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  1. #1

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    What do you prefer, a carved or laminate top.

    I realize there may be no "better".

    That said, I was comparing guitars from Peerless and one from Painter. The top of line Cremona from Peerless has a carved maple top. It's twice the price of the similar Jazz City which has a pressed maple top. It occurred to me I'm not sure how tops are usually constructed. I assume that there must be advantages to having a carved top if one is going to pay $1K more for it (granted I'm sure the Cremona has a few other advantages like ebony fingerboard).

    I also was considering a painter P350 which has a custom laminated maple top.

    I'm not sure exactly what pressed means for that matter. Could it be a steam pressed solid piece of wood ? It must be cheaper to construct but does it have big flaws?

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  3. #2

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    better acoustic tone. that's the biggie. if it's a deep jazzbox with a floating pickup, a carved solid top sounds great, especially unplugged.

    pressed is a buzzword for laminate. they feed back less than a carved top. if most of your playing will be plugged in and well amplified, save yourself the hassle and $ and go laminate.

    if you love playing acoustic and use amplification sparingly, if you can swing it, go carved.

  4. #3

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    Yes, better acoustic tone, but still. In a performance, when do you EVER play completely acoustically with an archtop? It's meant to be plugged into an amp. It's NOT a classical/nylon/dreadnaught guitar that's meant to be played acoustically. The acoustic quality of the instrument is best measured PLUGGED IN. Its a misnomer to say that you would play it acoustically--acoustically/unplugged, it doesn't measure up to a classical or dreadnaught guitar.

    You would almost always partner the carved archtop with the floating pickup with an amp, and the sound is the most deep, rich, tone in which the acoustic qualities of the wood come through the AMP.

  5. #4

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    i dunno, NSJ. i've heard jim hall do a lot of stuff where he'll roll the volume off completely and comp.

    now granted, the tone isn't a dreadnaught, but who likes that tone? BOOORRRRRIIIIIINNNNGGGGG!

    i'm kidding a little bit. but what i was getting at in my post is if the guitar is heavily amplified, the difference becomes very small...

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    if the guitar is heavily amplified, the difference becomes very small...
    This is something that I totally agree with. I can't tell you how many discussions I've had about this, but the bottom line is that with a Digitech GNX4 or similar (heck, often with just a good amp eq and effects) you can manipulate the sound of a guitar rather easily.

    However, with that said: quality is built from the ground up: guitarist -> guitar -> amp etc.

  7. #6

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    I'm glad you sited Jim Hall and how he comps with the volume low. Originally the carved top was made to be played acoustically in a big band setting. If you like to mike an achtop, you definitely want the carved top and it's carved in tone (if the luthier really knows how to carve one up)

  8. #7
    However, with that said: quality is built from the ground up: guitarist -> guitar -> amp etc.[/quote]

    I can't argue with that, although the first one is the hardest. I'm certain my guitar is not limiting me at this point. But they are still fun to play.

    That said, I'm not confused about the Peerless specs. They say the Jazz City model is solid maple and the cremona is solid carved maple. I wonder now if pressed is somehow different than laminate ?

  9. #8
    Found this answer in an email from Peerless.
    >Cremona is with carved top which was made from 30mm wood and Jazz City is pressed top by 5mm wood. Use ebony on Cremona and rosewood on Jazz City.

    It does at least sound like the cheaper guitar has it's top pressed into shape. How pressing and carving make a difference, I don't know. It does seem obvious that carving would use a hell of a lot more wood.

    I assume carved maple would still be quite feedback resistant if you were going to play some blues.

  10. #9

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    Of course, Jim has always played a laminate with a built-in pickup, NOT a carved top. (ES-175, D'aQuisto, Sadowsky Jim Hall).

    As the owner of a Sadowsky Hall and a Henriksen amp, I can tell you that it has an incredible acoustic sound, and you definitely want to play it through the amp, even at low volume. The great thing about it is, you can crank up the volume and it still sounds like an acoustically inclined guitar.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben2e
    Found this answer in an email from Peerless.
    >Cremona is with carved top which was made from 30mm wood and Jazz City is pressed top by 5mm wood. Use ebony on Cremona and rosewood on Jazz City.

    It does at least sound like the cheaper guitar has it's top pressed into shape. How pressing and carving make a difference, I don't know. It does seem obvious that carving would use a hell of a lot more wood.

    I assume carved maple would still be quite feedback resistant if you were going to play some blues.
    ben, did you read the other posts...we're not lying to ya.

    ebony/rosewood biz has got to fretboard, not the top.

    pressed means laminate. carved is carved, a solid wood top.

    a solid wood top will sound richer acoustically, especially if it is not cut into for a pickup. a solid wood top WILL feed back more amplified. solid wood vibrates more, which means more sound, but also, a greater chance for feedback.

    there is nothing wrong with a laminate top for a jazz guitar. see the above jim hall related comments.

    whatever you end up with, remember that these are jazz archtops. the sound will be focused, midrangey, and with a quick decay. it will not sound like a dred or a jumbo, not even close. your bluegrass picking neighbors would hate it, likely. i highly suggest checking out a jim hall record called "commitment" where jim plays his guitar amplified and unamplified on several tracks, so you can hear the difference. (it's a great jazz record too, btw)

    as for witholding feedback for the blues, that depends on where you like your blues from...chicago blues--uh uh. i wouldn't even go there with a hollow body, really, i'd stick to a semi hollow or a solid body for the loud stuff...acoustic blues? sure, but again, it ain't gonna sound likea drednaught.

    i hope this helps.

  12. #11

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    Pressed does not always mean laminate. There is a process involving a molded press and steam that will press a solid top into shape without the use of acoustic plates. IIRC the Vestax DA New Yorkers all had pressed solid wood tops, not laminate.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    better acoustic tone. that's the biggie. if it's a deep jazzbox with a floating pickup, a carved solid top sounds great, especially unplugged.

    pressed is a buzzword for laminate. they feed back less than a carved top. if most of your playing will be plugged in and well amplified, save yourself the hassle and $ and go laminate.

    if you love playing acoustic and use amplification sparingly, if you can swing it, go carved.
    I agree. I find a laminated top easier to work with and dig the sound. The ES-175 (which is a laminate) is what I like.

    In my experience, a solid top with a floater (like an Eastman 805ce I used to have) doesn't work well when amplified to the gigable volumes I do. Yet, acoustically it sounded great and loud enough where I could jam amp-less in a drum-less trio and be heard. Low volume amplified was fine too. It was just when I got to mid volume when I started to have feedback issues. And then forget higher volume situations. But everyone's volume level necessities could be different.

  14. #13

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    to the best of my knowledge there are generally four types of top:

    laminate - pressed
    solid wood - pressed
    solid wood - machine carved
    solid wood - hand carved

    In my experience, hand carved is acoustically livelier, more detailed and perhaps brighter than laminate, but laminate has a darker smokier sound that I personally prefer. Of course the neck and fingerboard woods affect this too, whether the pickup is built-in, type of bridge, etc etc ...
    Last edited by Bill C; 07-21-2009 at 04:14 AM.

  15. #14

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    Well, Laminates are easier to take care of except they do crack after awhile. A Carved top must be taken care of very closely you need a humidifier the top might collapses, A good Laminate can sound just as good as a Good Carved top while Laminates are thousands of dollars cheaper(Sometimes) But if you find a reasonably priced Carved top go for it (But the chance of that is very Slim) I like Laminates, and carved tops but if you like the sound of Late 60's 70's Joe Pass, and almost EVERY Herb Ellis Album, and even Pat Metheney go for the Laminate if you like that sound but if you like a sound like Wes Montgomery go for a Carved, I can't tell you what to buy I don't want to I am just saying that Laminates are usually easier to take care of than a Carved to you have to play them for the sound and see which one you like better thats the way to choose a guitar not by asking some people on the internet don't get me wrong I think this is wonderful. I know you wanted to know the Pro's and CON'S But that is mostly up to you All i can tell you is what I think and how to maintain both

  16. #15

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    Even with laminates, you can have a top cave in. Lots of 175s have had this issue. All are made from wood, so they are suseptible to changes in temp and humidity. However, as you point out, lams are much more stable, and less finicky, plus they resist feedback better.

    Which is why guys like Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Pat Metheny, John Pizzarelli, Jimmy Bruno, Corey Christiansen, Dave Stryker, John Scofield, et al, all tour with lams. There are still a few holdouts like Tuck, Jack Wilkins, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Anthony Wilson, etc, who are playing solid wood guitars.

  17. #16

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    No one's mentioned this yet, so it might be worth the trouble.

    If you go for the carved solid top, you're going to have to be hyper aware of humidity levels in your room, in your case, and wherever you put it.

    It's got to be kept between 45-55% humidity or you're going to get cracks.
    When the humidity goes up, your arched top will rise a bit. When the humidity goes down the top will sink. If it does either too much, the wood will start to crack. And even if you don't get a crack, both of those will affect tuning. When the top goes down all strings will go flat; when the top goes up, the strings go sharp.

    Laminate is much more forgiving and travels much better.

    I love my solid carved but it takes a bit of effort a lot more care than any other guitar I've ever owned. It's quite sensitive. If you live somewhere with warm summers and cold winters where you have to use heating, it's definitely an issue worth thinking about.

    Silly me. Just read the thread again closely and someone did just mention this very issue.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterk1
    It's got to be kept between 45-55% humidity or you're going to get cracks.
    Man I'm so glad you brought this up. I've never heard of that and I would definitely have bought a carved top one day, while humidity varies between 35 and 75, sometimes even 80% in my appartment. I guess I'll stick with laminates as long as I live here. Holy cow, that's some news!

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterk1
    ....
    If you go for the carved solid top, you're going to have to be hyper aware of humidity levels in your room, in your case, and wherever you put it.

    It's got to be kept between 45-55% humidity or you're going to get cracks.
    ...
    The range of "safe humidity" is actually a bit wider than that.

    Humidity chart from Kevin Ryan's web site:

    Advantage of Carved Top vs Laminate-humidity-chart-jpg

    Too low humidity is more a problem with cracking that too high.
    Humidity at my house gets up to 70%....no cracking problems.

  20. #19

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    In winter, get a cheap room humidifier, and a hygrometer, and keep it in the room where you keep your guitars.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perhaps
    The range of "safe humidity" is actually a bit wider than that.
    It's good to hear about that it's more tolerant than what I quoted above. My numbers are what are usually given on the info sheets that some guitar makers give out with the instruments.

    Mind you...Kevin Ryan's site looks like it's all flat-tops. I could be wrong here, but I think arch-tops are a little more vulnerable because the top is normally curved, so you want to be more a little cautious than that chart.

    I live up in Canada, and once the heating starts up for the winter, humidity in my house goes down to about 20% ...definitely dangerous. And the scary thing is that I didn't do anything at all about it or think there was any problem to worry about for the first winter. It was just an off the cuff question I asked the luthier by e-mail one day that led to me being informed.

    Humidifying the entire apartment or house when it gets that low is kind of difficult, so I keep three small sponges (Dampits) inside my case/guitar and always store the guitar in the case when It's not being played. And a hygrometer inside the case to constantly monitor the level.
    Last edited by peterk1; 07-23-2009 at 08:14 AM.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archie
    In winter, get a cheap room humidifier, and a hygrometer, and keep it in the room where you keep your guitars.
    Yeah, this is what I do in the winter. It is not just about the wood though. You have other materials on the guitar that are NOT affected by humidity, like the metal frets, plastic binding, etc. While the wood will move from humidity changes, these other materials will not.

    Due to this, we see frets and binding pop on guitars, and is why you get finish cracks over time. Flat tops are just as susceptible to humidity changes as archtops. If you check out classical sites, those guys are just as finicky about their guitars as we are.

  23. #22

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    To the person who said if you're going to play plugged in, get a laminate and save $, I would disagree on one point.

    I've often found a lot of the "cheaper" laminates lack the construction quality of some solid carved archtops. For example, the Hohners and D'angelico's I've played really felt like an imported, cheap instrument. I would pay a few hundred more for a used Eastman just because it FELT so much better...but I guess that's all subjective.

  24. #23

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    I wonder if different woods like spruce, maple and mahogany crack as easily or is one of them more likely to crack under bad humidity conditions than another?

  25. #24

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    As far as carved MAPLE, it is really not a tonewood used in making stringed instrument tops. Maple would be strong and pretty, but there is nothing warm about the sound. Think drum shells. The best sounding acoustic archtop would have a very lightweight carved spruce top, but the minute you go electric, it won't sound superior to a good laminate top. Check out Carvin's carved maple archtops. Too bad they don't have a carved back.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    As far as carved MAPLE, it is really not a tonewood used in making stringed instrument tops. Maple would be strong and pretty, but there is nothing warm about the sound. Think drum shells. The best sounding acoustic archtop would have a very lightweight carved spruce top, but the minute you go electric, it won't sound superior to a good laminate top. Check out Carvin's carved maple archtops. Too bad they don't have a carved back.
    What about the Heritage H575 - carved maple top and back, solid maple rim? It seems that it is pretty warm sounding. Would it be more robust and less likely to crack than let's say a Gibson L-4 CES mahogany (spruce top, mahogany back and rim)?

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter
    What about the Heritage H575 - carved maple top and back, solid maple rim? It seems that it is pretty warm sounding. Would it be more robust and less likely to crack than let's say a Gibson L-4 CES mahogany (spruce top, mahogany back and rim)?
    Experience tells me as an amature woodworker that harder woods crack easier than softer woods. However, reduce the humidity enough, and they all will crack.

    The 575 is a hollowbody electric guitar. It doesn't sound as acoustically pleasing to me as an L-4. However the Sadowsky Jim Hall is built more like the 575, and gets a surprisingly good acoustic tone for an all laminate.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek
    However the Sadowsky Jim Hall is built more like the 575, and gets a surprisingly good acoustic tone for an all laminate.
    That implies to me that there are significant craftmanship and design factors involved. It's not a "gimme" that a carved spruce top will always sound one way whilst a laminated top with always sound another way. The Sadowsky web page mentions four years of prototypes and "After several prototypes, Roger refined the Jim Hall Guitar by reducing the thickness of the top and back to provide a more acoustic response."

  29. #28

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    Absolutely. It is clear that Roger was very intentionally going for a nice acoustic sound from his JH model, something that probably wasn't a high priority at the beginning for laminate models like the 175, which were meant to be electric guitars. So get the feedback resistance and stability lamination provides, and get a decent acoustic sound in a guitar that is just wonderfully made. Win win.

  30. #29

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    William Moll, who makes John Pizarelli's guitars, says something similar -- that he worked to come up with an approach that combined the benefits of using laminates with a good acoustic tone. His guitars, however, seem to have a more "traditional" design, including a 17" lower bout and floating pickup.

  31. #30

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    Yeah but, have you spent much time listening to Piz? He sounds like he could be playing his old man's Benedetto. The woody tones he gets from his sig model Moll belie its ply construction.

  32. #31

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    Well, yeah, that's what I was trying to say. If you didn't know it was a "plywood" guitar, you'd never think it was from the sound. Another example of how current luthiers are getting much better acoustic tone from laminates by rethinking the design.

  33. #32

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    But you have to consider the difference between high end laminates and low end laminates. I've never really heard a great, cheap laminate. And, honestly, I prefer the tone of cheaper, solid top guitars than expensive laminates (ie, Eastman vs. Sadowsky. Hell, give me the Eastman.) The Sadowskys sound phenomenal for laminates, but why pay more when I can get a better tone from the Eastman acoustically (my opinion) and an equal one amplified?

  34. #33

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    IMO, at the end of the day this just comes down to personal preference. I prefer the acoustic and electric sound of the Sadowsky JH over a more expensive carved top guitar I used to own, but I can see how others would have preferred the carved top. Laminates potentially have the advantage in structural stability and feedback resistance but I'd be surprised if this were universally true!

  35. #34
    CC323 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    That implies to me that there are significant craftmanship and design factors involved. It's not a "gimme" that a carved spruce top will always sound one way whilst a laminated top with always sound another way. The Sadowsky web page mentions four years of prototypes and "After several prototypes, Roger refined the Jim Hall Guitar by reducing the thickness of the top and back to provide a more acoustic response."
    That's interesting because that's what the Smallman lattice braced classicals are supposed to do (thin the top for more acoustic volume).

  36. #35

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    Normally a pressed top means that a piece of wood is forced into a certain shape. Laminated means one uses several thin layers that are glued together in a mould. So there is a difference between both.
    I would say that a pressed top of massive wood comes closer to a carved top.
    A carved top is carved from 2 solid matched pieces of wood.

    Of course a carved top guitar will be more expensive up to an unlimted price range. But a carved top is not nessecary better for everyone. And there are many bad carved top archtops on the market that sound too nasal. This problem you mostly do not find with laminated tops. This kind of guitar is mostly more a semi acoustic electric guitar. Therefore the sound is merely produced by the woods and not by the "air" inside the instrument. This is coupled with the movement of the wood.

    It takes long experience to build a high end carved archtop. And in that case prices are comparable with prices for chello and other simular constructed instruments.

  37. #36

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    Well, one thing's for sure, if you ever whack that solid top, it sure does split a lot easier than laminate. That plywood is some rugged stuff.

  38. #37

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    Well that is one way of looking at it!
    But if you play a lot in clubs it may be also an argument

    Scharpachguitars

  39. #38

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    Watch out for the marketing behind those pressed tops, though. They often don't specify, and hearing "solid spruce top" causes one to associate the price with a solid top and its just not the same.

  40. #39

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    I am alos loking at a peerless...either a Imperial or Cremona...17" with carved maple top..anyone played either of these? I have a 1977 ES-175 w/lam than sounds great...pretty woody, but nice. Also have a 1991 Gretsch G400 Syncromatic ( see avatar). Solid Spruce top with a Humbucker set PU..more acoustic sound when plugged in and does not really project acoustically without an amp, probably due to the set PU.
    I am looking for a more modern Wes sound...I use D'Addario Chrom Flats 12's...the 175 sounds exectly like Herb Ellis/Joe Pass.

    I am leaning to teh Cremona but any thoughts would be appreciated.

    BTW, I live in Florida so humidity is always 80% or more..never had a problem with cracks or anything on guitars..just need to have the boxes settle in for 10 min. out of the case before final tuning when taking from car to AC..

  41. #40
    TommyD Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Well, one thing's for sure, if you ever whack that solid top, it sure does split a lot easier than laminate. That plywood is some rugged stuff.
    Back in the 60's, I bought a used Guild arch top laminated guitar. I don't remember the model but it was one of the better models, and played and sounded great. A pal of mine, Bill Comstock (later of Four Freshmen fame) was working with a quartet that had as leader, a girl bass player. Long story short, someone left the station wagon unlocked while they ran in for a pack of cigarettes. all the instruments were in it; Klink's vibes, Louise's bass, Bill's ES 175, and Kenny's trumpet. Guess what happened? You familiar with Murphy's Law? In two minutes, every instrument - gone with the wind.
    Well, Bill asked if he could borrow my Guild until he could replace his guitar. Fine, I had another guitar, not as good but playable.
    About a month later, Louise the bass player, got drunk on the job and in stepping down off the stand at the end of a set (Remember those "musical bars" where the bar surrounded the stand?), she knocked MY Guild off its stand and down onto the floor behind the bar, about 30 inches lower than the stand, then lost her balance, such as it was, with her being drunk and all, and STEPPED DOWN THROUGH MY GUILD GUITAR with a spike-heeled shoe. Needless to say, her foot went right through the guitar, the strings, the pickups, and the pick guard. So as tough as laminated archtop guitars are, there are some things they can't weather.
    P.S. In exchange, I got a Gibson ES 125 from Bill which I still have and play.
    Tommy/

  42. #41

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    I heard Jimmy Bruno say that he could never get a good sound out of a solid top jazz guitar. This blew me away as I am a hobby guitar builder and its all about the wood. I used to own a Tacoma archtop guitar that had a solid spruce top, and I never got it to sound right. I recently found an Ibanez AFS75 on Craigslist for under $300 and I bought it. Laminated top, but unbelievable tone. I now own another Ibanez, an AF105. It is a more expensive guitar, but still cheap as these things go. I personally think there is something to this. If you want that dark fat tone, a laminated top guitar is the deal. Anyone ever experience this?

    Socalbill

  43. #42

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    It's all about application.

    Jimmy's playing amplified most of the time--when you think about many of the great amplified jazz tones of the world, laminates, being stiffer and less prone to feedback, are gonna be pretty popular.

    Jimmy's playing pluged in a bunch--and he's known to play with organ players--who are always loud--so you know he's gonna need some volume.

    That said, Wes seemed to do fine with that L5...

  44. #43

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    I have 2 laminated topped guitars, a 175 and a Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno. Both are much warmer and fatter sounding than my solid top semi-hollow. How much of that is the semi versus hollow thing, I can't tell. I also think there are a lot of variables to guitar tone... Strings, fingerboard, scale, pickups, pick, etc.

    My understanding is that the laminated vs. solid top has much more to do with feedback when amplified. That laminated tops aren't as acoustically sonic compared to the solid top, but amplified sound great-- assuming all else being equal.

    (edited-- just saw Mr. B's response. What he said...)

  45. #44

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    Thats interesting. I was thinking of it more from a builders point of view. A solid top I associate with building for acoustic tone. My Tacoma was light and sounded incredible acoustically. My Ibanez(s) are heavy, and they are not very loud acoustically, but you hear the sustain even then. I don't know what it is, but I used the same strings (SIT Silencer 11s), same picks (Dulop 207) and the same amp (Cube 60) and the Ibanez blew the Tacoma away. Now if someone wants to send me a L5 to check out, I'd give it a go
    Socalbill

  46. #45

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    Hmm...this sort of question gets brought up alot, but my observation of the history of jazz guitar usage leads me to these conclusions: acoustic archtops were designed to be rhythm instruments that had reduced dynamics compared to a flat top guitar, but a tone that cut through better as a rhythm instrument, oh and by the way, archtops were 4 string tenor guitars before they became 6 strings, coming from the 4 string dixie rhythm banjo family, not the guitar family.

    When it comes to solo single line melody playing, when done acoustically, you didn't see archtops, you had Django playing a flat top with a sound hole, in a small string group, without drums. Then you finally had Charlie Christian put a pickup on his guitar and everything changed. Now, you had guys soloing on archtops that were electric guitars, plugged into amps.

    I guess what I'm getting at, is that the archtop was never intended originally to have the sweet tone or the volume for soloing. The jazz tone we all talk about is from an electric guitar. The properties of the best acoustic archtops don't necessarily make them great electric guitars. It's more about the pickups and the amp, and why you can get a pretty sweet jazz tone from a solidbody. I know lots of folks won't agree with me, but that how I see and hear it.

  47. #46

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    Masterful reply CG. That makes sense. Solid top archtops were designed to operate acoustically and cut through in a band setting. They are really acoustic guitars. Laminated top archtops were designed with pickups in mind. They are electric guitars. This makes a lot of sense. Thanks,
    Socalbill

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    , oh and by the way, archtops were 4 string tenor guitars before they became 6 strings, coming from the 4 string dixie rhythm banjo family, not the guitar family.
    I had never heard that before. I thought tenors guitars were a stepping stone for 4 banjo players to get into guitar in the 1920s. Care to site an example? I will google it some time later tonight ..

  49. #48

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    I thought that the very first archtops made by Orville Gibson & Loyd Loar were all 6 strings.

  50. #49

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    Once plugged in, solid spruce tops are bright sounding to my ears.

    Each guitar design is working with a range of frequencies. An L5 has a certain singing quality to it, especially around the 12th fret and above, right where many laminated guitars are beginning to lose sustain and tone.

    Each instrument style sits great in a certain volume range too. I've spent lots of money for guitars that had a great sound at a volume that I could never use and be heard. And as soon as I exceeded that volume, all nuance was lost. Sometimes in big places a Telecaster on the front pickup was GREAT!

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by SamBooka
    ...I thought tenors guitars were a stepping stone for 4 banjo players to get into guitar in the 1920s. Care to site an example? I will google it some time later tonight ..

    Eddie Condon (pretty famous early swing player) used a tenor guitar.
    Lots of swing band rhythm players with archtops were converted banjo players.

    I took lessons from just such a fellow: the late "Adirondak Bill" (Banden) of Scotia, NY was just such a convert. He played tenor banjo, then when the popularity of banjo was eclipsed by guitar he started on tenor guitar, but then further converted to six-string pretty quickly. A very common tale.

    Later in life he even developed his chops on nylon string guitar, and finally developed a unique finger style for tenor banjo. I guess he went back to his first love, in a way.