Kevin Cronin, the sole employee of Cronin Archtops, has been working
extensively in the woodworking field for over 20 years. He has developed
a finely-honed sense of what makes a piece of wood come alive with
the right combination of selection and careful attention to the
carving process. As a jazz guitarist for over 30 years, he has always
been drawn to the beauty and sound of the archtop guitar and has,
in fact, played archtops exclusively for over 25 years.
When I first
began to play, the archtop was found mostly in attics and closets.
The primary instrument of the jazz guitarist throughout the 30s,
40s, 50s and 60s, it's use had given way to the flattop and soildbody.
Used L-5s were available for $600 and a DAngelico or Stromberg
could be found for less than the price of a subcompact car from
the same time. Independent luthiers making these guitars numbered
less than a handful and you could get one before your next birthday
Today, it is fashionable
to be an archtop luthier as these instruments can command significant
prices and the demand is relatively strong. While I certainly
hope that these conditions remain for a long time, I can assure
you that whether or not that happens, the archtop is all I'll
build and all that Ill play. I've always felt that the beauty
and romance of these majestic instruments should be preserved,
and I guess I feel it is my obligation to do my own small part
to insure their survival.
I've also paid my
dues as a working musician and recognize the importance of trying
to keep my instruments priced as reasonably as possible; as a
woodworker and as a luthier, I believe that value, a fair price
and craftsmanship can exist at the same time.
Whether you are new to the world of archtop guitars, or have played
them all of your life, you owe it to yourself to sit down with one
of these instruments before you make any final decision on your
next guitar. A Cronin will be both a wonderful new instrument and
an old friend at the same time.