Part of the attraction of archtop guitars is that they are, well, attractive. There's something about the smooth, sumptuous, three-dimensional curves of that carved top and back that makes us want to hold it and touch it. Odalisque is not bashful about her beauty either- those sound ports built into the curves of her waist are downright indecent, but so right.

In construction it is as radical as in appearance. The neck is bolted on to a central backbone, bolt heads naked on the playing surface of the fretboard. That backbone carries the string tension directly to the tailpiece fastener, thus allowing the engelmann spruce top to be thinner, and more responsive, without needing any bracing. The sides are laminated from three slices of walnut and maple, eliminating the need for linings. The neck is satiny african mahogany, while the fretboard, headplate, bridge, fingerers and tailpiece are matched from the same slab of striped indonesian ebony.

As usual, it carries stainless steel frets and a double-action truss rod. In a first for me, the finish is a high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer, a touchable, warm finish that will look better and better with age.