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  1. #76

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    I sometime moonlight as a sound guy, and let me tell you, in most settings, your $5k archtop isn't going to sound appreciably different than an Eastman or Sadowsky JH. Besides, no one but us around here care.

    People want to know if you can play their favorite tunes. Don't need a $50k D'Angelico for that, and yes I have played 3-4 D'A's built by John, a $50k Manzer, and wonderful archtops by Benedetto, Campellone, Anderson, Triggs, D'Aquisto, Hopkins, Mirabella, Ribbecke, Pagelli, et al.

    Thing is, John Pizzarelli ain't taking his Benedetto on the road anymore, it's his laminate Moll. Same with the rest. With sound reinforcement and travel, laminates just hold up better and sound considerably better than a plank. If you are hanging out at home and you want the sound of angels singing and have the stroke, fine, buy an archtop from a boutique builder.

    I've owned and or played and interviewed all the above builders for podcasting, except the dead guys, and can sniff corks with the best. However, I play a Forshage Ergo when gigging. Basically an improved semihollow Klein with Benedetto pups. The nicer stuff always stays at home.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek
    I sometime moonlight as a sound guy, and let me tell you, in most settings, your $5k archtop isn't going to sound appreciably different than an Eastman or Sadowsky JH. Besides, no one but us around here care.

    People want to know if you can play their favorite tunes. Don't need a $50k D'Angelico for that, and yes I have played 3-4 D'A's built by John, a $50k Manzer, and wonderful archtops by Benedetto, Campellone, Anderson, Triggs, D'Aquisto, Hopkins, Mirabella, Ribbecke, Pagelli, et al.

    Thing is, John Pizzarelli ain't taking his Benedetto on the road anymore, it's his laminate Moll. Same with the rest. With sound reinforcement and travel, laminates just hold up better and sound considerably better than a plank. If you are hanging out at home and you want the sound of angels singing and have the stroke, fine, buy an archtop from a boutique builder.

    I've owned and or played and interviewed all the above builders for podcasting, except the dead guys, and can sniff corks with the best. However, I play a Forshage Ergo when gigging. Basically an improved semihollow Klein with Benedetto pups. The nicer stuff always stays at home.
    People always use this argument - live a laminate will sound equal to a solid (which it's probably tue). But will it feel equal to the player? If a solid has a mich better feeling it might lead to a much better performance even if the tone is not better than a laminate. When i gig the feeling of the guitar is as important as the tone.

    Anyway there are guys that tour with with solid expensive archtops as I mentioned above.

  4. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek
    People want to know if you can play their favorite tunes. Don't need a $50k D'Angelico for that,
    That's exactly what I found from my little listening experiment I mentioned not that long ago. That's really all they care about. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what kind of guitar am I playing and I told them a D'Angelico and they had no idea what that was, I'd have a hell of a lot of nickels. I even brought the thing one time into a Guitar Center (they had to look in the case to make sure I wasn't walking out with anything I didn't come in with) because I wasn't going to leave it in the car. When the guy looked at it, I asked him if he was familiar with the brand. He said I never heard of that one. Seemed odd for the place and time.

  5. #79

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    Picks not only affect the sound, but also the feel.

    If the difference in sound that I perceive is psychosomatic, then so be it. I "hear" the difference, and it makes me happy

  6. #80

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    You'd have to be a magician to IDENTIFY a pick by it's sound.

    But if you can't hear a difference between a fender medium and a dugain against the strings on your guitar, you ain't hearing too good.

    Guitar playerd love their absolutes...lots of them in this thread...leading to contention...

    I can't tell you any pick is "better" than another...that's a personal preference. But if you can't hear a difference, it dorsn't mean there isn't one.

    Btw, I agree, blue chip=snake oil.

  7. #81

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    Again it's a matter of balance. Between 1) they're all the same 2) pick X will save your guitar there's A LOT in between.

    In my humble experience a pick can change your tone a lot.. it's not as decisive as guitar / pickup / amp / speaker choice but it's number 5 probably.

    EDIT: Number 5 would be picks and strings ex aequo
    Last edited by jorgemg1984; 07-06-2012 at 08:27 AM.

  8. #82

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    Basically, it's this... If you can appreciate the difference, then something is worth the money. If you can't, it isn't. No matter how you try to qualify or quantify this stuff, when dealing with something that goes beyond physics, and is completely subjective, there is no clear cut science or logic - just opinion.

    A brand is developed when those opinions start to line up and certain builders establish themselves as more likely to provide an instrument that subjectively aligns itself with more than a few folks.

    So, i will play the guitars that speak to me, regardless of brand. If they cost $10 or $30,000, it doesn't matter as long as it speaks to me.

    Bob

  9. #83

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    for sure practising is time better spent!

  10. #84

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    I think the amp is so important too. I get a great acoustic archtop sound out of my Sadowsky through the Quilter 8 or Genzler or Bud. A full range amp makes a huge difference. Might sell my carved Eastman, haven't used it in months.

  11. #85

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    I have struggled with this issue for years, and I often turn to bass players for answers. You can listen to the whole thing here, but especially listen to this guy starting on the 2nd song at around half time through the vid 3:00. Who's gonna care if he's using an upright carved bass or not. I'd give a kidney to play jazz with them. And if you can catch it, see the drummers incredible stick flipping technique at around 5:40. It happens so fast it's hard to catch.

    Last edited by Woody Sound; 12-02-2021 at 10:14 PM.

  12. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by uburoibob
    So, i will play the guitars that speak to me, regardless of brand. If they cost $10 or $30,000, it doesn't matter as long as it speaks to me.
    It can speak to me, call my name, leave voicemails, whistle past my house at night and sing under my window– if it costs 30 grand, I'm not gonna buy it.

  13. #87

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    The player is still the critical factor.

    Guitars don’t play themselves.

  14. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by rictroll
    The player is still the critical factor.

    Guitars don’t play themselves.
    Tell that to my old gigging '69 L-5, sure seems like it does

  15. #89

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    I am too lazy to go back through nine years worth of posts. So maybe this has already been addressed: whether something is "worth the money" depends on what it's being compared to. Is a Mercedes "worth the money" compared to a Lada? If you want a reliable, durable car that you can own for 25 years, the answer may be yes.

    Is a Gibson L5 worth the money compared to a Harmony archtop from the 1940s? If you are going to be playing professionally, pretty sure the answer is yes. If you're gonna play the three songs you know sitting on your front porch on Saturday evening, the answer may be no. Or, if you can afford the L5, maybe the answer is yes then too.

    Everyone probably has a point of diminishing returns that they can identify. I read a lot of NGD's on this forum showcasing wonderous guitars by the like of Campallone, Buscarino, etc. While I can appreciate them, I will probably never pry my wallet open wide enough to pay that much money for a guitar. I have my archtop made by Matt Cushman which plays and sounds fantastic to my ears and has satisfied my urge to buy any further archtops. I have probably reached the point of diminishing returns at that particular instrument.

    On top of that, I find that in general archtop guitars that sound better acoustically tend to sound not as well amplified via a pickup and vice versa. For the amplified archtop sound, I have my Ibanez GB10 which has kept me from buying another laminated archtop guitar since 1986. I think the point of diminishing returns has been reached there as well, because I am probably not going to sound any better than another laminated instrument.


    And for purely amplified sound, in all honesty I don't think you can beat a solidbody. My Strat and Teles sound better amplified than any hollow body guitars I've ever plugged in, at least in my hands.

  16. #90

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    A used Loar 700 at less than half the new retail price is definitely worth it.

  17. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    I am too lazy to go back through nine years worth of posts. So maybe this has already been addressed: whether something is "worth the money" depends on what it's being compared to. Is a Mercedes "worth the money" compared to a Lada? If you want a reliable, durable car that you can own for 25 years, the answer may be yes.

    Is a Gibson L5 worth the money compared to a Harmony archtop from the 1940s? If you are going to be playing professionally, pretty sure the answer is yes. If you're gonna play the three songs you know sitting on your front porch on Saturday evening, the answer may be no. Or, if you can afford the L5, maybe the answer is yes then too.

    Everyone probably has a point of diminishing returns that they can identify. I read a lot of NGD's on this forum showcasing wonderous guitars by the like of Campallone, Buscarino, etc. While I can appreciate them, I will probably never pry my wallet open wide enough to pay that much money for a guitar. I have my archtop made by Matt Cushman which plays and sounds fantastic to my ears and has satisfied my urge to buy any further archtops. I have probably reached the point of diminishing returns at that particular instrument.

    On top of that, I find that in general archtop guitars that sound better acoustically tend to sound not as well amplified via a pickup and vice versa. For the amplified archtop sound, I have my Ibanez GB10 which has kept me from buying another laminated archtop guitar since 1986. I think the point of diminishing returns has been reached there as well, because I am probably not going to sound any better than another laminated instrument.


    And for purely amplified sound, in all honesty I don't think you can beat a solidbody. My Strat and Teles sound better amplified than any hollow body guitars I've ever plugged in, at least in my hands.
    Mercedes have had some very questionable periods regarding reliability and build quality and in continental Europe, they're also referred to as taxis

  18. #92

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    Will the OP publish a manifesto?

  19. #93

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    This is something I finally realized about this issue that’s simplified things quite a bit for me:

    The minor differences in sound/feel of our gear doesn’t mean much to the audience, but may to the player, which will inspire the performance, which the audience will notice.

    it’s all about what inspires the player.

  20. #94

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    As an amateur in the midst of a Covid pandemic, all of my playing is at home. I suspect this is true for the vast majority here. So what do you want to listen to for those hours of practice? The thump of plywood or the zing of wood? Doesn't matter because electric? Then why put up with size of a full hollow vs a semi? Or even a plank? For me it's the sound. A carved archtop sounds good.

    As for those who are gigging on a regular basis and the argument of 'what the audience hears'.. other than them hearing something good and pleasing, why not worry about what you hear? You're still spending a lot more time in the woodshed than on the stage.

  21. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    As an amateur in the midst of a Covid pandemic, all of my playing is at home. I suspect this is true for the vast majority here. So what do you want to listen to for those hours of practice? The thump of plywood or the zing of wood? Doesn't matter because electric? Then why put up with size of a full hollow vs a semi? Or even a plank? For me it's the sound. A carved archtop sounds good.

    As for those who are gigging on a regular basis and the argument of 'what the audience hears'.. other than them hearing something good and pleasing, why not worry about what you hear? You're still spending a lot more time in the woodshed than on the stage.
    My plywood archtop's main purpose for me is as an electric. Plugged in, it's a great sounding electric that gets the classic rich thunky jazz tone, and I do play out with it regularly, so that's what's most important. Unplugged it has a pleasant real-guitar sound that's like an acoustic guitar with an attenuator, not just an unmusical thump. It's loud enough for me to enjoy playing it, but quiet enough not to bother people in the next room at night. It's not a compromise for my uses (I have a sel-mac style acoustic guitar for when I do want to bother people in the next room). A semi is yet different equally valid electric sound, and I have one of those that I'm also happy with. Ditto for a plank (strat, in my case). I actually put a fair amount of thought and time into figuring out what I want in my modest guitar "collection" and have tried a lot of different archtops (owned two others along the way). Carved does not mean "better" for my tastes and purposes; just "different".

  22. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    It can speak to me, call my name, leave voicemails, whistle past my house at night and sing under my window– if it costs 30 grand, I'm not gonna buy it.
    If it costs 10 grand, I am not going to buy it. One can find amazing archtops in the 3K-10K range. Spending more is really for bragging rights, not tone. But it's the buyer's money and if spending more than 10 grand on an archtop is worthwhile/important/etc. to them, more power to them.

  23. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    ,, Carved does not mean "better" for my tastes and purposes; just "different".
    I'm glad I don't have to worry about neighbors. Of course, being in the Oregon woods I don't have the culture choices of the big city.

    The original question was 'are carved archtops worth it'. A question that seems to imply someone would be looking for what carved archtops do which is produce a more complex acoustic sound. I believe it's more than volume as (broad generalization) carved resonates differently for ply. However, I certainly get how ply and even planks make a good late night practice sound.

  24. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    If it costs 10 grand, I am not going to buy it. One can find amazing archtops in the 3K-10K range. Spending more is really for bragging rights, not tone. But it's the buyer's money and if spending more than 10 grand on an archtop is worthwhile/important/etc. to them, more power to them.
    $30K is not a lot to some people (as unfair as some find that to be). Depends on what you do for a living and where you live. That's like, what, 2 months rent in SF? (j/k)

    You make a good point about being able to get something amazing for under $10K. Less than a beater used car. Guitar players really are fortunate.

  25. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    I'm glad I don't have to worry about neighbors. Of course, being in the Oregon woods I don't have the culture choices of the big city.

    The original question was 'are carved archtops worth it'. A question that seems to imply someone would be looking for what carved archtops do which is produce a more complex acoustic sound. I believe it's more than volume as (broad generalization) carved resonates differently for ply. However, I certainly get how ply and even planks make a good late night practice sound.
    I actually don't think it makes sense to talk about "carved" as though it's one particular thing. There are fully acoustic guitars with or without floaters and with different voicings, fully electric guitars with set-in pickups thick tops and heavy braces, and ones that fall somewhere in between. And there are different degrees of success in execution. I can only evaluate specific instruments in relation to my tastes and purposes.

    No doubt any number of carved acoustic guitars are better as such for acoustic music than pretty much any plywood topped electric. But I don't agree that, say, an L5CES is a better electric guitar than, say, a 175. It's different, and I can certainly understand why some prefer it and why it costs more. But it's not better or more "complex". Just different.

    As far as carved tops with floaters go, some sound good to me as electrics, but some sound kind of clanky and harsh to me. For the most part it's not my preferred sound (Johnny Smith and 60s KB, and Peter Bernstein being the obvious exceptions).

  26. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    No doubt any number of carved acoustic guitars are better as such for acoustic music than pretty much any plywood topped electric. But I don't agree that, say, an L5CES is a better electric guitar than, say, a 175. It's different, and I can certainly understand why some prefer it and why it costs more. But it's not better or more "complex". Just different.

    .
    I own a L-5CES and a Super 400CES in addition to three ES-175's. None are particularly good as acoustic guitars and all 5 are electric guitars designed to be amplified to be sure. That said, the acoustic tone of the carved guitars, while lacking the volume of a truly acoustic guitar is a better acoustic tone than the plywood guitars. Plugged in, I agree that the carved guitars have a different tone, not necessarily a better tone. They sure cost more and guitarists have to decide if that different tone is worth the added cost.