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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    $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.
    Your joke is not far off the mark. In some San Francisco neighborhoods 30K will be the rent of a single family home for two months. If an apartment in an average neighborhood will do, 30K will buy you about 10 months rent.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984
    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.
    Well, you are treading into the realm of the subjective here. There can be little to no contradiction of claims. What I can say is that for me there is no inherent difference in the "feel" of an amplified instrument based on what the top is made from. The shape of the neck, body size and thickness and setup are what count there. A well setup laminate will trump a badly set up carvetop. My Ibanez GB10 plays as well as any carvetop I've ever touched and IMHO sounds better amplified than most 17" carved instruments.

    Acoustically in the room, it's a different story- the GB10 is pretty respectable, but my Cushman is handily better. Since I prefer to practice unamplified I play the Cushman more.

  4. #103

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    Violinists find this debate risible

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad
    I I'm biased). The reason this matters is that guitars are musically crap compared to e.g. a trumpet or a saxophone. We should all be in the business of copying the human voice - we all have to make our instruments sing. Sax players and trumpet players have an immense advantage here (that is why these instruments dominate jazz). We haven't got much to go on here with our bit of wood and metal - so we need as much help as we can get. That makes people like Campellone, Comins and Andersen very important indeed. Sell everything and get one of their guitars.

    I
    i dont agree, its not our problem, that you perhaps feel inferior to other instruments, ones ears alone should inform you the lines that certain guitar players are pretty sophisticated, ( no disrespect to anyone whatsoever) no talks about Scofields little 2 note clusters that those sax guys cant do,the block chords that useless boy Wes plays on In Your Own sweet Way, hey the list goes on, perhaps seek out those things, when you hear Joe Pass right beside Clark Terry tempo around 300ish playing his lines.

  6. #105

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    We're supposed to imitate the human voice? Tell it to pianists and drummers...

  7. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    whether something is "worth the money" depends.
    The classic equation is that value = worth / cost. Cost means the total cost of ownership, which can go far beyond the purchase price. Each of us has to assess worth on his or her own value scale. A great price for a dump truck adds no value to it for to most of us regardless of cost, because it has no worth unless you’ve just loved dump trucks since you were a little kid and have the money to buy and maintain it and the space to keep it as a toy.

    Solid carved top guitars have many costs beyond the cost of acquisition. Relative to ply and plank instruments, they’re more prone to cracking etc from temperature extremes as minor as the gradient between a hot summer night and an air conditioned club. More than a few (like me) are more protective of and worried about physical damage when gigging with a more valuable and/or delicate instrument than with a less vulnerable axe. A thin nitro finish or French polish is more easily marked or otherwise marred by assaults as minor as a drop of perspiration. Insurance costs are generally proportional to purchase or replacement cost, etc etc.

    Worth goes far beyond resale value. If you’ve dreamed of one since you were little, there’s great worth to you in having it. But the value to you if that’s why you bought it is only high if you love it enough to offset all costs from financial through emotional to practical. On the other hand, if it’s a business tool and it returns far more than the cost of ownership through teaching and playing fees, royalties, merch, etc, its worth would far exceed its cost.

    So there’s no single answer to the question on which this thread is based. Each of us has to assess that value independently. I think the only valid question is “Are hand carved archtops worth the money to you?”

  8. #107

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    Are hand-carved archtops worth the money? I'd sure like to find out! I'm having so much fun and deriving so much pleasure from my laminate archtops I'm not sure I could handle the joy of playing a fine instrument, such as a [insert name of bespoke builder here]. I will continue to appreciate such instruments from afar, enjoying their lore and transmitting their virtues to younger players, and listening to the records made by players vastly better than myself. I salute those with the wherewithal to purchase, play, and preserve these functional works of art, and wish them well unreservedly. I'm sure they appreciate the unique aspects of the ownership/conservatorship equation, and act responsibly. Townsend never smashed one of his D'Angelicos, after all.

    If we are speaking of worth in a financial sense, relativism comes to the fore. I prefer to think of such instruments as good things in and of themselves, irrespective of the monetary investments necessary to obtain them. The question is, What Price Art? The answer, More than You can Afford, frequently. So be it.

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Violinists find this debate risible
    This is very true! I worked with a violinist for several years, she came to a rehearsal one day and was just over the moon happy. She had obtained a new bow and after the session, shared with me it had set her back 12K. Mind you she already had about 35K in her violin. Plus the funds for her Masters degree and private lessons. We we doing Gypsy Jazz at a Basque Fellowship Hall for $400 a night twice a month. Of course, she was concertizing on the legit stage most of the time and teaching as well. She played the same rig at every engagement-that was her sound.

    I gig with my Bob-built 1990 Benedetto Cremona whenever it's the right tool for the occasion. To me, there would be no point in owning such a great instrument and not performing with it. Iffy weather on a outside gig, my 05 Eastman JP 880 gets the call. It's hand carved as well and does much better on Big Band gigs.

    I had been saving money for a new car, and there was no question I would use the funds for the Benedetto and drive my old car longer. A decision I have never regretted.

    Are hand carved archtops worth the money?-dvs-19-jpg

  10. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Townsend never smashed one of his D'Angelicos, after all.

    If we are speaking of worth in a financial sense, relativism comes to the fore. I prefer to think of such instruments as good things in and of themselves, irrespective of the monetary investments necessary to obtain them. The question is, What Price Art? The answer, More than You can Afford, frequently. So be it.
    No, but he did once throw a guitar up in the air, a beater that his stage hand gave him, and while it was up there he realized that it was his #1 guitar- IIRC a '50's Les Paul!

    Which promptly shattered.

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    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.
    My archtop has a laminated spruce top, which has a bit more going on unplugged than a typical lam maple top, but is not really an acoustic guitar.

  12. #111

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    True regarding classical string instruments. I am a cellist as well as a guitar player - and so buying a Gibson L5CES - which I love - and a Heritage Eagle - amazing instrument! - is no big deal compared to the $$$ I had to spend on a responsive cello. I have a few bows; one made by a Brazillian bow maker which is fantastic - cheap at $1000.

  13. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Violinists find this debate risible
    As do violists, cellists, contrabassists, mandolin players, flattop players, classical players, and so on.

  14. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    As do violists, cellists, contrabassists, mandolin players, flattop players, classical players, and so on.
    I checked over at the death metal forum. They found this discussion risible as well. Albeit for somewhat different reasons.

  15. #114

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    I remember watching two separate gigs, both guitarists were upcoming great young players. One was playing an L5 through a vintage Fender Twin reverb (rich supportive family ). The sound was .. majestic! Exactly what jazz guitar is supposed to sound like, to my ears. Plus the visual enjoyment of seeing and hearing this beautiful instrument on stage and up close.

    On the second gig, the guitarist was playing an Epiphone Les Paul through a Roland xl-40 amp (whole rig value about €400 used). On the brake he was saying how he recently traded his Benedetto for a Gibson 135, etc, and how he was getting to a point where the gear made little difference. His sound was great also, a typical good jazz guitar sound, nothing missing. (Wasn't majestic though ).

    Or I have another friend who has great guitars. A vintage 175, good electrics, handmade acoustics and classicals. Tons of effect devices. Has played all over the world, with theatres and various bands in different styles of music. Don't think he has ever owned a tube amp, he plays through cheap solid state amps. Has exactly the sound he likes. I'm really hesitant to give him advise...

    I like all these approaches. It's not the gear, it's the music. But then again, gear is part of the music. And once you hear something, you can't unhear it.

    To me personally, every $$ is worth it. We spend our lives chasing tone (among other musical things), it makes our playing richer. If some gear is going to get you closer to the sound you hear in your head, go after that! Sometimes you might go around the block only to find yourself standing at the same spot, but still.. you been around!

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    To me personally, every $$ is worth it. We spend our lives chasing tone (among other musical things), it makes our playing richer. If some gear is going to get you closer to the sound you hear in your head, go after that! Sometimes you might go around the block only to find yourself standing at the same spot, but still.. you been around!
    For me, the worth has been in the education I got from each buy - the cost was just tuition. After 66 years of playing guitar and supporting the habit, I’ve probably been through 50+ amps and almost as many guitars. I learned something of value from each that I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t bought it. As often as not, the lesson was simply that I shouldn’t have bought it and the enduring value was in having learned why.

  17. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    As often as not, the lesson was simply that I shouldn’t have bought it and the enduring value was in having learned why.
    Yes, this! Exactly! It's part of the journey.

  18. #117

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    My answer is that some of them are well worth the money. But it can take some trial-and-error to get there, unfortunately.

  19. #118

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    You can't possibly spend too much money on a guitar. All your other comments are arguable in my opinion, but I say go for it.

    No need to thank me. Advising people to spend copious amounts of money on guitars is what gives me joy.

  20. #119

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    "I guess I disagree with everything you've said in this paragraph. Given that we have been blessed with an incredibly powerful polyphonic instrument capable of great harmonic depth and nuance, why in heaven's name would we want to give that up to copy something which can only produce one single note at a time? If I really want to sound like a human voice, I think I'll just sing but when I play guitar, I can do so much more than that."

    Yep!

    What he said!
    Nicely put....

    But seriously, if you think improvisation transcends the instrument it is being played on, then
    how can one instrument take dominance over another.
    Was an artist painting on a ceiling not credible because of the medium?
    How can you support an argument that the creation of sound/time be restricted to one or a few instruments?
    ...so then, what instrument is rhythm best played on? It's about the the air you carve out the sound and
    time in, not the object itself.

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzimprov
    "Given that we have been blessed with an incredibly powerful polyphonic instrument capable of great harmonic depth and nuance, why in heaven's name would we want to give that up to copy something which can only produce one single note at a time? If I really want to sound like a human voice, I think I'll just sing but when I play guitar, I can do so much more than that."
    Those of you who don't play another instrument have probably never considered what I'm about to say. A large part of the match between player and instrument is the physical mechanism required to produce a tone plus the emotional impact and benefits of that interaction. Guitarists generate music with little physical input beyond gentle finger and hand motion. I suspect that we love the sound of our instruments enough to get great pleasure just from hearing them as we play them. But many other instruments offer a much greater physical release. Keyboard players use more muscles and exert more physical energy. Wind players literally pour their souls into their instruments. Single reed players can express themselves by blowing anywhere within a wide range of pressures, but double reed players require more precise control and cannot overdo it without sacrificing intonation and tonal quality. Percussionists pound the living daylights out of their instruments and horn players fairly scream into theirs. So the biological mechanisms and actions that result in musical sound from a given instrument are as varied as the personalities of those who play them, and each suits a different group of people.

    I'm fortunate enough to have been able to learn to play trumpet, sax, keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion, vibes, accordion, and a few "lesser" instruments in my 75 years. And what I discovered is that each kind of instrument has a totally different feel and a unique relationship with its player. The concept of blowing hard into an instrument to make your music is intensely physical, and you feel like the horn is your voice because it's doing exactly what your voice does - it's controlling the pitch of a vibrating air column set in motion by your breathing. If you blow harder, it gets louder. All the subtleties of pitch, intonation, sound quality etc are also under your control, and mastering those interplays is the art of mastering the instrument.

    Playing an instrument is giving vent to emotion. Sometimes many of us just feel like banging on something. If you can make music by doing that, you've found another great match. Bowing a stringed instrument can be a complex combination of intense physical activity and subtle finger control. Squeezing an accordion bellows while controlling notes from a keyboard and a panel of buttons is another combination of physical exertion and subtle, fine motor skill. Every class of instrument is different, and each appeals to people for whom the requisite generation of energy comes from activity they find pleasing in some way. None is better than any other and none is inherently inferior. All it takes is for you to be gratified by the exertion required to play your instrument and pleased with the sounds it produces in the process.

  22. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    Those of you who don't play another instrument have probably never considered what I'm about to say. A large part of the match between player and instrument is the physical mechanism required to produce a tone plus the emotional impact and benefits of that interaction. Guitarists generate music with little physical input beyond gentle finger and hand motion. I suspect that we love the sound of our instruments enough to get great pleasure just from hearing them as we play them. But many other instruments offer a much greater physical release. Keyboard players use more muscles and exert more physical energy. Wind players literally pour their souls into their instruments. Single reed players can express themselves by blowing anywhere within a wide range of pressures, but double reed players require more precise control and cannot overdo it without sacrificing intonation and tonal quality. Percussionists pound the living daylights out of their instruments and horn players fairly scream into theirs. So the biological mechanisms and actions that result in musical sound from a given instrument are as varied as the personalities of those who play them, and each suits a different group of people.

    I'm fortunate enough to have been able to learn to play trumpet, sax, keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion, vibes, accordion, and a few "lesser" instruments in my 75 years. And what I discovered is that each kind of instrument has a totally different feel and a unique relationship with its player. The concept of blowing hard into an instrument to make your music is intensely physical, and you feel like the horn is your voice because it's doing exactly what your voice does - it's controlling the pitch of a vibrating air column set in motion by your breathing. If you blow harder, it gets louder. All the subtleties of pitch, intonation, sound quality etc are also under your control, and mastering those interplays is the art of mastering the instrument.

    Playing an instrument is giving vent to emotion. Sometimes many of us just feel like banging on something. If you can make music by doing that, you've found another great match. Bowing a stringed instrument can be a complex combination of intense physical activity and subtle finger control. Squeezing an accordion bellows while controlling notes from a keyboard and a panel of buttons is another combination of physical exertion and subtle, fine motor skill. Every class of instrument is different, and each appeals to people for whom the requisite generation of energy comes from activity they find pleasing in some way. None is better than any other and none is inherently inferior. All it takes is for you to be gratified by the exertion required to play your instrument and pleased with the sounds it produces in the process.
    Very well put. May I comment on the second paragraph by saying that exertion for guitar players takes many forms. When was using 0.015 - 0.060 strings on my LP Custom and playing rock, blues, and country and bending strings, frequently two or more at a time, I was exerting considerable physical force, and it took some genuine emotional commitment to do it. Lugging around lights and PA gear and tube amps and so forth can burn some calories. And it takes dedication to craft to put all that work into creating a performing space for one night at a time, only to have to dis- and re-assemble the whole shebang night after night, week after week. All just to create the opportunity and arrange the conditions necessary to perform, to express your art; all too often to an indifferent, if not openly hostile public (Any one who says "Music is a universal language" has never played Blues in a Country bar. Research your venue before drawing up your set list, or wish you had!). Whatever else can be truthfully said about "weekend warriors" unwillingness to put forth effort is not one of them.

  23. #122

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    I always marvel at the self evidence with which many guys propagate the superiority of carved tops over laminate tops. I remember when a friend came over to my place with his Wesmo L5 and while he was pontificating how much richer it sounded than my Tal Farlow I was thinking the whole time how much better my Tal sounded. I did not say anything though. It's pointless debating stuff like this.

    I want a guitar to produce the sound I hear in my head. And we all hear different things.

    DB

  24. #123

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    All just to create the opportunity and arrange the conditions necessary to perform, to express your art; all too often to an indifferent, if not openly hostile public (Any one who says "Music is a universal language" has never played Blues in a Country bar.
    Ain't that the truth! Back in the summer of '69 when I broke up with my girlfriend of 4+ years, I became a glutton for gigs (which also turned out to be a never ending source of dates). Weeknights, I was playing 5 to 9 at a local French cafe for the not yet named "happy hour" and the first dinner seatings. Then I jumped into my car and drove 45 minutes to play C&W at a biker/dive bar in Trooper PA from 10 to 2. The bar was so rough that the state police were there at least 3 nights every week, so I told the leader (a Johnny Cash clone) that I'd only play there if he lent me one of his guitars & amps. Our reputation finally got us into a higher class dump in Norristown PA, where I quit after about a month when the drummer's wife got hit in the head with a flying beer bottle.

    And we were actually playing country music (except maybe every once in a while for me.....)

    Are hand carved archtops worth the money?-bobscountrybunker-gif

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    Ain't that the truth! Back in the summer of '69 when I broke up with my girlfriend of 4+ years, I became a glutton for gigs (which also turned out to be a never ending source of dates). Weeknights, I was playing 5 to 9 at a local French cafe for the not yet named "happy hour" and the first dinner seatings. Then I jumped into my car and drove 45 minutes to play C&W at a biker/dive bar in Trooper PA from 10 to 2. The bar was so rough that the state police were there at least 3 nights every week, so I told the leader (a Johnny Cash clone) that I'd only play there if he lent me one of his guitars & amps. Our reputation finally got us into a higher class dump in Norristown PA, where I quit after about a month when the drummer's wife got hit in the head with a flying beer bottle.

    And we were actually playing country music (except maybe every once in a while for me.....)

    Are hand carved archtops worth the money?-bobscountrybunker-gif
    Check out: Surreal Stories From The Bandstand Collection Thread I'm sure you have a few tales you could share, like this one!

  26. #125

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Check out: Surreal Stories From The Bandstand Collection Thread I'm sure you have a few tales you could share, like this one!
    I can say that a carved archtop is not worth its added cost over ply as a defensive weapon. While lighter weight enables a longer backswing and a higher velocity at contact, the added mass of a laminated guitar more than makes up for this in stopping power. And the best carved tops and backs cave and crack under the pressure of combat, while a well used Tal Farlow will fend off a barful of drunks with a single swipe and require no repairs unless there's serious head banging. Whether it surpasses the heavier Les Pauls is still being tested.

    A carved achtop is also wasted on pickleball. The pros far prefer an SG.

    Are hand carved archtops worth the money?-sg_waponized-jpg