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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blue Belly "Black Swan" by Master Luither Hyde Barker, ... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $4,350.00 USD with case + shipping


Blue Belly by Master Luthier Hyde Barker is a Manufacturer of handcrafted custom boutique American built archtop guitars.   

This Blue Belly #0822 Nickname "Black Swan" is a custom made jazz box w/refined F-holes, 2 5/8" depth & venetian cutaway. It features a hand carved & graduated Englishman spruce top, X-braced, flamed maple back & sides and a flamed maple 1 piece neck dressed w/ebony fretboard (22 Frets). Finished in Transparent Black with a burst neck/back with B/W multiple binding package.

Ebony pickguard, Blue Belly style tailpiece & Bridge - Sperzel Locking Tuning Machines on a Blue Belly #2 Headstock w/ Custom "S" Inlay

Floating Kent Armstrong HB pickup with hidden V/T controls & endpin jack. (If you are the lucky person that buys this guitar; Hyde Barker will put the pickup of your choice in).


Amp used 
Moxie Jazz-Blues 15 Combo Amplifier

Cables used:

Neck Humbucker: 
Warm with great mids, a true jazz sound. 

Action, Fit & Finish: 
The guitar was beautiful--not a blemish. Just holding the guitar you could tell that a lot of time and effort was put into making this one-off masterpiece.

Reliability & Durability: 
I did not have my standard week and a day with the guitar, as I played it at the Guitar Con show on April 14. It felt well built and based on the character and pride of build I felt from its creator Hyde Barker; I am more than confident that it will outlast its buyer and their children.
Its simplistic beauty and elegant lines where inviting. The body was carved to fit the player and was comfortable to play. The whale tail sized finger rest was made it easy for a finger style  player, but was not in the way of standard strumming. Over all this was an amazing archtop jazz box guitar, and one one the best examples I have seen in its price range.  

My advice: 
This is the next step up guitar. It would make an excellent addition to any jazz players collection. I will note that this has the beauty of a wall hanger, but she is meant to play.  

Blue Belly Guitars 
Vermont, USA  
Master Luither Hyde Barker

Posted 04/2012