosen to increase the rigidity and prevent potential for neck warping.

Also, you’ll note the thin binding strip of wood that follows the outside profile of the guitar. That wood is bubinga. Cocobolo and bubinga are both very dense woods and considered a bonus in instruments.


The pick guard and neck are ebony. The pickup is a single humbucker. I don’t recall the exact materials used in the neck inlays, the white squares are mother of pearl but I don’t recall the material of the luminescent triangles within those squares.

I’m extremely excited about this purchase. I spent a long time talking to Tony Guitar about the pluses and minuses of this guitar, and together we could only really list positives. The guitar is very much a jazz guitar. It’s got an extremely clear tone and makes 13 chords sound like heaven. It has some volume when left unplugged, but is meant to be played through an amp as its pickup is mounted through the guitar face into a block of maple behind the face and its total width is thin.

The guitar itself is small. It has a 16 inch neck, but a very deep cutout to aid in the shredding of high notes. The guitar’s slight frame coupled with its inssaaaaane action, result in it playing very fast.

I think it’s time I record a few new selections for the music section of the website.

Also? I need to practice more.

7 comments on “Sophia.”

  1. Kurt from Work Reply

    how small is it compared to your travel guitar? Could you post a pic please of that comparison. Thanks!

  2. Chris T Reply

    Gorgeous! Did your luthier wind the humbucker too? It’s a pure archtop too (no centerblock – completely hollow body), right?

    • mike d. Reply

      Nope, he bought a high end humbucker… I forget the brand off the top of my head. And nay, it’s not a pure archtop, there is a centerblock – hence the embedded humbucker and the anchored bridge.

      • Chris Reply

        Yeah, the anchored bridge is the thing that made me tip my head. Most archtops have the humbucker in the neck position though – so, that didn’t raise any flags.

        • Chris Reply

          Oh, and I love the wood grains! Especially the maple top’s grain is impressive.

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