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  1. #1

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    I am thinking about having Mark Campellone build me a Archtop. I never played or seen one. Can anyone advise me on the fit, finish, sound, and quality of a Campellone ? How do they stack up against a good L5 ?
    The reason I ask is the wife says 1 must go for 1 to come in which means me selling a L5. No more closet room. Advise appreciated my friends.

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  3. #2

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    ?Someone was just asking me about guitars I'd recommend to a guy wanting to get his first SERIOUS archtop and Campellone was on the list. There's a number of used ones out there. The models are in order of ornamentation on the fingerboard, tailpiece and headstock: Standard, Deluxe, Special. Any of the demos I've heard (I've listened to countless on YouTube) it sounds a lot like a Gibson L5. I'd really wait and hunt for a used one. I've seen some great deals over the years.

    Big

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    I am thinking about having Mark Campellone build me a Archtop. I never played or seen one. Can anyone advise me on the fit, finish, sound, and quality of a Campellone ? How do they stack up against a good L5 ?
    The reason I ask is the wife says 1 must go for 1 to come in which means me selling a L5. No more closet room. Advise appreciated my friends.
    I have said here and elsewhere - -if I lived closer to a dealer, I'm pretty sure I'd have owned one already. I read his bio in the Blue Guitar book, and he cut his teeth on my all-time favorite guitars - -'30's L-7's.
    I'm almost positive there are no fit & finish rumors circulating about his instruments. If you can fit your needs into what he builds, for what he charges, I don't think you'll do any better.

    An awfully good idea Vinny. Good luck !

  5. #4

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    Played one recently and it was great, but closer to a Benedetto (mellower) vibe than that of an L5. Don't remember the exact model though, it was a 16' or 17' hollowbody

  6. #5

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    Just looking at his Models on his website he's now got one fancier than The Special, it's The Cameo and has a decidedly Citation or Unity vibe to it. Really very nice...


  7. #6

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    Vinny, I've owned a Campellone Deluxe, acoustic w/ floater. Its fit and finish were every bit as good as any archtop I've owned, including Gibson's. I loved that guitar, and only sold it to purchase the Campellone Special, his top model, which only differs from the Deluxe in a few visual additions.

    I've seen some 6 or so other Campellone owners on this forum. Member Bluedawg owns an 18" Campy acoustic, a base model, but still a very nice guitar.

    I'd not hesitate in ordering a new Campellone. And for Campellone's fit and finish to a Gibson, they are no different. Campellone's are first class all the way, imo.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigMikeinNJ
    Just looking at his Models on his website he's now got one fancier than The Special, it's The Cameo and has a decidedly Citation or Unity vibe to it. Really very nice...

    And the price for a Cameo is $100 less than what Vinny was recently quoted for a new L5CESN. I think I like what Vinny is thinking!

  9. #8
    $6500 built to my exact specs for a Deluxe that would be ready in July. 25 scale, 17x3, 1-11/16, built in humbucker, dark cherry sunburst. Basically what you would pay for a new Wesmo. I really like 25 inch scale length but do not like 1-3/4 nuts. Plus 17x3 like a Tal is super comfy for me. Never seen or played one. The ones I see on YouTube look really nice. He seems like a great guy. 2 months younger than me. He does batches of 6 at a time.

  10. #9

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    Our esteemed member Keith Murch owned a "Special." $6500 for a new build seems like a great buy.


  11. #10

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    ?There was a gorgeous 16" Standard with the upgraded woods package on Reverb just until the other day (Tuesday) for $3400.00 OBO... It had the most amazing wood. Gone now... Perhaps a NGD thread will pop up soon here.

  12. #11

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    I had a 16" Standard with a floater and can also attest to the excellent fit and finish. The guitar was flawless. Ironically, I sold mine in order to get an L5CES. I have no regrets, yet I wish I hadn't had to part with the Campellone. I agree that the sound is more open, brighter, and more like Benedetto than an L5. But, I realize I'm making an apples/oranges comparison here. They are lovely guitars. I'd like to own a 17" Deluxe someday.

  13. #12

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    I don't recall if anyone else mentioned it above, but a Campellone is built much lighter than a Gibson archtop. I know people have made comparisons to an L5 (and that was the IP's inquiry here), but they are truly very different, even if accounting for body size and pickup mount type.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    $6500 built to my exact specs for a Deluxe that would be ready in July. 25 scale, 17x3, 1-11/16, built in humbucker, dark cherry sunburst. Basically what you would pay for a new Wesmo. I really like 25 inch scale length but do not like 1-3/4 nuts. Plus 17x3 like a Tal is super comfy for me. Never seen or played one. The ones I see on YouTube look really nice. He seems like a great guy. 2 months younger than me. He does batches of 6 at a time.
    Mark Campellone is a great guy. He's reliable and a pleasure to work with.

  15. #14

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    I know you can find them for $4K used.. but $6.5K built to your specification doesn't seem like a bad deal. Especially given his reputation. How can it be built so quickly? Is this more like a boutique shop?

  16. #15

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    I owe a Deluxe 18 inch with KA floater. Got it in about 2002 was Rich Raezors guitar made in 1998. Has 1 3/4 neck tremendous basically a refined super 400. It is beauty with tremendous neck. You cannot go wrong i know mark good guy.

    Him and Hollenbeck did not get ask to make the Blue Guitars for nothing quality pure.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Vinny, I've owned a Campellone Deluxe, acoustic w/ floater. Its fit and finish were every bit as good as any archtop I've owned, including Gibson's. I loved that guitar, and only sold it to purchase the Campellone Special, his top model, which only differs from the Deluxe in a few visual additions.

    I've seen some 6 or so other Campellone owners on this forum. Member Bluedawg owns an 18" Campy acoustic, a base model, but still a very nice guitar.

    I'd not hesitate in ordering a new Campellone. And for Campellone's fit and finish to a Gibson, they are no different. Campellone's are first class all the way, imo.

    Yeah ... my 18 inch acoustic is well built ... great fit and finish ... IMHO

    I've grown to love the sound ... bright crisp old fashion archtop tone with the extra bottom end of an 18 inch ... someday I'll try some flatwounds and see if that adds some mellowness

    Mine is a standard model ... original owner even ordered everything with rosewood appointments including the fingerboard ... and 1 13/16" nut width

    I like the unadorned look of standard models myself ... then again the Cameo looks great on the web site

    The top 3 guitars I'd love to add to my collection are a Campellone standard with a pup (17 or 18 inch), Heritage Super Eagle, and a Gibson Tal Farlow ....

    and maybe fit a PRS 594 in there somewhere .. but that's a solid body

    Someday a used Campellone will probably find it's way to my house ... nothing wrong with ordering a new one, though

    Not sure if he does new 18 inch guitars anymore

    My case is a cool faux gator skim as well ...

  18. #17

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    Hi, Vinny.

    I have played a number of high-end "boutique" builder guitars over the years. The Campellone I played is the one that stuck with me as the one I would want to get some day.

    I have a Wesmo that I love, so it's all good. But that Campellone was outstanding in every way.

    Larry

  19. #18

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    Vinny,
    Ive had three Deluxe 17" Campellones and all were very good - and quite consistent. To my ear they did not sound like a heavier built post 2000 Gibson L5, but more like a post war lighter Gibson L5/ L7. More acoustic and open voiced and less throaty - with excellent responsiveness . Fit and finish will be superb.
    At the time of my Campellone ownership - I also had Monteleones and D'Aquistos and unfortunately the Campellones didnt see much play, but they were better sounding then my 96' Benedetto Cremona and 97' Buscarino Monarch. If your going custom , ask for an Adirondack top.

    In a short period of time I will be posting many guitars for sale from the estate of Ted Krause. One of the guitars is a "Blue Special Campellone" made with the Chinery builds- its in unplayed condition. I know you only like to buy new , but Teds guitars were unplayed - .....and he bought the best.

    You cant go wrong with a Campellone. In fact, in the last issue of "Just Jazz Guitar" , Tom Van Hoose wrote a nice article on his thoughts about Campellones - stating they are one of the best values in hand made luthier built Archtops.


    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk

  20. #19

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    I do not think one can go wrong with any of the "Blue Guitars" luthiers. Scott Chinery picked the best.

    I have played one Campellone many years ago (at Blue Note Music in Berkeley, CA). It sounded more L-5C than Benedetto to me. IIRC, it was parallel braced. I remember liking it a lot (and I am usually underwhelmed by "boutique archtops") His prices are quite fair as well.

    A 25 inch scale is pretty nice to play on. My 37 D'Angelico Style A has a 25 inch scale with a 1 11/16 nut. Vinny, let me know if you would like to play that guitar. (my 35 D'Angelico Excel has a 24 3/4 scale with a 1 11/16 nut and my 48 D'Angelico has a 24 3/4 scale with 1 3/4 nut. John D'Angelico mixed it up according to his client's wishes.)

  21. #20

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    I borroewd my freinds Campellone Deluxe some years ago and had to return it the next day. I told him if I keep it another day you won''t get it back, and I don't have $5K, LOL!

    That freind also had 2 wonderful Ted Megas Archtops, which he has since sold and kept the Campellone. My recollection is the guitar was X braced and had a floater. But it was built heavier in the Gibson L-7C style and tone. You won't go wrong with Mark Campellone's guitars!

  22. #21

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    There was a Campellone deluxe on Archtop.com for many months for $5100. I kept looking at it, and a Triggs on Reverb until they eventually both vanished.

    2013 Campellone Deluxe

    Campellone Previously on Archtop.com 17"/3"depth



    Triggs previously on Reverb

  23. #22

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    Mark Campellone has slightly shortened the bodies of his latest builds. They are not only shallower in depth, the body is also shorter by an inch or so. He used to offer 3 body sizes but I think he has standardised on one, the 20.5" body length.

    It is its own thing and I won't buy a Campellone expecting it to replicate the Gibson sound. It is clearly in the Gibson family though. It is more of a modern archtop sound with Art Deco looks. Mark said that he didn't set out to replicate the Gibson sound.

    The closest Gibson to the Campellone today might be the LeGrand in size and sound. Vinny, I recall now that you sent a Lemon Burst LeGrand back to The Music Zoo because "the top was carved thin like a potato crisp". If you do not like that, be sure to let Mark know because his tops are carved kind of thin.

    Strictly my opinion only.

  24. #23

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    Sounds very exciting Vinny.
    Have fun and get the most out of this!

  25. #24

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    Campellone. I've tried a lot of guitars in my day and some I could never have afforded but only one of them do I consider the one that got away. I had saved my money in a fund to be ready to buy the Gibson Johnny Smith that was my eternal fantasy. I finally found one in a little shop in Amherst, a real stunner. But next to it was a Campellone that I tried and actually was more impressed with. It had a response that I liked and resonated with even more than the Gibson. It had that modern response and pianistic woody resonance the JS didn't have. BUT.... the Gibson was a promise made to myself a long time ago. It was a really really hard decision.
    Well I have the Gibson and it's got it's own mojo, no denying.
    These days I relate to guitars as a player, and not a collector looking to fulfill a fantasy, I'd go with the Campellone.
    The Campellone will always be the one I had to let go before I even owned it. They're real gems and even more so because they're under a lot of peoples' radar.

    David

    Real advice though, have an addition put on the house with a bigger closet. Your wife says not enough room for another guitar? You're just not looking at it the right way! (Secret floorboard?)

  26. #25

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    Another happy Campellone owner here. I ordered the standard 16" model from Mark in 2016, about a year before I retired, as a present to myself. I wanted a thinner 16 inch archtop with a few slight changes from the standard set of features Mark offers (e.g. a slightly fancier pick guard, under pick guard controls with a buit-in Lollar humbucker). He was great to deal with and it was a thoroughly pleasant experience from start to finish. I will say that I think value drops more quickly on these than on a comparably priced Gibson, but if you're buying it to keep and play like I did, that wasn't a huge concern. It's now part of my all-New England one-guitar/one-amp rig (Gries 5 amp from Massachusetts and the Campellone from Rhode Island).

    Campellone Guitars-l1040432-jpg