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  1. #1

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    Noticed this one on

    Campellone Deluxe-campellone-deluxe-jpg

    2013 Campellone Deluxe


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    says on the site it costs $5k! you might as well just save up and buy a real L5 for that money, or a d'aquisto or something around there.

    Pretty guitar though.


  4. #3

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    Hi Don - welcome to the forum. I can understand your comment, but once one moves beyond the surface of things, it gets a bit more complex. Gibson is only one of several companies that manufacture high-quality archtop guitars (and they happen to be the oldest), but it's a relatively big tent, including large companies, one-man shops and everything inbetween.

    Mark Campellone has been in business for many years, and he hand-builds archtop guitars that are intentionally very similar to the Gibson L-5C and L-7C, but with all sorts of details and options that Gibson does not offer. There are enough consumers out there to have supported his efforts over the past 35+ years.

    Some folks pay a lot of attention to the details and options he offers, as well as to his overall build quality and the sound of his guitars as compared to similar Gibson instruments. Many of these consumers are quite familiar with Gibson as the historic market leader, and choose to purchase a Campellone built to their specifications. I suppose Gibson could be convinced to build you an L-5WES with 3" rims as opposed to their standard 3 3/8" rims, and a 25" scale as opposed to their standard 25 1/2" scale. I suspect they would charge a lot for the privilege, and that if such an instrument were to appear on the market used, it would be priced considerably more than $5k.

    The Japanese instruments built with the D'Aquisto name on the headstock are significantly different, with laminated rims and backs, and pressed spruce tops.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 01-03-2017 at 06:31 PM.

  5. #4

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    What can i say man, you learn something new everyday. Genuinely appreciate your reply. I guess I need to start thinking twice about when buying axe from now on

  6. #5

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    Campellone, Triggs, AJL, Victor Baker--I've seen a few appealing L5 alternatives from each of them!

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by don_oz
    says on the site it costs $5k! you might as well just save up and buy a real L5 for that money, or a d'aquisto or something around there.

    Pretty guitar though.

    So far I have not seen a like-new Gibson L5 for less than $6500, so $5k is still a good price. I am one of those guys who really wants the Gibson, but I admire these Campellone's very much too.

  8. #7

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    I build guitars, so I'm biased. But to me looking at that Campellone and saying "buy a Gibson" is something like seeing a hand made Pagani and saying buy a Corvette.

    No knock on the Corvette. Probably the best bang for your performance car buck. But if you are in the market for a hand made Italian super car, you are probably looking for things even the best mass produced sports car isn't going to give you.

    You can argue that you can use the Corvette every day, or that you don't need 700hp, or that tires for the Pagani cost as much as a new mustang. But it's meant for drivers who aren't thinking "practical".

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #8

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    Every single bolt in the Pagani Huayra says "Pagani" on it You Gotta love it!

    And the very few Campellones I've played were every bit as good as the L5s I've played if not better. Absolutely lovely instruments. Though, the small handful of L7's I've played have been every bit as good if not better than the L5s I've played as well, so take that with a grain of salt. Not to sound like I'm knocking L5's, I am certainly not, but as Stephen points out there is lots to like about the flexibility of ordering from Campelone.

  10. #9

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    I disagree that campellones are every bit as good as an L5. They are constructed different, sound different and when you go to sell the campellone, be prepared to list it for years before you get a buyer.

  11. #10

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    Well, of course differences in construction and sound are not *worse* which your post seems to imply. The buyer looking for the "Gibson sound" (to the extent that even exists) is going to be looking for a Gibson. Nothing else is going to work for them. Thus far I haven't found a Gibson that works for me... maybe someday. You've iterated through many guitars over the years and seem to have narrowed in towards the Gibson.

    As for selling an instrument, as far as I can tell it's luck of the draw in terms of finding a buyer who is willing to agree on a price with the seller. I've seen a lot of Gibsons sit for a long time because the seller didn't want to budge on price, and guitars like a Campellone move quickly.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsmith
    I disagree that campellones are every bit as good as an L5. They are constructed different, sound different and when you go to sell the campellone, be prepared to list it for years before you get a buyer.
    Again, I think it matters what you are looking for. A Campelleone is not a Gibson knock off. It is one craftsman's idea of what a 17" archtop should be. There are areas where he believes he has improved on the L5 design. This is not like comparing a Gibson to a Chibson.

    To use yet another analogy, I once went to a burger stand in Napa that had a James Beard award. They had a double burger constructed like a Big Mac. Same split bun, same two patties, their interpretation of the "special sauce", lettuce and onion. It reminded me of a Big Mac, and I enjoyed the playfulness of riffing on an old tried and true recipe. However, this burger was a near religious experience and not a Big Mac clone.

    If someone had said, "yeah, but it doesn't taste like a Big Mac and they didn't use the same 'pink goo meat byproduct' in the patties" I would have looked at them like they had started speaking in tongues.

    As to resale, I had no idea until I went on this forum that there were people out there that bought and sold guitars like kids trade baseball cards (do kids still do that?) I absolutely don't judge that. Seems like it would be an absorbing hobby. But the fact that Guitars have been central to my life since the 80's and I have never met anyone who does this makes me wonder how important resale value is to the broader guitar buying public.

    I fully acknowledge that a boutique luthier guitar is not a candidate if guitar trading is your interest. Although ironically I do make and sell a couple of guitars a year, I have never sold a single one of my personal guitars. On my last commission I actually put a disclaimer in the agreement that the buyer understood there was ZERO resale value. Fortunately, the buyer was a player who was more interested in the unique tone and beauty of the guitar than the resale.

    So is a Campelleone "better" or "worse" than a Gibson L5? They share DNA, but they are not the same thing. If a Campelleone speaks to you, no Gibson will suffice. If you need a Gibson, why would you even look at a Campelleone, or Trigg, or Manzer, etc.?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #12

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    I finally got my hands on a Campellone to try ... and it is a great guitar ...

    but I had to buy one to try one ... mine is an 18 inch acoustic archtop with no cut away

    There are lots of great archtop guitars out there that are not Gibsons ... but if you don't live in a major metropolis or near one of the more specialized retailers that carries them, you will have trouble finding one to try before you buy ...

    and even in the big cities they can be hard to get your hands on if you aren't ready to buy it site unseen

    With Gibson you at least have a chance of finding a few to sample before you spend your money .... I was able to try out my L5s before buying them

    from my experience the only non big name brand archtop maker out there that can be easy to find is Collings ... but their full size archtops are still rare and their prices make Gibson street prices look like a bargain (if you're paying MSRP for a Gibson you're paying too much

    And the archtop guitars coming out of Gibson's custom shop are not the equivalent of getting a McDonald's hamburger when a quality gourmet burger is also available ..... they're quality guitars that can be had for competitive prices when compared to offerings from Triggs, Campellone, Benedetto, Buscarino, Trenier, Steve Anderson, and more .... and have you looked at prices for Monteleone or Manzer?

    And a good Gibson really can deliver the "Gibson" sound that many of us want to hear

    So, yeah, there are some great archtops out there without the Gibson headstock .... and I would love to have one of each in my collection ..... but the Gibbies can still be really great guitars and they are easier to get your hands on before you spend your hard earned cash on something that will be hard to sell if it isn't what you hoped it would be

  14. #13

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    Having never owned an L5, I can't speak to how a Campellone compares to one. I do own a Camp. Special, and like it a lot. I definitely think they're worth considering.

    Recently there was a sunburst Camp. Deluxe w/floating pup listed on Ebay for $2800. I considered that one myself, but it was gone in a flash. Right now there's an Ebay listing for a Deluxe w/routed-in pup for $2999...

  15. #14

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    I have both (Campellone and L5). I love my L5s but my Campellone is a wonderful guitar too, maybe a little better in a few small ways. Most importantly, Mark will build a guitar to your exact specifications (scale length, body depth, 16"/17"/18" body, even two choices of body length for the 17" guitars). All kinds of pickup options and choices of finish. They are great guitars and Mark is a great guy.

  16. #15

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    I have played the Campellone Deluxe. Like the old Epiphone Deluxe or the early D'Angelico, the Campy is clearly inspired by the L-5 (as is the Benedetto and just about every other serious 17" archtop). The Campy Deluxe is a wonderful guitar.

    There is something about being the original. The Gibson looks "right." It is beautiful, both in its 16" and 17" guises. In both forms it sounds spectacular. In fact, the 17" L-5CES can be thought of as the voice of post-WWII guitar jazz almost to the extent that the Fender Telecaster can be thought of as the voice of rock and roll from the early-50s onward, for at least the next 20 years. (Most rock and roll was recorded on a Telecaster during this period.)

    Even so, the archtops made by Campellone, Benedetto, Triggs, Trenier, and others are exceptional in their own right. I am leaving out so many great guitars by so many great builders. The guitars I have played by Dale Unger ("American Archtops") are fantastic, as are the guitars by Bill Moll. And, I'd walk all day just to be able to see and play a Barker archtop.

    Count me as a Gibson AND an independent builder guy.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    For his asking price of $5800 I'd rather buy the real thing used on this side of the pond
    Hi 2Born,
    I can't dispute sound reason! The AJL 2016 price for the mahogany series Bordeaux was 4194 euros (4463 USD) plus shipping, so pricing has gone up for 2017. The maple series (more L5 correct) is as you point out even more.


    Mahogany Series Price Tax-free price for non-EU customers
    – Tuxedo (Black) 6000 € 4839€
    – Bordeaux 6200 € 5000€
    Maple Series
    – Bordeaux 7200 € 5806€
    – Natural, Aged natural,Sunburst 7300€ 5887€

  18. #17

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    I owned a 2000 Wine Red Wes Montgomery, a fantastic guitar that I paid $4850 for new. I sold it ten years later for $5900.
    I have never owned a Campellone, but I have played about 4-5 of them. Great handcrafted guitars at an extremely fair price. That said, I'm not sure how Mark's guitars shake out in the market over time.

  19. #18

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    Hello, I have just received the Deluxe model guitar from the Dec 2019 batch. It's very nice!
    To me, it looks and feels like a 50s/early 60s L5 with single pickup, with a 3" depth.
    The guitar is exceptionally well-made, and is better quality than anything I have owned.
    Although, I still love my Gibson '59 Reissue Les Paul!

    It has a very nice acoustic sound with a softer attack the treble strings (this is good). But it is meant to be amplified. Through my amp, (modified Deluxe Reverb type) it has that 60s Benson Organ trio type of sound. What you all would expect, I think.

    Capturing sunburst in a photo is never really accurate, but here are two photo attached that show the colour fairly well.

    I'll try get a sound clip to work someday, and a few more photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images Campellone Deluxe-img_0655-jpg Campellone Deluxe-img_0648-jpg 

  20. #19

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    absolutely beautiful...almost a vintage tea burst

    congrats & enjoy


  21. #20

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    To me you now own what is the best L5 Wes guitar probably made. While it is not a Wesmo as such it most certainly is a Campellone, a magnificent guitar and a brilliant choice. My Campy 18 just about plays itself Mark's neck work is incredible.

    Ok we need mandatory photos of the back of the guitar too! A NGD like this demands all the, photos galore, and sound clip.

  22. #21

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    Gorgeous guitar - fit and finish is perfection.
    Do enjoy !

  23. #22

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    The classic elegance of a Campellone is hard to top. Congratulations, and play it in good health!

  24. #23

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    Congratulations on your new acquisition, it is an excellent choice.
    I have a Deluxe on order due to commence in June this year, and
    have to curb any impatience waiting. I must agree with the foregoing
    accolades., MC's work is beyond compare, having had to part with a
    superb L5CES and a Wesmo, 18 months ago ,I put aside the funds
    until I could find a replacement, The Deluxe has it in spades and I
    am delighted to see yours, it is absolutely exquisite.


  25. #24

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    Beatiful sunburst! Congratulations! Can't wait to hear its sound.

    Enviado desde mi LG-H870 mediante Tapatalk

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    To me you now own what is the best L5 Wes guitar probably made. While it is not a Wesmo as such it most certainly is a Campellone, a magnificent guitar and a brilliant choice. My Campy 18 just about plays itself Mark's neck work is incredible.

    Ok we need mandatory photos of the back of the guitar too! A NGD like this demands all the, photos galore, and sound clip.
    Hello Mark. Yes you are right, I need to take a photo of the back and post that here. I took the photos just trying to see if I could get a few that accurately show the sunburst, which is absolutely beautiful in person. I had sent several photos to Campellone, of late early 60s Gibson archtops. This was one was an attempt to match a 1962 or 63 Johnny Smith. (Looks nicer than the vintage guitar from the photo.)
    I didn't want a newer L5 (post 1970 !ha!!). This guitar is like single pickup L5 CES but it's much better, I think. For me anyway. The L5s I had were all too big and heavy for me, so 3" depth is much more comfortable. But the acoustic quality might make this like a Johnny Smith with a built-in pickup, maybe? The neck is like an early 50s ES350. It's not slim, and rather full.

    The fingerboard (planing) and frets are the best I have experienced. So, the guitar can be played lightly, which is an adjustment for me. I am used to digging into instruments really hard.

    I'll try to record a few short sounds clips and post those here.