2003 Michael Dunn Photonic Grand Slam: Gigantic 20" Body, Museum Quality!

Listing Sold
Shipped From
Seattle, WA, United States
Joined Reverb
Preferred Seller
Quick Shipper

About This Listing

Serial #: 454, hand signed by the builder

Body size at lower bout: 20" Body depth: 3 3/4" Scale length: 25 3/4" (655mm) Nut width: 1 7/8" (47mm)

Finish: Hand rubbed French polish

Materials: Solid fine grained bookmatched spruce top; solid ebony and Mexican Chakte-Kuk back and sides; solid mahogany neck; solid ebony fingerboard, compensated ebony bridge with bone saddle; hand-laminated internal sound reflector with maple inset; clear scratchplate.

Hardware: Black Sperzel 16X1 tuners; machine-turned brass tailpiece with Chakte-Kuk inset; adjustable truss rod.

Notes: If there's a bigger (or more spectacular) gypsy guitar out there, please give us a shout. Otherwise, we're calling Guinness.

Starting in the late 1960's, Michael Dunn virtually single-handedly jump-started the revival of Selmer/Macafferri style guitars in North America. An influential teacher whose students include accomplished builders like Shelley Park, Dunn remains the single most imaginative builder in the history of Gypsy jazz guitars. Working in the Classical and Flamenco style of his Spanish teachers, Michael shapes each guitar by hand without a form. With his restless creativity in design and materials, each Dunn guitar is unique unto itself, a work of visual as well as audible art.

This gargantuan instrument was commissioned by a collector from the great state of Texas, where they are known to do things in a big way. The star of a collection known as 20/20, this one-of-a-kind creation was one of 20 guitars all custom built with lower bouts of no less than 20 inches each. (For reference, the largest archtop guitar in regular production was the Stromberg Master 400, with a girth of a mere 19 inches in width.) Inspired by the original Maccaferri Selmer Modele Orchestre of the early 30's, the 'grand bouche' soundhole of the Grand Slam is constructed with a curved sound reflector and internal port, designed to enhance the acoustic projection of the instrument.

The back and sides are crafted in marquetry style, with intersecting pieces of solid black ebony and a Mexican hardwood known as Chakte-Kuk, whose chestnut color presents a lively contrast in coloration. The art-deco pattern represents rays of sunlight emanating from an orb of rock maple, whose beams crisscross the back and up the sides, in a pattern of contrasting diagonal stripes, which even extend to the heelcap itself. (This maple sun is echoed in a finial atop the peghead as well, hence the designation 'Photonic', natch.)

The motif continues around the soundboard with inlaid checkerboard purfling, which is relieved at the lower bout with a contoured Laskin-style edge bevel, a challenging feat of custom luthiery in itself. A single short grainline crack in the back has been soundly resealed, the solid ebony fingerboard is graced with a Renaissance style hand-scalloped bone nut, and the solid spruce soundboard is protected with a clear scratchplate.

The voice, as one might imagine, is simply cavernous, with thundering bass, sparkling highs, and an exceptional shimmering of acoustic reverb in the upper register. And it's loud. Boy, is it loud. Equally at home in a campfire jam or a museum of modern art, the Photonic Grand Slam is an instrument of truly surpassing musical and artistic dimensions. So go big, or go home. But call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with light gauge silvered steel strings.

Case: Original fitted black plush lined arched hardshell case.


100% unconditional 48 hour buyer approval on all instruments. (Many Reverb items are sold 'as described', with restricted return privileges. This instrument is fully returnable, for any reason.)
For more info, or an in-hand demo on any instrument, please contact us at archtop.com
Fine vintage instruments since 1989. Reverb Preferred Seller. We ship internationally, CITES certified.
All text and photos copyright 2020 archtop.com, reproduction by permission only.

Product Specs

Listed2 years ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more

Seller Reviews