Harrison’s latest creation, the Neo Jazz 17 archtop, is an absolute masterpiece. Several subtle adjustments to the traditional archtop design combined with flawless execution create an instrument that simply screams quality.
Visually, the Harrison Neo Jazz NJ17 has a striking look, both elegant and modern. The real brilliance behind the Neo Jazz’s design is that the very features that are the most visually bold are the same features that make it such a sonic powerhouse.
At first glance, I noticed the unusual shape of the Neo Jazz’s sound holes. As Harrison explained to me, the visual design of the sound holes allows a wider uninterrupted center mass across the top of the guitar. The center of the guitar top is commonly thought of as the cornerstone of the instrument’s tone. It is after all the focal transfer point of all vibrations that pass down from the strings. A traditional f-hole design cuts quite far into the middle of the guitar top, curbing the amount of potential top vibration. Playing the Harrison Neo Jazz 17 is proof of concept. The acoustic tone of this guitar is full and bold, with a truly impressive amount of pure volume. What is really special is that the guitar achieves this level of projection without sacrificing any sonic detail or subtlety.
Another key design feature of the Neo Jazz 17 is the multi-port side vent. A variation of a standard side port, Harrison has used multi-ports for several years now. The multi-port design covers a much wider portion of the side than a standard side port, without sacrificing strength or structural integrity. The result is a surprising amount of sonic projection pointed directly at the player. Side ports also have an interesting effect on the bass frequencies of a guitar. Lower notes seem to get a little extra bloom, but the sound doesn’t over-saturate or get muddy.
All these wonderful acoustic properties translate beautifully when amplified, thanks to the Bartolini 5J pickup’s clear, natural tone. The Harrison Neo Jazz 17 is truly an absolute joy to play… everything just feels right. The feel, sound, look, fit and finish are all unmatched. Douglas Harrison has hit a home run with this one!
- Nevin Douglas
Neo Jazz Specifications
17″ ” body width
Hand-carved top of Master Grade Sitka spruce
Hand-carved back of highly flamed Big Leaf maple with matching sides
3-piece hard maple neck, African ebony fretboard
Stainless steel 6150 medium jumbo frets
Carved bridge and tailpiece of African ebony
Elevated pickguard of African ebony
Cooked maple binding
Multi Side port
Bartolini 5J pickup with pickguard mounted volume control
Gotoh 510 tuners with ebony buttons
Custom Ameritage case
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