Introduction by Josh Maxey
Maxey Archtops Archtop guitars changed my life. I walked into our local music store in Salem, VA, circa 1994 and heard the most beautiful guitar playing. The man who worked there became my first jazz guitar teacher and the idea of the archtop as being a kind of elegant pinnacle instrument was instilled right away. My first archtop was a starter that I learned on for a couple years. Then I set my sites on a vintage Gibson ES175. While in high school I got my first job and with a little bit of help purchased a 1961 ES175. It had two PAF pickups. Over the next decade or so I moved to NYC, attended one of the best Jazz Schools in the world, played in NYC, and recorded albums of original music. That guitar was just “the guitar” and to me the PAFs were just how humbuckers should sound.
I have been fortunate to be around a lot of wonderful archtop guitars and even more so to be around the wonderful musicians who play them. The sound of those guitars is a part of the blood flowing through jazz and improvisation, the greatest of American art forms.
Over the years I became more interested in the guitar, as an object. We know it as a tool to express beauty, but the guitar itself can also be art, and real magic happens for the player when a note comes alive, as if the guitar is in conversation with the ideas you are playing. That feeling is the basis for Maxey Archtops, the collaborative archtop branch of Phred Instruments.
I ordered a Phred Dockstar in October of 2017. I was interested in finding the smallest size hollow body that would still produce a big warm tone. It arrived a few months later and I was in love! Here’s this cool little guitar, inspired by of my favorite instruments, that was inspiring to play and had a multitude of sounds between the two humbuckers and splitting abilities. It was a like a toolbox all in itself. The 25.5” scale length combined with 24 frets, provided a snap to the sound I hadn’t experienced before.
In 2019 Freddy and I started talking about a handmade small body archtop build which became the Phred Instruments Reprise. When Reprise arrived, I couldn’t believe my hands and ears. Here it was, a new and unique guitar. It sounded and played differently than any other I had played. It was surprising and inspiring. It absolutely sings.
The same luthiers who make Reprise make each Maxey Archtop guitar built to order. These guitars are made to tell your story in music and find a sound that inspires you to play and take your next step. Music flows out through the notes we play and adds meaning to our days, our archtops are meant to make that a little sweeter, with a bit more harmonic richness adding a little more depth and detail to your playing.
About Josh Maxey
Josh Maxey is a composer, band leader and teacher. His series of 10 albums has been played around the world on jazz radio and received many critical reviews. Josh teaches full time with his business, Guitar Heads School, running online classes as well as private lessons. Josh had the good fortune to learn from some of the greatest jazz musicians in history, Rodney Jones, George Benson, Chico Hamilton, Idris Muhammad, Dr. Lonnie Smith and others. His recording series is all original music and features some of the best musicians working in NYC. Josh plays and teaches online and in the Denver, CO area.