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Comments from Players and Builders

Listen to what some of our clients have to say...

Hi Jim.

I hope you're doing well! Last weekend I played your jazz mandolin plugged in with the jazz trio at the Hammond Museum. We were the background music at an art opening, but after "In The Mood" (goofy, I know!) on your mandolin, the whole place applauded. Last night I took it to an Irish session at the Quiet Man pub in Peekskill (I have a monthly paid gig there with a singer, woooh!). I am SO HAPPY with the sound of it - it's so expressive and inspires me to really milk it when playing solos etc. Not only is it my preferred mandolin (I have other nice ones as you know), but the people I play with want me to play it as well.

Richard Brooker

“The guitar you built taught me a new way of playing, or perhaps, more accurately, I had to learn how to play it, because it has its own character or personality. I heard intimations of that personality when I first picked the instrument up in my hands, but found that I only began to understand it after playing it for about a year or so. It was like working with another musician whom you get along with musically right off the bat, but over time develop a much deeper understanding of. And then of course the music really develops – it opens up! This is, I think, the contribution of an artisan luthier who is also a player: personality that’s crafted into the wood. You can hear the qualities of the luthier in everything that’s played on the instrument he builds.”

Richie Kaye

Hey Jim,

I just bought the Artigiano last week from Route 7 music, and I have to say it is the most beautiful sounding instrument I have ever played.

George Lesiw

Hi Jim,

I wanted to let you know what I think about the archtop uke you made me. I think the ukulele is a world class work of art, surpassed only by the punchy tone and loudness of the instrument.I especially like the concert size neck with the tenor body.i got pictures of the uke on my website:frankie4strings.com
you got my endorcement.

Frank Carella

“Jim DeCava is one of the finest instrument woodworkers I have ever worked with. Jim has constructed many many banjo necks for me since I first met him in the 1970’s. Virtually every time I take a banjo out that he has made the neck for, people invariably ask me “is that the original?” Once they find out it is newly made, they quickly ask for the Jim’s address to make one for them too. His tight wood joints, correct rake angles and strong necks will bring the best out of any instrument.

Beyond this, and more so, there are the great guitars he makes…”

Ray Alden, Musician, Author

"I thought I had seen the most beautiful banjo in the world when my Liberty Cotillion found me at the Maryland Banjo Academy. David Schenck was using it in his booth to emphasize the beauty of his banjo straps. But then I had occasion to see the open backed banjo you had just completed for my friend, Floyd Scholz.

Never has there been a more exquisite jewel of a banjo! What a honey. Having the low profile neck shape of my banjo, with the spectacular tree of life, engraved inlay, smooth fret work, plus gem-like perfling, it is irresistible. It feels as good as it looks. Your workmanship is flawless. What a treat it must be to own such a piece of work!

How could one stick to other business when such an instrument is within sight!"

Lea Kachadorian, Volunteer

"You're the best!"

Floyd Scholz, Master Carver, Vermont Raptor Academy

“All I need out of a guitar is great tone and an incredibly low action with NO BUZZES. Given the size of my 9-string necks, along with my solo guitar playing, I would certainly injure my right hand with a more moderate action. Jim DeCava has met my needs beyond my expectations. The great looks of my “Hydra” were not my main concern but are certainly a great bonus!”

Michael Coppola, Nine-String Guitarist

"Since I'd always wanted a wider neck to get more right-hand precision, I consulted Jim DeCava of Stratford, Connecticut about an overhaul. Jim put on a new, much wider neck according to my specifications (2-5/16 inches at the nut!), with my initials (LSU) in my own script in pearl on the head. Most importantly, Jim carved a brand new maple back, and the sound just exploded from the instrument. Even completely acoustically, this guitar projects! It gives any Benedetto or Buscarino a run for the money with respect to sound. And, it is beautiful. Because of a graphite rod that Jim inserted in the neck, it is so stable that I have not had to adjust the truss rod once since the guitar was delivered to me."

Larry Urbon, Professional Musician and Teacher

"As a professional photographer, I recently had the pleasure of playing some DeCava guitars while photographing them for the DFI Website. What a nice experience.

One flat top acoustic in particular really spoke to me. I have never played an acoustic guitar that articulated my playing input so well. The guitar was percussive and produced wonderful consonant and vowel sounds with the slightest bit of coaxing. Needless to say, the photo session took much longer than normal as I sat there and played for a long time. This is the kind of photo assignment I like."

Bob Feather, Professional Photographer

"I have been playing guitar for 40 years, have played with several groups (as well as solo) in several styles, and have owned some nice guitars; but I have always had a job outside of music. I'm never quite sure if this has held me back or been a blessing. No complaints, however. A friend roped me into playing standards and jazz in a group he's forming, and so I needed an archtop. It's funny, but it began when he brought his keyboard over for Thanksgiving, and I put a kids' microphone into the soundhole of one of my flattops. We went from there, and then I met you. Looks like I'm back in it again. I guess that makes me a "musician" but not a professional musician. I'd love to meet you two. Maybe someday I'll get to the East Coast."

He also wrote separately:

"With regard to the Elf, you misunderstood, I do not like it. Instead, you could say that I am blown away and totally amazed by it. I love this guitar. I played it a bit acoustically for a day or so. It was weird, the guitar was fine, but didn't have much voice or volume for the first and much of the second day. I worked it pretty hard on Friday night and the thing just seemed to come alive late that night. We played amplified Saturday, and everyone was amazed. This is one fine instrument. I really can't express to you enough my gratitude for getting this into my hands. Jimmy, you are an incredible Luthier."

Mike Dietz, Professional

"Jim, I Just want to say thanks for making me not one but two great looking and sounding guitars. As you know I play with two big swing bands and the sound of my six string gives the traditional big band sound. I get nothing but complements where ever I play. My seven string is also being introduced into the band (slowly), along with expanding me into doing more soloing and duets. It is a beautiful instrument. When I asked you to make my guitars and I requested a real light action I was afraid it would be a problem, but the MASTER came through."

Tony Saccavino, Professional

"It is alive! Each string has a character. When you strike each one, the balance is beautiful! When you hit all the strings, the bass doesn’t override the highs or middles. The balance is excellent."

Joe Gitto, Guitar Teacher/ Jazz Musician

"One of the finest arch top acoustic instruments I've ever played"

Mark Elf, Jazz Guitarist, Seven Number One CD's; owner of Mark Elf Custom Classic

“My custom Debbie Davies signature blues model by Jim DeCava. And what a beauty he is: sporting a vintage gold-top finish and two humbuckers, he's completely hollow with no F-holes, and a hand-carved arch-top body. Plays like a dream and sings like blues from heaven!“

Debbie Davies, Award winning Blues Guitarist; owner of Debbie Davies’ Signature Model

"I have had the pleasure of owning many DeCava guitars and they all shared one thing, great tone!!!!! Jim's guitars have a such an even balance between every string.

I am amazed by the amount of attention that goes into the actual sound of his guitar's timbre and balance. I am sure that this is a direct result of years of being both player and builder. Thanks for the one of a kind instruments, Jim!!!!

Phil Forbes, Guitarist, Teacher, Author

"I needed to write you with this testimonial about my new Mammoth Acoustic Guitar handmade and crafted by you. First, thank you for being a great easygoing guy. Speaking with you about the many details that you designed into the guitar was exciting and a pleasure. Few are blessed with such a talent; your hands are the tools of a master. DeCava will certainly be included on the "canonized" list of luthiers of a master. Secondly, when I received the guitar and opened the case for the very first time, it was love at first sight, even before I played it! The artisanship is original, beautiful, and perfect. Finally and more importantly was the playability and sound of this extraordinary instrument. The feel of the neck and low action was exactly what I asked from you and you delivered. The sound is full and bell-like. Your work Jim is well respected and now I know why. I highly recommend your works of sound and art.

Joe Carcione, Owner of #2 Mammoth Acoustic