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  1. #1

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    Took delivery on a James Hutchins era L-4CES on approval yesterday. The scale is 24.75" and after chugging away on a 25.5" scale it felt like I was cheating! The neck is beautifully contoured, close to a D shape. I have short fingers that are a little stubby. So, for me, 24.75" is the way to go. What became apparent to me relatively quickly was that the neck feels a little narrow. So I wanted to see if anyone knew of an "affordable" ($3,500 +/-) instrument with the specs mentioned in the title. Worst case I'll just play the L-4 and be happy with it. Or return it. Thanks! p.s. I prefer a nitro finish.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Sadowsky.

  4. #3
    Thanks. I saw the Jim Hall model. A little pricey for me, plus I need position markers.

  5. #4

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    The Loar LH650 I think scores here. I think they can be found for under $1000.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  6. #5

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    You could have a new nut made or new TOM saddles notched with wider string spacing keeping the fretboard width unmodified. These put the bass E and treble e closer to the edge of the fretboard but you may prefer the feel of wider spaced strings.

  7. #6

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    As Lawson mentions the Loar hits all your requirements. If lower bout width is negotiable than I'd suggest a Peerless Martin Taylor at 15" lower bout, 24.6 scale and 1 3/4" nut with ample spacing at the far end. It has a more D style neck (but not fat) than say the Eastman ElRey which has a more C shaped profile.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    You could have a new nut made or new TOM saddles notched with wider string spacing keeping the fretboard width unmodified. These put the bass E and treble e closer to the edge of the fretboard but you may prefer the feel of wider spaced strings.
    It's the width of the fingerboard itself. Just feel like a wider one would be more comfortable for me.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft View Post
    As Lawson mentions the Loar hits all your requirements. If lower bout width is negotiable than I'd suggest a Peerless Martin Taylor at 15" lower bout, 24.6 scale and 1 3/4" nut with ample spacing at the far end. It has a more D style neck (but not fat) than say the Eastman ElRey which has a more C shaped profile.
    The Loar LH650VS is very affordable. They're all over the place for $650 used. I even found a nice one for $500 but no pickguard. I don't think I'd want to go below a 16" lower bout, so the Martin Taylor is out. I've read some nice comments here about the Eastman El Rey, but prefer a more traditional look.

  10. #9

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    I bought a used Bernie Lehmann Session 16 for $3,600 a year and a half ago. A very fine instrument. Not nitro, but a nice thin application of something else, which doesn't seem to have hurt the tone in the slightest. 16 inches, 1 3/4 nut, 24 3/4 scale, hand carved, fret markers, ebony appointments, floating K.A. handmade. The real thing.

  11. #10

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    Holst!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by rictroll View Post
    Holst!
    Yep.

  13. #12

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    I believe Eastman make several, including at least three in their laminate series.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  14. #13

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    As mentioned, Stephen Holst will build a laminated archtop to your dimensions for $3500. Mine is modeled after a Borys/D'Aquisto B120:



  15. #14

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    Campellone, Benedetto, Buscarino.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Campellone, Benedetto, Buscarino.
    Great guitars, but the OP said $3500 budget ... (which could be certain used Benedettos ...)

  17. #16

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    Benedetto guitars with the exception of Pat Martino model and 335 styled guitar are all 25" scale length.And the 2 aforementioned models are 1&11/16" width as well.
    Perhaps Eastman does have some Thinlines as Jim Soloway mentioned in above post. The new Romeo model looks promising for sure!

  18. #17

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    Benedetto does custom and "one-offs" in all ways imaginable.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Great guitars, but the OP said $3500 budget ... (which could be certain used Benedettos ...)
    oops, missed that.

    too bad we can't afford to pay more for our custom archtop dream guitar.

  20. #19

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    Mark Campellone built some of his 16" Standard models with 24 3/4" scale and 1 3/4" or wider nuts.
    I have seen them sell used in the region of your budget. That's for an instrument with a carved top, carved back and solid rims. Lovely guitars.

    Some Heritage 575 models (16", 24 3/4" scale) were built with 1 3/4" or wider nuts.
    I have seen them sell used for well under your budget. That's for an instrument with a carved top, carved back and solid rims. They can be lovely guitars as well.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Great guitars, but the OP said $3500 budget ... (which could be certain used Benedettos ...)
    Could by 4 Loar LH 650s!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  22. #21
    First of all, many thanks for all of your suggestions. In a sense, buying a guitar is like buying a pair of shoes. You pretty much know if it's going to fit right away, then there's a bit of a breaking in period to see if you become more comfortable with it (or them.) The challenge here is that guitars are orders of magnitude more expensive than shoes. The L-4 I bought can easily be returned for a full refund within the evaluation period. But when we buy from a private party online, we either have to live with the result or go through the hassle of reselling it, typically for a loss after transaction fees. You have all given me some really good ideas, from a $650 Loar to luthier quality instruments. I'll keep hacking away on the L-4 for now, but honestly believe it's a lost cause. Best to all of you!

  23. #22

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    If you have the time, you can custom order a guitar from either Wu or Yunzhi, built to whatever specs you desire. Bout width, neck width and depth, scale length, inlays, depth, everything is negotiable. Actually, it's not negotiating, it's just specifying what you want, and they will build it. It takes 3 months or so, but IME it's worth it. My Wu is a great guitar, and required no work other than installing the pickup, as I ordered it as an acoustic. I prefer the Rhythm Chief 1100 over the Chinese pickup that is standard, but you can have it come with the pickup installed for about the same price. A Wu will run you ~$1500, a Yunzhi somewhat less. If you want a factory-built, ready to ship guitar, I think an Eastman is a good choice. Lots of models have 1.75' necks. Personally, I notice no difference at all between 24.75" and 25" scales. A quarter of an inch over ~25 inches isn't much, and the difference in fret spacing is vanishingly small, as is the tension. But in the end, it's an entirely subjective matter as to whether a guitar is acceptable to a player.

  24. #23

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    Eastman 805CE is a solid wood, 16" lower bout, 1.75 nut, 25" scale, floating pickup guitar. I personally don't like the look of the cutaway, but I bet I could get used to it.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  25. #24

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    But seriously.... what's wrong with the L4? The 1 11/16" nut is just 1/16" from 1 3/4. Does 1/16" feel like a lot to your hands? For some it would. I think narrower than 1 11/16 I'd notice, but I actually never even realized my Loar LH650 was a 1 3/4" nut until I measured it for this thread. Flatter fingerboard radius too. I never really noticed it before.

    The L4ces is a prince of a guitar. It might be worth giving it some time to grow on you.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  26. #25

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    For pure acoustic tone, I've never had a better sounding guitar setup with a Bill Gagnon cherrywood bridge combined with a Bartolini 5j floater. Man what was I thinking selling that guitar! It was outcast while chasing another L5 on a retirement budget. Nuts!

    To the OP, you've got to be careful acquiring just any Loar. Some have improper neck height issues. But when you get a good one, I'd rate a LH650's tone as superlative.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    If you have the time, you can custom order a guitar from either Wu or Yunzhi, built to whatever specs you desire. Bout width, neck width and depth, scale length, inlays, depth, everything is negotiable. Actually, it's not negotiating, it's just specifying what you want, and they will build it. It takes 3 months or so, but IME it's worth it. My Wu is a great guitar, and required no work other than installing the pickup, as I ordered it as an acoustic. I prefer the Rhythm Chief 1100 over the Chinese pickup that is standard, but you can have it come with the pickup installed for about the same price. A Wu will run you ~$1500, a Yunzhi somewhat less. If you want a factory-built, ready to ship guitar, I think an Eastman is a good choice. Lots of models have 1.75' necks. Personally, I notice no difference at all between 24.75" and 25" scales. A quarter of an inch over ~25 inches isn't much, and the difference in fret spacing is vanishingly small, as is the tension. But in the end, it's an entirely subjective matter as to whether a guitar is acceptable to a player.
    I've heard good things about Mr.Wu and have seen Yunzhi on discussion boards. I've also been considering Eastmans for the width and scale, good value too. I think I could manage 25" OK especially if the neck was somewhat slender in contour.

  28. #27

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    I just noticed a pretty nice looking Holst Laminate on reverb-It's not a give-away at $2995, but an offer can always be made if one felt so inclined (Scale is 25", not 24.75")

    Holst Jazz Hand built archtop electric guitar tobacco burst | Reverb


  29. #28
    Yes, I saw that, but it's a pretty expensive roll of the dice. Not sure what his return policy is. I'll get in touch with him directly and see what's up.

  30. #29

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    Roger Borys. The B120 is 16” body, 24.75” scale, 1 3/4” nut, and incredibly comfortable necks. He’s also great at carving the necks EXACTLY how you want it to feel for your playing style, by asking questions, or even better if you go to his shop and have him watch you play and try guitars with different neck profiles for comparison.

    He did a great job on my Jazz Solid and if I were in the market for a 16” box it wouldn’t even be a second thought, Borys all the way.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Kevin B. Clark
    www.kbclark.com

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBClark View Post
    Roger Borys. The B120 is 16” body, 24.75” scale, 1 3/4” nut, and incredibly comfortable necks. He’s also great at carving the necks EXACTLY how you want it to feel for your playing style, by asking questions, or even better if you go to his shop and have him watch you play and try guitars with different neck profiles for comparison.

    He did a great job on my Jazz Solid and if I were in the market for a 16” box it wouldn’t even be a second thought, Borys all the way.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Appreciate the recommendation but there are no used ones available at the moment and a new one is beyond my ability to afford.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by buduranus2 View Post
    Appreciate the recommendation but there are no used ones available at the moment and a new one is beyond my ability to afford.
    There is (or perhaps was) a Borys B-120 for sale on this forum's "for sale" page:
    Borys B-120 Deluxe $4500

  33. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by helios View Post
    There is (or perhaps was) a Borys B-120 for sale on this forum's "for sale" page:
    Borys B-120 Deluxe $4500
    Thanks, but that's beyond my ability to afford.

  34. #33

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    I had a guitar made by Mr. Wu. It’s a 17-inch body, 3-3/8 inch depth, 25 inch scale, all solid spruce and figured maple, custom headstock inlays (which came from the rear fender orientation from a 1958 Buick Limited), and for my fat fingertips, I went with a flat (no radius) 2-inch wide fingerboard. Mr. Wu can build pretty much whatever you want. The cost for mine, shipped, was a tad over $1,700, although he has recently raised prices. The Yunzhi guitars are much less expensive and the workmanship is nearly as good. Contact Ms. Lora at guitar_archtop@163.com for more info. She speaks decent English and acts as your tour guide through the process, for either a Wu or a Yunzhi.