The Silvio is inspired by "Wappen" or "Shield" guitars, which were popular in Austria in the mid to late 1800's. The Italian guitarist Luigi Mozzanni was taken by the design of these guitars and his infatuation initiated his journey as a luthier. He was an incredibly inventive builder. His star pupil, Mario Maccaferri, took some of his ideas and designs to the Selmer Company in France and helped to design the famous Selmer-Maccaferri guitars which Django Reinhardt helped to popularize. All of this was rolling around in my head when I designed the Silvio. I wanted to incorporate the classic look of the Wappen guitars, as well as some of Mozzani's and Maccaferri's designs. While the upper bout of the guitar was minimized, I tried to maximize the lower bout, as well as the placement of the bridge in relation to the top. The guitar is about 15 1/2" wide in the lower bout, with a 24 7/8" scale. Much bigger than the old Wappen guitars which were around 12" side with a 24" scale. As a result it really sings. Lots of volume with an extremely open sound. People are always dubious about it due to its unconventional shape, but they always walk away wanting more.
Here are my friends Alfonso Ponticelli and Rami Gabriel cutting it up on a shop visit. Alfonso is playing the Silvio, Rami is playing an Annunziata. Both Alfonso and Rami reside in Chicago. Alfonso is one of the best. His band is Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan. You can find out more about him at his website swinggitan.com . Rami Gabriel is a great guitar player, incredible oud player, composer, arranger, and all around wonderful human being. If you want to listen to something refreshing and grand, pick up his CDs, where he plays oud with some of Chicago's greatest Gypsy and traditional jazz musicians. They are excellent recordings: cdbaby.com/Artist/RamiGabriel