I initially made the Felix for my friend Craig Ventresco who wanted a big 14 fret guitar. I was thinking of the big Galiano guitars, which predated archtops and were the choice for some early jazz players like Eddie Lang and Nick Lucas. Antonio Cerrito made some 14 fret guitars in the late 20s, most likely for a jazz player before archtops caught on. The shape of the Felix was influenced by some early D'Angelicos. I was trying to keep the bridge as close as I could to the widest part of the top, not too close to the soundhole. I'm not a big archtop fan, I don't think they have the dynamic range of a flat top. I wish more jazz players played flat tops. The Felix is 15 5/8" in the lower bout with either a 25 1/2" or 24 7/8" scale. I have built them ladder braced and X braced. Ladder bracing has a little more attitude and kick. X bracing is smoother and sweeter.
Here's my friend Craig Ventresco doing his thing on his Felix. Craig is one of my favorite guitar players of all time. He has a singular style and draws from sources that most people neglect, but of which he has a very deep knowledge, popular songs of the late 1800's and early 1900's, and ragtime, both of which were the building blocks for jazz and blues. He is nothing short of a genius. Craig lives in San Francisco and performs regularly at the Atlas Cafe and the Rite Spot. If you're in town, be sure to catch him.
Here's my brother Frankie Basile playing some Gary Davis on his ladder braced Felix.
Here's my friend J.P. Reali tearing it up on his X braced Felix and talking in depth about the guitar. J.P. is a singer and guitar player in the Washington D.C. area. You can find out more about J.P. at jpreali.com