16" Imperial Soft Shoulder CutawayI was first attracted to Erich's instruments because of their unadorned, organic elegance. There was something about his designs that said "Everything on this guitar is here for a reason, and there is nothing that isn't." After speaking at length with Erich about the qualities I sought in an archtop guitar, I realized that there was a connection between what I wanted to play and what he wanted to build. Erich is not just a builder or a designer; he is also a visionary of sorts. He is not copying the classics. He is evolving the archtop guitar, and exploring its potential to break free of its historical limitations, however wonderful they may be. If you want a vintage L-5, get one (I have one and love it). But that is not Erich's vision. Erich proceeded to build a 16" Imperial soft cutaway model for me. The result is what I like to call a "box of magic." It weighs next to nothing, and the sound seems to simply explode out of it. It can be played fingerstyle or with a plectrum. It does chord-melody, Brazilian music, folksy strumming, or eclectic acoustic music of any kind. With a floating Kent Armstrong pickup, it plugs in and can be EQ'd for a warm jazz sound or for a brighter, more transparent acoustic sound. The overtones shimmer. It has a punchy midrange like a good archtop should. And the tone colors I can elicit by altering my picking location and technique are very wide, indeed. I've been playing since 1976 and have owned nearly 100 guitars. I have desirable vintage Gibsons and Martins hanging on my wall as I type this, and I love them, too. But if I had to grab one instrument and leave my burning house, I swear it would be my Solomon. It's just THAT good, and it's THAT versatile. Kudos to Erich, and I wish him much success and recognition for his talents. And I thank him as well!
P.S. I waited at least one month after receiving my guitar to submit this testimonial!
18" ImperialThe Solomon Imperial I have sits next to some of the most respected instruments in the world, a '59 D'Angelico New Yorker, a 2000 Ribbecke Monterey, a '57 Gibson 125, a Zimnicki Selmer style D hole, a Campellone Special, and others very comfortably. Erich's guitar is a gorgeous blond 18" non-cutaway archtop with a perfect combination of volume and detail. Its versatility allows me to make a statement in many styles. It is at home as a jazz box or as a gypsy giant. I play it with acoustic strings for myself for hours and recently put on electrics for my big band gig! This guitar wears many hats and wears them all very well. I had a couple of fine professional jazz guitarists at my home recently and they all picked it as a player’s choice! Not bad for the company it keeps.
Fairfield Counts Swing Band
Grand AmericanIt was the last day of the 2009 Montreal Guitar Show. I was making my "last rounds" to see if I had overlooked any guitars when I decided to stop at a luthier's table I had passed by a couple of times. The luthier: Erich Solomon. The guitar? The Grand American archtop. I asked if I could play it. Erich accompanied me to the player's booth. It was instant! I knew, and so did Erich, that this was a guitar for me. It had a "springy" type action that I love. It was great unplugged and it was great plugged with its Johnny Smith pickup. The first time I gigged with this guitar got a noticeable reaction from the guys in the band. They loved the sound. I didn't mention the "look". Erich calls this guitar "Deco" for good reason. It's just so cool to look at. I have loved playing this guitar since I first played it in Montreal. Erich's in the top 10 of luthiers making guitars today in my opinion. Check him out before it's too late.
Mike Moss, Birmingham, AL
16" Oval Hole PhidelityA guitar from another planet
Erich, I have been playing and collecting jazz archtop guitars for nearly 30 years. I have owned D'Aquisto, Monteleone, Benedetto, Buscarino, Gibson, Epiphone, Triggs and Campellone guitars. Throughout this time period I have been obsessed with finding an instrument that would synergize the best characteristics of a flattop with an archtop. More specifically, an instrument with great bass response, sustain, articulation, sweetness, balance, playability and projection. In my opinion, most current archtop designs do not lend themselves to achieving this combination of sound. When I learned about your application of the divine principles of proportion (Phi) used on your Phidelity model I became intrigued with the concept, and thought maybe this builder is on to something. Well, the search for me is over. My Phidelity guitar delivers a sound which not only combines the best attributes of both instruments, it does so with such beautiful overtones, tremendous sustain and highs that resemble a Steinway piano. Until now, the desire for this sound had just been resonating in my head….. but it’s finally real. For anyone out in this galaxy who is reading this and been searching for that magical sound…..search no more and go order a Phidelity NOW, before the waiting list is several years.
Steve Longobardi, West Islip, NY