Robert Benedetto is widely acknowledged as today’s foremost maker of archtop guitars. Over a prolific 50 year career, he has personally handcrafted nearly 1,000 instruments, including 500 archtops. “My roots are in jazz guitar. It’s been my love and my focus since Day One.”
Robert Benedetto was born October 22, 1946 in the Bronx, New York, into a family of artists, cabinet makers and musicians. He made his first archtop guitar in 1968. His reputation grew as he crafted guitars for noted players Bucky Pizzarelli, Chuck Wayne, Joe Diorio and Cal Collins, and, later, Johnny Smith, Jack Wilkins, Ron Eschete, Martin Taylor, Howard Alden, John Pizzarelli, Andy Summers, Jimmy Bruno and Kenny Burrell (collectively known as “The Benedetto Players”). His guitars appear on countless recordings, TV & film soundtracks, in videos, books, magazines, museums (including the Smithsonian Institution) and concerts worldwide.
In 1975, Bob and Cindy (Whyte) were married. For 40 years, Cindy has photographed and extensively documented Bob’s guitars and their players. In 1994, they published the landmark book, Making an Archtop Guitar, following it in 1996 with its companion video, Archtop Guitar Design & Construction. That same year, Cindy organized the Benedetto Players in Concert series. In 2004, Mel Bay Publications produced the acclaimed “Benedetto: Body and Soul” DVD, a biography by William Doyle.
From 1999-2006, Benedetto had a licensing agreement with Fender Musical Instruments to produce his models in a small, controlled manufacturing environment. Signature models for Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola, Jack Wilkins and Howard Alden were also created.
In 2006, Benedetto joined forces with Howard Paul to create Benedetto Guitars, Inc, in Savannah, Georgia, manufacturing a broad line of more affordable professional instruments without compromising the unparalleled Benedetto worldwide reputation for singular quality. The company plays a part in both the business and cultural communities.
In 2018, a Benedetto 50th Anniversary concert was presented by the Savannah Music Festival featuring Howard Alden, Chico Pinheiro, Romero Lubambo, “King” Solomon Hicks and Pat Martino. The Second Edition of his book “Making an Archtop Guitar” was published in 2018 (Centerstream Publishing/Hal Leonard).
Beginning January 2015, Benedetto began a change in composition: Bob and his wife Cindy are enjoying a “retirement” lifestyle that allows them to focus on their other interests including Benedetto Amps, Bob’s painting and sculpturing hobbies, Cindy’s archival of the Benedetto history, and of course lots of guitar gigs for Bob! Bob’s longtime apprentice, Master Luthier Damon Mailand has taken the reigns as Production Manager, training new luthiers, carving magnificent arch tops at Bob’s personal workbench, and providing the quality control to maintain Benedetto’s unimpeachable reputation as the best in the world.
“Bob Benedetto is the foremost builder of archtop guitars in the world. With tools that had belonged to his grandfather and tools that he made himself, he started making guitars entirely by hand (in 1968). He rose to become the standard bearer of a tradition of hand craftsmanship that threads its way back through the work of John D’Angelico, Orville Gibson, Lloyd Loar and even further to the centuries-old reverence for artistry and craft that is so much a part of the Italian and Italian-American heritage.” TOM WHEELER, Renowned Guitar Historian, Author of The Guitar Book; American Guitars; The Stratocaster Chronicles; former Editor in Chief, Guitar Player Magazine