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  1. #1

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    Hi everyone, I have been reading gear related post on this forum for a while and have gained a lot of knowledge. I already played electric guitar and wants to begin playing jazz seriously. Lately I have been looking around reverb because I live in Thailand and archtop selections are very few here. I also wanted a vintage instrument, because it just feels cool to have one... Now I would like some of you guys opinion of these two guitars. I am quite a newbie about archtop and further more I am blind and no one in my immediate family knows about guitar. One is a cay sherwood from the 40s and the other one is a regal or cay lark from the 30s or 40s. I want to know are these fine archtops, and are the condition of these specific ones ok. I appreciate any replies. Thank you very much. Vic

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  3. #2

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    Just my opinion: DO NOT BUY A “VINTAGE” ARCHTOP”! I am not talking down to you but... you are the wrong customer buying the wrong guitar. You are begging for problems and you will almost certainly get them. Look for a used Ibanez or something else someone after me here will suggest.
    Ignorance is agony.



  4. #3

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    hard to say about those guitar without playing them. kay's are cool guitars, at least cool looking but i think the quality varies a good deal. barney kessel had a signature model... but i don't think he really played it.

    if you have to buy online make sure to find a reputable seller with lots of good reviews and detailed descriptions.

    you said you don't have access to archtops, but do you have a guitar shop nearby? someone who can do a setup? with whatever guitar you get a proper setup will make all the difference.

    good luck!

  5. #4
    Thanks guys for the replies, as for the Ibanez, even though most shops that have them, don't have it in stock for me to try out. Looking at it at the collector's view point the Epiphones and Gibsons would be better value wise right? And here is the reverb link of the original guitar I wanted you guys to see, one is gone, so here is the one left. Stunning RARE 1930s/40s Lark Junior Acoustic Archtop Guitar | Reverb. And yes, I do have a good guitar tech. Thanks for any replies

  6. #5

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    The Lark pictured looks very nice and is the sort of thing I personally dig. A word of caution: it appears the neck is of the pronounced "vee" variety. These are not everyone's cup of tea. You would really need to have the guitar in hand to make sure that it is comfortable for you. Best of luck in your quest!
    Best regards, k

  7. #6

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    I certainly get looking for an instrument that will inspire you to explore this music. The truth, of course, is that you can play jazz on any playable guitar but not every guitar will inspire you to put in the hours and study involved to get good at it. And playing jazz on a spiky shred metal guitar looks a little odd.

    If you want something of value "collector wise," you probably don't need to look any further than a Gibson Les Paul. There are probably more people collecting those and those a larger market than for any other guitar you should decide to sell. Les Paul was after all a jazz guitarist and those instruments sound great for jazz, even though they're not so commonly used. Next on the list of collector resale instruments would be Fender Strats. "Vintage" of either of those would of course be expensive; however, vintage Epiphone and Gibson archtops would also be expensive, even more so in Thailand due to distribution and shipping across the Pacific. There are certainly a lot of excellent instruments being made in Asia – Ibanez, Aria, Eastman, modern Epiphones, Fenders/Squiers. There are also some very high-quality arch tops being crafted in Japan- top line Ibanezes, Seventy Seven, Archtop Tribute, etc.

    Vintage guitars are a crapshoot: you may find a brilliant and wonderful instrument and you may find a dud for the same amount of money. The problem with buying vintage instruments, unless there is a dealer specializing in such near you, is that trying before you buy is difficult.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  8. #7

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    Well maybe they can ship this to you....


    2004 Gibson Custom Wes Montgomery L-5 | Artist Series, Hollowbody and Archtop, Used Electric Guitars | Wildwood Guitars


    Other than that, Danny has a splendid thin line L5 that is to die for.

  9. #8

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    Vintage guitars are cool indeed! On the other hand, an idea just as food for thought, since you're just getting into jazz guitar why not go with something like an Eastman AR371-CE which is essentially a Gibson ES-175 copy or something similar. Because you are in Thailand which can get extremely humid, a laminate guitar like the 371 will be much more stable in that sub-tropical climate. Also something like that is very reasonable price wise and a great work horse guitar! I don't recommend having a vintage guitar in Thai climate as your only jazz guitar.

    That's just my thinking though, if your heart is dead set on something vintage by all means go for it my friend!
    Doug Martin
    www.dougmartinguitar.com

    "Live life and play music like it's your last day on earth. One day you'll be right" - Russel Malone

  10. #9

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    If you are dead set on an older archtop, it’s worth considering a 1970’s Ibanez 2355 - a great copy of the Gibson ES175D at less than half the price. You should be able to source one fairly easily from Japan.

  11. #10
    Thanks everyone for the help. I can’t individually quote you guys because I don’t know how to do it on a screen reader. From what you all had said, I should probably wait for a chance of a vacation to the US or Europe to try a vintage instrument myself because they are really expensive. My fears about laminate archtops, asian made, is that, and if I am wrong please correct me, they sound good amplified but since they use laminated wood they do not sound so great acoustically. I want a guitar that sounds good acoustically and maybe put in a pickup later because I like dixieland or freddie green style of jazz, so loud unamplified classic jazz. I am considering the guild a 150 savoy any of you guys have any experience with that? It’s a floater and has a solid top so it might be fine unamped.

  12. #11

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    OK, noted you want solid tops. Going back to the 1970s Ibanez models the FA 500, FA 510, FA 700 and the (rare but exquisite) top of the range FA 800 could well meet your criteria at less than half or a third the price of a Gibson from the same period.
    if you really want a seriously old Gibson the an early L7 offers IMHO, probably will float your boat. Tonal quality of an L5 with more modest finish.
    if you can find an old Epiphone Broadway, that may well tick all your boxes.....

  13. #12

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    What is your budget/price range?
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  14. #13
    I might take a look at those ibanez next time I visit Japan, I went there on vacation quite often. Don’t know how hard will it be to find them, usually there are lots of old lawsuit guitars and fender Japan, but I hadn’t see archtops last time I went there. Yes, I am looking at the broadway and also the l 4. Would the 16 inch l 4 be two tinny played acoustically? If it sounded ok, it would be nice since it is also smaller than the broadway.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic Bulbon View Post
    Thanks everyone for the help. I can’t individually quote you guys because I don’t know how to do it on a screen reader. From what you all had said, I should probably wait for a chance of a vacation to the US or Europe to try a vintage instrument myself because they are really expensive. My fears about laminate archtops, asian made, is that, and if I am wrong please correct me, they sound good amplified but since they use laminated wood they do not sound so great acoustically. I want a guitar that sounds good acoustically and maybe put in a pickup later because I like dixieland or freddie green style of jazz, so loud unamplified classic jazz. I am considering the guild a 150 savoy any of you guys have any experience with that? It’s a floater and has a solid top so it might be fine unamped.
    Carved solid top -- typically, a true acoustic instrument loud enough for ensemble play with other acoustic instruments.

    Laminated top -- typically not loud enough unplugged to function as an acoustic guitar;

    Pressed solid top -- varies from similar loudness to a laminate to almost as loud as a carved top, but most are closer to a laminate than a carved top..

    The Guild A150 has a pressed (not carved) solid top. I've played a couple of them -- it's got a pretty good acoustic tone (louder than most laminates) but not loud enough for the music you describe. In recently built models, you'd be better off with one of the Eastman or Loar carved-top models. For instance, the Loar LH 650 -- there are several used ones on Reverb for $900-1200. Used Eastmans start at around $1100.

    John

  16. #15

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    If you are serious about buying a truly vintage archtop, consider buying from a reputable seller, and make sure you do your homework on it's condition. I've acquired a number of vintage instruments, and before arriving at an offer price that I'm willing to pay, I need to understand potential repairs that might be required, and their level of difficulty and commensurate costs. It's not uncommon to find vintage archtops that require a neck reset, fretboard and or fret work. So, having access to a reliable luthier and budgeting for those eventualities can be important.

    There are plenty of vintage instruments that are in great condition and needing very little to no repair necessary, which should be revealed in a survey and the price as well.

    I'm not trying to discourage anyone who wants to own a vintage guitar, just offer a different perspective. I love vintage instruments. Hope that helps.

  17. #16
    Ya, buying from a reputable dealer is probably a safer idea. I could go up to about 3 k for my budget. Is archtop.com a good place to look for one?