Magazine article Guitar Player

Giannini Craviola: GSCRA 36 CEQ N

Magazine article Guitar Player

Giannini Craviola: GSCRA 36 CEQ N

Article excerpt

THE AMOEBA-LIKE GIANNINI Craviola may be somewhat of a curiosity here in the USA, but the company has deep roots back to 1900, when Italian luthier Tranquillo Giannini established an acoustic-guitar factory in his beloved Brazil. The Giannini family still runs the operation, blending Tranquillo's age-old techniques with modern technology, design, and production. That said, the Craviola line--which includes nylon-string, steel-string, and electric solidbody models--looks decidedly Renaissance, as if a cittern or lute maker around 1500 had imbibed too much mead and set about to craft a "new concept in stringed instruments." It's certainly an eye-catching silhouette.

Its unique shape also makes the Craviola very easy to play. It sits comfortably on your thigh when you play sitting down, and the sloped cutaway allows access to the high frets whether you're seated or standing. The neck is wide and meaty, which I liked, and it always felt quite comfy, whether I was strumming chords or playing single-note lines. The setup out of the box was very good. The Craviola's compact size and light weight are also advantages, as I think it would make a perfect "to go" instrument for traveling.

Sonically, the pure acoustic tone of the Craviola is somewhat bright and tinny. When played along with ukuleles and mandolins, those smaller-sized instruments tended to project bigger, clearer, and more balanced tones. Now, there are very good uses for thin, steel-y acoustics when layering Phil Spector-style "walls of jangle" (a la "My Sweet Lord"), texturizing acoustic tones under overdriven electric parts, and other situations where you want to present different tonal spectrums. But I wouldn't reach for the Craviola for a purely solo-acoustic performance or for fingerpicked acoustic parts.

However, thanks to some electro-acoustic voodoo by the Fishman lsys+ preamp, the Craviola completely redeems itself when plugged into a good acoustic amp. …

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