Rivolta Guitars: When Old Meets New

Rivolta Guitars: When Old Meets New

Design innovation within the realm of guitar manufacturing is unstable territory at the best of times. A large majority of what is currently manufactured takes design cues from what was established almost 70 years ago. Straying from the established status quo has often proved disastrous for the big names in guitars, proving just how grounded in tradition the industry continues to be. However, Dennis Fano and the various brands he has worked to establish, have proven time and time again that you can take from the past and expand towards the future when designing an instrument. Fano’s affordable range of designs, manufactured by Eastwood, have received critical acclaim and have proven that innovation exists within guitar manufacturing, and is not limited by already established design. 


Getting a start in the industry as a repairman at Matt Umanov Guitars in New York, Dennis Fano progressively began manufacturing his own designs incorporating elements from the likes of Gretsch, Fender, and Gibson to name a few. This design philosophy inspired by the innovative designs of yesteryear resulted in Fano Guitars. Founded in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, Fano quickly gained critical acclaim for their ‘Alt de Facto’ models. Incorporating models such as the JM6, RB6, and PX6 to name a few, Fano guitars quickly found their way into many professional hands and on big stages around the world. What’s so striking about these instruments is perhaps the way disparate elements come together to form new and unique designs. The JM6 takes clear cues from the Jazzmaster, but flips it on its head with a variety of options utilising unusual pickup combinations, simplified electronics, and even variations of hardware not found on a ‘traditional’ Jazzmaster. In 2014, ownership shifted hands and Dennis Fano went on to open Novo Guitars in Nashville, Tennessee. Novo Guitars follow the same build philosophy, but expanded upon in regards to their production process and the introduction of new and unique silhouettes. Utilising a combination of tempered pine and ash, Novo have made a massive impact within the boutique guitar market, even going as far as to surpass the reputation of Fano’s previous brand. 

 

A gorgeous Combinata VII in Adriatic Blue Metallic!

 

Come 2015, and Eastwood enter the picture. Utilising Eastwood’s production facility in South Korea in tandem with Fano’s proprietary designs, Rivolta is established. Beginning with the launch of the Combinata, Rivolta introduced entirely new Fano designs onto the market, with an emphasis on making Novo’s retro-inspired designs more accessible to the general public. Following on, Rivolta introduced the Mondata, Regata, and Duocata models to the market. Eastwood Guitars are predominantly known for manufacturing a wide variety of retro-inspired oddities such as Airline, so the collaboration between Eastwood and Dennis Fano resulted in a fruitful collaboration for both brands. The attention to quality is evident with all Rivolta Guitars first being shipped to Novo in Nashville for QC. 


Despite functioning as a budget-friendly option for those wanting to dip their toes into the world of boutique guitar manufacturing, the Rivolta line has been anything but budget when it comes to specifications. Notably featured on these models is the ever-elegant ‘German carve’, which comes standard on all models. Originally utilised in the construction of furniture, the German carve found use in the manufacturing of European-built archtop guitars, and even extends as far as the Mosrites Venture model of the 1960s. Aesthetically, the German carve brings a refined feel and distinct look to the instrument that isn’t found on any comparable guitars at a similar price point. Alongside an effortlessly gorgeous German carve, certain models also feature the excellent Duesenberg Les Trem II system. These tremolo systems have a beautifully smooth action, and are perfect for subtle warbles and even hold up with some more aggressive use. In tandem with the roller saddle tune-o-matic bridge, you have an exceptionally stable and musical tremolo system. 

 

 The Combinata XVII features an awesome to use Les Trem tremolo system, great for beautifully subtle pitch warbles. 


Hardware and aesthetics aside, the real bread and butter for Rivolta revolves around their exceptional tone and playability which far exceeds its price point. What stands out immediately for us is the C+ neck profile, designed with the intention to replicate the feel of early ‘60s F-style necks, but with a more substantial feel. The result is a neck that fits the hand and makes for an effortless playing experience. The offset shapes of the Rivolta range can seem a little jarring to those not familiar, but feel suitably ergonomic both in sitting and standing position. Tonally, the Dennis Fano spec pickups, whether in the ‘Novanta’, ‘Fumante’, or ‘Brevetto’ designs, possess exceptional clarity and balance across the frequency range. The Novanta P90s in particular have plenty of bark, yet still clean up exceptionally well with a pronounced dynamic range. Whether for jangly cleans or ripping fuzz, the Rivolta range has the tonal capabilities representative of a versatile, and dynamic instrument. We’re as vain as anyone else and are acutely aware of an instrument's aesthetics, so in that sense Rivolta offers a range of guitars catered to both the fashionable and astutely practical individual. 


Conclusion:

Despite being fairly conservative as an industry, guitar design still has its fads that come and go throughout the years. We believe Rivolta have found a way to offer up boutique guitar design at an approachable price point without needing to compromise on the most crucial elements. Combining an eccentric host of design inspiration, Rivolta have crafted models catered to an increasingly discerning player base no longer satisfied with the same designs still being manufactured 70 years later. 


Replay Guitars is proud to be an authorised Australian dealer of Rivolta Guitars, so feel free to stop by for a chat and find out first hand what all the hype is about!

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