1998 Thomas Humphrey Millenium

Woods: Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top with lattice bracing. Spruce has considerable bear claw figuring, as photos show. Honduras mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard. French polish throughout except lacquered neck.

MIscellany: 645mm scale length, 43.5mm string spacing at the nut, bone saddle, Gotoh tuners.

Condition: very good. Virginia luthier Douglas Ching refurbished the guitar in 2009. He repaired two cracks on the back and one on the top and refreshed the French polish. Because the polish was reapplied, only one of the cracks is visible, on close inspection. The top is free of any serious cosmetic issues, with the normal array of light, stray, nail marks and two tiny dents. The back shows finish wear on the treble side bouts, where contact with the player was made over the years. Some disturbance of the shellac on the sides can be found, but it is minor. Overall, the guitar is in remarkable condition and its sound is full and open, though it has not been played so much over the past few years. Mr. Ching also refretted the fingerboard and inserted a new bone saddle. The string height is comfortably normal and the setup is such that adjustments can be made in the future if required.

Comment: this guitar is nearly identical to the 2001 already on the site. Both guitars have been played with a passion worthy of the builder, and both have many good years ahead. The Humphrey lattice bracing is hardly noticeable if one thinks of the carbon fiber sound Greg Smallman and his acolytes feature. While those lattices have a bell like roundness and perhaps a hint of nasal intonation, I find these Humphreys to be dry, reticent, and cleaner to the ear. There is all the volume one could wish for, but it is not automatically part of the DNA of this subtle instrument. The Millennium design has been sought out by professionals not only for the ease of playing (especially owing to the highly elevated fingerboard and light touch required to drive the response), but for “unshowy” sound, which delivers pretty much what is put into the playing, reliably, consistently, and with a bit of gravitas that comes from the mind of Mr. Humphrey, one of the magicians of guitar design, perhaps one of the top three American builders ever. This is why the Millennium is an investment grade guitar.

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  • '98 Humphrey

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Price: $12000
Sale Price: $10000

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