Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 35 of 35
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hello all,
    I've decided to go the fully acoustic archtop route to accommodate my more chamber music interests and would love some advice. What's your favorite archtop with no pickups? and how has your experience with mics at gigs been? I'm willing to spend some money, but the important thing is that this is going to be my main guitar to tour with, so I don't want it to be worth so much that I'm afraid to travel with it.

    thanks!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    A truly "no worry" instrument would be something like a Loar 600-700.

    I suppose Eastman too, but I'm not as big of a fan of their acoustic tone...more nasal, stringy.

    If I was in your shoes I'd look for a used Gibson L-7. Great instruments, not too expensive on the used market, and there's still quite a few of them out there.

    As far as experience with mics at gigs, my experience is "Don't count on it"

    I wonder if a short scale D hole Selmer Maccaferri style might be your bag?
    Last edited by mr. beaumont; 09-16-2019 at 03:04 PM.
    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

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    A truly "no worry" instrument would be something like a Loar 600-700.

    I suppose Eastman too, but I'm not as big of a fan of their acoustic tone...more nasal, stringy.

    I suppose if I was in your shoes I'd look for a used Gibson L-7. Great instruments, not too expensive on the used market, and there's still quite a few of them out there.

    As far as experience with mics at gigs, my experience is "Don't count on it"

    I wonder if a short scale D hole Selmer Maccaferri style might be your bag?
    I've heard some negative things about the quality of Loar instruments, have you had an experience with that? I guess there's a balance between a high enough quality instrument that I can feel good about it being my main guitar and the touring risk..

    Gibson L7 is on my list for sure, never tried one of those Selmers.. but definitely intriguing!

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I think the Loars are a mixed bag as are most D hole Gypsy guitars. A Gibson L-7 or Epiphone Triumph will get you to the promised land. I would also bring a contact microphone and DI box to insure a good gig.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I have a 49 L7. It s a wonderful and very versatil guitar.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Workhorse acoustic archtop?-dsc_0018-b-2018_08_24-00_11_34-utc-jpg
    Eastman AR605, Clip on condenser microphone, Fishman LoudBox Mini.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Gibson L7 or Epiphone Broadway. If you can find one of the 30s walnut backed Broadways you’ve struck gold.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    If you want it purely as an acoustic, there are some Gibson L-50s that can really shine and are quite affordable. Otherwise, the most bang for the buck in vintage American archtops is probably the New York Epiphones. The Triumph is the a solid choice, but a Blackstone or Olympic can be great too. It all depends on what’s comfortable for you and what you want to get out of it.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    This is from Epiphone's current line. Same or similar dimensions to L-7, solid top (arched) also has pickups under the saddle. I played one in a store, it was pretty alright:
    http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Aco...e-Classic.aspx

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I have an Eastman AR910 that sounds surprisingly good. I played a totally acoustic gig with it last week next to a vintage Loar mandolin and a very nice sounding solid carved top bass and the Eastman held it's own.

    If I were mixing an acoustic band in a concert setting, in a decent sounding venue, with enough time for a sound check, I would bring out a couple of Neumanns for the guitars/mandos/violins. If I owned a DPA 4099 I would go that route (I do own a couple of DPAs, but they're not designed for instrument miking). On the other hand, If I were mixing in a less than ideal setting, setting up on the fly, I would first look at the Shure Beta 57. They're inexpensive and very versatile, sound good and have a nice tight pick up pattern that makes them very resistant to feedback.

    All depends on the venue, quality of the sound system, experience of the guy at the mixing desk (if there is one) how much time you have to sound check and what your budget is...

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan View Post
    If you want it purely as an acoustic, there are some Gibson L-50s that can really shine and are quite affordable. Otherwise, the most bang for the buck in vintage American archtops is probably the New York Epiphones. The Triumph is the a solid choice, but a Blackstone or Olympic can be great too. It all depends on what’s comfortable for you and what you want to get out of it.
    I'm very interested in the Blackstone.. looks super affordable. have you owned one? more detailed thoughts?

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I have an Eastman non-cutaway 810 acoustic. It’s got a great tone. I’ve settled on D’addario nickel/bronze after trying lots of strings. I gig at a restaurant with a mandolin (Gibson snakehead/oval aperture). I use it as well for solo gigs and use a condenser mic for guitar and vocal. I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience but my Eastman acoustic arch top is great for me. I also have a Collings OM3 and I tend to reach for the Eastman more regularly.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Workhorse and durable, not too pricey? Consider the D'Angelico EX63. Surprisingly nice sound. Downside: at 18 inches lower bout, not the most portable guitar.

    Otherwise, consider an oval-hole archtop. I prefer them for acoustic jazz. I prefer carved back vs. flat back.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    This is from Epiphone's current line. Same or similar dimensions to L-7, solid top (arched) also has pickups under the saddle. I played one in a store, it was pretty alright:
    http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Aco...e-Classic.aspx
    You must have gotten a better one than the three I have tried locally. The ones I played were all very quiet unplugged. I really wanted to like these, but they just didn't have the straight acoustic volume I was hoping for. I did plug one in and unlike some, actually liked how it sounded.

    I still say Epiphone missed the mark by not putting Frequensators on these. They went so far towards visually replicating the 1940s Triumph with these, but stopped this detail short. It's not like they don't have a bin of them somewhere...its a current production part on the Broadway (and if you can find a Gibson dealer worth their salt who knows how to use his parts system, its available to order as a replacement....ask me how I know. Lol).

    If I ever come across one used for, oh, say $500 with OHSC, I'd probably jump, because they are nice, but just not loud enough to truly be a straight acoustic archtop, IMHO.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    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)

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Mforker View Post
    Hello all,
    I've decided to go the fully acoustic archtop route to accommodate my more chamber music interests and would love some advice. What's your favorite archtop with no pickups? and how has your experience with mics at gigs been? I'm willing to spend some money, but the important thing is that this is going to be my main guitar to tour with, so I don't want it to be worth so much that I'm afraid to travel with it.

    thanks!
    One question that hasn't been asked that might help tailor the suggestions; Are you comfortable playing a full depth, 17 inch body? Some folks state they can't get on with a 17 and opt for a 16" (for a number of reasons).

    If that were the case, suggesting an L4 would be smarter than an L7...

    Just a thought....

    B.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    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)

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Mforker View Post
    I'm very interested in the Blackstone.. looks super affordable. have you owned one? more detailed thoughts?
    I have a ‘46 Blackstone that’s been around the block a time or two, and had a poorly done refinish. It’s a great guitar if one is looking for a pretty straightforward tone heavy on the fundamental. Otherwise, it’s punchy and can put out a fair amount of volume acoustically. If you prefer a 16” guitar, the Blackstone is a nice choice.

    If you’re wondering, the contraption on it is a pickup that TK Smith makes on special order.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    This is from Epiphone's current line. Same or similar dimensions to L-7, solid top (arched) also has pickups under the saddle. I played one in a store, it was pretty alright:
    http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Aco...e-Classic.aspx
    I have read that these are pretty dull, acoustically. No first hand experience though.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    A truly "no worry" instrument would be something like a Loar 600-700.
    Just watch out for the 2x4 v-neck!

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    I have read that these are pretty dull, acoustically. No first hand experience though.
    Yeah, sadly they kind of are, from my experience with them.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    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)

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Back in the seventies Pat Martino used to use ovation cutaways. They are not archtops but they are very affordable and very playable.

    Your question concerning archtop acoustics leads to two choices, one is a laminated guitar as in a plywood jazz box, the other is a solid top which would be a laminate.

    What are your feelings on laminates?

    South Korean Arch tops coming both laminate and solid tops. And the construction is quite good.

    I have never used flat-wound bronze strings.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by geogio View Post
    Back in the seventies Pat Martino used to use ovation cutaways. They are not archtops but they are very affordable and very playable.

    Your question concerning archtop acoustics leads to two choices, one is a laminated guitar as in a plywood jazz box, the other is a solid top which would be a laminate.

    What are your feelings on laminates?

    South Korean Arch tops coming both laminate and solid tops. And the construction is quite good.

    I have never used flat-wound bronze strings.
    Also a valid question (lam vs solid).

    I've had a set of Dogal v25 flatwound acoustics on an Epiphone Zephyr Regent (1998 Peerless) and have enjoyed them on it. I have another set that I've been mulling over trying on the L7 since I got the L7... I'm not, unfortunately, not so independantly wealthy that I can try a $25 set of strings on a whim though....lol

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    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)

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Mforker View Post
    I've heard some negative things about the quality of Loar instruments, have you had an experience with that? I guess there's a balance between a high enough quality instrument that I can feel good about it being my main guitar and the touring risk..
    Gibson L7 is on my list for sure, never tried one of those Selmers.. but definitely intriguing!

    I think on Loar 600 or 700 negative comments came from a single specific youtube video, or referring to that opinion, or influenced that opinion and widely spread that single seed.. so now it seems as multiple confirmed common sense opinion... too bad. (the video mentions for example frets were not polished enough... I always calculate with a luthier work with every (even new guitar) A luthier for $100-120 can do such a fretwork, (polished to 10000) and if necessary also leveled, that the instrument got a new soul, the frets (at least they luthier work) like a $5000 prestige Gibson pleked... Who cares it comes from the factory polished to 1000 or "quality" 3000? I go for 10000 anyway, and also go for plek like leveling and this only adds a $120... The wood is other thing, but I do not think it as a manufacturing or QA error.

    Regarding cheaper Loar models or the very early series probably were QA problems, but I do not think current 600/700 has more QA issue than any other big brand.

    ***

    Maybe I missed it, but what is your budget? The mentioned instruments are $1000 - $4000 range here, which is pretty wide to give an idea.

    If you are open to European masters then you can consider Levin for example model 27. there are currently 3 on Reverb, two of them approx $700 an other for more than $2000 (?!) where the seller do not name it as model 27 in the title, but it became evident later. Model 27 is in the top 5 in the Levin prestige list. Next step is model 21, but its price is almost three times higher.
    Last edited by Gabor; 09-17-2019 at 11:10 AM.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian B View Post
    You must have gotten a better one than the three I have tried locally. The ones I played were all very quiet unplugged. I really wanted to like these, but they just didn't have the straight acoustic volume I was hoping for. I did plug one in and unlike some, actually liked how it sounded.

    I still say Epiphone missed the mark by not putting Frequensators on these. They went so far towards visually replicating the 1940s Triumph with these, but stopped this detail short. It's not like they don't have a bin of them somewhere...its a current production part on the Broadway (and if you can find a Gibson dealer worth their salt who knows how to use his parts system, its available to order as a replacement....ask me how I know. Lol).

    If I ever come across one used for, oh, say $500 with OHSC, I'd probably jump, because they are nice, but just not loud enough to truly be a straight acoustic archtop, IMHO.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    That might be true. I didn't really test their loudness with the 17inch solid body, I assumed they would deliver some db's. It just seem they were well made, good sounding, affordable guitars.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    The Loars are great "raw materials" guitars. You can definitely expect to need to widen nut slots, file fret ends/hammer down a few high frets, do an overall setup, you might want to change the skimpy bridge, etc. But it's all "do-able" work. I often wish I would have kept mine, but I just didn't play it enough...the V neck was too uncomfortable for me. Had I used it just as a rhythm box, it would have been great, but it sounded so good up the neck I wanted to play everything on it...which led to frustration and discomfort...

    But really all their issues are just par for the course and some of it, setup wise, is stuff you'd do on any guitar, no matter what the price. The only thing to look out for is earlier models that had an insufficient neck angle. That's obviously not a quick easy fix.
    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

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    There are numerous threads on this same topic, but it's a pity that it'd be a bit tough to search through and find them.

    Under $1000, a Loar 600 or 700 is easily the best bet. It may require a proper set up to play it's best, but it's easily accomplished.
    Here's an article I wrote about it: Modern Gear for the Vintage Player - 2019 Update — Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five featuring Hilary Alexander

    If you've got up to $2500, a vintage 17" Epi Triumph (assuming it's in good condition and sounds and plays well) will be your best bet. If you can find a pre-1950 Gibson L-7, that would also be good but they tend to be more expensive than the comparable Epiphone Triumph.

    If you can find a non-cutaway Eastman, I'd happily recommend one.

    I would avoid the new Epiphone Masterbult series like the plague. They are dismissal acoustic guitars that are meant to sound good plugged in - and I don't think they do that either.

    If it's any indication... I currently play and travel extensively with a 1939 L-5, and I've also got a 1932 L-5. But, I've been considering picking up a Loar 700 or a Triumph to use a travel guitar (and specifically to throw a DeArmond FHC on so I can have a workhorse acoustic/electric).
    Jonathan Stout
    www.campusfive.com/swingguitarblog
    My new solo acoustic archtop CD, "Pick It and Play" is available NOW!
    Preview and pre-sales at jonathanstout.bandcamp.com

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by campusfive View Post
    There are numerous threads on this same topic, but it's a pity that it'd be a bit tough to search through and find them.

    Under $1000, a Loar 600 or 700 is easily the best bet. It may require a proper set up to play it's best, but it's easily accomplished.
    Here's an article I wrote about it: Modern Gear for the Vintage Player - 2019 Update — Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five featuring Hilary Alexander

    If you've got up to $2500, a vintage 17" Epi Triumph (assuming it's in good condition and sounds and plays well) will be your best bet. If you can find a pre-1950 Gibson L-7, that would also be good but they tend to be more expensive than the comparable Epiphone Triumph.

    If you can find a non-cutaway Eastman, I'd happily recommend one.

    I would avoid the new Epiphone Masterbult series like the plague. They are dismissal acoustic guitars that are meant to sound good plugged in - and I don't think they do that either.

    If it's any indication... I currently play and travel extensively with a 1939 L-5, and I've also got a 1932 L-5. But, I've been considering picking up a Loar 700 or a Triumph to use a travel guitar (and specifically to throw a DeArmond FHC on so I can have a workhorse acoustic/electric).
    This has largely been my experience, though I am not impressed enough with any Loar that I have played to not want to pony up the extra dough for a vintage Triumph or L-7.

    Regarding the Eastmans, I have never been impressed with any cutaway Eastmans enough to want to play one unplugged, but one day I stopped by Schoenberg guitars in Marin County, CA and played a used non-cut oval hole Eastman. They were asking $1,000 (about 10 years ago) and the guitar was stellar. I went home (deciding to sleep on whether or not to purchase it) and called the next morning with an intention to purchase it. The guitar sold about an hour after I had left the shop the previous day. You snooze, you lose. As the quality of Eastman guitars is all over the place, I would not recommend buying one sight unseen unless one has an approval period or it is had at a price that permits an exit strategy with no monetary risk.

    A player's grade L-7 (Headstock repair or refin) can be had for under 2K. Some of these are amazing acoustic guitars and fit the "workhorse acoustic archtop" definition to a "T".
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Do any actual brick and mortar stores carry The Loar archtops? I have never seen a single one in a store, and the many reviews citing some pretty major manufacturing defects give me serious pause about buying one online.

    John

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    I'm going to 2nd, (or 3rd, 4th or 5th) the recommendation of an old Epi Triumph. They're typically priced lower than a Gibson L7 as mentioned.
    Here's a really nice one priced very low imo, especially for a blonde ( no affiliation) I'd grab this in a NY minute if I was looking.

    1948 Epiphone Triumph Natural > Guitars Archtop Electric & Acoustic | Dans Fine Guitars

    Don't discount the prewar 16" models, I had a really nice '35 that was as loud and full as the day is long.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Do not list guitars like that one day after I bought a guitar.
    it’s a good buy.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Guitar Center advertises the LH700 for $1500. It may not be in stock at your local store, but you can order one for pickup in 3 days, and if you don't want it after trying it, return it for a full refund, or just not take it home.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Oh, did they (Loar) "fix" the neck angle on newer models? That's one thing that I didn't like when I tested one several years ago.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Mforker View Post
    Hello all,
    I've decided to go the fully acoustic archtop route to accommodate my more chamber music interests and would love some advice. What's your favorite archtop with no pickups? and how has your experience with mics at gigs been? I'm willing to spend some money, but the important thing is that this is going to be my main guitar to tour with, so I don't want it to be worth so much that I'm afraid to travel with it.

    thanks!
    You've received some great advice and recommendations from some of the finest,talented and knowledgeable forum members! Isn't it grand to have this resource at the click of a mouse.
    For the umpteenth time, I would seek out a Epiphone Triumph, however I am biased as I gig occasionally with a '53 Triumph Regent with no pickup.The venue is a small, live sounding bar area at a upscale French restaurant with a trumpet player. The Epi totally cuts the gig without a pickup. However, if we are in a larger venue I just mic her with a 414 Sennheiser.
    It's got the OHSC which is pretty beat up, if I am traveling I purchased a newer, sturdy case for it, local gigs the OHSC is fine.
    Be aware that many classic Epi's suffer from binding separation from hide glue failing after 60+ years. Some have necks with a pronounced V shape that some players don't get along with, such is the case with my '53. I don't have a problem with it at all, although I prefer the neck profile on my Bob built Benedetto Cremona.
    Also, someone posted looking into a D-hole Gypsy guitar. After all is said and done, IMHO a good GJC will beat just about any acoustic archtop for volume, but the tone is totally different. I love my Dupont, it is a great guitar, however for the classic archtop tone, as many have said-Epi Triumph, L-7 (or L-5 if you have the budget) is the ticket to paradise.
    Attached Images Attached Images Workhorse acoustic archtop?-53-tr-1-jpg Workhorse acoustic archtop?-epiatsprings-jpg Workhorse acoustic archtop?-unplugged-jpg 

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Do any actual brick and mortar stores carry The Loar archtops? I have never seen a single one in a store, and the many reviews citing some pretty major manufacturing defects give me serious pause about buying one online.

    John
    There are many locations one can purchase a Loar online, and many of these come with a guarantee. The "major manufacturing defects" are a myth. Yes, there were some Loar's that required neck resets. But one doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water. As Bruce Lee once said, "absorb what is useful, discard that which is not."
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    I think the most important things have been said already.

    I only want to add, that I gig a lot with a non-cut Eastman and I'm really happy with it.

    Amplification wise I think clip on mics are the way to go, although I always carry a piezo with me (just in case).

    I've been using one of the cheap Thomann Ovid microphons, which seem to be a DPA copy. I've never had any problems with these, and even had some audio-engineers telling me that they ere surprised that cheap mic was doing such a good job.

    Just my two cents

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    I second what many others said. I have a Loar LH-700 and it’s great. Mine needed a 50€ set-up to give its best. No neck angle problem, and I use it happily with a FHC on so I have both acoustic and electric. If you say “workhorse acoustic archtop”, that’s the one I think of. The LH-600 is the same guitar just with a little less bling. I also have a carved-top old Höfner. Very different neck and sound but also very nice, and fantastic for rhythm guitar playing. It’s the one I use with my big band, also with a DeArmond. I bought it for fairly cheap, (way below $1000) and if you’re in Europe Höfners are also to be considered. But you must do your homework re: models and specs!

    Higher-end, I can only reiterate the suggestions made above. I am permanently on the lookout for reasonably priced and locally available L-4s, L-7s and old Epiphones. I turned down a Zenith (side to side, my used Loar was better and costed half the money), but the day a well-preserved Triumph passes by at a reasonable price I think I’ll snatch it. Especially if it’s blonde