Rivolta Guitars - Channeling the Zeitgeist of Our Time
Posted by Robinson Earle on Aug 12th 2019
Rivolta Guitars have an vintage-retro inspired look that can only come from the master builder of the boutique guitar, Dennis Fano.
Dennis Fano’s Rivolta line channels the zeitgeist of our time with a price tag aimed at the starving artist type. This ever-expanding pantheon of elegant off-sets pays homage to the global diaspora of Rock & Roll. When Fender, Gibson, and Gretsch were still fresh, their European counterparts in countries like Italy were refining their own interpretation of the electric guitar. The Rivolta method entails taking the best and most distinctive features of iconic models from the 50s and 60s and combining them into one guitar. If Gibson and Rickenbacker conceived a baby on an Italian vacation, it might look like the Combinata.
In fact, checking off the historical references is part of the fun with Rivolta. The aforementioned Combinata owes its unique shape in part to the short-lived Rickenbacker Combo 800 that was designed by an ex-Gibson employee for the Electro company in 1954. Fano has long regarded this body-style as being one of the most exceedingly ergonomic ever designed. The asymmetry of the upper bouts are perfectly conducive to the diagonals we create when playing guitar. The Combinata is larger and much more luxurious than its predecessors, however. The finishes, giant block inlays, and perfectly matched hardware are in a league of their own. The sleek German carved top is a comfort to the forearm without ever slowing it down. Tonally, the stripped-down Combinata I is garage rock dream guitar, while the Combinata VII and XVII (trem model) feature chambered bodies that give them a sweet, clear airiness that’s perfect for blues and jazz.
Following the success of the Combinata, Rivolta released another stunner, the Mondata. Part-Jazzmaster, part-Firebird, and its own fresh page in the history books. This model is offered both chambered and solid with a variety of different pickup options. It is the perfect solution for guitarists who want versatility, but in an exceedingly cool guitar. The off-set body and elevated center-block are more than just hip, however. They seem to subtly guide the hands and forearms towards their ideal musical station. The Mondata can rip, it can purr, and it can even pull off some vintage glassy, jazzy tones that will warm every heart in the room.
Where does the magic come from? My theory revolves around Dennis Fano being a bass player. As anyone who’s worked in guitar retail will attest, bass players tend to have a much more personalized approach to their instruments than guitar players. Bassists are constantly refining and customizing their rigs. Compared to bassists, we’re lemmings circling a monolith. Dennis Fano felt he had to do something to help the guitarists out. Therforefore, he has gifted us with some of the most unique, yet deeply historically informed electric guitars ever produced. This bassist’s wisdom also extends to the overall cut and feel of his instruments. Simply put, he gravitates towards bigness. The necks and bodies are a little bigger than you may expect, but you’ll quickly find that they never impede speed, but actually offer a wider musical canvas.
Next on the horizon for Rivolta are a bass and a baritone, and we’re stoked. Given the tight shimmering tones of their other models, it’s fun to imagine the dark bloom of those low end frequencies. We try to stock our walls with the best guitars we can find, and this niche that Fano has carved out with Rivolta is simply magical. Although relatively new on the scene, these guitars always needed to be. Too long have hip guitar players pined for the obscure Rock chariots of yore, only to find them plagued with issues and lacking in the desirable graces of modernity. Rivolta combines the best features with the coolest guitars and still leaves you with enough money to buy a matching shirt.