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  1. #1

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    I am interested in finding a small size archtop 13" maybe 15" hollow.

    The woman i work with is very tiny (great player) she is thinking of a benedetto bambino.

    She is now playing a 1979-ish ibanez artist. It is very nice but heavey. She needs something small and light.

    Price range up to $5000.00

    Thanks

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  3. #2

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    Check out Victor Baker Model 14, it's his most popular and he can make it anyway you want. His prices are very reasonable for custom made instruments.

    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-victor-baker-model-14-jpg


    » Victor Baker Guitars NYC

  4. #3

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    The great thing about Victor Baker's guitars are they can be custom tailored to the player. That said hard to go wrong w/ a Benedetto Bambino, love my Bambino Std!

  5. #4

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    Victor Baker for the win. VB has got the CNC process down pat with final finishing amd assembly done by hand. Best bang for the buck. And I like his 14" and 15" designs. Cute as a button. VB is a very good player too and can help your woman friend home in on the right specs.

    I would go with VB first. Benedetto Bambino is also a good choice but less bespoke.

  6. #5

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    All due respect to Victor Baker and his great work, however if your friend ever decides to part with her upgraded guitar she would most likely have a better chance of selling a Benedetto Bambino for as much as she invested in it. Also check out Campellone EP series.
    Note I admit a bias for Benedetto guitars


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-benedetto-bambino-jpg

  7. #6

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    The George Benson Ibanez (GB10) is 14".


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-ibanez-gb10se-jpg

  8. #7

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    Those Epi Wildcats are pretty cool guitars, but they're not exactly light weight.

    I like the Eastman El Rey series. Small, light, and the ER1 I played at a music store had a great straight ahead jazz tone like a big box. They can have a neck dive problem -- which apparently can be resolved in a few ways -- so that's something to consider.

    Otherwise, on the cheaper end of the scale, a thinline T style could be the ticket. I have a Fender Modern Player Thinline Deluxe w/ p90's and it's a feather. I also have a Mexi Classic Player Thinline Deluxe -- I just replaced the neck pup with a Lollar Regal -- and it's a fine sounding, lightweight guitar as well.

  9. #8

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    Campellone EP Series I mentioned earlier post. This is on Mandolin Bros website. I had a chance to play one, super instrument 15" lower bout, 2 1/4 depth. Super nice guitar.
    No connection to seller.
    Attached Images Attached Images "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-93491-jpg 

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett
    The George Benson Ibanez is 14".
    +1 for the gb10. Also, give the PRS hollow body 2 a plug. Very light, sounds great and beautiful.
    JD

  11. #10

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    The Gibson ES-Les Paul might be worth checking out as well.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-gibson-es-les-paul-jpg

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett
    The George Benson Ibanez is 14".
    Actually closer to a 15" but who's measuring? It's VERY comfortable I agree and the 15" archtop is my favourite size if it's built well. The GB10 can't properly be called a fully acoustic instrument, and it was designed that way-to minimize acoustical qualities to make it more practical on stage, something it does really well.

    On the topic of Benedetto, I'd heard from Jane Miller, who had one, that they stopped making them. Any truth to that?

    I have a student with a Baker. I tried it and really liked it. It wasn't a tiny one, but his workmanship if really fine. I'd feel confident with him as a builder.

    And for small jazz guitars, I've made it a hobby to hunt down old Epiphone Les Paul hollow bodies (they look like semi's but there's actually a floating block under the bridge and it's not anchored to the back, it's hollow) and with a change of pickups, they are truly seriously comfortable little guitars. I think they called them Elite or Elitist or something like that. They are Les Paul sized and that's pretty little for anybody's arms, though it doesn't have a small scale like the Bambino does.
    Small scale considerations might check out old Byrdlands and ES-350's (the original issues) and they did come with small scales.
    Best thing, try them. It's SO hard to tell without doing that. Body depth can make a huge difference, but what is comfortable to one person is still not nearly workable for another.
    It's like asking strangers what shoes they'd recommend for an odd sized foot.
    David

  13. #12

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    I'll second the PRS Hollowbody recommendation. It's just about fully hollow, plays great, sounds great and is extremely versatile. It's small and very, very light. It has a fast neck (even the so-called "wide-fat" neck) and is very easy to play. I'm amazed at the weight every time I pick it up. I have back issues when I play a heavier guitar for very long, but the PRS is a very comfortable guitar to play all night.

    It's not what some would consider to be a pure archtop, but if she has any interest in playing other genres or using processed sounds it's a great guitar. It's also very feedback resistant. The older ones are slightly neck heavy, but I understand the ones with the piezo pickup in the bridge don't have that problem.

    It's worth checking out.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-prs-hollowbody-jpg

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kinnear
    I am interested in finding a small size archtop 13" maybe 15" hollow. The woman i work with is very tiny (great player) she is thinking of a benedetto bambino. She is now playing a 1979 ish ibanez artist. It is very nice but heavey. She needs something small and light. Thanks
    See my post Fine little GRECO 12/27/14 here. 13" archie cheap and very fine player.
    Attached Images Attached Images "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-img_6917a-jpg 

  15. #14

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    Seventy-seven Guitars Stork Jazz. Pressed spruce top. Les Paul-style. Hollowbody with a block under the TOM. Under $1600 new. Epiphone Elitist Byrdland. Under $1800 new old stock. Ibanez SS500VLS. Under $1399 new.

    Save the rest of the $5000 budget for the future when she knows better what she wants.

    The cherry on the top: 15" Gibson L5 Lee Ritenour. 14" Steve Andersen Little Electric Archie Hybrid.

    Besides Victor Baker, Steve Holst can also also whip something up for under $5000.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 01-05-2015 at 02:48 AM.

  16. #15

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    Thanks everyone.. we have seen a couple she likes... Benedetto Andy...and we will probably talk to Mark Campellone later this week concerning a small custom archtop...I have always liked his guitars...we have several other archtops collected over the yaers as we have made our living at this for the past 30 years or so...thanks again...

  17. #16

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    Another vote for the Benedetto Bambino which is a fine guitar.

    Also, I don't believe they are currently making the Andy, but I have one and the archtop hollowbody tone is surprisingly great.
    I also have a Benny which is a very manageable body size for a smaller person and a beautifully made instrument.

    good luck!

  18. #17

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    Benedetto Bambino is no very valuable and is very heavy. I ve sold my bambino one week ago

  19. #18

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    Another one to check out:

    Douglas Harrison GB, 14 1/4 lower bout, fully hollow or chambered




  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeSF
    Another vote for the Benedetto Bambino which is a fine guitar.
    Also, I don't believe they are currently making the Andy, but I have one and the archtop hollowbody tone is surprisingly great.
    I also have a Benny which is a very manageable body size for a smaller person and a beautifully made instrument.
    good luck!
    My understanding was the Andy was discontinued. Also, I think there were two versions built: a laminated model and a fully carved "Elite" which is the one pictured in this photo. Please excuse the stupid grin, however I had a great time auditioning the Andy in the picture. It was for sale at a place called Techno Empire in Burbank and was on ebay for a while. A totally lovable, compact guitar. However, the OP stated a price range of up to 5K and this Andy was going for about 9K as I remember.
    I've already put my .02 in, she would never go wrong with a Bambino and as a Cremona owner I can attest to the Benedetto quality and value. I also think the Campellone at MB would deserve a look. Meets the specs they are looking for unless the 1 3/4 nut width is not acceptable.
    Attached Images Attached Images "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-andy-jpg 

  21. #20

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    That is a beatiful guitar...i would grin as well..

  22. #21

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    MikeSF, I stand corrected, standard model was solid top and back, laminated sides. I can't see the photo of yours, says content protected by owner. However I'll bet your Andy is a stunner. I just don't see either the standard or the Elite come up for sale often. As Benedetto freely admits, this was his take and improvement on the Gibson ES-140.
    If my money bag was full I'd have one in my stable in a heartbeat

  23. #22

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    You MAY be able to find a Steve Andersen Little Archie. From my experience with all the small Archtops mentioned, the Little Archie or the Electric Archie are by far the best. $5000 MAY be doable if you keep a sharp eye out.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-steve-andersen-little-archie-jpg
    Last edited by uburoibob; 01-07-2015 at 09:12 AM.

  24. #23

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    I use a Hagstrom HL-550, very comfortable for live use...


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-hagstrom-hl-550-jpg

  25. #24

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    My Victor Baker 15" is the most comfortable guitar I've ever played. Very lightweight yet still totally feedback resistant due to the small block that joins the top to the back - despite the block it's still got a prominent acoustic voice.

    Victors guitars are great and he's a pleasure to work with.

  26. #25

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    I really like my Eastman Thinline 145SMD, and I picked it up 2nd hand for $1,000 including an excellent fiberglass case (not as good as Calton but it is very sturdy) with D-rings for backpack straps etc. I have a couple Andersen's which are better but not by as much as you might think given the price differential.

    Acoustically, it sounded much better than the Ibanez GB model they happened to have hanging around.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-eastman-t145smd-jpg

  27. #26

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    I really like my CP Thornton Improv. The craftsmanship is phenomenal. I've had mine a couple of years and it's still a joy to pick it up.

    I replaced the Lollar Low Winds with underwound P92s. I'm happy.


  28. #27

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    Sorry to differ but the Bambino is not heavy unless you're comparing to a mandolin. Now a Les Paul that's heavy!

  29. #28

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    I have a Cort M800 which I really like. It's a very versatile guitar but sounds great for jazz, it's very small and lite, a thinline fully hollow, except a small block glued to the top under the stop tailpiece and bridge.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-cort-m800-jpg

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I really like my CP Thornton Improv. The craftsmanship is phenomenal. I've had mine a couple of years and it's still a joy to pick it up.

    That's Tony Gaboury, my neighbor. I've had the privilege of backing him (on upright bass) many times over the years. The last time I showed up at a jam session to play some guitar, well, there was Tony -- and I had to follow him!

    Chuck Thornton builds a fine guitar but the fundamental fact is that Tony Gaboury can make a rubber band sound like the voice of the gods. Tony's mainstay is a Heritage 335. He plays low-line Telecasters a lot too. When we first met he had a 70s Ibanez double-cut LP model.

    Tony is living proof of the oldest adage: "It's the ear, not the gear."

    FWIW my #1 grab-and-go guitar is an Eastman El Rey 1 which, it turns out, once belonged to Tony. He told me he dug the neck but the fingerboard was too flat for his taste. I'm mighty happy with it, and all the more so having installed a Benedetto B6.
    Last edited by Sam Sherry; 01-31-2015 at 10:40 PM.

  31. #30

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    While I didn't use my Eastman 905 archtop much since I (re-) discovered the telecaster like 10 years ago I feel the need to explore it more. I stopped using my beautiful hand carved, full body instrument due to the feedback issues it gave me. I also have an ibanez artcore – kind of the pedestrian version of the geaorge benson model – that doesn't really cut it for me. It plays nicely but the tone is a bit flat.
    I also gravitated away from jazz to blues and soul – but in the last couple of years we incorporated more and more jazz tunes in our repertoire. I am mostly playing the telecasters neck pickup into a clean fender amp – a tone that would inspire me for the rest of my musical life – but anyway ...

    So now I would like to try a smaller archtop that's build for stage use and high volume without the "boooo". It should also be able to play some soul and funk but I think that's what these can do anyway ... Let's just say it should not sound too dark.
    I am also open to suggestion for semi hollows (the 335 would be an obvious choice)

    What would you suggest:

    Ibanez GB10 – the classic? (How about the new china made SE-version? Does it hold up or should I go for the made in Japan pricy version?)
    D'Angelico SS – is that an archtop or a semi hollow – I find the information a bit confusing on these.

    Anything else you can suggest?

  32. #31

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    15" PRS JA-15. JGF member Eric Rowland has one for sale with the coveted 53/10 pickups. PM him.

    15" Collings Soco or Soco LC. 15" Collings Eastside Jazz LC. Maybe not the Eastside Jazz LC as it is a fully hollow body but worth checking out.

    PRS Hollowbody 2 Singlecut.

    I am looking at acquiring one of these at the moment.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 07-12-2017 at 03:10 AM.

  33. #32

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    I have a ES 335 Dot in natural finish for sale too, should you decide its for you (that was subtle).

    But seriously, what about a jazz-oriented Telecaster?

    Or a thinline Tele with a CC or PAF h/bucker pickup?

    You could still fall back on the bridge pickup for r 'n' r tunes.

    Or a Jazzmaster with the neck pickup tone circuit. I'm in a covers band and I use a Jazzmaster with flats. It's surprising just how many genres it will cover comfortably with a tone tweak here and an o/drive pedal there.

  34. #33

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    I like small body archie's too, my main guitar is a VB model 14. I have a GB10 and they are really versatile guitars especially if you put roundwound strings on them. Also if you look you can find Japanese made GB10's at good prices for early 2000's models.

  35. #34

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    For a lower priced GB, see if anything is floating around Ebay as a GB10JS. They were made in Korea very briefly and are excellent guitars. They also have a charming acoustic quality that's missing from the Japanese big brothers, IMO. Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno fits the bill for a 15" with full size Humbuckers. And the cheap little Ibanez's with one pickup change can give you an amazing transformation for a very affordable investment, but make sure that you like the neck. That aforementioned GB10JS has a neck that's indistinguishable from the Japanese. I've got both. Love them both. Really usable professional quality instruments.

    David

  36. #35

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    Small bodied archtops have been around for a while...
    Keith
    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-image-jpeg

  37. #36

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    If you want to go the semi route, it would behoove you to check out the Carvin SH550. I've been using my SH575 (same guitar but with added piezo) in loud settings in lieu of my archtop, and it sounds great, better than any other semi I've used. Very "plucky" sound, very even freq response across the board, and none of that nasty peaky upper-midrange honk that you get from most semis. You can pick up used ones for very reasonable prices, under $2k, if you are patient and quick on the draw.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-carvin-sh550-jpg

  38. #37

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    If you have the cash, a Benedetto Bambino should work. Very feedback resistant without f holes, and it can cover most sounds. I really like mine. They're occasionally available used for a reasonable price.

  39. #38

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    I'd like to try a Carvin SH550 one day. Great concept and execution.

    Also, loves me some GB10, or any of the small bodied 'GB' variants for their compact size, consistent high quality as well as durability.

    Another small archtop is the full hollow, Gibson Johnny A. Signature. Its been discussed a bit around here. Now Gibson offers it with a Spruce top, making it more of a contender for jazz players desiring a smaller body instrument. JA's are incredibly lightweight and beautiful sounding instruments.

  40. #39

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    Why, a lovely Hofner Jazzica would fit the bill perfectly - carved top, 15 7/8" wide, wedge shaped body, ebony soundhole plugs included, 16th fret neck/body joint, feedback resistant design, definitely not too dark...Coincidentally, I have a few for sale!

    Here's one with a custom paint job and custom wiring:

    This is what the wedge body shape looks like:



    These will be ready to go at the end of the summer, wired up any way you want:




    22 or 24 frets - your choice:


  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly
    D'Angelico SS – is that an archtop or a semi hollow – I find the information a bit confusing on these.
    My understanding is that there are now 2 versions of the EX-SS Standard:

    - a traditional one with D'Angelico art deco trapeze tailpiece, which has only a small block of wood under the bridge. To me, while intermediate between full hollow and semi hollow constructions, it leans towards the hollow side (strong attack, short sustain...).

    - a semi-hollow version with full center block and stop tailpiece, which I have not tried

    It seems that not all finishes are available in both versions.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    ...Another small archtop is the full hollow, Gibson Johnny A. Signature. Its been discussed a bit around here. Now Gibson offers it with a Spruce top, making it more of a contender for jazz players desiring a smaller body instrument. JA's are incredibly lightweight and beautiful sounding instruments.
    Fantastic guitars, IMO - I've played a bunch of them and was really impressed. They are mostly hollow, not fully hollow, however - the ones I have played were each built with a small integrated block connecting the back and top, underneath the bridge area.

  43. #42

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    archtop.com has a couple of Schaefer Fred Hamilton models for sale right now. Full disclosure: the one that is $100 more expensive but in mint condition is mine. I was actually going to travel to pick it up this weekend (it has not sold during the consignment period) but I can't do that until later this month, so it's still available! It's as good as anything else you will ever find...Andersens, Buscarinos, Hopkins, etc (which I've either owned or still own), and a lot better than most.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-schaefer-fred-hamilton-jpg

  44. #43

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    Full hollow, even with a small body, and semi-hollow are two different musical worlds. To me a hollow body guitar is a jazz guitar, it can sort of do other things but its voice will always be a jazz voice. A semi hollow, besides the feedback resistance, has a different bite and attack, less "weight" on the notes and voicings, etc. Maybe your first decision should be, semi or full hollow? From then on, i 'd start playing instruments and not get too hang up on brands. Or go with the classic and get a gibson 335 . D 'angelicos are fine guitars, and often a bargain when used.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    Full hollow, even with a small body, and semi-hollow are two different musical worlds.
    There is a lot of differences in semi's too, not all have full center block, some various sizes of small blocks, even my 70's 335 the center block has opening from neck to just before bridge pickup. They there are the ones with a floating block and those vary in size from small block to hold bridge and stopbar, to bigger blocks that don't attack to the back of the guitar. Recently guitars being called semi the "block" is actually where the top of the guitar is CNC routed to have thicker block-like areas in the top.

    The guitar like 335's with bridge and a stopbar the distance from bridge to stopbar varies. From what I heard Gibson has used at least three different distances over the years. Then semi's with brige and a trapese tailpieces.

    So I agree need to make decision between fully hollow or semi, but if semi there is still a world of differences to investigate.

  46. #45

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    I have been very pleased with my Gibson ES-275. Jazz, blues, R&B. It has a unique voice. Kind of between a 335 and a 175.

    There is also a P90 version.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-gibson-es-275-jpg

  47. #46

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    I have an D'Angelico EX-SS with the block under the bridge. I like it because it has less feedback than my EXL-1 and I typically use the ss for "loud" gigs and the exl for trio or duos. I used the ss for a funk/r&b gig last night and it sounded great. I had an Epi Sheraton II, but really like the fact that I can get a jazzier tone with SS and limited feedback. I've been really happy with D'Angelico.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-dangelico-ex-ss-jpg

  48. #47

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    5 lb compact semi-hollow. Same voice as a full size heavier semi in part because of the high grade solid wood.

    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-grez-mendocino-1-jpg

  49. #48

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    Guild M-75 Aristocrat, 13.5" full hollow laminated archtop without f-holes, approx. Les Paul sized but light as a feather and huge tone.


    "Best" Small Jazz Guitar (Archtop)-guild-m-75-artistocrat-jpg

  50. #49

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    An observation about larger vs smaller vintage archtops: it seems to me that the smaller archtops like the Epiphone Olympic favored by David Rawlings have a unique pronounced midrange tone that the larger boxes don't have. A similar flavor can apparently be replicated in the smaller high end archtops currently being produced by companies like Waterloo.

  51. #50

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    Wich Archtop guitar would you recommend for somebody with small hands and a small posture?

    My budget is around € 1000 to € 1500 ( $1100 to $1600)
    Last edited by Hellena; 12-09-2019 at 11:29 AM.