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Educators An Elite Group of Jazz Guitar's Finest Players


Respected as one of Italy’s foremost guitarists and proprietor of “The Music Shoppe” in Rome, Italy.

Franco Altissimi with his Cremona Model

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Nestor Arzola started playing music in the early sixties when he was influenced by Wes Montgomery and The Beatles. Entirely self-taught he played guitar and bass with local bands playing Rhythm n Blues and Chicano Music. Playing and touring with famous groups, in the likes of James Brown, and meeting Big Jim with Tom Jones, he realized the importance of understanding the construction of music and worked on obtaining a BA in Music.

In 1978 he started teaching for the E.P.I.S.D and E.P.C.C. Now with a MA and halfway through a Doctorate in Music Composition and Reading for the Handicapped, he is now retired from the school district but is still actively teaching Classical, Jazz and Fingerstyle Guitar in the College Scene. Nestor teaches (Guitar, Bass, Upright, Guitarron, Ukele, Vihuela, Mandolin, Voice and Piano) various styles for a College Degree, or for fun, and is still actively playing in groups. His favorite thing to do is spend time with family and play Rhythm n Blues, Jazz or Solo Voice/Guitar gigs.

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In the world of Jazz Guitar, there are no institutions larger, more highly regarded, or more prolific than The Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Graduating, decade after decade, the world’s most recorded names in jazz and rock, the guitar program influences the very course of music in America. They boast the largest guitar faculty in the world and have 350 performance ensembles rehearsing in more than 50 practice rooms. The Chairman of the Department is Larry Baione, holding perhaps the most prestigious guitar educator’s seat in the world. “As chair, my goal has been to maintain a Guitar Department that covers the craft of playing the guitar in a diversity of styles.” A storied career at the helm of a leading institution, he holds a B.M., Berklee College of Music, M.M., New England Conservatory of Music, is the recipient of Down Beat Hall of Fame scholarship award, and was principal guitar, U.S. Army Band, Washington, D.C.

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Larry Baione with his Bravo model.

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Joe Braccio with his Benedetto Cremona

Joe Braccio is a respected guitarist, steel drummer and educator in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Initially trained at the Scuola Cresciani di Roma Conservatory in Italy, Joe teaches at Florida’s St. Petersburg College, Eckerd College, Clearwater Christian College, Gibbs High School (Pinellas County Center for the Arts), John Hopkins Middle School Magnet and Perkins Elementary School of the Arts.

He has over 40 years experience with various styles of music including Jazz, Rock, Classical, world music, Top 40, R&B, Blues, Latin and chamber music. He has taught over 7,000 private students, many of whom have won awards and competitions in both the classical, jazz and rock idioms as well as being signed by major music labels including: Virgin Records, Atlantic Records, Sony and MCA.

His background includes courses at Cresciani Guitar School in Rome, Siena master classes (Italy) and private study with Adam Holzman, Frank Mullins (First guitar major at SPJC), Sandy DeVito, Mike Sullivan (Eckerd College) Charlie Byrd, Professore San Felice and Jeff Linsky.

Joe is also a member of the Tampa Bay Steel Orchestra and has played in a flute-guitar duo with Barbara Prescott for 30 years. Today he continues a busy and active performing career on both guitar and steel drums with his wife Lori.

Click here to download PDF of Full Biography and References for Joe Braccio

Joe has been a Benedetto Player (he performs on a 1981 Cremona model) for 33 years.

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Dr. Kristen Bromley with her Bravo Elite

Dr. Kristen R. Bromley is a gifted and sought-after instructor, as well as a loved performer and composer. In addition to directing ensembles and teaching guitar and jazz studies courses at Brigham Young University, Dr. Bromley works as a professional arranging/composing, performing, and recording musician, and she is the owner and primary featured artist of Kristen R. Bromley Music, LLC.

Kristen has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Music Education from Boston University, a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies, with an additional BA major in Family History and Genealogy, from Brigham Young University.

In January 2016, Dr. Bromley suffered a severe break to her left-arm humerus bone, which likewise involved the crushing of her left-arm radial nerve. Despite a very grim prognosis, which suggested that in a best-case-scenario she would regain a very small percentage of the function of her left-arm and hand, Dr. Bromley works as a musician and guitarist today. At the time of the injury, she was given a special priesthood blessing wherein God promised her that because of her faith, she would experience a complete recovery. Truly, this miraculous promise has become a reality. After several months of patience and waiting, she slowly began regaining the ability to move her wrist and fingers, and weeks later was able to start gradually developing her ability to play the guitar again.

In November of 2018, Dr. Bromley recorded a debut album called Simply Miraculous, which celebrated her miraculous return to professional guitar playing. Since then, she has continued to record and release music regularly, and is making strides in the music industry. Dr. Bromley is also the author of several guitar method books, and runs a music instruction channel on youtube: Dr. Kristen R. Bromley’s Online Music Academy. She has toured as a musician across parts of North America and Europe, and has performed at several highly prestigious jazz festivals with her university ensembles, such as the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival in Scotland, the Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival in England, the Marlborough International Jazz Festival in England, the Loulé Jazz Festival in Portugal, the San Sebastian International Jazz Festival in Spain, and the Ezcaray Jazz Festival in Spain. Dr. Bromley has also performed and presented clinics at Jazz Education Network and International Association for Jazz Education conferences. In 2006 and 2007, she was named the outstanding guitar soloist at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival.

As a scholar, Dr. Bromley has focused much of her research on discovering ways to create more interactive and person-centered educational environments wherein individuals experience whole-person learning outcomes as they grow through cognitive, emotional, and experiential means, develop greater self-discipline, and become more fully-functioning persons. (For more information see Person-Centered Learning in a Collegiate Jazz Combo by Kristen R. Bromley)

Kristen loves life, is deeply religious, and truly believes in the awesome power music has to uplift and edify the soul. She has devoted her career to enriching, uplifting, edifying, and inspiring lives through the education, performance, scholarship, composition, recording, and publishing of music.


Chris Buzzelli graduated from Trenton State College with a BA in classical guitar and from North Texas State University where he studied with guitarist Jack Petersen and performed as a member of the prestigious One O’clock Lab Band. In 1983 he completed a Master of Music Education degree with a specialization in jazz education.

In 1984, Buzzelli joined the faculty of Bowling Green State University where he continues to serve as Professor of Music and director of the guitar program. Over the years he has performed with artists such as Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Cal Collins, Mike Stern, Tal Farlow, Jack Wilkins, Randy Johnston, Joshua Breakstone, Mark Elf, Frank Vignola and Gene Bertoncini. Since 1995, Buzzelli has been playing 7-string guitar.

Chris, Director with New York Voices Summer Camp

Chris Buzzelli with his Bravo 7-String Model.

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Benedetto Player Susan Carson with her Sinfonietta archtop in 2014

Susan Taylor Carson plays Texas style Western Swing rhythm guitar in Tennessee.  Steeped first in bluegrass as a well-known banjo player and fingerstyle guitarist in east Tennessee, she went on to study Western Swing guitar with the late Bob Wills’ Texas Playboy legend, Eldon Shamblin. Susan was the first female 5 string banjo picker in East Tennessee, the youngest female to own a guitar shop (age 19), and Fender Musical Instruments’ first female District Sales Manager.

After having her own music store, she worked as a vintage instrument specialist for Gruhn Guitars for five years, then enjoyed a twenty year association with Fender, which included being a District Sales Manager in the southeast, as well as being a banjo design and marketing consultant for Fender’s acoustic division.

Susan provided the banjo music for Charles Kuralt’s commentary and history of Tennessee in 1976, has played on various recording projects, and conducted instructional workshops.  More recently, in 2010, Garrison Keillor featured Susan on The Prairie Home Companion radio show during which she played a Travis style medley on guitar.

In recent years, she has been an adjunct instructor in swing rhythm guitar at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN, home to the only 4 year Bachelor of Arts degree in Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music, and serves on the Development Council of the program. Today, Susan enjoys playing Texas style rhythm guitar with all the many fiddle players in the region, as well as helping others to learn the style.  Ironically, it was Mother Maybelle Carter who first played an archtop guitar in the region and made her famous recordings with it in 1927 just a few miles from Susan’s hometown.  Many years later, Susan is having fun introducing the archtop back into the area known as the birthplace of country music.

For 30 years, she was married to the late Bill Carson, a veteran in the musical instrument industry, a Fender Hall of Fame member, and principal designer of the famous Fender Stratocaster guitar.  (She plays an ANDY model and a SINFONIETTA)

 “I can’t wait to get my Benedetto Sinfonietta and play Texas style rhythm on it in Tennessee.  It is an honor and privilege to own such an incredibly fine made instrument by legendary builder Bob Benedetto.   But in addition to the joy of owning a Benedetto guitar is the privilege of knowing Bob and Cindy Benedetto personally.  They are the real deal – honest, sincere, and hilariously funny, and whose friendship I cherish.  Howard Paul, Bob, and Cindy will do everything possible to make sure you get a guitar made just for you, the way you want it.

Having spent my entire adult life in the musical instrument industry, I know and appreciate the great craftsmanship, the care, the passion, and the pride that Bob Benedetto puts into his instruments. 

When I think of the greatest archtop builders in history, I think of Stromberg, D’Angelico, D’Aquisto and Benedetto.”

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Lefteris Christofis 2017

Lefteris Christofis is our first Greek Artist/Endorser. He came to our attention via Pat Martino, and is clearly a top (and still rising) player and educator in Europe. Lefteris spent nearly a decade in London, and has worked/recorded with jazz greats Paul Wertico, Jeff Berlin, Chico Freeman and Dominique Dipiazza. Since 2011, he is the Artistic Director of the Music Center Athens in Greece.

Lefteris plays a Benedetto Bravo Deluxe 40th Anniversary model.

His latest work, just released December 2016, in “ManTis.” Preview below.

You can buy the full album at CD Baby Music Store.

“ManTis” voyages through the musical landscapes of modern jazz, fusion, progressive rock, latin reshapes them with the modern minimalistic approach and presents them with a unique organic sound.

The polymorphic guitar sound floats above the dreamy melodies of the vibraphone, the earthshaking notes of the bass and the essential rhythmical style of the drums.
The album features Lefteris Christofis on guitars, Chico Freeman on saxophone, Dominique Di Piazza on bass, Jacques Marugg on vibraphone and Nikos Touliatos on drums.

In May 2013, Lefteris performs with Howard Paul in Greece, as part of the Benedetto Jazz Guitar Workshops. (Athens 5/22/13; “The Party Jazz Bar” and Argos, 5/23/13 “Fougaro”).

View additional YouTube recording of Lefteris.

Visit his website.

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Lorenzo Cominoli

Student of American jazz guitarist Garrison Fewell (Berklee College of Music – Boston) and Sandro Gibellini (one of the most popular Italian jazz guitarists), he graduated in Jazz Guitar with full marks studying at the “Frescobaldi” Conservatory of Ferrara and the “Vivaldi” Conservatory of Alessandria, where it follows, also, the path of classical guitar studies until the fifth year.
It specializes further following numerous workshops throughout Italy: to remember among others those of Siena Jazz (SI), Nuoro Jazz (NU) and Città di Castello (PG), studying, among others, with: Lage Lund, Umberto Fiorentino, Fabio Zeppetella, Bebo Ferra and Roberto Cecchetto.

Since the 90s he performed in several formations from duo to trio to the big band having the opportunity to work with numerous and popular musicians of the Italian jazz scene such as: Emanuele Cisi, Attilio Zanchi, Paolo Birro, Bebo Ferra, Jesper Bodilsen, Steve Herberman, Tino Tracanna, Alfredo Ferrario, Yuri Goloubev, Max De Aloe, Isabella Du Graf, Niklas Winter, Marco Micheli, Gianni Cazzola, Simone Daclon, Fabio Buonarota, Maurizio Brunod, Aldo Mella, Roberto Olzer, Nicola Stranieri, Marco Zanoli, and many others.

He performed at numerous festivals and jazz clubs throughout Italy: Open Jazz Festival in Ivrea (TO) Spotorno in Jazz (SV), Teate Winter Festival (CH), Jazz and More (VR), Classical Piceno (AP), Pianfiorito in Jazz (AT), JazzAltro (VA), Winfried Gruber of Bressanone (BZ), Groove Candiani in Mestre (VE), Ameno Blues (NO), Orta Jazz Festival (NO), Jazz in high value (AO), Red Note Jazz ( AL), 67 Jazz Club (VA), Jazz Club Borgomanero (NO), Jazz Club Busto Arsizio (VA), Mariani Jazz Club (RA), Ivrea Jazz Club (TO), JazzMI (MI), Mutamenti Jazz Festival (MS) and many others.

Has been teaching with great passion from about twenty years’, collaborating with numerous civic and private schools of Piedmont and Lombardy.
He is currently a professor of modern guitar, jazz guitar and ensemble jazz at the music school “Four Music School” which is based at the Teatro Rosmini Borgomanero (NO) and which is also didactic director. He regularly holds Jazz Guitar Workshop for music schools and cultural associations.

He is also the artistic director and founder of the “Jazz Club Borgomanero” with which he was able to organize at the Teatro Rosmini a series of concerts with internationally known artists as well as exhibitions, lectures, book presentations and educational workshops related to the world of jazz.
Since 2015 he is artistic director of “Orta Jazz Festival”.

Lorenzo plays a Benedetto Bambino.

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Giuseppe Continenza 2013 news

Giuseppe Continenza is jazz guitarist/composer and professor of jazz guitar at Conservatory ” Luisa D’ Annunzio” in Pescara. (He was also a professor of the prestigious UiO University of Oslo , Norway.)

His interest in jazz music began at the age of seven years. Son of a jazz guitarist and having studied classical music, he moved to California to study at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood.

He has been described by critics as one of the best European jazz guitarists of the new generation. Giuseppe’s talent and preparation have allowed him to be known and appreciated at the international level, with prestigious collaborations alongside Joe Diorio, Martin Taylor, Jimmy Bruno, Vic Juris, Jack Wilkins, Gene Bertoncini, Gary Willis, Geoff Warren and many others.

In 2000 he toured with the legendary guitarist Biréli Lagrène, followed by another successful tour in 2013. They played along with Gary Willis (Wayne Shorter, Allan Holdsworth, Tribal Tech) on bass and Michael Baker (Joe Zawinul, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson) on drums at major international jazz festivals and venues like Pescara Jazz Festival, Bologna Jazz Festival, Camerino Jazz Festival, Peperoncino Jazz Festival, BeatOnto Jazz Festival, Auditorium Parco della Musica – Roma and many others.

As an esteemed teacher, following the American experience, he returned to Italy and founded in Pescara the European Musicians Institute ( EMI), considered one of the most advanced schools of music in the European scene. One of the few guitarists in Europe to be published in the American encyclopedia Jazz Guitarist, he also had interviews in the most prestigious international music magazines.

For over a decade he has regularly collaborated with educational columns for Just Jazz Guitar, published columns for 12 years in the magazine Guitar Club and contributed to Chitarra Acustica magazine.

After the success decreed by critics on the album ” Journey” (in duet with Vic Juris), subsequent albums include ” Seven Steps to Heaven ,” with Dominique Di Piazza (John McLaughlin, Michel Petrucciani), Vic Juris (Dave Liebman, Dizzy Gillespie) and Pietro Iodice. The album reached 4th place among the top ten best-selling jazz albums on iTunes for several weeks while the single “Stella by Starlight” was in 2nd place.

” Simply the most beautiful album of jazz heard in recent years …”  Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, about the album.

His newly released CD, dedicated to the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, was recorded with legendary New York guitarist Gene Bertoncini (Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Chick Corea, Luis Bonfà), Dominique Di Piazza and Pietro Iodice.

Next project tour in 2014 is with Biréli Lagrène in duo and in quartet with Michael Baker or Dennis Chambers on drums and Gary Willis on bass .

 “…he’s got an incredible control and knowledge of the instrument and he is an outstanding guitarist and a real Maestro ..” Biréli Lagrène (J.Pastorius, J.McLaughlin , Al Di Meola)

“Giuseppe’s music rises above the ordinary. Most of today’s players would give their soul for his gift…” – Pat Hicks (Founder of Musicians Institute, Hollywood, California)


Giuseppe’s Facebook Timeline

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Tim currently serves as a member of the jazz studies faculty of the Ohio State University School of Music and served on the music faculty of Kenyon College for 6 years. In addition, he currently serves on the music ministry team of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church under the direction and apprenticeship of renowned church and liturgical composer Craig Courtney. Tim is also a contribution writer to Downbeat Magazine, Jazz Improv and Just Jazz Guitar Magazine. Tim is a MelBay Author.

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Tim Cummiskey with his Bravo Deluxe 7-String model.

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Derek Day is an extraordinarily busy guitar professor who brings great jazz pedagogy to a wide range of institutions in the Eastern part of North Carolina. Holding both associate and adjunct positions at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, and SEBTS/The College of the Southeast in Wake Forest, Derek educates dedicated students studying jazz and classical guitar performance, and more general improvisation and jazz appreciation course work. He also makes time to perform professionally in his Carolina Jazz Trio. He has an extensive educational background including undergraduate and graduate degrees from Berklee (diploma ’82), University of Miami ’83, Texas Tech BM ’95, SUNY at Buffalo MM ’99, and Doctoral studies at Shenandoah University ‘2006.

Derek plays a Benedetto Bravo Model

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Sandy DeVito was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1932. At the age of 11 he began teaching himself to play the guitar. Like so many players of that era, Sandy didn’t study formally in a college classroom, but rather learned and developed his art by gigging in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. He soon became a strong disciple of New York’s incomparable Chuck Wayne.

Always the consummate accompanist, Sandy performed with Julie London, Vickie Carr, Julius LaRosa and Tony Martin to name a few. He has recorded with Les Paul, Charlie Byrd, George Barnes, and the Ray Charles Singers. He has played with Cal Collins, Bucky Pizzarelli, Joe Diorio, Ron Eschete, Mundell Lowe, Jeff Linsky, Jeff Berlin, and shared the stage with Peter Nero. His premier album entitled “Solo Guitar” was released in 1982.

One of Bob and Cindy’s closest friends, Sandy now plays and teaches at The Music Room in Escondido, CA, and very much enjoys his well deserved status as one of Southern California’s most sought-after guitarists and educators.

After an all night jam session are Lto R: Sandy DeVito, who taught guitar in our store [Clearwater Guitar Gallery] and also played at our wedding, Mystery Guy # 1, LESTER The Happy Host Himself, Mystery Guy #2 (Sandy, who is a cousin to Danny DeVito, said one or both of the mystery guys worked for the Pentagon and were interested in some electric gizmo Les had invented. Next is Sophocles Pappas, a famous Greek Classical guitarist holding the sheet music and last the late great guitarist Charlie Byrd who introduced the Bossa Nova to America and played at our [Clearwater] Music Hall in Fla. I showed this pic to Les when I met him here in Nashville twenty years ago and he said .”WOW … WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GET THAT ONE. LOOKS LIKE WE WERE HAVING SOME FUN !”  (Courtesy Ken Spooner’s website)

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Sandy DeVito with his Bravo model.

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BenedettoPlayer LHDickert2012

L. H. Dickert has been teaching at Winthrop University since 1993 and has the distinction of being Winthrop’s first jazz guitarist on faculty. He has developed into a nationally recognized jazz guitarist, educator and arranger, while performing with the likes of Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, Randy Brecker, Lyle Lovett, Manhattan Transfer, and Wayne Newton.

His program at Winthrop includes the Jazz Combos, Jazz Guitar Ensembles, and graduate level Jazz History and Music Theory.

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L. H. Dickert plays his custom Manhattan and a Bravo Deluxe (shown).

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Chip Henderson is a jazz guitarist, composer, arranger and educator, on the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University where he teaches jazz and commercial guitar.

Like most of our Benedetto artist/educators, Chip has spent time on stage with many notable musicians like Ernie Watts, Bill Mobley, Mulgrew Miller, Alvin Fielder, George Cartwright, Ron Eschete and Mundell Lowe, and performs in major productions and symphonies including: Jazz
Orchestra of the Delta, the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony, and the Jackson Symphony (TN). His ability to double on other stringed instruments has allowed Chip to perform in the pit orchestras for the touring productions of Chicago, Monty Python’s Spam-a-Lot, The Lion King, and High School Musical.

Along with his performance and teaching schedule, Chip is a freelance writer/ arranger for Hal Leonard’s Jazz Guitar Division and  a regular contributor to Premier Guitar Online and Just Jazz Guitar Magazine. Chip holds both a BM and MM from The University of Memphis.

Chip plays a Benedetto Bravo 7-string Model

Chip Henderson at the 2014 Cartagena International Guitar Festival in Columbia – photo by Grupo Creativo Macondo

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From Miami Beach to Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Sid has siteeloped a unique harmonic approach to performing and teaching jazz guitar that leaves his peers spellbound. Known as a player, composer, arranger and educator Sid is revered in the LA area as one of the most interesting and thoughtful guitarists. His long tenure as a teacher of Advanced Bebop and Jazz Guitar at the Dick Grove School and at Musicians Institute give him the bully pulpit from which to influence the next generation of great players as he was influenced by his teacher, mentor and close friend Joe Diorio.

Sid has written method books and critically acclaimed arrangements of the works of Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans for guitar. He has toured internationally and worked alongside some of the greatest names in jazz.

Sid Jacobs with his Bravo Model

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We first met Rolf performing alongside Andreas Oberg at the 2008 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA. A confident and impressive soloist and accompanist, Rolf brings jazz guitar to European audiences with verve and sensitivity. Born 1960 in Gothenburg, Sweden, he picked up the guitar at the age of twelve. In 1977 Jardemark and fellow guitarist Per Hovensjö founded a duo, still active today. He graduated from Gothenburg College of Music in 1985 and has performed throughout Europe with both European and American artists of renown. He appeared with Rune Gustafsson on the nationally televised show “Jazzduellen” (The Jazz Duel) in 1994 and subsequently played the guitar on more than 60 TV shows over the years while working at The Gothenburg Opera House performing as a pit orchestra musician. As an educator, Rolf is currently teaching electric guitar at Västerhöjdsgymnasiets Musiklinje in Skövde, Sweden. He has six albums as leader and another half dozen as a side man.

Rolf performs on a Bravo Model.

Visit rolfjardemark.com

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Dr. Joseph Jewell is tenured Associate Professor of Guitar and Commercial Music Studies at Fullerton College, a recording artist, and one of Southern California’s most versatile and prominent guitarists. Equally adept on classical and electric guitar, Joe can be found performing both Jazz Festival and Chamber Music Festivals. In 2003, Joe completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Guitar Performance at the University of Southern California. In addition to jazz and gypsy jazz styles, Joe is also an active classical and chamber musician and has recorded extensively on soundtracks for television shows and feature films. Joe taught at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY for nine years and was Head of Guitar Studies at State University of New York at Oswego before moving to Southern California in 1988.

Dr. Joe Jewell with his Benny Model

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Mark Koch with Benedetto Bravo photo by Sarah Koch

As Director of Jazz Guitar at the revered Duquesne University Guitar Department and Director of Duquesne’s Summer Guitar and Bass Workshop*, Mark Koch [Cook] has become the face of jazz guitar in academia for students, teachers and administrators alike. As you might expect, he is also a brilliant performing artist with a long list of credentials, performing with countless luminaries on stages and concert halls.

With teachers like Pat Martino and Joe Negri, as well as performances along side of Emily Remler, Tommy Tedesco, Jimmy Bruno and Howard Alden (to name just a few), and a recording career too, it is no surprise that Mark plays a Benedetto guitar both on stage and off. He deserves his place among America’s best artist/educators.

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Mark Koch with his Bravo Model

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* First established in 1986, the workshop features nationally renowned instructors and specialized classes for all ages and ability levels. In addition to guitar and bass instruction and master classes, other offerings include electives on multi-track recording, the business of music, performance development, and guitar and bass synthesis, among others. “We’ve had students as young as 8 and as old as 85,” says Bill Purse, chair of guitar and technology at Duquesne. “The experience and knowledge they gain by attending this workshop is both unique and phenomenal.” Guest clinicians have included renowned artists Joe Negri, Howard Alden, Jack Wilkins, Jimmy Bruno and Bucky Pizzarelli.

Vince Lewis

Vince Lewis is a veteran jazz performer, composer and recording artist. He has been a headliner on Jazz Festivals with Dave Brubeck, B.B King, Ellis Marsalis, Lou Rawls, Mundell Lowe, John Pizzarelli and Melissa Manchester. Vince has been a featured performer in concert at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as well as two performances at the Smithsonian Institute Jazz Bar. He also has served as Staff Guitarist at the Ritz-Carlton Resort Palm Beach FL and at The Greenbrier Resort in WV.

Jim Carlton, Conversations with Great Jazz and Studio Guitarists says “His playing is indicative of the rarified air of true mastery. He routinely creates engaging and excellent music.” Vince was the cover picture and feature interview in the Feb 2014 issue of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, and has been noted as “One of the leading active Jazz Artists” in the Jazz Guitar category each year since 2002 by Jazz Improv Magazine. He is also currently listed in the “In The Wings” designation and has been notified of his future induction into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Vince is included in the 2014 Scott Yanow book “ The Great Jazz Guitarists…The Ultimate Guide.” He has recorded 20 CD’s as a leader and sideman, and each has received excellent critical acclaim in virtually every major Jazz publication. Vince also developed and directed the Classical and Jazz Guitar programs at University of Charleston, Marshall University, Palm Beach University, Liberty University and Bluefield College. He has taught at the post-secondary level for 48 years, conducted Jazz Guitar workshops, and created courses in improvisation and other jazz related subjects at the University level. Vince was a featured reviewer and writer for Modernguitar.com and Guitarinternational.com. His chord melody arrangements for solo guitar appeared regularly in Just Jazz Guitar Magazine for many years.

Vince currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Music and Guitar at Bluefield College in Bluefield, VA. He has been a Benedetto player since 2012.

He plays a BRAVO model.

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Bert Ligon USC Jazz Professor with Benedetto Bravo

Recording Artist / Author / Director of Jazz Studies, University of South Carolina

Bert Ligon is unique among our Benedetto Artist endorsers because first and foremost he is one of the country’s top jazz pianists. With a BM and MM in piano performance and arranging, he was a member of the very demanding One O’Clock Band during his tenure at the University of North Texas. Bert went on tour and performed with Maynard Ferguson, Chris Potter, Red Rodney, Randy Brecker, Marion McPartland, Mel Torme and Diane Schuur, to name just a few. He has published three important jazz books and has composed for radio, TV and film. At USC he has siteeloped an amazing array of jazz guitarists, where he serves as the primary guitar instructor. Local jazz artists are amazed at his prowess on both guitar and piano.

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Bert Ligon with his Bambino Model (he also teaches and performs with a Bravo model).

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JohnMaioneThe Kind of Gray CD

John G. Maione has been a prominent guitarist and composer, musician and teacher, in the Pittsburgh area for over 40 years. Since his first lessons at the age of six, John’s passion for guitar and for music shaped his life.

As a full-time music teacher at the prestigious Winchester-Thurston school, a private K-12 institution in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh, John is Director of the Upper School Jazz Band, the US and Middle School Orchestras, the Commencement Orchestra, the Spring Musical “Pit” Orchestra, and the US Guitar Ensemble. He teaches US Music Appreciation, Songwriting, both Jazz and Rock and Roll History, Theory, and Technology (MIDI), courses which he created and established. John also acts as Coordinator of the WT Private Music Instruction Program, and has forged a nationally-recognized educational and performance partnership with the prestigious, Grammy Award-winning jazz institution, the Manchester Craftsmans Guild, Marty Ashby, Executive Director.

John has been an adjunct jazz guitar instructor at the University of Pittsburgh since 1981, and is a guest clinician at the annual Duquesne University Summer Guitar and Bass Workshop.  His instructional book, Jazz Chords For Rock Guitarists, has been published by Mel Bay.  He has released 4 CDs of mostly original material, and performs extensively in the Pittsburgh area as a guitar soloist, in band settings, in the orchestra pit for stage productions, and for national acts.

John’s recent recording, The Kind of Gray Project, was celebrated with a CD release performance and reception at the Manchester Craftsmans Guild. Featuring 12 original contemporary jazz compositions in various styles, plus 2 Beatle covers, and performed by 5 of Pittsburgh’s elite musicians, it has proven to be a worthy follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 1st jazz CD, Midlife Blessings.

View his site.

John performs with a BRAVO model.

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Michael Manderen is Director of Conservatory Admissions and Lecturer in Guitar and Lute at Berlin College, Ohio. He earned B.A., B.Mus., Oberlin College, 1976, and studied with Loris O. Chobanian, William Matthews, Paul O’Dette, Barry Galbraith, and Suzanne Bloch. As a professional musician, commercial studio musician and symphonic guitarist, he worked extensively in New York and Cleveland, including appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra and with the baroque orchestra City Musick (Chicago). He was a sponsored touring artist under the Ohio Arts Council Fee Support Program and recommended performer by the United States Information Agency. He was a faculty associate, Baroque Performance Institute, 1977-82; and a visiting instructor of guitar, Interlochen Arts Academy, 1990-92.

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Dr. Michael Manderen with his Custom 7-String

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Danny McKnight with his brand new 16-B 7-String.

Danny McKnight has been playing guitar for 50 years with the last 24 years being devoted to the craft of 7 string guitar mastery. Danny has had a wealth of performing experience in intimate jazz duos including work with guitarists Ray Wilson & Clayton Dyess, various top call horn players & most notably accompaniment of vocalists Mickey Mosely, Diane Landry & his recording partner Tianna Hall. Danny also worked a great deal with steel guitar legend Herb Remington playing western swing in The Swingfield Playboys band.

Besides his extensive teaching career in the Greater Houston area at institutions including Houston Community College & Lee College, Danny is also a top call solo guitarist & sideman. He has played with various big bands in Houston including Ed Gerlach’s Big Band, Phil Gray’s Big Band & The Bayou Big Band that was the featured act at the Yucatan Jazz Festival in Mexico in 2007. He was also part of the 1997 Honor Band that performed at the International Association of Jazz Educators Convention in Chicago that year. He has also had the pleasure of playing with the Baytown Symphony.

Throughout the years he has studied with legendary artists and instructors including Bucky Pizzarelli, Mike Nase, Jim Liu, Gerald Blakeman, Joe LoCascio & Dennis Dotson.  You can see Danny performing full time throughout the Houston area.

Danny performs on a Benedetto 7-string  16-B model

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Jane Miller is an alumna of and (since 1994) a faculty member at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.  An educator, arranger, composer and performing artist, Jane leads her own “Jane Miller Group” based in New England.  She is a contributing writer to Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Premiere Guitar Magazine and Mel Bay Publications on-line magazine Guitar Sessions. Her trio has released three critically acclaimed CDs; she can be seen nationally at concerts, festivals and jazz clubs.

“The Andy is my new main axe! The 3/4 scale is perfect for my hands; the neck feels great. The guitar is very well balanced and the intonation is on the money. Every note rings true all over the guitar. It is the real deal. Thank you to the whole Benedetto team!”

Jane plays an Andy Model guitar. 

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Benedetto Player Douglas J Neel with Black Bravo 7 on balcony 2013

Douglas J. Neel is currently Instructor of Jazz/Contemporary Guitar at Capital University- Conservatory of Music, Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, and the Univ. of Findlay, Ohio.

As a freelance musician, Douglas has performed with numerous artists/ensembles/groups throughout Central and Northwest Ohio, including Trio NOT, the Michael Shirtz 4tet/5tet, The Pinup Project, The Conspiracy Band, Yumbambé, Paul Brown’s Science Gravy Orchestra, Central Ohio Brass Band, The Dominion Brass, the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra, the Student Loan, Soul Kitch’n, Matt King & The Roustabout Band, and the Broadway touring shows of HairsprayA Chorus Line and Chicago. Additionally, Douglas has shared the stage with such greats as Melissa Manchester, Jay Ashby, Elizabeth Von Trapp, Aretha Franklin, and continues to lead his own Trio/4tet on a variety of performances.

Douglas has also served on the faculty at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, Bowling Green State University, Tiffin University, and Terra State Community College during his career.

In addition to being a Performing Artist for Benedetto Guitars, Douglas is also an Edwards Trombones Affiliated Artist, and performs throughout the region as a trombonist, 7-string guitarist, and bassist.  He holds degrees from the Capital University- Conservatory of Music (BM, Music Performance) and Bowling Green State University- College of Musical Arts (MM, Dual Specialization).

Douglas J. Neel with his Bravo 7-String (2013). Douglas also plays a Benny 7-String

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David O’Rourke with Benedetto Benny at Guinness Cork Jazz Festival Ireland 2013

Irish born David O’Rourke was introduced to the US jazz scene in 1982 via Bucky Pizzarelli and Les Paul.  Influenced by Pat Martino (with whom he has studied and now collaborates), David has performed with jazz legends Tommy Flanagan, Cedar Walton, Jackie McLean, Billy Higgins, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Davern, Jack McDuff and many more.

His arrangements have been recorded and performed by many jazz legends, as well has the RTE Concert Orchestra (Ireland) which he guest conducts.  David leads his own 20 piece Big Band (The O’Rourkestra), co-founded and directs NYC’s Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra and the Jazz Standard Discovery Program.  For several years he held a 6 night a week guitar gig at The Jazz Standard in NYC, where he continues to perform with his big band and as a first call guitarist.  David plays a custom BENNY model.

(David, shown with a Benedetto ‘Pat Martino Model’ prototype) with BG Pres/CEO Howard Paul at the Great American Guitar Show in Philly June 2012)


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Long-time Benedetto Player and friend, Jack Petersen is a guitarist, pianist, composer, arranger, music publisher, music clinician, and renowned pioneer in jazz education who revolutionized guitar education. He was a faculty member at Berklee (where he created the Guitar Dept.), University of North Texas, and the University of North Florida. He has directly influenced or taught many of today’s greatest jazz players and academicians, including more than a few of the players on the Benedetto roster.

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Jack Petersen with his 1992 Fratello Model

Jack Petersen is a jazz guitarist, pianist, composer and renowned pioneer in jazz education who revolutionized guitar education. He was a pedagogical architect for jazz guitar and jazz improvisation at three institutions of higher learning: he was the first full-time jazz guitar teacher at the Berklee College of Music; he was an influential jazz guitar artist in residence at the University of North Texas College of Music; and he helped build a jazz guitar program at the University of North Florida. From the UTDallas.edu website

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Bill Purse is a distinguished professor and musician who has successfully conquered music from both the artist and technological perspective, and pioneers the meeting of the two in university classrooms, recording studios and textbooks. As Chair of the Music Technology and Guitar Department at Duquesne University, he has demonstrated unique abilities as an administrator (securing accreditation for never before sanctioned degree music technology programs) and performance. He influences not only students but the entire industry through his association with NAMM [InterNational Association of Music Merchants] and through important text books published by Coda Music, Warner Bros., and Mel Bay. When it comes to delivering the next generation of musicians the tools of the 21st century without compromising musicianship and tradition, Bill Purse is at the forefront of the music world.

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Bill performs jazz with his 7-string Bambino Deluxe Model

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Longtime Benedetto Player Ted Shumate with his BENNY model

Guitarist, composer, and recording artist Ted Shumate was born in Meridian, Mississippi. His earliest musical experiences were gospel and native Delta Blues. At the age of four, his family moved to Florida where he graduated (with honors) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies and Music Composition from Eckerd College. Ted moved to Los Angeles in 1980 to attend the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT).

From 1983-88 Ted was hired as a full-time bandleader/guitarist at the Hurricane Jazz Club in Passagrille, Florida, followed by numerous Jazz festivals and international tours. He has played/recorded with: Nat Adderley (for 10 years), Ira Sullivan, Kenny Drew Jr., Joey Barron, Peter Erskine, Branford Marsalis, Al DiMeola, Gumbi Ortiz, Longineu Parsons, Wynton Marsalis and many others.

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Ted Shumate with his BENNY model 2013, photo by Bay Photography (Panama City, FL.)

Below, Ted with his 1980 Cremona model and his Violinburst Benny (S2081).

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Benedetto Player Daniel Sumner

Dan Sumner keeps a very active schedule as a guitarist, playing and teaching Jazz and Classical music. His playing can be heard on more than a dozen recordings including the three critically acclaimed releases from the New Orleans based group, Permagrin. He took first prize in the professional division at the University of Texas at Brownsville International Guitar Ensemble festival in 2009 with the McPike/Sumner Duo. New Orleans was his home for 13 years during which he performed regularly in the clubs and led the Jazz band at the Lusher Charter School, an arts-based magnet school. He has toured worldwide with several acts including Permagrin, LRQ (Louis Romanos Quartet), Glyn Styler, and Jesus Christ Superstar. His studies took him to Capital University, the New England Conservatory of music, and Indiana University, where he is in the final stages of finishing a Doctorate of Music Education. He is currently assistant professor of music education and guitar at University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Daniel Sumner Assistant Professor of Music Education and Guitar Division of Music School of Visual and Performing Arts University of Louisiana Monroe

Daniel plays a custom 16-B model and Benny.

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Greg Wachala

Applied Instructor of Guitar Studies Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Director of Hobart and William Smith Jazz Guitar Ensemble

Greg Wachala is a respected guitarist and educator in the upstate New York area. He earned a Masters Degree in Music from Boston University, and is on the faculty at the prestigious Hobart and William Smith Colleges, as well as active performer playing over 200 gigs a year.

Having gained a reputation as a passionate and innovative musician, Wachala has created an individual style on the guitar that crosses over many musical genres while staying true to the traditional styling of jazz.

He has recorded with multi-Platinum artist Jay Proctor and performed with Craig Schulman, Rick Balestra, Bob Sneider, Rodney Jones, Gene Bertoncini, and Walter White among others. Wachala has also perfomed in Las Vegas Showrooms, NYC Clubs, events for NASCAR, musicals, and countless other venues. He has also written music for television commercials.

Wachala also has many former students forging their own path in the music industry as performers and well as industry specialists.

Greg plays a Benedetto Bravo Deluxe.

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Steve Watson could be the poster child for “Artist-Educators”, having carved out a successful and prestigious life juggling teaching, performing and recording. Steve earned his MM in Jazz Guitar Performance at the respected University of Miami before setting off for Los Angeles and the life of the studio musician. Fluent in all styles of music, he landed work as a TV studio guitarist playing on series including “Hill Street Blues”, Magnum P.I.”, “Quantum Leap” and “Hunter.” He backed major artists like Bruce Hornsby, BB King and Dolly Parton. Steve taught as an Adjunct Professor of Studio-Jazz Guitar at the University of Southern California before moving east to the booming Greenville-Spartanburg, North Carolina area. There he created Watson Wood Music, Inc., the area’s premier private music education facility, now an authorized Benedetto dealer. Steve teaches both at Greenville Fine Arts Center and Furman University and performs on a Bravo Model.

Steve Watson with his Bravo Model

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Berklee College of Music's Jon Wheatley with his Benedetto Bravo 7-string.

Associate Professor of Guitar at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Jon Wheatley is one of Boston’s busiest guitarists and educators. His career spans more than three decades, including as a sideman with luminaries like Scott Hamilton, Ruby Braff, Alan Dawson, Teddy Kotick, Diana Krall, Mike Metheny, to name a few, and all have benefited from his masterful seven-string playing.

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Jon Wheatley with his Bravo 7 Model

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Mark White Berklee With Benny web

Guitarist, composer, arranger, producer, author, and educator

With over twenty years on the gig, Mark White is currently a Senior Professor of guitar at Berklee College of Music. Mark has performed with George Russell’s Living Time Orchestra, Gil Evans, the Boston Pops, Gunther Schuller, numerous theatre productions, and at major jazz festivals across the globe.

Mark has performed nearly 50 clinics for Berklee College of Music in Europe, Asia, South America, and the U.S. including (Berklee’s longtime Umbria Jazz Clinics). He has recorded and produced the CD Tunch on the MMC label, two CDs with the group Last Trip, and numerous free-lance studio projects. He is the author of Advanced Reading Etudes for Guitar published by Grescotmar and The Practical Jazz Guitarist published by Berklee Press. Mark’s compositions are published by B.M.I. (Whitmark Music Publishing).

Mark White performs on a BENNY model.

(Shown is Mark’s Violinburst BRAVO ELITE model, Serial #S2113, finished April 2013.)

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R.J. is an Adjunct Professor of Guitar at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. where he teaches Guitar for Music Therapy, Guitar for Music Education, Applied Jazz Guitar, and continues to teach privately and perform in the Pittsburgh area. With an M.M. and Artist Diploma from Duquesne University and a B.M. from Virginia Commonwealth, R.J brings jazz to the next generation of guitarists studying in the music rich northeast.

R.J. Zimmerman with his Bambino

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