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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    if you want a great guitar as a status symbol like a trophy wife, go for it but if you want a better sound, you'd be better off putting the time into practicing.

    having said that, there's nothing wrong with wanting a great guitar. I'm just unconvinced that spending $10k on a boutique instrument gets you a better sound than a 175 or L5.

    I'd like to hear some audio proof of this.
    well how would we measure "better" anyway, especially when we have a preference for what a guitar should sound like (via 175 and L5)? and then there's the recording quality and on and on.

    parting shots - i read that Wes was never quite happy with his sound and drove the Fender people nuts. and a lot of ES-175 recordings sound like poop to me.

    what can we do? i think people have preferences

    cheers.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Isn't an L5 a $10K instrument these days?
    retail, yes.

  4. #53

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    here's another thought.

    have a listen to Anthony Wilson on his Monteleone, listen to the Monteleone concert with the 4 seasons guitars, listen to the Benedetto players (Howard Alden, B. Pizzarelli, others) listen to Buscarino players (Russel Malone on his Monarch) etc.

    do these guys really sound objectionable?

    i think we're slipping into the "fine" guitar vs. "affordable" guitar debate again, and when he debate goes south we have to play the "but so and so is a better player" card, and "rich people are D-bags card again.

    and round and round we go...

  5. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Isn't an L5 a $10K instrument these days?
    used they are ~$5k

  6. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    here's another thought.

    have a listen to Anthony Wilson on his Monteleone, listen to the Monteleone concert with the 4 seasons guitars, listen to the Benedetto players (Howard Alden, B. Pizzarelli, others) listen to Buscarino players (Russel Malone on his Monarch) etc.

    do these guys really sound objectionable?

    i think we're slipping into the "fine" guitar vs. "affordable" guitar debate again, and when he debate goes south we have to play the "but so and so is a better player" card, and "rich people are D-bags card again.

    and round and round we go...
    strawman argument. Nobody said anything about fine vs affordable or rich people are d-bags or so and so is a better player. I think some folks are getting very defensive. This thread was supposed to be a conversation about the risks and benefits of a custom archtop. Is it ok if we discuss both pros and cons or should we rename this thread to benefits of a custom archtop and delete the risk part?

  7. #56
    I posted this in the other thread about my conversations with Jimmy D'Aquisto and thought I'd share them here. Before you guys start going crazy with accusations and chest beating, I'm not making any judgements. Just sharing an anecdote.

    The interesting thing about Jimmy is that he was "in" on the onset of the boutique-guitar revolution. He was one of the guys who needed the part time "lifestyle" guitar buyers to fund his business and yet he was still trying to cater to the professional players. A buddy of mine who's a school teacher got his d'aquisto back in the late '70s. I believe it took 3 years to get because he kept getting bumped lower in priority when Jimmy would take an order from a professional player. He talked about this in the seminar I was in with him. He said he needed the money from the hobbiests but was saddened that he couldn't make a living selling to professionals.

  8. #57

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    As much as I admire Jimmy D'A for catering to pros first, when someone orders an instrument they should not be bumped out of line. Then it becomes who's more pro Johnny Smith, or the local guy trying to make a living? I also realize this is moot since Jimmy D'A is gone, and can't answer these ?'s

  9. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    As much as I admire Jimmy D'A for catering to pros first, when someone orders an instrument they should not be bumped out of line. Then it becomes who's more pro Johnny Smith, or the local guy trying to make a living? I also realize this is moot since Jimmy D'A is gone, and can't answer these ?'s
    Don't kid yourself. Almost all of the big luthiers do this. They bump people for any number of reasons.


    • That big guitar show coming up
    • one of their endorsers doing a big gig with national coverage
    • pat martino or george benson want one
    • some famous rock dude needs one
    • magazine needs one for review


    This is true of almost all boutique amp and guitar companies. I used to rep for a couple guitar and amp companies and I can tell you they *ALL* do this. The other surprising thing is that the amps or guitars going to reviewers get special treatment above and beyond what the average buyer may get.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    strawman argument. Nobody said anything about fine vs affordable or rich people are d-bags or so and so is a better player. I think some folks are getting very defensive. This thread was supposed to be a conversation about the risks and benefits of a custom archtop. Is it ok if we discuss both pros and cons or should we rename this thread to benefits of a custom archtop and delete the risk part?
    Nothing is any better than a basic, modestly priced guitar. Joe Pass is better than Russell Malone. All rich people are d-bags (except this one friend of mine who's really cool -- he could afford a Bennedetto, but plays a MIC Epiphone). There I said it. It's not a strawman argument anymore. Now it's a red herring. You're welcome.

    John

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    if you want a great guitar as a status symbol like a trophy wife, go for it...
    Umm... what straight man doesn't want a hot wife? (Who said anything about trophies?) Hot women are functional partners, too. Just as expensive guitars are functional instruments.

    There will never be audio proof of it. It's too subtle for a listener to hear, but it's something I, the player, can hear - and feel, and sense. That's one of the biggest farces on the internet, the audio demo comparing two or more instruments. I've done it too, and promise that what I'm able to discern as the player is 10 times more nuanced and subtle than what a random person can hear via Youtube over the internet, after multiple layers of audio compression and crappy speakers.

    And it's not just sound in the first place - it's a bunch of intangibles, like playability (a huge one), and care taken in the smallest areas of fit and finish. Not to mention the customer service, if needed, directly from the person who made it, and likely communicated with you during the process.

    But, it must be stated that the above is an ideal - it does NOT always happen, not at all. And in that way, Jack, you're absolutely right. A high end proven Gibson is statistically a more sure thing than betting the farm on a boutique instrument. I will readily concede that!
    Permanent favorites: 2016 Gibson L-5 WesMo, 1999 Gibson L-5CESN, 1928 Gibson L-5
    Play more, buy less

  12. #61
    if it can't be captured it doesn't exist IMO.

    I think it's fine if you just want it because it inspires you or makes you feel good but the arguments of you may not be able to hear it but *I can* are a bit questionable.

    I think people just like cool stuff. It's fine. No need to justify it. If you want it and can afford it you deserve to have it. My point is that given all that, i'm just not personally convinced that the boutique guitars are any better sounding or playing.

  13. #62

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    I think I will bow out of participating further in this thread given where it has already gone.

    If however, any of you ever need advice on a) selecting a luthier, or b) things that you can do before and during a commission to mitigate risk with a custom instrument (archtop or other) please feel free to reach out to me privately. I would be happy to share my experiences.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  14. #63

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    Ok so this thread started off really well, everyone was putting their opinion on guitars across without being harassed. Now its turned into the darker side of challenging peoples personal opinions and questioning their experiences without even knowing them, or what their experiences are.

    It seems some have taken offence to this thread, which is a shame because they really didn't need to. We all know there are some fantastic builders out there. I don't think that is in question. I also don't think the point is to say 'Never buy a luthier made guitar' and if someone has that opinion then thats what the thread is for, is it not?

    To not be able to challenge experiences and ideas with good experiences or better ideas and instead start making bullet points about what other people have said and being negative about it and them, imo just starts a good old fight.

    Face palms

    Just to clarify, I am and think everyone is in favour of luthiers and special guitars to some degree or other and i think we would all be sad if we couldn't have the choice, even if we didn't want it. What the thread is doing is trying to find the blind spots in that process, which has a few different facets to it. Sound, Stability, Value, reliability of builder, contractual obligations, hype and the comparative difference between how good off the shelf V:S custom actually is and what the reality could be, once the buyer receives the guitar.

    If you just trash someones point without challenging it with a better or rival point, then you are being combative which I don't think is needed, or helpful.
    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 06-05-2015 at 12:38 PM.

  15. #64

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    Another reason one may look to a custom build is if you need something other than a 6-string. When I began my search for a 7-string production archtop some years ago (pre-Eastman), the prospects were few.
    That led me to a good 5 year quest to research the custom builders and meet them at the luthier shows, even phone interview several or visit them at their shops. I knew the sound I was looking for and could reasonably describe it; just needed someone to execute it in 7-string.

    In my experience, there is a wide gamut of custom builders, and the very best are producing work miles above anything I've ever found on the shelf from a production company. That is not to say someone could find a great L5 or 175 that they really like. But one should not dismiss the experience, artistry, innovation, and artistry of a Benedetto, Ribbecke, Grimes, Palen, Manzer, Comins, Megas, Sakashta, Monteleone, Zeidler, etc...(not an inclusive list by any means, but a few of my faves). Using a reputable builder is inherently less risky, but certainly a long term contractual relationship is not without some basic risk, not unlike hiring a landscaper or a home carpenter. Just be cautious and communicate. Good luck!

  16. #65

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    John D'Angelico built custom guitars for the exact same price as Gibson charged. He also supplied his hand crafted guitars to retailers where a player might forego the custom appointments in favor of being able to try the guitar first. There are not very many boutique luthiers who do that today.

    I think there are some very talented luthiers out there whose guitars are works of art. I also think it is prudent to buy a used one for both financial reasons and also to insure a sound and feel that you will like.

    OTOH, if you want a guitar to be custom made to your specs and are not worried about the financial loss if you do not like it in the end, go for it.

    FWIW, I own two vintage D'Angelicos and have played Benedettos and Buscarinos, but the best sounding archtop I have ever played is a 1928 Gibson L-5 that belongs to a friend. For me the gold medal goes to the factory guitar. YMMV
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  17. #66
    I agree 100%. I'm not sure why so many folks have to get dismissive and accusatory. Again, I will say that I took this thread to be a true conversation about the pros and the cons of buying a custom instrument. I haven't heard a single person say that if you're not good enough you should play a samick or that rich guys can't play or that all boutique guitars are worse than gibson. A lot of these arguments are just reactionary and defensive. I personally would buy a custom instrument if the price were right, if the wait was short, and if there were a trial period. Anybody who can afford a custom made instrument has the right to get one. I've said that a bunch of times and yet folks want to start in with strawman arguments saying that folks are contesting their desire to get a custom made piece.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    John D'Angelico built custom guitars for the exact same price as Gibson charged. He also supplied his hand crafted guitars to retailers where a player might forego the custom appointments in favor of being able to try the guitar first. There are not very many boutique luthiers who do that today.

    I think there are some very talented luthiers out there whose guitars are works of art. I also think it is prudent to buy a used one for both financial reasons and also to insure a sound and feel that you will like.

    OTOH, if you want a guitar to be custom made to your specs and are not worried about the financial loss if you do not like it in the end, go for it.

    FWIW, I own two vintage D'Angelicos and have played Benedettos and Buscarinos, but the best sounding archtop I have ever played is a 1928 Gibson L-5 that belongs to a friend. For me the gold medal goes to the factory guitar. YMMV

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    but the best sounding archtop I have ever played is a 1928 Gibson L-5 that belongs to a friend. For me the gold medal goes to the factory guitar. YMMV
    LOL... 'cause I have one of those, and it is the best sounding archtop I've ever played too. So a factory guitar, albeit one well in excess of $10K... best of both worlds in this debate perhaps??!

    No gripes from me on the thread... it's all good.
    Permanent favorites: 2016 Gibson L-5 WesMo, 1999 Gibson L-5CESN, 1928 Gibson L-5
    Play more, buy less

  19. #68

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    I'm liking the guitar show idea ....

    Back in the old days the advice I heard for finding a great guitar was to keep $1000 on you at all times and be ready to buy it when you find it .... of course for the ultimate archtop these days it might be more like $10K or even $20K

    These days you can do the same with a credit card and a high upper limit ...

    If you can find what you want at a guitar show it might worth spending some cash for a short vacation at one of the better shows ... better yet if one comes to a location near you.

  20. #69

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    I'm lucky enough to have played many custom-built carved acoustic archtops over the years.
    IMO, there's nothing subtle at all about the differences in sound and feel between acoustic archtop instruments. They all fall in a range from superb to terrible. They either appeal to the tastes of individual consumers or not.

    As far as money is concerned, well, we are lucky to live in a society that provides us with the freedom to to say what we want about it and do as we wish with it. IMO, you either have it or you don't, you either spend it or you don't, beyond which my thoughts wander to what's for lunch. …mmm… lunch….
    Last edited by Hammertone; 04-04-2016 at 07:36 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  21. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedawg View Post
    I'm liking the guitar show idea ....

    Back in the old days the advice I heard for finding a great guitar was to keep $1000 on you at all times and be ready to buy it when you find it .... of course for the ultimate archtop these days it might be more like $10K or even $20K

    These days you can do the same with a credit card and a high upper limit ...

    If you can find what you want at a guitar show it might worth spending some cash for a short vacation at one of the better shows ... better yet if one comes to a location near you.
    unfortunately, archtops seem to be few and far between at guitar shows these days (at least in ohio). Last nice one I saw was a '70s byrdland at the columbus guitar show selling for $1850 about 10 years ago. I told the guy I wanted to buy it and while I was was getting money out of my wallet and conferring with my friend a rep from chicago music exchange reached over my shoulder with $1800 in his hand and said I'll take it. These are the same guys who run reverb.com !

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    unfortunately, archtops seem to be few and far between at guitar shows these days (at least in ohio). Last nice one I saw was a '70s byrdland at the columbus guitar show selling for $1850 about 10 years ago. I told the guy I wanted to buy it and while I was was getting money out of my wallet and conferring with my friend a rep from chicago music exchange reached over my shoulder with $1800 in his hand and said I'll take it. These are the same guys who run reverb.com !

    That's the trick ... finding a show with a good selection of archtops

  23. #72

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    Custom builder shows include:

    Woodstock Invitational
    WILS Home
    October 23-24-25, 2015 - Woodstock NY

    Healdsburg Guitar Festival
    Healdsburg Guitar Festival
    Possibly in 2016, Santa Rosa, CA?

    Holy Grail Guitar Show
    The Holy Grail Guitar Show
    October 31-Nov 1, 2015 - Estrel Berlin, Germany

    There are a few more as well.
    Unfortunately, the Montreal Guitar Show is no more.
    There used to be archtop-focused shows in the New York/Long Island area and Florida as well - not sure about their status.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 04-04-2016 at 07:37 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  24. #73
    I think theres a distinction to be noted between all-inclusive 'guitar shows' and luthier specific events. Years ago, when Stephen Marchione was staring out, he'd have me play at his booth at the Long Island show, and he was one of the lone arch toppers among a sea of vintage Fenders, Gibsons and Martins, but lately at shows like the Guild of American Luthier's convention in Tacoma and the Healdsburg Guitar Festival, it's more or less all handmade axes from Stephen, Tom Ribbecke, Linda Manzer and the like. I think there's another one in Woodstock NY that I haven't played at yet, but I don't know a good central resource to find the show nearest to you.

    PK

    (In the time I was typing this, Hammertone put up essentially the same post, but with helpful links. You win this round, Hammertone.....)

  25. #74

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    Paul: Something like this?
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  26. #75

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    There is an Acoustic Guitar show in Memphis Tenn this weekend that is bringing some well known luthiers. While leaning heavily to the acoustic guitar market, there are a number of archtop builders present according to the website. See below.


    Luthiers Page

  27. #76

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    +1 for Healdsburg. archtops galore.

  28. #77
    I don't think holding up a 1920's or 1930's Gibson as an example of a 'factory guitar' is particularly valid. Not unless there is a current factory producing guitars that sound like these. It has always been my impression that vintage guitars acquire their sound not only from how they are made and the materials used, but the aging process. This makes them unique.

    Also if current Gibson factory guitars are a higher probability of having a superior acoustic sound versus current boutique or custom instruments, someone must be getting there ahead of me because none of the ones I've played in the last few years seem to offer this. This may be true of older-than-newer Gibson guitars but since I don't have much access to those, I'll certainly take the word of those who do.
    Last edited by Spook410; 06-05-2015 at 06:24 PM.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  29. #78
    So if we're talking acoustic qualities, and if you accept the premise that there are great archtop guitars and you want one, you have limited choices:

    - Find a great vintage guitar
    - Go through more recent factory guitars until you find a great one
    - Buy a boutique guitar
    - Have a custom guitar built

    Each approach has it's own challenges.

    If you don't believe there are great acoustic archtops versus good/average/poor, then I think you need to play more guitars. If you feel it simply doesn't matter, that's a pity because you're missing one of the joys of guitar playing. And if you can't afford it, then you are still in luck. You may not be able to acquire a great guitar without stumbling upon one, but you can still get really good guitars pretty cheap. This is more true than I've ever seen.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    and a great guitar is a great guitar, regardless of whether it was a $25k custom or an off the shelf instrument. Great wood rears it's beautiful head in unpredictable ways.
    no disagreement on that point.

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    unfortunately, archtops seem to be few and far between at guitar shows these days (at least in ohio). Last nice one I saw was a '70s byrdland at the columbus guitar show selling for $1850 about 10 years ago. I told the guy I wanted to buy it and while I was was getting money out of my wallet and conferring with my friend a rep from chicago music exchange reached over my shoulder with $1800 in his hand and said I'll take it. These are the same guys who run reverb.com !
    not the case elsewhere. Ohio is not a thriving bustling place.

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    I agree 100%. I'm not sure why so many folks have to get dismissive and accusatory. Again, I will say that I took this thread to be a true conversation about the pros and the cons of buying a custom instrument. I haven't heard a single person say that if you're not good enough you should play a samick or that rich guys can't play or that all boutique guitars are worse than gibson. A lot of these arguments are just reactionary and defensive. I personally would buy a custom instrument if the price were right, if the wait was short, and if there were a trial period. Anybody who can afford a custom made instrument has the right to get one. I've said that a bunch of times and yet folks want to start in with strawman arguments saying that folks are contesting their desire to get a custom made piece.
    Jack - the thing is, this topic comes up every so often and it is so predictable what people will say. You, for one, have been very consistent. And so have others, including me.

    In previous threads we had "cork sniffer guitars", then buyers of fine guitars were compared to people who had to have Porsches. Now it's trophy wives. And - the criticism is very transparently tied to price sensitivity. Any half awake reader can decipher that.

    Then the other camp will dredge up examples of pianos, flutes, violins, classical guitars, etc., etc., to make the point that $15 - $30K really ain't squat for a good instrument. And me? I like to say "some people buy Benedettos, some people buy bass boats". (I admit to stealing that line from an art dealer friend of mine, but he said it about oil paintings).

    Here's the point - all of this is counter-productive and detracts from the conversation.

    So here's a proposal - when we talk about guitars let's just talk about guitars. And here's another idea, let's not presume that a darker sound is "superior" to a brighter sound. Further, let's not presume that less resonant is preferable to more resonant. Let's just say that they're different characteristics, and some players will prefer one over the other. (kind of like with cedar vs. spruce in the classical guitar world.)

    What might be more productive would be to compare guitars in a similar class - like a car magazine does. They compare everything from sub-compacts to supercars, and everything in between. We don't need to go that far, but we could at least compare carved vs. carved and laminate vs. laminate in price ranges such as

    $2K - $4K
    $5K - $8K
    $10K - $14K
    $15K - $22K
    $25K and up


    Then we could skip all that other crap. Maybe.
    Last edited by fumblefingers; 06-06-2015 at 10:29 AM.

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    if you want a great guitar as a status symbol like a trophy wife, go for it but if you want a better sound, you'd be better off putting the time into practicing.

    having said that, there's nothing wrong with wanting a great guitar. I'm just unconvinced that spending $10k on a boutique instrument gets you a better sound than a 175 or L5.

    I'd like to hear some audio proof of this.
    Op, if you are shallow like me, have a trophy wife like me, purchase guitars as status symbals like me, then I strongly recommend that you give Bill Comins a call. Bill is a Prince and will build you a guitar so good that even the drunk chick in the third row could pick it out over a MIK counter part.

    Seriously, Bill is the man and there is no question he will build you what you want in a reasonable amount of time.

  34. #83

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    I can only speak for myself, but I ordered a custom guitar because I wanted some specific features I thought would make the instrument more comfortable and, well, playable for me. I wanted a laminate, to reduce the effects of our hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. I wanted a small body of intermediate depth (because I find a small body with full depth to be just as uncomfortable as a full-size guitar). And I wanted a neck that fit my small hands and stubby fingers.

    I looked, but I couldn't find a factory guitar with that combination of features; I guess the the Sadowsky 15 inch and the Benedetto Bambino came the closest. I originally planned to order from Tom Painter, whose prices were incredibly low, but he stopped building. I went with Victor Baker instead. I had the guitar 9 months after I sent my deposit. The instrument is everything I wanted. And it cost me about what a new GB-10 or ES-175 would have cost, and less than a new Bambino or Sadowsky.

    I have a friend who insists there are two ways to buy gear, whether you're talking about golf clubs or guitars. One way is to prowl the second-hand market, buy and try, resell won't you don't like until you find what you do like. The other way is to decide what you want and then spend the money to get it. Ordering custom certainly falls into the second category. It involves some risks, but - for me - it was definitely worth it.

  35. #84

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    My first two archtops, a Gibson L-5C and an L-4C, were both excellent guitars but the depth of their bodies made them uncomfortable for me to play for long periods, so in '68 I started playing a Byrdland instead. By the mid-70's the short-scale, skinny neck had lost its charm. Around then I bought an original Gibson L-5CT Gobel, which felt much better than the Byrdland, but had no pickups. I really wanted a 25.5"-scale, thin-body L-5CES, so I started sending requests to Gibson to build me one. Each time I did they turned me down.

    During the mid '80's I was disenchanted with the guitars Gibson was turning out and started considering other makers. There were not a lot of makers of fine archtops back then, but I did have a couple of Benedettos that I had purchased used. I called Bob, who told me he was too backed up to promise reasonable delivery time on a custom instrument.

    (At the 2007 Winter NAMM Bob had a thinline Manhattan that was a killer guitar, best of show for me. I had long before discovered that such guitars are not worth the premium over an L-5 to me, and I passed on it. It was for sale recently--passed on it yet again, although the price was much more reasonable than when first offered.)

    Jimmy D'Aquisto had no interest in making me a thin New Yorker Special, but he did point me to Roger Borys. I bought several of Roger's stock instruments, which were well-made and sounded fine; however, there were aspects of them I didn't love, including the neck profile, tall, narrow frets and lack of decoration. Eventually Roger made me five custom instruments, including a thin carved-top, that addressed my concerns. They were all nice guitars, but the process was not without difficulties. The jazz solid, semi and B120 pleased me more than the carved tops. I did do some gigging with them, but still used my older Gibsons too.

    While this was going on I kept sending my requests to Gibson. Besides the thin-L-5CES, I had hoped they would make me an ES-355 with an L-5 neck, which was inspired by a Gibson ad I had seen in downbeat in '58 that featured Andy Nelson. I was amazed when in '93 they agreed to make this for me. That process too had some angst, but I did get my guitar in '94. It's a beautiful guitar, but 21 years later is bigger and heavier than I like.

    In '96 a couple of dealers called me on the same day to tell me they had each received a thin L-5CES with a 25.5" scale. Overwhelmed to find two of what seemed like my dream guitar, I bought them both. They turned out to be gorgeous and became my main jazz gig guitars for the next eight years. Except for the tuners they were exactly what I had been requesting from Gibson for all those years.

    In the early aughts Gibson made me a few custom semis that were just minor cosmetic changes to standard products. The resulting guitars were stunningly good. I had planned to have them make me a few more, but they changed their one-off pricing structure, making it too pricey for what I wanted to have done. Instead I bought a couple that had been dealer custom ordered and found they were about as nice, and quite a bit cheaper than Gibson had quoted me.

    Over the years I also bought a number of one-offs that had been built for other players. Most of these were oddballs, some of which seem to still be making the rounds on Ebay or dealer sites. A few more one-off, thin, 25.5" scale L-5's turned up too, including a pair of florentines and a WesMo.

    All in all I owned around twenty-five custom-ordered guitars, ten of which were commissioned by me. I hadn't bought any one of them expecting it to be perfect, to change my playing or my life, or to make me better in any way. I already had fine guitars and I already played as well as I was ever likely to. I was never searching for the ultimate tone, either. I did manage to find guitars that fit me better or looked nicer to me and I had lots of fun doing it.

    What I learned out of all this is that if you wait long enough, the guitar you want may turn up without you doing anything, and that whatever time you are quoted for a custom order, it will be much longer. For Gibson I multiply any estimate by three. Over that time, you might well change your mind about what you wanted, which is a strong vote for just finding the guitar you want, assuming it exists and comes up for sale. In today's market there are far more opportunities for that to happen than there used to be.

    Danny W.

  36. #85

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    I'm always jumping in on old threads after the heat is gone, but what the hell.

    I have 3 good archtops ('98 L5, Sadowsky Jim Hall and a GB-10) plus a bunch of stock solid bodies and nylon string electrics. I have minimal experience with custom builds, other than a solid body Jarrett Zaffiro, a les paul style chambered with synth and piezo electronics (they are no longer doing business, I think.)

    While I admire the beauty and artistry that goes in to many custom builds and appreciate the effort it takes to stay in business as a custom builder, I'm MOST interested in the tone I hear that I admire, vs. owning something unique. For that reason, I tend to agree with Jack, in that most of the artists I admire are playing Gibsons and Ibanez models that are relatively easy to acquire. The exceptions for me that come to mind are the elusive tones of Jesse Van Ruller (Elferink, I think ) and Peter Bernstein. Much of that is technique, but teasing out those elusive overtones that both of those players get has been hard. It might have more to do with the floating pickups, coupled with their technique, than with the actual guitar design. I won't likely have the answer to that question in the near future, nor have access to those guitars to try without some significant travel expenditure.

    I could afford a $10K custom build if I thought it necessary, but it would be a stretch and I'd rather have a variety of guitars to play and variety of tones to choose from and work toward, at this point in my life. Anyway, I already have the Porsche and the hot wife and would probably have to give one of those up, if I started buying custom builds

    I think the act of pursuing the unobtainable is a healthy thing, anyway. You discover a lot along the way, by using what you have to try to get there.
    It all works out in the end; if it's not working out, it's not the end.

  37. #86

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpguitar View Post
    LOL... 'cause I have one of those, and it is the best sounding archtop I've ever played too. So a factory guitar, albeit one well in excess of $10K... best of both worlds in this debate perhaps??!

    No gripes from me on the thread... it's all good.

    Im really glad it worked out for everybody!

    I upgraded the pup on the Imperial to a new RC 1000. But it doesn't matter--it's meant to be played acoustically. And what a fine voice it has!

    Thanks again!

    and yeah, just in time-Eric significantly increased his prices
    Navdeep Singh.

  38. #87

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    I recently saw a 16" Mark Campellone guitar with 24 3/4 scale where I liked the tone. (A refreshing change from other guitars I own and have been playing). I liked the guitar, but never seem to see one with the 25" scale length that I like.

    I am actually thinking it might make sense to order one.

    Anyone ever see one with 25" scale?

    I have to wonder what the potential financial loss would be if I custom ordered one these and decided to see it within the next year or two.

    I don't see a lot of used ones around and I am having difficulty getting a handle on resale value.


    Danielle

  39. #88

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    If you go to the websites for Campellone dealers, you'll often find several used instruments for sale:
    - Music Emporium
    - Acoustic Music.org
    - Murch Music
    - Mandolin Brothers
    - Soundpure
    As well, Joe Vinikow over at archtop.com has used Campellone archtops for sale every now and again.
    Private sales are easy to find - usually on ebay.com and reverb.com

    There's a lovely Campellone for sale in this very forum for what I think is a typical resale price for a private sale.

    To answer your question about your potential loss, my guess is that it would be between 25%-30% on a new instrument. Probably similar to similar Gibsons.

    Mark's prices for new guitars are quite reasonable, IMO, and are published on his website here:
    Campellone Guitars - Pricing
    As of July, 2015:
    "Built with a sole craftsman's attention to detail, as well as the use of efficient, small scale production methods, M.Campellone guitars offer both quality and affordability.
    All prices include hard-shell case and floating or built-in pickup. Standard, Deluxe and Special Series models are also available without pickup (deduct $200.00).
    EP Series - $3850.00
    Standard Series - $4,800.00
    Deluxe Series - $6,250.00
    Special Series - $7,595.00
    The CAMEO - $12,500.00"

    He is happy to build within a standard set of specifications:

    "All models are constructed using North American spruce and maple (European tonewoods optional depending on availability).
    Standard, Deluxe and Special Series guitars are available in 16” or 17” versions, with full 3" rim or thinline 2.25" rim.
    Available finishes*: natural, antique natural, amber sunburst, dark cherry sunburst, vintage sunburst. (*EP Series available in sunburst finishes only)
    Available nut widths: 1&11/16”or 1&3/4”
    Available fingerboard scales: 24.5”, 25” or 25.5” "
    Last edited by Hammertone; 06-21-2019 at 05:08 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.