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  1. #1

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    Sooner or later I will be looking for an archtop to add to my collection. What am really after is a Gibson L-5 but I won't have that money anytime soon being a student.

    So can you guys recommend a archtop with very similar dimensions and feel to the Gibson L-5.

    I have been looking at Peerless Jazz City for the future but the pickup could be closer to the neck.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    In my opinion, I feel that the (discontinued) Wasburn J6 Montgomery guitar is an excellent jazz box if you're looking for a L-5 type instrument. They are only available as a used guitar because they have been out of production for several years so they're hard to find. The new Washburns do not sound the same as the origional J6.

    Be sure to get a nice case with anything you buy!

  4. #3
    Oh wow thanks for that. it looks like washburn made a nice copy!

  5. #4

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    Check out a Heritage Golden Eagle.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by docbop
    Check out a Heritage Golden Eagle.
    They seem real nice
    Heritage Guitar, Inc. of Kalamazoo - Golden Eagle

    How much do they cost?

    I could probably save about £1300

  7. #6

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    That Washburn looks nice. Does it have a solid carved spruce top?

  8. #7

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    What kind of L5? What kind of budget?

    An exact copy of the original L5 on a $900 budget: Loar LH-700 (or 600, or 350)?
    The Loar

  9. #8

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    The Samick JZ4 is a great instrument. Plays really well, sounds good, looks great. It's my main axe (until I can afford an L5, too).

    Better Guitar - Review of the Samick LaSalle JZ 4 electric jazz guitar.

    I paid $850.00 new for mine.

  10. #9
    Thanks for the quick replies guys. Am just weighing up the competition potential purchase in the future. Am looking for a electric archtop with a cutaway but thanks for the link Spiral.

    My budget /would be £1200 max

    *note to self am going to be saving for some years*

  11. #10

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    You mention similar dimensions and feel to an L5.

    What about an Epiphone Broadway or an Ibanez AF105NT? Good start for an archtop for noodling about. The frets and fretboard of the Ibanez AF105NT are very nice.

    There is also the Ibanez SJ500 which is really close to an L5: it has a pressed solid spruce top, Venetian cutaway, measures about 17" in the lower bout, 80mm rim depth. It is only available from Japan if you're willing to try that route. Your GBP1200 is sufficient to buy it and land it although I don't know how much tax you have to pay. I have one too and it is really nice and woody sounding although the violin finish is too glossy for my liking. Has a nice acoustic tone and a great fretboard with nicely finished frets. The stock humbuckers are good so I don't think you need to replace those.

    http://www.ibanez.co.jp/products/pag...&series_id=255

    Made In China, though. If that bothers you, well....

    I would also recommend a Heritage Golden Eagle but that one may bust your budget.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 03-13-2011 at 10:44 PM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AZanshin
    They seem real nice
    Heritage Guitar, Inc. of Kalamazoo - Golden Eagle

    How much do they cost?

    I could probably save about £1300
    I can't speak for cost of a Golden Eagle, but Heritage I can vouch for. VERY nice guitars.

    Call these guys: (http://www.wolfeguitars.com/index2.php). VERY helpful.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by AZanshin
    They seem real nice
    Heritage Guitar, Inc. of Kalamazoo - Golden Eagle

    How much do they cost?

    I could probably save about £1300
    They are around $6000 you didn't state a budget. For the money you're talked there are a number of good guitars already mentioned in previous posts. Also used Eastman's can be had for around $1000 and that will get you a solid top guitar.

  14. #13

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    You don't mention how much you are prepared to pay, but it's actually possible to have a handmade guitar made by a luthier at a price much below what you will have to pay for a Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery model. Two luthiers - both highly respected and very experienced - who has chosen not to let their prices rise to astronomical heigths come to mind here:

    Jim Triggs and his son Ryan makes their San Salvador model (as well as D'Angelico and Stromberg copies + many mandolins for the bluegrass people) which is close to a Gibson L5. Jim actually made L5s and Super 400s back in the 1980-90s when he was one of the luthiers in charge of the Gibson custom shop, and his instruments are rooted in the Gibson tradition. Since each guitar is handmade by Jim and Ryan, and since they are very accomodating to customer wishes, you can have them build the guitar almost as you want it. Custom wishes may not mean a big difference to the price, since it may not be more expensive to apply a finish differently or use a different tailpiece etc. The only downside is that you have to wait a while he builds the guitar (last year the wait was about 6 months). He will, however, e-mail you photos of the building process as it progresses.

    TriggsGuitars.Com Triggs Guitars

    Mark Campellone is another very respected maker who is also firmly rooted in the Gibson tradition. As opposed to Jim Triggs, Mark Campellone sticks to his model designs and doesn't offer customizing. However, there is certainly nothing wrong with his model styling - his instruments are beautiful - so it's not a problem at all.

    Welcome to Campellone Guitars

  15. #14

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    He did mention GBP1200 max.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    He did mention GBP1200 max.
    or at today's RoE, USD 1,929.32. Doesn't get near a Triggs or Campellone.

    Heritage - can work out a little expensive over here, though this looks OK? If I were buying a guitar right now.......

    Heritage H-575 archtop guitar on eBay (end time 16-Mar-11 20:21:58 GMT)

    or maybe

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/D-ANGELICO-EXC...item4aa963aa08

    Anyway, A-man, at least you got yourself a nice amp to play it through.....
    Last edited by mangotango; 03-14-2011 at 09:38 AM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    He did mention GBP1200 max.
    OK, sorry, missed that.

  18. #17

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    You might be able to find a Guild A500 or A350 in your budget, but you would have to add a floating pickup. They are both carved tops, but out of production for quite some time. More recently, the X-700 is a carved top with two pickups and I've seen them occasionally for only a little over your range, however that doesn't factor in shipping and import duties to the UK.
    Brad

  19. #18

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    Yea those guitars are super expensive in to 4k

  20. #19

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    sry, hadnt seen this was a bumped old thread ..
    Last edited by waltf; 08-21-2020 at 09:41 AM.

  21. #20

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    You guys know this thread is 9 years old, right?

  22. #21

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    Wow this jazz box it looks awesome and sounds better.Very nice choice under $600 probably the best.Also J7 looks good.Not shure though about the build or Spruce top solid.Not a fan of Leminated

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by customxke
    You guys know this thread is 9 years old, right?
    Haha no, actually I hadn't seen that. Woops.

  24. #23

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    I guess show must go on,nothing wrong with it,just contact hehe

  25. #24

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    Thanks for input, Heritages sound lovely indeed:
    .

    Many Archtop guitars sound "too acoustic" (incl. Campellone), but the Heritages sound similar warm as L5 but with a different touch. I love acoustic guitars (have 2 of them), but exactly because of this I am searching for a very different sound.

  26. #25

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    Production scale American guitars similar to the L-5 include the Heritage Golden Eagle and Guild X-700. All of these are fine instruments.

  27. #26

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    If you hunt you can find a really nice Aria Pro II PE180, made in the 70's by Matsumoku. They came out under other brand names too, like Bradley. Very nice guitars. Laminate bodies dimensionally like L5ces, neck and headstock inspired by the Super 400. Ibanez also made a near exact clone of the L5ces.

    Here's my Aria Pro II PE180.


  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    If you hunt you can find a really nice Aria Pro II PE180, made in the 70's by Matsumoku. They came out under other brand names too, like Bradley. Very nice guitars. Laminate bodies dimensionally like L5ces, neck and headstock inspired by the Super 400. Ibanez also made a near exact clone of the L5ces.

    Here's my Aria Pro II PE180.

    I actually have the version of this guitar for sale, but made under the name Navigator. Has silver hardware instead of gold. Everyone seems to really dig them.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by manolo_asdf
    ...Many Archtop guitars sound "too acoustic" (incl. Campellone), but the Heritages sound similar warm as L5 but with a different touch. I love acoustic guitars (have 2 of them), but exactly because of this I am searching for a very different sound.
    Many Campellones have been made as purpose-built electric guitars - fully carved, but with set-in pickups and fairly muted acoustic characteristics, remarkably similar to what Gibson has done with most of its L-5WES and L-5CES models over the past few decades.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 11-18-2020 at 10:17 AM.

  30. #29

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    This is going for likely well under £1000 if you don't mind the damage.

    1979 Aria Pro II L1000 L 1000 L-1000 L5 Archtop + Case | eBay

    Bit heavy and doesn't have a solid top but you'll get your money back when you've got the funds for an L5.

    You could try for an Yamahas AE1200

    Message this guy and offer him £1100. He's a reseller though so likely won't have the margins to accept.

    Yamaha AE1200s Archtop guitar 1988 Very good condition PICS & VIDEO ADDED | eBay

    These Guild De'Armond's are some of the better stuff to come out of Korea.

    DeArmond De Armond X155 By Guild | eBay

    Bare in mind the above are quintessential budget L5 Copies. Quite heavy and dull sounding. They sound good plugged in but not very good unplugged.

    You could always spring for an Eastman or Peerless but I've never enjoyed them personally.

    2005 Eastman AR905CE Uptown Electric Archtop Guitar | eBay

    If you can stretch to £1500 I've got an Ibanez GB-20 you can have.
    I've also got an American Guild SF3, which is around £1200 but not really an L5 substitute.

    Drop me a PM if you're interested. I was gonna put them up for sale soon.

  31. #30

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    Vintage! 1986 Heritage Eagle Archtop Jazzbox Sunburst + | Reverb

    I've seen these go for under 2 Grand which can't be beat. All solid woods, the right/classic dimensions, clean looks -
    Alternative : the Guild X-500 (pressed wood but still with a solid top)
    The japanese models by Aria, Yamaha etc. are all plywood, most of them pretty heavy and so they just lack some the dynamic
    range and response a lot of players want. When you're playing bebop in a loud-ish group that won't be such an issue but when you want to hear all the little nuances of your chords and lines, the difference between the attack of a heavy pick and your fingertips etc. then you want a guitar that can translate all of that. It pays off to wait, save up and learn as much as you can in the meantime...

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop
    Check out a Heritage Golden Eagle.
    +1 on Heritage Golden Eagle. I have one. Fantastic guitar, and built in the original Gibson factory.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Vintage! 1986 Heritage Eagle Archtop Jazzbox Sunburst + | Reverb

    Guild X-500 (pressed wood but still with a solid top)
    X-500 top is laminated, X-700 and A-350, A-500 and Artist Award are solid, and,IIRC, carved. A models were originally totally acoustic, suspended p/u may have been an option.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Vintage! 1986 Heritage Eagle Archtop Jazzbox Sunburst + | Reverb

    Guild X-500 (pressed wood but still with a solid top)
    X-500 top is laminated, X-700 and A-350, A-500 and Artist Award are solid, and,IIRC, carved. A models were originally totally acoustic, suspended p/u may have been an option. X models were their electric counterpart with laminate tops.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    This is going for likely well under £1000 if you don't mind the damage.

    1979 Aria Pro II L1000 L 1000 L-1000 L5 Archtop + Case | eBay

    Bit heavy and doesn't have a solid top but you'll get your money back when you've got the funds for an L5.

    You could try for an Yamahas AE1200

    Message this guy and offer him £1100. He's a reseller though so likely won't have the margins to accept.

    Yamaha AE1200s Archtop guitar 1988 Very good condition PICS & VIDEO ADDED | eBay

    These Guild De'Armond's are some of the better stuff to come out of Korea.

    DeArmond De Armond X155 By Guild | eBay

    Bare in mind the above are quintessential budget L5 Copies. Quite heavy and dull sounding. They sound good plugged in but not very good unplugged.

    You could always spring for an Eastman or Peerless but I've never enjoyed them personally.

    2005 Eastman AR905CE Uptown Electric Archtop Guitar | eBay

    If you can stretch to £1500 I've got an Ibanez GB-20 you can have.
    I've also got an American Guild SF3, which is around £1200 but not really an L5 substitute.

    Drop me a PM if you're interested. I was gonna put them up for sale soon.
    I was going for that Yamaha as the seller is half hour drive from me. Was hoping to get the price down (he did drop a bit) and then thought I'm struggling more with a 251/2" scale guitar. Would have been a nice thing to have though.
    ps I was also watching the Aria - seemed a lowish price even with the binding issue.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    This is going for likely well under £1000 if you don't mind the damage.

    1979 Aria Pro II L1000 L 1000 L-1000 L5 Archtop + Case | eBay

    Bit heavy and doesn't have a solid top but you'll get your money back when you've got the funds for an L5.

    You could try for an Yamahas AE1200

    Message this guy and offer him £1100. He's a reseller though so likely won't have the margins to accept.

    Yamaha AE1200s Archtop guitar 1988 Very good condition PICS & VIDEO ADDED | eBay

    These Guild De'Armond's are some of the better stuff to come out of Korea.

    DeArmond De Armond X155 By Guild | eBay

    Bare in mind the above are quintessential budget L5 Copies. Quite heavy and dull sounding. They sound good plugged in but not very good unplugged.

    You could always spring for an Eastman or Peerless but I've never enjoyed them personally.

    2005 Eastman AR905CE Uptown Electric Archtop Guitar | eBay

    If you can stretch to £1500 I've got an Ibanez GB-20 you can have.
    I've also got an American Guild SF3, which is around £1200 but not really an L5 substitute.

    Drop me a PM if you're interested. I was gonna put them up for sale soon.
    Ref the Yamaha, the offer price to me was not close to £1100 and that was even if I collected.
    It's relisted at £1450. He's in no rush.

  37. #36

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    Here is a side-by-side of 3 17" archtops: L5ces, Aria Pro II PE180, and Epiphone Broadway. All 17", all 25.5" scale, all 2 humbuckers, the Aria and Epiphone are laminates and the Ephiphone is a bit shallower rim than the other two. All guitars are stock except the Epiphone has a Steward MacDonald Parson Street Golden Age pickup.


  38. #37

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    Great video, Lawson. I actually liked the Aria most of all.

  39. #38

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    Way back down-thread somebody mentioned the Ibanez SJ500. This was replaced by the SJ300, which I have, I would be interested in others feelings/thoughts about these. I really enjoy it but don't really know enough to give an informed opinion.

    Cheers

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Great video, Lawson. I actually liked the Aria most of all.
    It seems like a move toward a Tal Farlow sort of vibe. I adore that guitar.


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