The Casimi C5S baritone guitar is finally here. Ordered in Mach 2021, and finally finished now, in mid September 2023. Matthew Rice and Matthias Roux are Casimi Guitars, based in Muizenberg, outside Cape Town. They are in high demand and only make a handful of instruments per year, hence the long waiting list. This is a multiscale instrument, also called “fan-fret”, with the 6th string at 28” and the 1st at 27”. To be noted is the tilted bridge, and the perpendicular fret at the fifth position. It features a sound port on the top side as well as subtle arm and chest bevels.
As for woods, the top is made of Moonspruce, a master grade spruce that is harvested at a particular moon phase. The back and sides are African Blackwood, a hard tone wood similar to Brazilian Rosewood. Bindings are made of beautiful koa. The neck is mahogany and fretboard is ebony with golden Evo frets like our Buendia 12-string. The nut and saddle are Black Tusq.
The appointments are inspired in African motifs. The back and fret inlays are drawn from traditional African daggers of ceremonial use. In the rosette, the motifs are derived from traditional patterns in African basketry. The rosette features Casimi’s signature continuous blended purfling. Materials are different kinds of wood, copper, brass, and mother of pearl. The open headstock is also a Casimi signature design, elegant and stylish, with the Casimi logo at the top. Tuners are golden Gotoh. Inside, a K&K mini pickup system that outputs at the backstrip pin. Because of all the customizations and appointments, the model name (initially called C5C) was upgraded to C5S (C5 Signature).
This is a baritone guitar. Connoisseurs may note that the strings are thicker than usual. A baritone guitar usually goes from B to B instead of E to E, that is a perfect fourth lower than standard tuning. It can also be tuned down to A for a really deep sound. It should be possible thanks to the long scale. In his recording with the Manzer baritone, Pat Metheny used a Nashville-style tuning with the two middle strings tuned an octave higher. He talks about it in this 2015 interview here for Vintage Guitar Magazine I am picking the instrument today, Wednesday 20th of September. Needless to say, I can’t wait to play it and try out its sound and hopefully post a sample here sometime.