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  1. #1

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    I am looking to spend $300 - $500 on an archtop to play around the house, bring on family vacations, etc. I want something that sounds half decent and is comfortable to play, but mainly where I can not worry about anything happening to it. We have a 13 month old who is learning to walk and get into everything, so I would love to leave the Gibsons and the Benedetto in their cases for safe keeping.

    It doesn't need a pickup, but having one is fine too. Looking at the Gretsch New Yorker, Epiphone Century Masterbuilts, etc. I will hardly ever play plugged in so hoping for better acoustic tone
    Last edited by Paulie2; 05-25-2019 at 04:52 PM.

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  3. #2

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    An Epi Joe Pass or Ibanez AF series.
    Regards,

    Gary

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie2 View Post
    I am looking to spend $300 - $500 on an archtop to play around the house, bring on family vacations, etc. I want something that sounds half decent and is comfortable to play, but mainly where I can not worry about anything happening to it. We have a 13 month old who is learning to walk and get into everything, so I would love to leave the Gibsons and the Benedetto in their cases for safe keeping.

    It doesn't need a pickup, but having one is fine too. Looking at the Gretsch New Yorker, Epiphone Century Masterbuilts, etc. I will hardly ever play plugged in so hoping for better acoustic tone
    Used Godin Kingpin (a little outside your price range new)8. Acoustically, it's not as loud as a true acoustic guitar, but louder than most other laminate electrics, with a tone that's quite good. Way better than a Gretsch New Yorker, IMO. Not as good acoustically as an Epi Masterbilt but infinitely better plugged in. I use mine unplugged at home all the time. Plugged in, it completely holds its own as a legit electric archtop.

    John

  5. #4

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    Something like a Loar LH-600 will get you much farther acoustically. This one even has a DeArmond Reissue RC1000 on it.

    The Loar LH-600-VS Hand-Carved Archtop Vintage Sunburst w/Pickup and OHSC The Loar LH-600-VS Hand-Carved Archtop Vintage Sunburst | Reverb

  6. #5

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    If you like vintage with old school vibe and feel, you might consider a non-cutaway Harmony like a 50's Patrician. Probably have to play it to make sure you get a good one, but there'd be plenty in your price range. (Also, a Gibson 30's L-30 is a great size for a couch guitar but most are probably outside of your budget.)

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie2 View Post
    ... Looking at the Gretsch New Yorker, Epiphone Century Masterbuilts, etc. I will hardly ever play plugged in so hoping for better acoustic tone
    I am liking the Guilds that I have. Korean build quality.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopeddy View Post
    If you like vintage with old school vibe and feel, you might consider a non-cutaway Harmony like a 50's Patrician. Probably have to play it to make sure you get a good one, but there'd be plenty in your price range. (Also, a Gibson 30's L-30 is a great size for a couch guitar but most are probably outside of your budget.)

    I would LOVE an L-30. It’s perfect but yes might be a little nicer than what I’m attempting to buy. Would be afraid to use it like I intend

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan View Post
    Something like a Loar LH-600 will get you much farther acoustically. This one even has a DeArmond Reissue RC1000 on it.

    The Loar LH-600-VS Hand-Carved Archtop Vintage Sunburst w/Pickup and OHSC The Loar LH-600-VS Hand-Carved Archtop Vintage Sunburst | Reverb
    Definitely keeping these in mind. They are just a TOUCH over what I want to spend but it might be worth it. Anyone familiar with the necks on these?

  10. #9

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    Big ol V.

    I couldn't deal with the neck, so I sold it, but it was a GREAT guitar.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  11. #10

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    A Loar LH650 w/o the V neck of the LH600 would be the best acoustic bet. Solid guitar with a voice.

    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 05-26-2019 at 12:31 AM.
    When I got pretty good I went on the road with a group - We starved - Wes Montgomery

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Big ol V.

    I couldn't deal with the neck, so I sold it, but it was a GREAT guitar.
    I was just reading about that too. It might be a deal breaker for me as well. I would prefer something with a more standard C shape so when I do play the Gibson’s or Benedetto at a gig they feel like what I was practicing on. For some reason switching back and forth between a C and chunky V or vice versa has always thrown me off.

  13. #12

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    Plus one on a vintage Harmony, lots of them around and some even have carved tops.
    Guitars:
    1975 Guild Artist Award
    1986 Guild X-170
    1975 Guild Mark V
    1930s Metro B archtop
    1995 Epi Howard Roberts Custom
    1999 Godin ACS Nylon with synth
    ??? Giannini 7 string classical

  14. #13

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    Has been mentioned by others. One without p/u sounds great with bronze strings.

  15. #14

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    I like the Ibanez AK95DVS with the laminated spruce top. It makes a nice "couch" guitar as you can hear yourself and it is not going to be loud enough to annoy anyone else with your playing.

    The AK95DVS is discontinued but you can find them used. Look for a laminated spruce top Ibanez Artcore; the model number changes with each new catalogue year if you want to buy it new.

    The best thing you can do is to give it a good set up.
    Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by brad4d8 View Post
    Plus one on a vintage Harmony, lots of them around and some even have carved tops.

    I thought Harmonys were solid wood but pressed, not carved ( ? ).....


    And if the OP wanted to do some digging I did see a dealer at the recent Chicago guitar show with at least a dozen old Harmonys for sale......They were priced around $400. +/-. He may have been from Missouri.

    Good luck !

  17. #16

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    If it's got to be a archtop, you have had some great recommendations already. However you might also consider a Cigano GJG or Gitane. Many available at low prices, lots of players that want to get into the style purchase them and either upgrade or sell-check Craigslist.
    Although with it's price tag it's not really a Beach guitar, my Dupont MC-30 14 fret gets couch and campfire duty.
    Attached Images Attached Images Recommend a "couch" archtop for me-thumbnail_mark20carlisle-jpg 

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by brad4d8 View Post
    Plus one on a vintage Harmony, lots of them around and some even have carved tops.
    I like these. My fear is they likely need to be played to check quality and likely won’t come across any in person here

  19. #18

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    Any one have experience with the electric Loars with the C shaped neck? Are they still carved/decent sounding acoustic?

  20. #19

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    I currently have a Loar LH600 and like it a lot and have gotten used to the V-neck. QC on the Loars is iffy, but the 600s and 700s seem to have a little more care taken. I've also had a LH-350 that wasn't too bad quality wise and sounded pretty good for an inexpensive, solid top with a floater and a C shaped neck. But, when you ask about a "couch" guitar, I think of something a little smaller and more comfortable to play and there's not much out there in that category. The Epi Masterbilt Olympic was a big disappointment. But, I once had a little Gretsch G3900 that fits the bill, and shouldn't have sold. 15" lower bout was very comfortable on the couch and though with an all laminated maple top and body was pretty bright sounding, it worked fine unplugged. Main downside is the single coil pickup that couldn't get a good traditional jazz sound, but wasn't awful if you turned down the tone a lot. Hard to find and the prices are all over the place, but might be worth taking a chance on.

    Gretsch Historic Series G3900 1999 Sunburst | Reverb

  21. #20

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    New, you can probably find a Loar LH-300 at that price. I had one, and considered keeping it as a “beater” when I bought my LH-700.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaddyBrumson View Post
    I currently have a Loar LH600 and like it a lot and have gotten used to the V-neck. QC on the Loars is iffy, but the 600s and 700s seem to have a little more care taken. I've also had a LH-350 that wasn't too bad quality wise and sounded pretty good for an inexpensive, solid top with a floater and a C shaped neck. But, when you ask about a "couch" guitar, I think of something a little smaller and more comfortable to play and there's not much out there in that category. The Epi Masterbilt Olympic was a big disappointment. But, I once had a little Gretsch G3900 that fits the bill, and shouldn't have sold. 15" lower bout was very comfortable on the couch and though with an all laminated maple top and body was pretty bright sounding, it worked fine unplugged. Main downside is the single coil pickup that couldn't get a good traditional jazz sound, but wasn't awful if you turned down the tone a lot. Hard to find and the prices are all over the place, but might be worth taking a chance on.

    Gretsch Historic Series G3900 1999 Sunburst | Reverb
    Thanks! This looks like a cool little option. I’m going to do some digging on it. Might be better than the New Yorker I was looking at

  23. #22

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    I also had a reissue New Yorker for a bit. Been through a bunch of moderately priced archtops, both electric and acoustic. My New Yorker had some structural issues with the bracing that weren't worth having addressed as it just didn't have a lot going for it acoustically with the pressed spruce top. Looked good on paper, just didn't live up to it's potential. The Loar LH-300s have that V shaped neck and are very hit and miss quality wise. Tried more misses than hits when I was looking. If I knew more about the potential issues with a vintage Harmony, Silvertone, etc. I would love to have one. Just afraid of finding out it needs a neck reset or has a sunken top that scares me away.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaddyBrumson View Post
    I also had a reissue New Yorker for a bit. Been through a bunch of moderately priced archtops, both electric and acoustic. My New Yorker had some structural issues with the bracing that weren't worth having addressed as it just didn't have a lot going for it acoustically with the pressed spruce top. Looked good on paper, just didn't live up to it's potential. The Loar LH-300s have that V shaped neck and are very hit and miss quality wise. Tried more misses than hits when I was looking. If I knew more about the potential issues with a vintage Harmony, Silvertone, etc. I would love to have one. Just afraid of finding out it needs a neck reset or has a sunken top that scares me away.
    Same! I would love those as well, but the thought of buying online scares me

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaddyBrumson View Post
    I currently have a Loar LH600 and like it a lot and have gotten used to the V-neck. QC on the Loars is iffy, but the 600s and 700s seem to have a little more care taken. I've also had a LH-350 that wasn't too bad quality wise and sounded pretty good for an inexpensive, solid top with a floater and a C shaped neck. But, when you ask about a "couch" guitar, I think of something a little smaller and more comfortable to play and there's not much out there in that category. The Epi Masterbilt Olympic was a big disappointment. But, I once had a little Gretsch G3900 that fits the bill, and shouldn't have sold. 15" lower bout was very comfortable on the couch and though with an all laminated maple top and body was pretty bright sounding, it worked fine unplugged. Main downside is the single coil pickup that couldn't get a good traditional jazz sound, but wasn't awful if you turned down the tone a lot. Hard to find and the prices are all over the place, but might be worth taking a chance on.

    Gretsch Historic Series G3900 1999 Sunburst | Reverb
    Read nothing but stellar reviews on these. I made a below ask offer on Reverb and they accepted instantly. Now hopefully the transaction is smooth. Thanks for all the help everyone I will let you know how it is when it arrives

  26. #25

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    Hope it suits you Paulie. If not, let me know. I may want one again.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaddyBrumson View Post
    Hope it suits you Paulie. If not, let me know. I may want one again.
    Thanks Paddy, I will certainly let you know! Now the vicious wait of looking at tracking hourly.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post
    I thought Harmonys were solid wood but pressed, not carved ( ? ).....
    Many of the Cremona models were carved tops. Patricians were mostly pressed, although I read somewhere that some years they were carved, not sure it this is true.
    Guitars:
    1975 Guild Artist Award
    1986 Guild X-170
    1975 Guild Mark V
    1930s Metro B archtop
    1995 Epi Howard Roberts Custom
    1999 Godin ACS Nylon with synth
    ??? Giannini 7 string classical

  29. #28

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    Damn! Just when I found this couch guitar for you! (No really, congrats Paulie -- Let us know how your new geetar works out.)

    Recommend a "couch" archtop for me-guitar-couch_50-jpg

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopeddy View Post
    Damn! Just when I found this couch guitar for you! (No really, congrats Paulie -- Let us know how your new geetar works out.)
    This one looks more comfy....

    Recommend a "couch" archtop for me-sofaguitar-jpg8ca79cc2-8c6b-45b6-b23c-8102d1e165c1original-jpg
    1948 Gibson L-7N
    1981 Epi Emperor T (MIJ Matsumoku)
    1998 Epi Zephyr Regent (Peerless)
    1992 Gibson Les Paul Studio
    2004 Gibson SG Special Faded
    2006 Epi G-1275 (MIK, Unsung)
    2013 Squier Affinity Telecaster, BSB
    (among others)

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopeddy View Post
    Damn! Just when I found this couch guitar for you! (No really, congrats Paulie -- Let us know how your new geetar works out.)
    But.... can you even play jazz on a strat (couch)?

  32. #31

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    Used Aria FA71

    great guitars and sell for around $500

  33. #32

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    Thanks to everyone for the help and weighing, the guitar finally arrived last night. I only got to spend an hour or so with it, but I think it will be what I was looking for!! I will do a proper NGD post and review after some more time with it. I feel like this could be a sleeper archtop at a cheap price point.

    Heres a bad picture with the couch in question:
    Recommend a "couch" archtop for me-img_6203-jpg