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  1. #1

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    I recently acquired this rare German made archtop by a relatively unknown luthier named Artur Lang. Made in the 50's.
    It is 17.25", solid spruce and maple back the neck may be maple also, 25" scale. The strings are 12 D'Addario nickle flats. All I can say is Wow! It needs a proper set up and some fret work.
    It plays loud and effortless. I have never played a guitar that is more balanced and even throughout the fretboard.
    Would appreciate any information on the luthier Artur Lang and the provenance of his guitars.
    Attached Images Attached Images Artur Lang Archtop-lang3-jpg Artur Lang Archtop-lang2-jpg Artur Lang Archtop-lang1-jpg 

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    Hammertone, did I stumble on something more than just a vintage archtop? D'Angelico of Germany! Any idea of what would a Lang guitar may be valued?

  4. #3

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    Very cool

    And Garmisch Partenkirchen is one of the most beautiful places in Germany .. and the world

    Just remember if you go there that Zugspitze doesn't mean spitting on trains.

  5. #4

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    Nice find! I'm sure others with more in depth knowledge will comment, but I think you'll find that though quite desirable in Europe, they don't realise anything like the prices John Ds guitars realise.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by denk8
    Hammertone, did I stumble on something more than just a vintage archtop? D'Angelico of Germany! Any idea of what would a Lang guitar may be valued?
    Yes. It's a Lang. You have stumbled onto the Rolls-Royce, the Faberge egg, the Ruhlmann side table.
    Value? Since only a small number of people even know what a Lang archtop guitar is, they do not fetch high numbers, and typically sell in the US$4,000-$6,000 range. Or less. I've seen several go for between $2,000-$2,500.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 09-09-2015 at 10:38 PM.

  7. #6

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    Congrats! Those who know put serious money on the table if one of these show up for sale. Put on a De Armond Rhythm Chief, and off you go...

  8. #7

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    Congratulations denk8,

    My father owns one:
    Link is dead, pics in the album in my profile.
    Last edited by balthazar; 11-14-2020 at 05:17 PM.

  9. #8

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    >> Would appreciate any information on the luthier Artur Lang and the provenance of his guitars. <<


    So... are you the one who got this Lang for $875.00? From a commercial seller who might be a nice guy, but was not acting like a very reputable guitar trader in context with this guitar offer (please, don't ask how I came to know!)?

    Anyway, congrats for this guitar! It's a "STANDARD" model, Lang's entry level, made around the mid 50s, definitely before 1957.

    Artur Lang is something like an "unknown legend" of German archtop guitar makers. While some guitarists in the know would do anything to get one of his guitars, it could still happen that you run into the shop of a pro guitar maker offering a guitar made by Lang who has never heard about this master before, even near Lang's former hometown Garmisch, one hour south of Munich.

    Lang, born in Schönbach/Egerland in 1909, then one of the most - if not the most - famous center of stringed instrument making in Europe, there attended the extraordinary School of Musical Instrument Making, studied at several local masters, just to retrain as a metal aircraft builder (the advanced ones, you know: Me 262, AR 232, etc.) for the Luftwaffe around the mid 30s. After his war service between 1939 and 45 he suffered in Sibirian labor camps until 1948. Like by far most Sudeten-Germans in Bohemia his family was expropriated by the Allies and deported by the Czech; he had to resettle in Mittenwald, after this in nearby Garmisch, and start again making guitars under really, really modest conditions. Within only two or three years he was able to gain a huge reputation among a small group of local and Munich-, Stuttgart- and Frankfurt-based pro guitarists. Unlike in the USA, the number of jazz guitarists was quite restricted in the German 1950s and 60s. His guitars implement a tremendous knowledge of violin making procedures. In combination with "golden ears and hands" he continued to build an estimate of about 800 guitars in his one-man workshop between 1949 until 1972. Almost no advertizing was done, as most aspiring owners of a Lang guitar needed to wait two years on an average before their wish was fulfilled.

    Lang was a merciless perfectionist, from the painstaking ultra-selection of his tonewoods (some of Lang's leftover tonewood was bought by Theo Scharpach in the Netherlands - Scharpach guitars sound quite different to Lang's, one difference being that Lang never used X-bracing like Scharpach actually is doing) to the spraying of the finish, polishing and handing over the guitar to the customer (usually personally). He devoted full attention to even the smallest single feature on his guitars, at least in his most "golden period" between the mid 50s and 60s. To be clear: he rejected adjustable truss-rods by intention - for very good acoustic reasons, and so on! Even features that are regarded by some as 'bling', like, just one example, the celluloid "side bumpers", have a function: they stiffen the sides of the body, similar to the stringers of an aircraft fuselage.

    Unlike most guitar manufacturers and copy cats, Lang remained remarkably uninfluenced by the designs of much better known, past or contemporary, guitar brand names. The body shapes of his guitars are unique, as was his approach to arching curves, graduation and recurve of the plates. If I had to find analogies of his approach in the guitar world, well... nada... it's most likely century-old violin knowledge and techniques. Lang was relying on his own feelings and high craftsmanship and avoided to follow any of many unfounded guitar hypes and fads. Sometimes, it seems to me that he already knew about modern "herd mentality" and "informational cascades".

    Lang guitars speak with their own unique voice and are amazingly even through all registers. The Lang sensation already starts when you put the (original) guitar on your right upper leg - it sits completely comfortable because it stays perfectly balanced in playing condition! They have a sophisticated, powerful tone, and some show an incredible resonance or acoustic "liveliness", due to resonance profiles with many strong single resonances. The dynamics are very high (FYI: X-braced D'Angelicos are not on a par). Electrically, despite the often large body deepness, the feedback tendency is much lower than with most comparable brands.


    I own and play - among other guitars and instruments - a handful of Langs, and I've been lucky enough to being able to compare about 60 Lang guitars of all periods, directly against themselves and against some really costly and prestigious US-made vintage and new guitars; almost all of them were perfectly restored and equally set-up to a high standard. A revelation not only to my humble self, and I really wish that more guitarists (and guitar makers!) would be able to experience such A/B tests, standardized as much as it gets by now.
    As with some other excellent archtop designs, a few attempts were also made to replicate Lang's work. Most of them did more or less fail because the builders didn't have the "wood sensitivity", the ears and hands of Mr. Lang. Some of these copies (usually called tributes or hommages, as builders started to accept that they couldn't come close to original Langs) emerge now and then.


    In the past I've met or heard of a few folks (also in this forum) - who said they were unimpressed when playing a Lang guitar. Well, you'll find such people everywhere, knocking all sorts of items.
    My advice to them is: don't rely on what other people are thinking, stating, hearing or doing (including my own statements here!). Above all, don't rely on video clips - like many seem to love here around - when evaluating archtop guitars! This does not only distract, but, IMO, does not work at all.
    You have to deal and bond personally with the guitars, feel/hear/see the quality with your own senses. After you've brought your most revered archtop guitar(s) with you, and we've tested it directly, under the same conditions, against two or three dozens others during a friendly, private session for half a day... and you've reaffirmed that Lang guitars are not for you, then, and only then, will I accept that you're honestely speaking. Please, consider that some people would be grateful to hear such words from you, as the number of still existing Lang guitars is so limited. Although, when I think about it: I've met one or two persons who stated so, but their body language was speaking louder than words!

    Artur Lang Archtop-gibson-l-5-wm-1996-vs-lang-super-deluxe-ca-1959-vs-triggs-stromberg-copy-2001-vs-roger-luxus-jpg

    Many wonderful archtop guitars may be out there, and we should always consider that they're nothing but tools for making music. But, as everyone knows, there are good and bad tools! Artur Lang's tools are definitely among the former, and his name is still one of the most left out in the dark when it comes to fine acoustic archtop guitars.

    You can find some more fotos plus a data sheet (done by a good friend of mine) of this Lang "Super Deluxe" here: RESTAURATION EINER LANG „SUPER DE LUXE“ << Schlaggitarren
    (wish more guitar folks would use such sheets for sincere comparison purposes!)



    "... the greater part of all manufacture now is mass-production; in which, although there is some bad workmanship, much is excellent. Much of it has never been surpassed and some never equaled... In this domain of quality our environment is deteriorating... The deterioration comes not because of bad workmanship in mass-production but because the range of qualities which mass-production is capable of just now is so dismally restricted; because each is so uniform and because nearly all lack depth, subtlety, overtones, variegation, diversity, or whatever you choose to call that which distinguishes the workmanship of a Stradivarius violin...
    Unless workmanship comes to be understood and appreciated for the art it is, our environment will lose much of the quality it still retains."

    (From: Page not found – UCSB Art Department )
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 05-15-2015 at 12:28 PM.

  10. #9

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    I'll have to keep an eye out for one of these ....

    But I imagine most of these are in Europe .....

    If I can get my job to send me back to one of our European offices ... I can use that as an excuse to look for a Lang.

  11. #10

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    Thanks for the great write-up, Ol Fret. There's a whole lot of education just in that one post!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkfan
    Thanks for the great write-up, Ol Fret. There's a whole lot of education just in that one post!
    Yes ...


    Vielen Dank!!

  13. #12

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    You're very welcome, folks!
    I have had some PM contact with the new owner and think he's really appreciating this guitar.

    Here a pic of my own favorite Lang (by now), a SUPER model with divided sound holes. It sports a Gibson BJB Pick-up which makes it plugged a deal Gibson-like sounding (let's face the fact that it's the Gibson humbuckers that make a big part of the "classic" Gibson electrics sound!), without that the own Lang voice gets lost.
    This guitar played through a mid 60s Hohner Orgaphon MH 41 or 45 or 60 all-tube amp is... outstanding (just avoiding the term Gibson killer, for the sake of peace here around; but heard it often from guitar fellows). These Hohners, however, kill the Fender Twin Reverbs (my own is collecting dust), making them not only looking like featherweights. Ok, as such the Hohners are useful above all as jazz club amps.

    Next to the guitar its builder Artur Lang, Roger Rossmeisl with Wes Montgomery, and Jimmy D'Aquisto (on bottom):Artur Lang Archtop-lang-super-early-60s-next-his-builder-r-rossmeisl-w-montgomery-j-daquisto-jpg

  14. #13

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    May as well make this Lang central. Here's one of mine - a lovely instrument:

  15. #14

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    Maybe we should ask the OP, if hijacking of this thread is allowed... not everyone is thinking 'the more the merrier' in any case.

    In a nutshell: Hammertone's is one of Lang's earliest archtop guitar models, probably around 1950 or 51. Though Lang used this body shape now and then up to the mid 50s, these sharp pointed sound holes appear only on his very first models. So this is the point where Lang started out as an archtop guitar maker; just one or two years later he had come up with completely own ideas.

    We call this body shape 'deep cutaway' model. It's a specific German-related shape with a deep impact on many other German brands. It was developed together by Wenzel Rossmeisl and Franz Hirsch in 1945/46 (Hammertone will know something, though I could tell more details on this special guitar story). To me an amazing performance if you think about the historical circumstances: at that time Germany lay in ruins. There was no infrastructure, no food, no tools, no firewoods - much less tonewoods. Still in the winter of 1946/47 an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people starved to death only in the western US/British/French occupation zones. Sorry, I'm derailing, though I know that Jazz musicians love telling - and listening to - stories written by life!


    Fotos of Lang guitar details convey only limited impression of Lang's subtlety and understatement. Most is buried in the construction and crafting. The outer appearance: who is suspecting that Lang used a 9-ply-body binding on most of his Super models (see above)? Or that the fine engraving on the metal headstock plates (btw., a very old feature in European plucked instrument making; not only decoration, there's a function too!) is showing a bunch of specific motifs that often vary in themselves?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    Maybe we should ask the OP, if hijacking of this thread is allowed... not everyone is thinking 'the more the merrier' in any case.

    In a nutshell: Hammertone's is one of Lang's earliest archtop guitar models, probably around 1950 or 51. Though Lang used this body shape now and then up to the mid 50s, these sharp pointed sound holes appear only on his very first models. So this is the point where Lang started out as an archtop guitar maker; just one or two years later he had come up with completely own ideas.

    We call this body shape 'deep cutaway' model. It's a specific German-related shape with a deep impact on many other German brands. It was developed together by Wenzel Rossmeisl and Franz Hirsch in 1945/46 (Hammertone will know something, though I could tell more details on this special guitar story). To me an amazing performance if you think about the historical circumstances: at that time Germany lay in ruins. There was no infrastructure, no food, no tools, no firewoods - much less tonewoods. Still in the winter of 1946/47 an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people starved to death only in the western US/British/French occupation zones. Sorry, I'm derailing, though I know that Jazz musicians love telling - and listening to - stories written by life!


    Fotos of Lang guitar details convey only limited impression of Lang's subtlety and understatement. Most is buried in the construction and crafting. The outer appearance: who is suspecting that Lang used a 9-ply-body binding on most of his Super models (see above)? Or that the fine engraving on the metal headstock plates (btw., a very old feature in European plucked instrument making; not only decoration, there's a function too!) is showing a bunch of specific motifs that often vary in themselves?
    Another very educational post! Thanks!

    Love stories! I'm sure the OP loves stories too, especially those about his make of guitars.

  17. #16

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    FYI: Thanks to all for the detailed info on this remarkable builder. We've just posted a nice original blonde Super Deluxe Cutaway here:

    .1950-60's Artur Lang 'Super Deluxe'-

    Please feel free to call or Skype for a demo at your convenience.

    Cheers!

    -jv

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by archtops
    FYI: Thanks to all for the detailed info on this remarkable builder. We've just posted a nice original blonde Super Deluxe Cutaway here:

    .1950-60's Artur Lang 'Super Deluxe'-

    Please feel free to call or Skype for a demo at your convenience.

    Cheers!

    -jv
    This one didn't last long! What was the price?

  19. #18

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    That's the first time I've seen a Lang on archtop.com.

    If you want to look at another Lang Super De Luxe (now also sold), here is one:

    http://www.vintage-guitar.de/details...ng-f-hole.html
    Last edited by cmajor9; 09-10-2015 at 04:42 PM.

  20. #19

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    Are there reliable ways to date Langs? Not sure it matters but I guess I am curious. People tend to prize 'earlier as better' but I would find it difficult to believe experts don't learn something about their craft and improve as they go along.

    I read the couple of threads over on euroguitars, but other than hints that headstock plates might play a role, that cutaway shape and neck heel seem to play a role, once you get out of the deep cutaway and semi-round heel, it kind of becomes nebulous until you have Bill Lawrence pickups.

    Does f-hole (vintage-guitar.de version), split hole (archtop.com version or Ol'Fret's above), 'slice' version (Hammertone's pic above) mean something or was it more a matter of what the customer requested? flatcut cutaway vs 'normal' cutaway? Neck lamination thickness/style? Bumper count? Tailpiece (square harp type or type like Hammertone's and Ol'Fret's above)?

    There is some talk about headstock plates saying something but no hint as to what they say. There are flowers, ivy, simply engraved flowers, ivy across the whole top, a band from upper right to lower left, and occasionally other ones.

    Is there something more subtle like recurve depth?

    In the end I guess it doesn't matter. I assume there aren't many out there. And those who have them seem to love them. And the samples I have heard sound very nice.

    Gotta say both Ol'Fret's and Hammertone's guitars look beautifully made, as do the others linked.
    Last edited by travisty; 09-10-2015 at 07:16 PM.

  21. #20

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    A beauty! And yes, it's our first luthier built German archtop ever. Cheers! -jv

  22. #21

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    Joe:
    Luthier-built German archtops? Lang is a good place to start - the top of the heap.

    Not so easy to navigate the field, but there are excellent luthier-build carved archtops from a few others as well, including: Bachmann, Brauer, Dietrich, Dölling, Glassl, Hirsch, A. Hoyer, Rod. Hoyer, Kruel, Meinel, Neubauer, Reinl, Rossmeisl, Sandner, Schaufuss, Schuster, Seifert, Stärke, Todt, Wander, Windisch, Wolfrum, Wurlitzer, Zimmer, and more. These guys (and more) built under a wide variety of labels. It's a real voyage of discovery down a very different road. Enjoy the ride.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 09-11-2015 at 03:22 AM.

  23. #22

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    Amazing: a truly parallel universe! Many thanks, -jv

  24. #23

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    Slowly, Hammertone! You know that, regardless of whether enthusiasts of vintage archtop guitars live on this side or across the pond, most of them are rattled if they can't find a brand label or logo on the guitars. This is true on many German made guitars, and it's sometimes really hard to find out the correct builder's name. The violin world, my starting point some 40 years ago, doesn't care too much about labels, since more than 90% are fakes.

    I warmly congratulate Mr. JV for selling their "first luthier built German archtop ever" - and, yes, this one didn't last long! Wow, the former fact dwarfs our already very manageable German archtop world even more - LOL!
    This Lang model should originate from the mid 50s: archtops with the Maccaferri cutaway style were only made between roughly 1953 and 57, though he made a dozen or so real Maccaferri-style (domed) gypsy guitars later.


    Lang started his guitar workshop in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1949, after having expelled from Schönbach in absentia and 'returning' more dead than alive from the war atrocities and the following Gulag System in Sibiria (Soviet forced labor camps). Lang's life had already taken a change in the mid 30s and - like most Germans living around the Czech border (established in 1918) for many centuries - he was probably happy about the Munich Agreement in 1938.

    Lang achieved to turn his post-traumatic stress disorder into one-man power for making distinguished master guitars.

    I could tell where and how Lang worked as an expelled refugee in Garmisch between 1950 and 53, that amazingly short period after when he had already found most of his unique archtop principles, and then consequently stuck to them in his own home until he was forced to eventually close the workshop due to health problems in 1972.
    As a side note (jazzers are story tellers) I could portray the legendary US night club in Garmisch, the Casa Carioca, and its inglorious collapse, though I recently lost my archived fotos by an unfortunate accident.



    Travisty's reflections above makes me think if there are more than a handful people out there who are really interested in Lang archtops. While answers could be given, even with some certainty, people would have to consider at the outset that they could get more data than it might suit them. There's more ways to skin a cat: data and empirical methods of the violin world are not set in stone, hence are still arguable. However, the sophisticated and thoughtful craftsmanship, and above all, the sensitivity for wood and tone of luthiers like Amati, Stradivari or Guarneri set the golden standard. While according to newer double-blind studies a few modern builders are able to match up to the old luthiers, practically all contemporaries have still to follow the principles of the masters found some centuries ago. Back then, instruments were commissioned by secular and ecclesiastical princes and wealthy citizens, but it lasted 80 or more years until the best musicians noticed the quality. For me and some insiders, Lang guitars play in a similar league.


    It's not that I basically reject the discussion of Lang (or other master) archtop guitars, but my experiences to do so in the web is moderate at best, not least because some people feel easily challenged and tend to simple bashing ("I once tested a XX guitar, and it was nothing special", or similar phrases), especially if they're hooked on certain archtop brands, or if they experience that others might know a tad more.


    One question above should be highlighted: >> Is there something more subtle like recurve depth? <<

    Sure it is!
    The recurve of archtop boards is one of the most neglected aspects in modern archtop making. A frequently heard claim from top violin makers is: "the treatment of the 'edges' and the 'edge approach' seems to be one of significant distinguishing things about the old work".
    The depth of recurve is only one factor. The width of recurve and its distance from the center heart and outer edge play also a role, as do the arching curves and the graduation of the plates. Lang's maximal soundboard thicknesses vary between 5mm and 8mm, with an average of 7mm. Like many violin makers he kept the bass side 1.0 to 1.5mm thicker in comparison to the treble side, depending on the corresponding spruce stiffness.


    Lang was a student of the former reputable Schönbach "Musikfachschule", founded in 1873. Even decades later he followed this school's principles that based on the guidelines of some recognized violin makers then.

    Of course, not everything has withstood the test of time, or is no longer considered to be normative.
    One of such vagueness could be the (alleged) construction of Cremonese master instruments according to the golden ratio, or to simple ratios corresponding to musical intervalls. The Berlin based astute violin maker and acoustician Carl Schulze (d. 1903) found common dimensional ratios on Stradivari violins, related to the body length.

    Most of my credit with Lang guitars goes to my close friend and the only real Lang expert, German vintage guitar restorer, engineer - and perfectionist like Artur Lang: HR who prefers restoring/overhauling instead of doing forum work. With our different guitar backgrounds some might (almost) consider us to form a good team - maybe we are not, but we're friends!
    Of the approximately 75 Lang archtops (and many other brands) that I've been lucky enough to inspect, test and play by now, the majority was provided by him - along with countless words of advice. He met Lang personally in the early 60s.

    Lang guitars are amazingly strong and soundwise sophisticated players, even the very early ones up to 1953. His golden period, however, was rather between the mid 50s and mid 60s. Then the influence of US guitar design increased among German guitarists, and Lang had unwillingly to make some slight concessions to customers fads and the electric guitar age, like installing adjustable truss rods and develop some smaller models which show almost no recurve. Yet, these thinner or even double-cut (ES-330 style) "electric" guitars were also fully carved from spruce and maple and have to be considered one of the downright glorious archtops out there - for the reason alone that in the 60/70s not many competitive guitars were made this way in this class.


    The necks of Lang guitars were custom-carved (I remember one special neck for a blind player) and vary considerably in dimensions and profile. While most early 50's neck models are comparably slim, my own Langs feature medium-oval profiles and are comfortable 44mm and 45mm wide at the zero fret.

    You have to know that for acoustical reasons (tuning fork) Lang strictly tapered the necks less than what most players of US guitars are used to (seen from above), i.e. if the nut (zero fret) is 42mm, the maximal fretboard wideness will only be app. 50mm, and 45mm will end up to 53mm, and so on. My friend made some own tests in this respect. Among other things, once he glued a regular wide taper L-5 neck into one Lang: the surprising result was that the distinguished Lang tone suffered and the guitar got shifted towards a Gibson tone that in our ears always appears a bit too spread or... sorry, muddy. I don't think it's a general 'cultural' difference, but rather simple listening habits. I use to explain the different sound ideals with the difference between the bassy and 'dead' AFN sound to the airy and clear-voiced sound of German recording, like MPS records (MPS Records - Wikipedia ) or the clean sound that comes out of my favorite tube amps with Telefunken ECC-808s and PL-84s, resp. EL-503s: Hohner Orgaphon MH models 41 - 75. I wish I had never come across these amps because they make my formerly beloved Fender Twin Reverb look and sound like a toy, and collect dust... just the Polytone still gets use due to its clear weight advantage.


    Sometimes I hear the term "show guitar", meant for Lang guitars. This probably relates to the "side-bumpers" or celluloid stringers (that are glued and additionally fixed in the sides with really small celluloid 'spikes' - just one detail of Lang's workmanship) and the individually engraved metal headstock plates (usually nickel-plated brass). Ok, the former make the body look like a fancy cake (in German: Torten-Gitarre), and the latter can be regarded as a hommage to 18/19th century musical instrument making. Even many zithers made before the war in Lang's former Schönbach homeland show such engraved plates. However, like with all things around his guitars, Lang's main attention was to gain more function or tone, here by stiffening the sides and there the headstock area - good for the air pumping efficiency and the intonation!


    One could tell much more, but this is it in a nutshell: Artur Lang was years ahead of some collegues in the 1950s and 60s.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 09-11-2015 at 04:48 PM.

  25. #24

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    Clearly, there is a book here whose time is long overdue. Kudos on the wealth of information, which we've never seen elsewhere. Keep up the good work! Best, -jv

  26. #25

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    May as well revive this thread:


    Last edited by Hammertone; 02-25-2020 at 08:19 PM.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    May as well revive this thread:

    A very well proportioned instrument with a beautiful recurve - and Rossmeissl like f-holes. I like it a lot.

  28. #27

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    Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast.

    I must confess that although I feel myself close at the intersection of being a jazz fan and guitarist, player and owner of Lang and other guitars, a (former) violin enthusiast, definitely a member of people interested in the story, the design and construction methods of archtop guitars and their derivation from the century-old instruments of the violin family… all this is not sufficient to report here in detail on the ideas of Artur Lang and his archtop guitars.

    On the one hand, his instruments and incredible sensitivity against even the smallest construction details deserve far more attention by both the players and the luthiers. It is more than significant that, so far, attempts to copy Lang guitars (since the early 1960s), have more or less failed in practice, like only direct comparisons can reveal. Something that many of the world best violinists are claiming of Stradivari or Guarneri instruments…

    On the other hand, it is my belief that there is the aggravating circumstance of the different mother tongue on web fora, in addition something like the burden of the incommunicable when it comes to the subtleties of musical instruments, maybe even "something indecent in words" and in recording clips. I tried to spread some basic Lang information on a very small, now defunct, forum and felt like failing miserably - the remarks often got misunderstood and were queried by folks who neither did know something meaningful about general archtop and violin construction, nor Lang guitars, nor the specific contemporary events that were influencing not only Lang himself but the entire germanophone archtop guitar making scene since the late 1920s. I know exactly the same would happen here, since many could feel like getting attacked by someone who is inclined to ideas that do not originate from Gibson but from the old violin masters.

    So, by now, it’s sad to say that Lang guitars are a matter for personal exchange among, at best, a handful of men - in private.
    Artur Lang had virtually almost never to advertize his instruments, nor was he interested in the international market. This is why I sometimes come out with 100% faked Lang ads...

    Artur Lang Archtop-lang-artur-ad-all-me-jpg
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 06-19-2016 at 09:32 AM.

  29. #28

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    In other words… Artur Lang made fabulous acoustic archtop guitars.
    There is a reasonable amount of information about him on the web for those who are interested.
    I think that leading the horse to water is all that one can do.

    While I have an interest in these instruments, the times in which they were made and the historical and cultural influences on their development, I am also lucky enough to be able to play some of them. Only the experience of playing these guitars can communicate what they are, and most jazz guitarists will never have that opportunity. This applies not only to instruments by Lang and a few other German builders, but also to old American instruments by D'Angelico, D'Aquisto, Epiphone, Gibson, Stromberg and more, as well as to instruments by some modern builders.

    Anyone who is really interested can always find a way to play them.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 06-20-2016 at 04:20 AM.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedawg
    Very cool

    And Garmisch Partenkirchen is one of the most beautiful places in Germany .. and the world

    Just remember if you go there that Zugspitze doesn't mean spitting on trains.

    Well, some geezers would say the best times for a stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen were the 1950s and 60s.
    If someone is interested, here some information (only indirectly related to Lang's work) I published years ago:


    Artur Lang Archtop-garmisch-1-2-jpgArtur Lang Archtop-garmisch-3-jpgArtur Lang Archtop-garmisch-4-jpgArtur Lang Archtop-garmisch-4a-5-jpg

  31. #30

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    How World War II and Allied forces‘ aerial raids helped to make outstanding guitars


    Narratives about life are always welcome, the more if they get a reflection in the music or musical instrument making.
    Here‘s a lengthy story about Artur Lang – dedicated to the happy owners of Lang guitars in the hope that they will enjoy the story as much as I did myself during the researching.


    After WW II Germany lay in ruins. Munich‘s historic city was destroyed by c. 90%, the whole city area by 50%. 27,111 tons of bombs had been dropped over Munich in 74 air raids; more than 66% were performed by the USAAF, the rest by the RAF Bomber Command.
    The Munich Cathedral of Our Dear Lady suffered severe damage during these raids. The roof collapsed, one of the towers was hit and a lion‘s share of the immensely precious interior from all centuries since the foundation was lost. The cathedral had been - still is - a landmark and is considered a symbol of the Bavarian capital city. Although called "Münchner Dom" (Munich Cathedral), the church is always referred to as "Frauenkirche" by locals. The church towers are widely visible because of local height limits: the city administration prohibits buildings with a height exceeding the height of the Frauenkirche in the city.

    Artur Lang Archtop-munich-cathedral-1946-after-allied-bombing-1944-today-jpg


    The cathedral construction began in 1468. Since the cash resources were exhausted in 1479, Pope Sixtus IV granted an indulgence. I have to add that because shortly thereafter Martin Luther, the controversial schism man and seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation, proposed an academic discussion of the practise and efficacy of indulgences in his Nintey-Five Theses 500 years ago. Apropos, Luther… he regarded music, in analogy to theology, to be of the utmost importance for the soul‘s souls because it was "contrary to the devils and unbearable to them" and could "achieve… peace and a joyous mind". Youth should always be accustomed to this art, "for it makes very smart people". Luther himself was a practised singer, lutenist and composer.


    The cathedral building is said to having had capacity to house 20,000 standing people (church benches for ordinary people were a later introduction). This is quite remarkable for a town that, besides from having had another (first) parish church, did count 13,000 inhabitants only at the end of the 15th century and for a church that was erected to serve but a modest (and second) city parish, merely replacing an earlier, yet significantly smaller construction.
    The truss work started in 1477, a groundbreaking construction under the direction of the master carpenter Heinrich von Straubing. While the nearby Old Court (imperial residence) got its original first invention of a laying chair truss in 1425 (attracting architectural historians and truss experts from all over the world), the Cathedral got a standing chair timber roof truss. The corresponding German terms "Liegender Dachstuhl" and "Stehender Dachstuhl" are used in America to this day.


    Only for the cathedral truss construction a total of 630 cubic meters wood was necessary (dry weight 271 tons). The church registers prove that the wood (mainly spruce) was cut near Lenggries, a small Alpine village south of Munich, and rafted on the Isar river to the capital city. The records also tell that a total of 147 rafts were necessary, among them 92 scheduled for the truss. The records further show that the usual length for the rafts of almost 12 meters had more than to be doubled for this task. The spruce giants have been starting growing in the 12th century at an altitude of over 1000 meters above sea-level.
    The church was consecrated in 1494, and the truss was never changed until WW II.


    The post-war situation in Germany was miserable: in the larger cities about 50% of the housings were completely destroyed, the sheer number of traumatized people, orphans, widows, etc. was disturbing, and the number of evacuees and expellees from lost German areas was high – to average about 25%. All things of daily life including firewood were in short supply or not available. Still in the "starvation winter" 1946/47 several hundred thousands of Germans died of starvation and exhaustion.


    The families of the Schönbach stringed instruments makers were expelled in 1946 - later on, these Sudeten-Germans in Bavaria became "the fourth tribe". Most of the men had served in the German war service or the Wehrmacht, and many of them got Soviet war prisoners, returning home broken or in critical health condition. One of them was Artur Lang who was able to return from Siberia in 1948, first to Mittenwald, before, one year later, he was placed with his family to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Ga-Pa). Both alpine towns are situated south of Munich near the Austrian border.


    Another violin maker and tonewood dealer from Schönbach was Franz Fuchs (1899 – 1975). While the family name Fuchs was frequent among the Schönbach luthiers, especially among the tonewood providers, I‘ve never found Franz Fuchs on any Schönbach list. Yet, his wife Elisabeth and two children were listed as expellees under the train transport number 34285 on October 15, 1946, with the destination Erlangen.
    In the turmoil of the post-war years, the Schönbach luthiers were divided into several transport groups for the destinations Erlangen, Mittenwald, Ga-Pa, Nauheim, and some more places.

    Franz Fuchs was accepted to stay in the Ga-Pa area, which, being an old, lovely situated German military location, soon got one collective point for the evacuees and expellees from the Bohemian Forest and the Egerland. In total, every third person there was a new inhabitant.

    One of the huge pre-war barracks in Ga-Pa, the Krafft-von-Delmensingen-Kaserne, later on known as Artillerie-Kaserne (English: Artillery Barracks), had been used after the war as a hospital for internees by the US forces. Under the pressure of indigent expellees and the local Authorities and natives, the US military passed back the Artillery Barracks to the local German Refugee Administration. The latter decided that the Block 4 (IV) was reserved for the Schönbach luthiers after October 9, 1948. Over 1,000 expelled people had found a temporary new home in these large blocks. That part of Ga-Pa was known as Breitenau; later it was largely shaped by the former expellees.

    Artur Lang Archtop-garmisch-partenkirchen-krafft-v-delmensingen-kaserne-artillerie-kaserne-1940-left-jpg


    Cont.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 08-24-2017 at 06:26 PM.

  32. #31

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    It was in the Artillery Barracks, where Lang and Fuchs met after the war. Notably Lang was severely hit, probably by posttraumatic stress disorder. Both men and their families depended fully on the US forces, the benevolence of the locals and the Administration. In 1947 Fuchs, having returned from Siberia, decided to make violins again. But where to get the necessary seasoned tonewoods - when even stealing or black market activities of commodities of the daily life was the rule?


    From the former Schönbach makers the first man to start out again his own business in West Germany was Arnold Hoyer. He had been able to convince the US forces they had to help him to transport (by US truck) most of his father‘s workshop, including the tools and tonewoods, to the West. The last US soldiers left Schönbach at the end of 1945, leaving the Germans still residing there to the arbitrariness of the Czechs and Soviets.
    Even Wenzel Rossmeisl, the most active and probably sliest of the guitarmakers in that post-war Germany period, had to work for Hoyer in 1945, and it was the scarcity of appropriate tonewood at that time why he was turning to the development of German carve guitars.


    When Artur Lang felt ready to make guitars again, archtop guitars after 1951, like his brother-in-law and guitarist had him suggested, the question is where did this almost penniless man get acoustically superior, long-seasoned spruce wood from for the carving of guitar tops?
    The answer is simple: from his barracks-mate, compatriot and collegue Franz Fuchs!

    Once Fuchs told the story about how he had scoured parts of Southern Bavaria for tonewoods. One day, he had found his way in the vestry of the remains of the Munich Cathedral. There the 12th century whitewashed timbers lay on the floor, some scorched or splintered after the air raids. In addition, most of the wood was not very well suitable for making fine archtop bellies due to cracking, the wrong cut, wood faults or wormholes – but some of the larger beams looked phantastic and promising. Fuchs insisted to get the permission from the "metropolitan ministry" to obtain "some wood" for himself. The ministry succumbed, but only "in exchange of usable construction wood or corresponding wood ratio cards".


    Fuchs was the only violin maker known to get wood from that holy pile.

    He happily created some 50 violins, viols and celli from that historic spruce between 1947 and 1955. These "Cathedral violins" are said to sound great, were sold overseas and are now played worldwide. The son of Mr. Fuchs would be glad to learn more about their whereabouts and about their players.


    Yet, for some reason, Fuchs had to stop making violins in 1955. According to Fuchs, "a cooperation on a larger scale with professional collegues did not come about due to competition thinking or fear of new; the tonewood dealers also refused to buy cathedral wood for various reasons." The truth might be that many violin makers hesitate to work around what they regard as construction wood (they often believe - we're really walking on a religious field here - in December "full moon spruce", and other frolics), and that the cathedral wood could show some minor (did I say minor?) visual flaws.


    After all, Fuchs was the man to supply Artur Lang with this exceptional spruce wood. It is very likely that, when Fuchs came to the end of his violin making biz around 1954/55, Lang, a perfectionist, had been selecting the best of Fuchs‘ wood stock for his guitar tops. Around 1954/55, when Lang was getting much appreciation and admiration for his work - among the knowing guitarists‘ circles, of course - , he was able to quit making archtops for resellers like Alosa, Prämus (Schmidt) or Mastro Arturo (Zöphel).

    Artur Lang Archtop-fuchs-franz-lang-artur-both-resided-breitenau-2-block-4-jpg


    Many, maybe all of the earlier Lang guitars were made by using cathedral wood. It‘s not only acoustically, but also visually different to the spruce to which he had to resort to at a later time – the difference is often noticeable, at least for the experienced. In my possession is also a later Super model (big body, different "improved" construction, Venetian cutaway) that sports that historic wood, so it is obvious that Lang used that wood until he ran out of it, still after 1957 – though he might just have used it in some special cases after 1957. Really good archtop makers often have sort of a religious relation to their tonewood stocks, some even go through their stock daily...


    Later on, Lang ordered his spruce from other former Schönbach expellees, the Fuchs Brothers Company in Mittenwald (not related to Franz Fuchs). They soon became the industry leaders, and still in 1975 they claimed in their catalog the arguable fact they would supply two-thirds of the world demand of stringed instruments‘ tonewoods.
    It is reported that Lang took painstakingly time to select his spruce at the Fuchs Brothers facility – not surprising, if one considers that Lang had been used to work around wood cut before 1477, at a time when Columbus had still not reached the Americas…



    There are several additional stories around the Munich Cathedral wood. I cannot cover all of them here – just two examples.


    The first is about imprecations uttered by an old woman, as told by Franz Fuchs. When he had loaded his wagon with nice looking timber, an old woman accused the violin maker of thinking only of himself and of taking away the desperately needed firewood from the distressed Munich population. The memory of that curse of the allegedly evil deed never let Fuchs and his family loose. As a matter of fact, Fuchs stopped using the wood after only a couple of years.

    Artur Lang, certainly a catholic like most of the former Schönbach folks, was an extremely humble man. He never thought about converting his historic wood using to more cash; all he wanted was to create the best sounding instruments. Naturally, unlike most other manufacturers, Lang hardly ever used different wood qualities for, let‘s say, a blonde or a colored finished guitar. It is possible that he was aware from Fuchs of that old woman‘s spell and decided to keep that secret for himself. Yet, his brother-in-law knew about the story, and Herbert Rittinger, t h e Lang expert, confirmed that Adele Lang, Artur‘s widow, told him that her husband had used extraordinary old wood with its origin several hundred years ago.



    The second story around the cathedral wood is about the woodworm infestation of the truss roof. Usually, worms don‘t stop eating wood – but not so in that church. About the reasons for the worms to stop can be speculated. There could be religious ones ("God‘s will") or chemical ones (the Frankincense). Most plausible to me are physical reasons: the music performed in the church, in particular the heavy ringing of the ten bells. The biggest bell, called Susanna or the Salve Regina bell from 1490, has a weight of eight tons – and is still ringing. Woodworms don‘t like heavy vibrations in their housings, and that bell alone has some boom!


    In fact, when playing such old Langs and being asked about their most outstanding sound quality, I‘ve always expressed a subtle comparison to a silver bell - and not a small one! Ok, I could be biased by the sound of sterling silver saxophones… Anyway, even a religious nonbeliever could be tempted to suspect that the earlier Langs must have absorbed some "holiness" from the historic cathedral wood.


    We cannot be grateful about the Allied forces' air raids and the subsequent terrible misery, but in this particular case, they helped to bring out wonderful guitars.


    What still could be done is the discussion in the guitar world about really old and "acoustically superior" wood (agreed, Mr. Scharpach!). The factors playing a role could be the hemicellulose, the crystallization, the heavy vibration setting (here by the bells), the wood liming (one of the old Cremonese procedures) - that all could result in a higher speed velocity in the wood, a faster response, more liveliness and resonance, and a nicer modulation. The latter is a special quality, almost a trait for evoking emotions in a particular stringed instrument, hardly ever mentioned in the guitar world. It is what many old master instruments makes different to this day. In the search of suitable words, the term "to flare like a burning candle" is sometimes used.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 08-24-2017 at 06:52 PM.

  33. #32

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    Very interesting insight. Keep it coming.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    Apropos, Luther… he regarded music, in analogy to theology, to be of the utmost importance for the soul‘s souls because it was "contrary to the devils and unbearable to them" and could "achieve… peace and a joyous mind". Youth should always be accustomed to this art, "for it makes very smart people". Luther himself was a practised singer, lutenist and composer.
    Just wonderful.

  35. #34

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  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter
    Presumably built for a George Barnes fan.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    Presumably built for a George Barnes fan.

    Definitely, yes! You can count me among the George Barnes fans, he was an incredible talent.

    Allegedly not even 20 Guild George Barnes Acousti-Lectric models were built between 1964 and 1967 (GUILD GEORGE BARNES ACOUSTI-LECTRIC electric guitars ), so Lang must have been aware of what was going on at Alfred Dronge's plant across the pond. Or perhaps, who knows, it was vice versa, similar to some Gretsch and Roger features.


    HR checked this Lang without f- or split-holes acoustically and has reported that there would be no perceivable tonal difference to other big Langs, not even the general loudness would be affected. However, the look on these two oblong holes cut in the top and the pickups' attachment could be a bit disturbing.

    There are few high-quality recordings of Acousti-Electric models, but I tend to believe that they sound a bit more punchy than the regular 17" Guild archtops of the late 50's to mid 60's, the JS Award models.




    At first glance people might think there could be more than a few general constructional matches - call it the "German" element - between the Guild and the Lang archtops, not only that special PU attachment on the Acousti-Lectrics in this case, but Lang was known to have been a maverick among the few high-quality "custom" archtop builders of his period.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 10-03-2017 at 08:00 AM.

  38. #37

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    Alfred Dronge used lots of European components for Guild guitars, including:
    -tailpieces from ABM
    -metal bridges from ABM
    -wood bridges from Teller
    -tuners from Van Gent and Kolb

  39. #38

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    Check out the wonderful W.G. Barker in the background of the video, I would love to hear it...

  40. #39

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    After doing some web research on the Guild George Barnes Acousti-Lectric guitars I stand a bit corrected.

    George Barnes:
    "I designed that guitar back in 1961. When I first saw it, it was a piece of wood from Norway. My guitar is made from the finest woods. The pickups are suspended and the sound comes out of the body from the cut-out area of the top around the pickups. The guitar’s sound works much the same way as a round-hole’s, except my sound comes out of two enlarged rectangular holes around the pickups. I knew that if I had a live top with suspended pickups, I’d get a better sound. I realized a long time ago that f-holes cause feedback. Both George Van Eps and I discovered that about the same time. We did a concert together in Aspen, Colorado and we both started laughing when we saw each other’s guitar. He had put foam rubber in his f-holes to cut out the feedback, and I had taped mine over." (Ivor – George Barnes | Gypsy Jazz UK )

    In the words of George's daughter, Alexandra Barnes Leh, "Al Dronge, the president of Guild Guitars, courted Dad at the suggestion of Guild player Carl Kress. Dad said he’d go with Guild if they’d build two guitars according to his designs: the Guitar in F (so he could write guitar parts as if he were writing for a horn section) and the George Barnes Acousti-Lectric (so he could play one guitar acoustically and electrically)."


    The Italo-American master luthier Carlo Greco (1926 - 2015) made the George Barnes signature prototype for Guild in 1961. The top and back of that guitar were hand carved; it was 17" wide and 3" deep, had a scale length of 24 3/4 " and sported a bit plainer looking headstock. It was used by George until his (untimely) death.
    According to Carlo Greco he made not more than eleven George Barnes models - due to the very high manufacturing cost. The retail price for a Acousti-Lectric was $895.00 in 1961 - more than Gibson asked for their flagship archtops Johnny Smith ($795) and Super 400 ($825) at that time. Guild claimed that it would tie up their production. The last one, #11, left the Guild factory unfinished.

    So it is evident that Greco had made his first George Barnes guitars - build on the superstructure of the Guild A-350 - four years before Lang made two of his Venetian cutaway models (17.5") in the Guild "Acousti-Lectric" style for an unknown George Barnes fan/guitarist in Germany. Back then, Lang asked between 1,000 and 1,100 Deutschmark for a regular model - converted not more than $275, due to the fixed $ to DM currency exchange rate! The rationale, the point where even the musical biz is firmly tied to the political world, is: never start, never lose a war because it will keep the economics of a nation down for a long time - and almost no one on the global market is willing to pay a lot of dough even for decent products of a low-respected nation!
    Not that a lack of demand had affected Lang's work. After the mid 50's the back order time for his archtops was always about two years, even in the late 60's and early 70's, when most manufacturers had to cut down their archtop production considerably.


    A member at the Guild Forum who owned an original Acousti-Lectric model for about a year in the 70's stated that the owner of such a guitar will "gonna have a blast", but also that these models "do feed back, yup, they surely do" (George Barnes Acousti-Lectric model and Carlo Greco ).
    The latter statement is plausible since the feedback tendency of an archtop can indeed get a bit tamed down by closing (or leaving out) the sound holes, but other constructional factors like the plates' stiffness distribution and the main top/back resonances should matter more.
    Lang was extraordinarily knowledgeable in this field; after the two examples he never made further acoustic-electric archtops without f-holes.
    Whereas Greco followed up on the George Barnes concept and made some more "Acousti-Lectric" models until late in his career, no longer working for Guild (after the fatal aircraft crash of Al Dronge); guitars where you can see this master's lovely and strong Italian influence: Carlo Greco Jazz Sunburst Guitar | Reverb .


    Btw., Carlo fully supported Lang's basic state of mind, i.e., that the acoustical and structural - not only visual - importance of the wood material is crucial in the making of fine guitars. When asked what he would consider being the most important part of making a guitar, his answer was in 2005: " ...more important than everything is the material that you use. Si ha fatto, collecting wood, ever since I came on this continent in 1958, and the wood[s] have to be very well seasoned." (Carlo Greco | Oral Histories | NAMM.org ).


    As a side note from the mentioned links, on George Barnes' interesting musical approach...
    It is said Barnes had originally wanted to be a horn player, and his approach to melody and arranging retained that sensibility. He was best known for single-note melody lines that related closely to the actual tune being played, and a style of tremolos that he learned from watching violinists, where he would begin with relatively slow hammer-ons and then increase the speed and attack as the sympathetic harmonics started to bloom. But no matter how jazzy the music, he often found ways to incorporate string bends and bluesy licks that would start in one position and glide up to resolve at the next octave with a flourish of vibrato.


    ... and his special picking technique:
    "You get a better sound from the guitar by using only down strokes. Your leverage just isn’t as good when you up-pick. Therefore, I use as many down strokes as possible. I developed a technique of quick picking, using only down-strokes. But sometimes, for very rapid phrasing, I have to use alternating up and down strokes. I also hold the pick in an unusual manner-with my thumb, index, and middle finger. By picking this way, all I do to change the dynamics and volume is tighten or loosen my grip on the pick. I don’t have to pick harder and my wrist remains loose."
    Perhaps it was Barnes’ unconventional "3 finger" pick grip that added that "special something" to his sound. Having one extra finger in contact with the pick does impart a very subtle tonal inflection. It also has a more dramatic physical effect when playing down stokes.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 10-17-2017 at 05:06 AM.

  41. #40

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    ... bummed by the horrible fire of the Notre-Dame cathedral ...

    We are pleased to hear and confident that our French friends will rebuild the cathedral to its former glory; start to collect ...


    From the historico-cultural POV it makes not much difference if a cathedral is destroyed by bombing or unintentional fire (Vergessene Momente: Der Dom zu Unserer Lieben Frau in Munchen (die Frauenkirche ;-) nach den Luftangriffen 1944 ).
    If it happens that another Artur Lang should be in or around Paris at this moment (compare my posts # 35 and 36 above), he/she'll know what to do best with some reusable remains.



    Btw., the fog around Lang's acitivity in the Breitenau, where he devised virtually all the important innovations in his guitars in a few years until 1957, has largely cleared up. But even after his move, he remained closely associated with the Breitenau in terms of craftmanship and relation.
    Yesterday, another Super de Luxe model changed hands, like so often after being offered for less than 24 hours.
    Put a DeArmond pickup on, and the correct bridge and tailpiece, and you're ready to keep up with any other high-class archtop on any stage of this planet:

    Artur Lang Archtop-lang-artur-super-dl-trussrod-blonde-d-jpg
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 04-16-2019 at 07:10 AM.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    ....Yesterday, another Super de Luxe model changed hands, like so often after being offered for less than 24 hours. Put a DeArmond pickup on, and the correct bridge and tailpiece, and you're ready to keep up with any other high-class archtop on any stage of this planet:

    Artur Lang Archtop-lang-artur-super-dl-trussrod-blonde-d-jpg
    That's a familiar-looking painting in the background.
    Coincidentally, here's another recent sale. One might imagine that it's the same guitar, but for the clear differences in the colouring of the spruce on the top. Perhaps Lang built a group of these equipped with Bigsbys, and the one you posted has been converted to a conventional bridge/tailpiece arrangement (using a Roger Junior tailpiece). Or not.
    Attached Images Attached Images Artur Lang Archtop-lang-super-63-1-jpg 

  43. #42

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    Yum - nice bearclaw Alpine spruce! The best spruce available for large archtops - tonewise. Though this was not yielded by Lang from the Munich cathedral, it often came from the oldest spruce trees in the mountains with the best stiffness-weight relation.

    Lang would have shot the client out of his workshop, if asked to mount a Bigsby on one of his hollow-body guitars.
    Lang archtops sporting a Bigsby and a metal bridge, etc., are a consequence of horde behaviour in the Rock'n'Roll era.
    In and around Munich, the "German Bill Haley", Paul Würges (1932 - 2017), was the main protagonist. The Langs, and some other valuable guitars, suffered considerably by this fad: https://www.stadtmagazin-muenchen24....ernhalle/5.JPG

    In general, I don't know any other country where carved archtop guitars were so severly abused by later owners than Germany. Maybe it was the same in some Eastern European countries, though I don't know of any fine carved vintage guitars originating from these countries.

    Except for few special or unique models Lang used to build in batches by six guitars.
    And, no, I don't think that painting in the background is original ...

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    Lang would have shot the client out of his workshop, if asked to mount a Bigsby on one of his hollow-body guitars.
    Hah! So much for that idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    Btw., the fog around Lang's acitivity in the Breitenau, where he devised virtually all the important innovations in his guitars in a few years until 1957, has largely cleared up. But even after his move, he remained closely associated with the Breitenau in terms of craftmanship and relation.

    Ooh...interesting. Tell us more!

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    Ooh...interesting. Tell us more!

    It will come - HR is working hard, and I do not envy him at the moment.
    It's a labor of love, and sometimes he'll wonder what all the years of research and restoration work, the months of sorting and publishing were good for in hindsight - except that a few more guys would believe they could peddle the knowledge around.

    My own contribution for the Lang report is nada, zilch, limited to approving or head-shaking, or making confusing or useless comments (I'm pretty good at this, meanwhile!), or to provide something like an English translation for the two or three internationally interested folks. Never felt competent to do translations, my old brain cells are reluctant to continue verbalizing the English language. Perhaps emotions deeply hidden in the guts block the cells' rest, due to all these actual US administrating, UK hard-brexiteering, and whatever issues. The disproportionately low participation of German side here would point to this … Google translate could do it also, and is more unemotional.

    Of course, if a real friend is asking me for help, I'll give the shirt off my back.

  46. #45

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    Ol' Fret :

    Thank you for taking the time to share your considerable knowledge of Artur Lang archtops.

    I've found your posts to be very informative, as well as an interesting read.


    Cheers

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by redcap
    Ol' Fret :

    Thank you for taking the time to share your considerable knowledge of Artur Lang archtops.

    I've found your posts to be very informative, as well as an interesting read.


    Cheers

    Redcap, thanks for your kind words!


    Just let me say that I'm interested in (almost) all archtop guitar things.
    Lang's work, IMO, is outstanding because he had a start more or less as a copy cat (Roger-Hirsch Super Special, resp. Glassl Solist), but in lightning speed elaborated the whole archtop idea like crazy, and painstakingly made his guitars according to his thinking. Fifty years after his death, he left (almost) no room for us to improve on the archtop guitar development, at least from the acoustic point of view. This is both admirable and intimidating - or rather frustrating.
    Of course, this is valid only if you follow the same basic approach: only the greatest acoustic archtop guitar will also transform into the greatest electro-acoustic guitar. And without doubt: solid-bodies can be really great electric guitars!


    In Europe, the more in Germany, archtop guitar history, making and playing has always been closely related to the corresponding political and social circumstances. Not what I like to unscramble, but it's simply too deeply interwoven to consider the guitars completely isolated.
    In this sense some key words for Artur Lang would be:
    German enclave in the former Austro-Hungarian empire - guitar making - light metal aircraft manufacturing - Siberian war captivity - Czech expulsion - distress - the story above with Franz Fuchs - the lone wolf guitar maker - Otto Fuchs …
    It took a few years only to sort out these Fuchs guys (not related to each other), one of the most frequent family names in the former Schönbach in Bohemia, where after 1946 all documents were lost, the people scattered and passed away long ago.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 04-18-2019 at 08:11 PM.

  48. #47

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    Just for the files and some Lang fanboys: I decided to delete my older current avator due to possible recent German patent law requirements.
    Of course, the research/work on Lang and his guitars, as well as other rewarding guitars, are continued!

    Obviously, there are more Lang disciples, and more interested parties lurking around my meager posts here than Lang himself would have wished. Mainly economically driven folks should also get a chance. I wish them good luck, though I wonder if they've ever hold an original Lang in their hands, or how much they think they could achieve with their actual state of knowledge!
    A small hint was given today in this post: Unfortunate top brace fitting in new Gibson 275

  49. #48

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    Pics of a special guitar from the late Artur Lang. Now it's a fabulous player again:
    RESTAURATION EINER ARTUR LANG MIT 12 SAITEN << Schlaggitarren

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    Pics of a special guitar from the late Artur Lang. Now it's a fabulous player again:
    RESTAURATION EINER ARTUR LANG MIT 12 SAITEN << Schlaggitarren
    Wow!. Take the six superfluous strings off of that thing and it would be a nice guitar!

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    Wow!. Take the six superfluous strings off of that thing and it would be a nice guitar!

    Actually, I play a five-string Lang (she once had a possessive admirer in New York):

    Artur Lang Archtop-dscf4680b-jpg

    The number of strings doesn't matter. Good music, IMO, is all about rhythm, good vibes, and the imagination of a peaceful and slightly better world.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuKlbQYf3q0