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  1. #1

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    I found this interesting comparison of 11 Archtop guitars:



    He played Fly Me to the Moon on all guitars.

    Doug
    Last edited by Doug B; 07-11-2019 at 06:10 AM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Makis is a friend, and an active musician in Greece. He has had a lot of instruments over the years, knows archtops. I liked the consistency of this test.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    Makis is a friend, and an active musician in Greece. He has had a lot of instruments over the years, knows archtops. I liked the consistency of this test.
    Yes, it is pretty consistent. And even though youtube is famous for compressed sound, all of the archtops are subject to the same recording conditions.

    Tell Makis 'well done' !


    Doug

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    He played How High the Moon on all guitars.

    Doug
    It's Fly Me To The Moon ...
    _________
    JazzNote

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzNote View Post
    It's Fly Me To The Moon ...
    I knew it had something to do with the Moon! lol!!!

    Mistake noted and corrected, thanks.

    Doug

  7. #6

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    L-5's are made with pixie dust theory is out the window I guess. They're all good in their own ways.
    Heritage super eagle and D' Angelico were my favourites. L-4 got the beauty prize. If he had an L-5 CES in the mix, it'd have also made the top list for me I suspect. D'Angelico is cheap too.

  8. #7

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    That vid proves in the right hands GR8 tone can be had by most gits. Nice playing.
    Regards,

    Gary

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    I knew it had something to do with the Moon! lol!!!
    Is it over Miami?


  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    Is it over Miami?

    Don't know-let me go have a look......nope-more like Havana Moon:



    (Maybe?)

  11. #10

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    Well all pretty similar in sound at least on youtube. I guess for the money the Dangelico Copy gets the prize for I believe the cheapest guitar that sounds as good as the others. The best looking was probaby the L5 but the Eastman 910 looked nice too. Seemed that those with the floating pickup maybe had more individual definition of sound but really hard to discern. In the end it pretty much goes back to the old saying that sound is in the hands.

    One comment I hope the fellow playing takes no offence he clearly is a fine player but I hated the interpretation of the tune and how he played it with sweep picking that just got on my nerves. By the end I was ready to be done with that tune and how it was played, it just did not float my boat.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  12. #11

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    I've listened to Makis' "Fly Me to the Moon" comparisons many, many times. All of the guitars sound quite good.

    I, too, thought that the Heritage Super Eagle came out on top by a nose.

  13. #12

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    Skilled playing and nice tones but my bias still lies with the ES-125
    because of the clear single coil voice & acoustic component.
    Not right for every purpose but my preference, especially solo:


  14. #13

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    It is the Indian not the arrow that hits the target. All sweet axes though. I always prefer a built in pu sound. Just my preference.

  15. #14

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    I've been wanting to get a cheap L5 copy for sometime. Not as a main guitar, but just for fun. I'm seriously impressed with D'Angelico Exl-1 in this video. I didn't consider this model because of the floating pickup going too far away from L-5CES design with two mounted humbuckers. I was considering getting a Broadway. But it looks like probably due to the less resonant laminated top, floating pickups do not sound bright or too "acoustic" on D'Angelico Exl-1. It's hard to be certain based on a youtube video. Does anyone have his model? How does it compare with Epi Broadway?

  16. #15

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    Here is another way to compare. Thing is, to eliminate variability from different knob settings affecting tone, both volume and tone were on maximum for this test.


  17. #16

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    I couldn't pick a "winner" out of all those, but the EXL-1 impressed considering it's price point.

    I also prefer the ES-125 to ALL 11 of the archtops in the OP. Damn... GAS is building ....

    I wish someone would do an ES-125 vs Loar LH-309 vs Godin Kingpin video.... I know neither really compares, but it would be nice to HEAR HOW they really don't compare....

  18. #17

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    I listened on computer speakers. I didn't hear much difference among them.
    Maybe one is as good as another.


    But, I am reminded of something. I once walked into a room where a guy was checking out another guy's new classical guitar.

    The guy played a few things and the guitar sounded pretty ordinary.

    He handed the guitar back to the owner who then played something and the guitar suddenly sounded like a chorus of angels. Dramatically better.

    Turns out the first guy didn't have fingernails, so he was playing the flesh of his fingers. The guitar's owner was a trained classical player with the proper fingernails -- which, obviously made all the difference.

    So, I wondered, would all these guitars sound about the same if somebody with a different picking technique did the demo?

    My guess -- put a humbucker on an archtop and it's going to be in a certain ballpark.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Skilled playing and nice tones but my bias still lies with the ES-125
    because of the clear single coil voice & acoustic component.
    Not right for every purpose but my preference, especially solo:

    I too have grown fond of the single coil sound but I could never get on with P90's - they just sound too "dry" for me with my technique and other equipment. The Lollar CC hb size in a reasonable depth laminate archtop (mine is 2 7/8") gets a very similar sound but with a bit more ooomph. Definitely more clarity than a HB on chords and a bit more acoustic flavour that can be accessed...but still with oomph, bite, edge or whatever you want to call it.

    On the video, I preferred the Golden Eagle with floater followed by the Golden Eagle with mounted HB. I also liked the Hofner although I felt the 0.12 high E string sounded weaker on that guitar than on the others; I always use at least 0.13 on my guitars.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Skilled playing and nice tones but my bias still lies with the ES-125
    because of the clear single coil voice & acoustic component.
    Not right for every purpose but my preference, especially solo:

    I love MVI's tone through the ES-125 on this recording. It would be interesting to hear each of these same 11 instruments played by MVI through his amp/recording set up with the tone controls tweaked by MVI to get "his sound". I wonder how different (or similar) the voice of the instruments would be.

    Albert

  21. #20

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    All nice sounding instruments, to my ears the L-4CES came out on top. I think I prefer the sound of the 24 3/4" scale for jazz in general.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    I found this interesting comparison of 11 Archtop guitars:



    He played Fly Me to the Moon on all guitars.

    Doug
    I prefer the sound of ES guitars to what I am hearing here, especially P90 ES. I want it drier, woodier and thunkier. Like MVI.

    DB

  23. #22

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    The Heritage Golden Eagle with set humbucker sounded fantastic, definitely my favorite.

  24. #23

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    It sounded great

  25. #24

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    Didn't they all sound pretty darn good?

    Maybe it's my neophyte ears, but if I was listening to this guy live and he was playing any of these guitars I would never say "boy, nice player, but he sounds like doo-doo"

  26. #25

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    Interesting comparison, hearing that many different guitars in one sitting definitely gives me pause.

    First reactions:
    someday I will clearly need to buy an L5,
    floaters will probably never be my cup-of-tea,
    a good Eastman can be very good,
    wish there had been an ES-175 in the line up,
    Heritages are possibly just Gibsons without the resale bump,
    I'd like to try an L4 and be able to fiddle with the knobs myself

  27. #26

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    None of them of course sounds as good as this 600 dollar Epiphone:


    PS: This is just a video I found on youtube when searching for Broadway demos. It's not me. Good player though.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 07-13-2019 at 07:39 AM.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    None of them of course sounds as good as this 600 dollar Epiphone:


    PS: This is just some video I found on youtube when searching for Broadway demos. It's not me.
    I agree that the sound of that Epi is totally "in there" with all the high-dollar ones in the OP. Just goes to show you...

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66 View Post
    Didn't they all sound pretty darn good?

    Maybe it's my neophyte ears, but if I was listening to this guy live and he was playing any of these guitars I would never say "boy, nice player, but he sounds like doo-doo"
    Well, none of those guitars sounded like doo-doo but I have definitely been at a jam session and heard another player who had fantastic talent and but whose tone sounded like doo-doo. The crappy bit for me is when the midrange is so far peaked with tone rolled off that the amp is breaking up and those peaks are just irritating ones ear.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9 View Post
    I agree that the sound of that Epi is totally "in there" with all the high-dollar ones in the OP. Just goes to show you...
    I did not hear THAT much difference in the first place in the original clip.

    It's hard to judge the tone of a guitar from a Youtube clip. Apart from the guitar, there are many variables. (miked or direct recording, the amp, post processed or not, amp settings/ tonal preferences of the player, the pick used, the fingers or nails of the guy himself) The guitar is just ONE of them. Of course you can like or dislike what you hear but that does not mean that the guitar in the clip will sound anything like that in your hands.

    I could come up with a list of high end guitars that sound really bad IMHO and with a few cheapos that sound just fine.

    And then there's the holistic effect. Player and sound merge. MVI sounds great on a 125 because he is a great player, not because he is playing a 125 (which I happen to like too).

    Bottom line. I suspect judging guitars from sound clips is tricky, if not an illusion.

    A good player will always sound better on a crappy guitar than a bad one on an L5. Finally some justice in this wicked world after all ...

    Some say sound is mostly in the fingers.

    DB

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    I did not hear THAT much difference in the first place in the original clip.

    It's hard to judge the tone of a guitar from a Youtube clip. Apart from the guitar, there are many variables. (miked or direct recording, the amp, post processed or not, amp settings/ tonal preferences of the player, the pick used, the fingers or nails of the guy himself) The guitar is just ONE of them. Of course you can like or dislike what you hear but that does not mean that the guitar in the clip will sound anything like that in your hands.

    I could come up with a list of high end guitars that sound really bad IMHO and with a few cheapos that sound just fine.

    And then there's the holistic effect. Player and sound merge. MVI sounds great on a 125 because he is a great player, not because he is playing a 125 (which I happen to like too).

    Bottom line. I suspect judging guitars from sound clips is tricky, if not an illusion.

    A good player will always sound better on a crappy guitar than a bad one on an L5. Finally some justice in this wicked world after all ...

    Some say sound is mostly in the fingers.

    DB
    Yup... that's what I meant when I said "just goes to show you..."

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    I did not hear THAT much difference in the first place in the original clip.

    It's hard to judge the tone of a guitar from a Youtube clip. Apart from the guitar, there are many variables. (miked or direct recording, the amp, post processed or not, amp settings/ tonal preferences of the player, the pick used, the fingers or nails of the guy himself) The guitar is just ONE of them. Of course you can like or dislike what you hear but that does not mean that the guitar in the clip will sound anything like that in your hands.

    I could come up with a list of high end guitars that sound really bad IMHO and with a few cheapos that sound just fine.

    And then there's the holistic effect. Player and sound merge. MVI sounds great on a 125 because he is a great player, not because he is playing a 125 (which I happen to like too).

    Bottom line. I suspect judging guitars from sound clips is tricky, if not an illusion.

    A good player will always sound better on a crappy guitar than a bad one on an L5. Finally some justice in this wicked world after all ...

    Some say sound is mostly in the fingers.

    DB
    Correct. A compressed Internet clip is no way to judge a guitar. Even playing a guitar in a store, or playing a friends guitar will not do the trick. The only way to truly evaluate a guitar is to own it for a time, have it set up to your specs and use it with your amp in your usual venues (even if your living room is the only venue you play).

    While the 11 archtops in the OP video are a very cool collection, four iconic jazz guitars were missing, to wit, a Super 400CES, an ES-175D, a single pickup ES-175 and a L-5CES.
    .................................................. .......................................
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  33. #32

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    They all sounded good and I have my preferences too. But to me the question is... an hour after the taping, which guitar was a he still playing, and which were back in their cases? As some noted, it's in the hands -- and how the guitar plays is what the hands feel.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    The only way to truly evaluate a guitar is to own it for a time, have it set up to your specs and use it with your amp in your usual venues (even if your living room is the only venue you play).
    Quite so. That's why it often goes wrong. You play a guitar in a store or at somebody's place, say for an hour and then you have to decide if you put in the big bucks or not. Then at home it sounds different and onyour first gig with it COMPLETELY different. I ended up buying a few guitars that I would have left alone had I had a longer try out period. But unfortunately sellers are not willing to let you try out a guitar for a month. At least, I have never met one.

    DB

  35. #34

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    OK.. fun video regardless of it's efficacy as a 'test'. And of course the answer is to spend weeks at home hands on with your own style, your own repertoire, your own strings, and your own amp going through a nice stack of $3000 to $8000 guitars to see which one suits you. I'll get right on that.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  36. #35

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    Seeing Makis’ comparison and these other fine players has been good for my soul. It has helped de-GAS me (for now) and send me back to the woodshed, where I should be focusing.

    Roli

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by rolijen View Post
    Seeing Makis’ comparison and these other fine players has been good for my soul. It has helped de-GAS me (for now) and send me back to the woodshed, where I should be focusing.

    Roli

    Haha...that's often how I feel after watching videos like this. I can't say it has helped me "de-GAS"--I felt there were subtle differences to be heard, and I came away GASing for an L-5 (already at the top of my wish-list), and any number of Heritage guitars, but that Sweet 16 --but it definitely inspires me to woodshed.

    Jared

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    I've been wanting to get a cheap L5 copy for sometime. Not as a main guitar, but just for fun. I'm seriously impressed with D'Angelico Exl-1 in this video. I didn't consider this model because of the floating pickup going too far away from L-5CES design with two mounted humbuckers. I was considering getting a Broadway. But it looks like probably due to the less resonant laminated top, floating pickups do not sound bright or too "acoustic" on D'Angelico Exl-1. It's hard to be certain based on a youtube video. Does anyone have his model? How does it compare with Epi Broadway?
    I’ve had 2 of the Korean built EXL-1s and 2 of the more recent Chinese made Broadways.

    The EXL-1 is nice, well made guitar that is a good bit more acoustically responsive than the Broadway. The floating pickup actually sounds pretty good once positioned properly. While it’s a lovely guitar, a “cheap L5 copy”, it ain’t.

    The Broadway is very much an L-5 copy worth trying. I really like mine. However, both of the Chinese built Broadways I’ve had came with QC issues. The first one was wonderful sounding and playing but it would turn my fingertips black! I guess there was buffing compound embedded in the fretboard from a shoddy fret polishing job. Either that or the dye they use on the “ebony” fretboard is not very good. It was so bad, I returned it.

    But there was something about that Broadway that really clicked with me. A year later, I stopped in CME to try out an amp and there was a new Broadway hanging near the quiet rooms so I grabbed it and plugged in. I was floored with how good it sounded. Fattest L-5 tone ever. I immediately started GASsing for a Broadway again. A few weeks later I came across a mint used one on Reverb and pulled the trigger. Funny thing—It too made my fingertips black! I rubbed down the fretboard for a good while and, several ruined rags later, got all of the black residue off. Since then, it has been one of my “go to” guitars.

    Roli

  39. #38

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    Very nice comparison - I could discern (most) of the sonic differences on my laptop, but have yet to listen to the video played back via a better sound card/decent speakers. Looking forward to that; thanks for the post - Don

  40. #39

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    Fun, but useless to me.
    Annoying playing, with no real attempt to highlight the tone of the individual instruments.
    But, then again, I'm an asshole, so IMO, YMMV, etceteras.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  41. #40

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    I have some experience with D'Angelico arch tops and from looking at the one in the video, it should be somewhere around $1500 (unless it's an original). Not sure if you'd call that inexpensive or not but hopefully that helps!

  42. #41

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    In general the 11 comparison did very little to make any determination. Fun to see the guitars but otherwise not of much value. You want to know how a guitar is..................get it and spend some time with it in many and various situations.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  43. #42

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    Well, listening to all 3 vids, I heard a variety of tones (on my computer with decent headphones).

    Variations were very clear. But the vid of MVI yielded the most velvety, deep tone. Also, noticeable is the different mixing technique - more room ambiance. The 11 guitar video seems to be miked right in front of the speaker cone, in comparison. And the Epiphone sounds great, but different player and different recording technique.

    Different players (hands and fingers) for sure. Overall, I preferred the Gibsons, one of the Eastmans, the Epiphone, and the DA plugged in, though when I tried one , not plugged in, I couldn't gel with its acoustic tone.