Imre de Jonge Guitars & Basses

model e

 

The model E is my small-body shape all mahogany guitar that is lightweight, warm-sounding, and very resonant. It's my personal favourite model, and there's some people who feel the same. The body is the same shape that I use for The Rose.

The beauty of this guitar is its light weight, comfort to hold & play, its simplicity, and its warm tone.

It features 3 Bartolini pickups... 1 humbucker in the neck position and 2 single coils. This gives lots of tonal variation, including that honky Strat sound I love, which comes largely from the position of the middle pickup.

Each pickup has its own on/off switch. On is the down (away from you) position, so it's pretty hard to accidently turn one off. This gives all the combinations possible from 3 pickups, unlike a Strat 5-position switch, which can't get only neck & bridge together. As well, i find this easier to operate than a 5-way, and you can see easily what combination is in play. You can also kill the guitar by just turning them all off.

I've included one other switch, which by default cuts one of the coils of the humbucker, so you get all single-coil sound if you want. It could also be rewired to instead switch the phase of one of them, for an ultra thin, trebly sound. It would be easy enough to add another switch to do this, but on the model e's I've made I've kept it to just one extra switch.

The knobs control master volume & tone.

The bridge is inlaid flush to the deck, as always, and the pickups are bolted down from the back of the guitar, (flanges removed) rather than hanging on front mounts with springs. Nowadays I float the pickups on foam for easy height adjustment, but I used to bolt them hard down on a stack of washers to set the height. Not so easy to adjust, but you really never have to, once you get them optimal, and they're solid.

As always, the truss rod adjustment is at the neck pickup, to save hollowing out the nape, (neck-head join) which weakens that area immensely. Unlike most guitars, the head won't break off if the guitar falls over backwards... guaranteed!

I made the first model e in 1979, and it was purchased by my friend John Toyonaga, who still has it and loves it. Last year (2011) I offered to trade it straight across for a brand new one, and he declined! So I asked if he'd write a short endorsement of the guitar, and this is what I got... more of a tribute, really, and it truly touched me:

"The model e is the kind of guitar for which we have all been searching, even if we don't realize it. But, without mistake, you'll know it when you've found it. It'll be the kind that allows you to forget about the notes and where your hands are. It'll be the one that has tone and sparkle at the same time. It's the kind of instrument that allows you to breathe and be free of the physical part of playing. You'll feel the fine craftsmanship and build quality when you're holding it. I've had mine since 1979, and it hasn't needed a thing... not even fret work, and the neck has stayed perfect. It has been admired by everyone who has played it." -John Toyonaga


John was also kind enough to include an mp3 file of his band "33 1/3" playing "Spooky" with him on his model e. Hear it here.


He loaned it to me a few years ago to record some jams with myself. It truly was a joy to play, and made the process so much easier and better sounding, I could hardly stand my Fender copies anymore! Here (still a draft) is his guitar on my tune "Lube Job"

I might try future e's in other woods, but would it then still truly be a model e?

I have to admit what a lot of guitarists already know: mahogany is great for solid bodies: light, stable, gorgeous, and warm-sounding.

My only problem with it is it doesn't grow in Canada!

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