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  1. #1

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    After I discovered the music of our own Jonathan Stout, i became kind of obsessed with that sort of prebop Sound.
    I Do already have a really nice acoustic archtop, but i wanted something to fill that prebop electric archtop desire.

    I'm only a student, so I'm always short on money, but I just got an incredibly good Deal on one of these:
    Harley Benton Custom Line Manhattan-Standard – Thomann

    So, as soon as it arrives I'll start modding and experimenting.
    I'm not 100% settled on the pickup I want to use. I tend towards a floating Biltoft CC pickup.
    Any recommendations there?

    I think It's an incredibly good lookin guitar, and if it Sounds half as good as it looks I guess I'll love it.

    I'm just really looking forward to it and had to share the Joy!

    Paul

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    I know you guys want pics, so here you go:
    The cheapest Charlie Christian rig!?-13152756_800-jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images The cheapest Charlie Christian rig!?-5e5d282a18045b82e544a77caa441e33-jpg 

  4. #3

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    Looks like fun to me!

    Nice & slim, too. Congratulations & keep us posted.

  5. #4

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    Heck, the original pickup might get the job done.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  6. #5

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    Actually it’s more the way you play than the instrument you play with that will give you a pre-bop sound.

    You may swap the humbucker for a single coil PU to get a more accurate amplified sound.

    Nice project you have!
    Archtop YT Channel: www.youtube.com/+FredArchtop

  7. #6

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    I love these kind of projects! In fact, I've eyeballed this particular guitar for one of my projects (but I went for the cheap Ibanez AF55).

    I think for what you want, this is a great option. A CC-floater is probably the easiest and safest (construction-wise) solution. But if the bracing allows for it, installing a 'real' CC would be tempting... for me at least.

    Keep us informed!
    Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group | Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! | Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva La Voix

  8. #7

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    Well this is gonna be fun. Keep us posted.
    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

  9. #8

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    This popped up last night.
    Doubt one could find a cheaper Christian equipped guitar.
    Very tempting but I'm out of space..

    Epiphone Emperor L-5 Archtop Guitar w/ Charlie Christian Pickup | eBay

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    This popped up last night.
    Doubt one could find a cheaper Christian equipped guitar.
    Very tempting but I'm out of space..

    Epiphone Emperor L-5 Archtop Guitar w/ Charlie Christian Pickup | eBay
    A really fine instrument. I'm tempted but the owner doesn't ship to Europe

    GAS attack.
    Archtop YT Channel: www.youtube.com/+FredArchtop

  11. #10
    Thanks for all the kind words so far. It's really nice to hear that most of you seem to think this should work!

    I'm really looking forward to this guitar!

  12. #11

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    I have a VV CCrider pickup, and it's ok, but for me the vintage sound is better achieved with a DeArmond Rhythm Chief. I see them used by many professional jazz guitarists. That's not why I bought one, though. The sound is very much what I like in a pickup. It's also easy to mount one, either with the included rod or with putty like Blu-Tack. I consider it one of my better gear investments.

  13. #12

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    If you're getting a VV floating CC - assuming the guitar has a decent amount of clearance - consider asking that the coil be wound with 38 gauge wire as per the original CC pickups.

    Mine is wound as such and while it doesn't have the huge cobalt magnets of the real CC pickup, it certainly captures a big part of that sound and feel.

    It's worth mentioning that a big part of the CC sound is from the amp. Fairly low powered octal preamp tube amps with field coil speakers are the ticket. There's a few amp makers out there that will make something in that style - generally without the field coil speaker as they're not really available any more.

    I use a Nocturne Junior Barnyard preamp - it gives whatever amp you're using a bit of that old octal sound and feel. It's not going to turn your blackface Fender into an EH-150 but it makes the sound so much more 'authentic' for want of a better word as far as getting that 30s/40s swing sound.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by entresz View Post
    I use a Nocturne Junior Barnyard preamp - it gives whatever amp you're using a bit of that old octal sound and feel. It's not going to turn your blackface Fender into an EH-150 but it makes the sound so much more 'authentic' for want of a better word as far as getting that 30s/40s swing sound.
    Johnathan Stout has also raved about this pedal here, he highly recommends it when an octal amp isn't possible.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    This popped up last night.
    Doubt one could find a cheaper Christian equipped guitar.
    Very tempting but I'm out of space..

    Epiphone Emperor L-5 Archtop Guitar w/ Charlie Christian Pickup | eBay
    I wonder who made the pickup.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    [...]
    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    But if the bracing allows for it, installing a 'real' CC would be tempting... for me at least.


    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    [...] but for me the vintage sound is better achieved with a DeArmond Rhythm Chief.
    These are the exact two other options I've been considering!
    I want to get to know the guitar a bit before I finally decide.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    I have a VV CCrider pickup, and it's ok, but for me the vintage sound is better achieved with a DeArmond Rhythm Chief.

    Since you kow both of these pickups, how would you describe their differences?


    For everybody recommendig the Nocturne, you are probably all right, and I gotta admit that all the positive reviews about it are part of why I'm starting to put together that rig.

    I have some stuff planned amplification wise, which I wanted to talk about later on, but since it already came up:

    I have this tube-driven Preamp/Overdrive pedal at hand, and I think I might be able to work something out to put an actual octal tube in there and use that for saturation. Or is that a bad idea?

    The other thing I'm thinking about is putting together a field coil cab to go with it. I'm based in germany, and I just noticed that there are some pretty fancy stereo speaker cabs from east germany on ebay quite frequently, and for next to nothing. I'm stil doing some research about that, but it might be an idea.
    I was thinking about something like this:

    Alter Lautsprecher Excello Modell DR | eBay


    What do you guys think about that as my plan for amplification?
    I'm curious to har your thoughts!

    Paul





  17. #16

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    The CC pickup is thinner, more trebly. The Rhythm Chief sounds beefier, if that makes sense, less treble. It's not cheap, but it was worth every penny to me. I also have a JR Barnyard pedal, which does help with the vintage sound, but it turns out I don't actually use it that much. The sound with the Rhythm Chief is close enough for me. I'm not really into the Junior Barnard sound so much, but just a touch is good. The JR Barnyard pedal, with both knobs set near 9 o'clock and both toggle switches down, gives me just enough fatness and hair when digging in. I rarely turn the knobs up more than that. With that, through my Little Jazz amp, I get what I'm looking for, which may not be what everyone else is looking for. I will say that the Little Jazz seems designed for single-coil pickups, because it sounds great with them, much better than with humbuckers. That's entirely subjective, of course.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    I wonder who made the pickup.
    quoting the listing
    "Then I added as many authentic accessories as I could find including this Charlie Christian Pickup, hand made in the UK from original Gibson spec's using pre-war materials and recycled parts."

    I expect that is a fab guitar if you're into that sorta thing
    Kessle Christian etc .... I am

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    I wonder who made the pickup.
    Charlie Christian Pickups - CC Pickups

  20. #19
    So the guitar arrived today, and although i only had some minutes to play it I'd like to share some of my first impressions.

    The guitar itself is quite light and extremely comfortable to play. I never had a guitar with a satin finish before, but realized i really like how it feels on the neck, which itself feels very good to me.
    It's got a thin laminated top which reminds me a bit of my vintage Höfner.
    I can't wait to put some heavy Monel strings on it, the strings it came with are really thin, wobbly and crappy. Acoustic Sound is quite nice, pretty well balanced I'd say.
    Electric Sound was surprisingly good!

    It does actually remind me a lot of my vintage höfner, and i think the acoustic Sound will be more or less in the same ballpark once It's got the right strings. I have tried some godin 5th avenues some years ago, and if i remember correctly they felt more or less like the Harley Benton, although they seemed to be put together with a little more care.

    Of course the HB has some flaws which i knew it would have at that price point. For me none of them is a problem, but i wanna mention them in case somebody might be interested in this model:

    -it definetly needs a new nut, the one it is equipped with is cut pretty badly.
    -factory strings are complete crap
    -the Volume and Tone pots are more like an on/off switch.
    - the bridge doesn't follow the curve of the body correctly
    -the tuners are kinda cheap and have some play, but they do their Job good enough that I might just leave them on.

    Other than that I do really like it so far, and am actually quite surpised what a nice guitar it is, considering that it only costs about 200€

    Looking forward to spending some more time with it over the weekend!

    Paul

  21. #20
    And of course here's the mandatory couch shot:
    The cheapest Charlie Christian rig!?-img_20190719_192307_398-jpg

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by entresz View Post
    If you're getting a VV floating CC - assuming the guitar has a decent amount of clearance - consider asking that the coil be wound with 38 gauge wire as per the original CC pickups.

    Mine is wound as such and while it doesn't have the huge cobalt magnets of the real CC pickup, it certainly captures a big part of that sound and feel.
    I also have a Vintage Vibes custom pickup, and Pete Biltoft actually had me measure the distance between the strings and the soundboard, and then the pickguard height off the soundboard, so we could dial in the clearance perfectly. I was so glad to get this level of attention with MY pickup. I think it makes my Godin 5th Avenue sound amazing!
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  23. #22

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    ergh, zcostilla--I already said no to the pickup game... until my birthday...

    Yeah, I looked at the Vintage Vibes CC HB and the Lollar CC HB (HB = humbucker housed)

    I think that the Vintage Vibe was voiced a little darker, but you can switch out the magnets. The Lollar is brighter, and a different wind.

    I said I was gonna change my pup... I didn't.

    I said I was gonna change the speaker to my amp... I didn't.

    Maybe one day. By the way, this sounds like a cool project. I love modding guitars--but I think I'm all modded out with my Eastman... It's so mod that it has polka dot high top boots and it speaks with a British accent (I hope Chris'77 doesn't find this post)

  24. #23

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    I see an opportunity to craft a nice long custom pickguard. Preferably tortoise (the old nitro-look would be perfect). Because that little short one it came with just doesn’t nail it cosmetically....

    Something like this:


    (Here: Gibson ES150 Pickguard Replica Beveled Gloss Tortoise For Archtops w/Bracket New | eBay)

    Otherwise: looks pretty nice! Great platform for modding! My fingers are itchy, my MOD-syndrome is acting up.....

    Good luck!
    Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group | Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! | Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva La Voix

  25. #24

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    That PU looks like one of the Chinese-made neck mount Johnny Smith-style humbuckers. Is that correct?

    If so, I have one on a Harmony archtop and I'm really happy with the tone. It has it's own unique sound. This from a guy who has an original 30's CC pickup, a Lollar "humbucker" CC pickup, and a Seymour Duncan traditional "tri-mount" CC pickup. No, it doesn't sound like the CC pickups, but it has a fine, old-school archtop sound nonetheless. I think holding out the for CC pickup is a fine idea.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    ergh, zcostilla--I already said no to the pickup game... until my birthday...

    Yeah, I looked at the Vintage Vibes CC HB and the Lollar CC HB (HB = humbucker housed)

    I think that the Vintage Vibe was voiced a little darker, but you can switch out the magnets. The Lollar is brighter, and a different wind.

    I said I was gonna change my pup... I didn't.

    I said I was gonna change the speaker to my amp... I didn't.

    Maybe one day. By the way, this sounds like a cool project. I love modding guitars--but I think I'm all modded out with my Eastman... It's so mod that it has polka dot high top boots and it speaks with a British accent (I hope Chris'77 doesn't find this post)
    I am the same way. But I bought my 5th Avenue as the acoustic model for $330 (if my memory is correct, it it definitely under $400) and I bought a set of CTS pots and an orange drop cap that ended up not fitting through the f-hole, so I had to use some mini-pots I had lying around (glad they were 500k!). After trying different strings, settled on D’Addario chrome flat 12s. I ended up getting it all done under $575 (under $700 if you count the TRIC case I bought later). Not dirt cheap, but for getting exactly what I wanted, it was worth it to me.
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by archtopeddy View Post
    That PU looks like one of the Chinese-made neck mount Johnny Smith-style humbuckers. Is that correct?
    That's exactly what's on there currently. Had some nice moments with the guitar over the weekend especially with my joyo American dirt Pedal. I think this guitar will work for what I bought it for.

    I made a New pickguard out of some scrap plywood by the way:
    The cheapest Charlie Christian rig!?-img_20190722_133528-jpg

    I think that shape fits the guitar much better.

    Paul

  28. #27

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    Oh yeah! That pickguard looks a lot better!

  29. #28

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    That pickguard looks great! A really nice old school vibe!
    Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group | Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! | Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva La Voix

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    That pickguard looks great! A really nice old school vibe!
    Thumbs up to you Little Jay. Good call on your part initially to suggest the different pickguard.

  31. #30

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    Very pretty guitar. Looks like a fun project. Congratulations, and play it in good health!
    Best regards, k

  32. #31
    Over the weekend the Monel STrings I had ordered for this guitar finally arrived, and they make a huge difference! I'm really happy, and feel like I'm already gettin' close to the sound I'm after. So far I've had good results playing through a really cheap and small practice amp (I think the small speaker has something to do with it), and with some dirt from the Joyo American Pedal.

    I was unsure about uploading this clip, because of my crappy recording gear. I think the track sounds kinda thin, and not halfway as good as the guitar does in person, but I decided to upload it though, because I guess most of you know about these problems aswell, and maybe it can give you at least a slight impression of where I'm at.
    I also was unsure about uploading because of my crappy playing



    (The rhythm-track is the same guitar, just unamplified)

    I'm currently reading up on different pickup designs and evaluating, I gotta say, that the stock floater sounds better than I thought it would. I guess a singlecoil will fit better though.

    Next Step is placing an order on an octal Tube adapter which lets me use an SN-7 instead of a 12AX7 in this tube Preamp pedal that i have sitting here. That should get me some real octal-Preamp drive!

    Paul

  33. #32
    In case somebody is interested:
    I just noticed, that Thomann currently has a B-Stock of this guitar for sale for only 181€.
    I'm not affiliated with them, but i gotta say i like mine!
    Just thought I'd share that Deal on here.

    Paul