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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    IMO, newer archtops, both from Gibson and boutique makers, are designed to be plugged in. They are not as good acoustically as a top shelf flattop. And many older archtops are designed to be played acoustically, but with a plectrum. And in both cases the nut is more likely to be 1 11/16 than not.

    So for a purely acoustic archtop that is designed to be played acoustically without a plectrum and has a 1 3/4 nut, I am at a loss for a guitar to recommend. It sounds to me like another flattop would be a more appropriate use of the funds ( or perhaps a classical.)
    Is the OP dead set on not using an amp? Even a small solid state amp would widen the horizon of options. I've only had tube amps but these ss amps I keep hearing about here sound wonderful and there are some really small ones as well.

    In that $10k price range I would buy more than one guitar..again more options. Even two guitars and an amp. Guess I can't make up my mind which explains my somewhat large collection although I do admire those of you like the op who can keep it down to one or a few.

    Good luck to the OP, great topic.

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  3. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by 73Fender View Post
    Is the OP dead set on not using an amp? Even a small solid state amp would widen the horizon of options. I've only had tube amps but these ss amps I keep hearing about here sound wonderful and there are some really small ones as well.

    In that $10k price range I would buy more than one guitar..again more options. Even two guitars and an amp. Guess I can't make up my mind which explains my somewhat large collection although I do admire those of you like the op who can keep it down to one or a few.

    Good luck to the OP, great topic.
    No amp, I'm too lazy to have to get it out and plug it in. I'm typically playing on my sofa. I actually have several other guitars, I just try to keep only two out at a time. And those two tend to be the Breedlove and Larivee. In fact, the only reason I have more than one out and as further proof of my laziness is that I'll keep one in std tuning and the others in an altered tuning.

  4. #53

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    I looked at this thread quite a bit and I understand:
    - You want a vintage instrument
    - You want an acoustic instrument and you don't plan to plug in
    - You want an instrument that you can enjoy playing by yourself at home
    - you want a 1 3/4 neck width
    - You need a small instrument due to shoulder pain

    An archtop guitar is basically constructed like a cello. And a cello is meant to be played with a bow – continuous stimulation. Played with a bow it is loud and it produces sustained notes. Picked – not so much.
    As an archtop guitar is picked with fingers or a pick it it will always have a short sustain and strong attack. Small instruments are also very quiet. The reason why archtops got bigger during the swing area was the search for volume. They were played with a lot of force and strictly as rhythm instruments. If that's what you enjoy playing at home you'll be fine – even with a smaller guitar as you don't need the volume and sustain. For fingerpicking these kind of guitars will sound boxy and short though.
    If you like to play everything else a flattop is way superior in volume and sustain and IMHO much more enjoyable at home. Did you think about a Selmer- or Maccaferri-style guitar instead of an archtop? Or a nice vintage Martin or Gibson flattop?
    Last edited by guavajelly; 11-17-2019 at 09:43 AM.

  5. #54

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    Fingerstyle Jazz? Why not get a Buscarino Cabaret? I can always sell you mine, it's very nice. (Been thinking about reducing my stable, need some floor space back).
    Last edited by Jazzstdnt; 11-17-2019 at 11:59 AM.

  6. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly View Post
    I looked at this thread quite a bit and I understand:
    - You want a vintage instrument
    - You want an acoustic instrument and you don't plan to plug in
    - You want an instrument that you can enjoy playing by yourself at home
    - you want a 1 3/4 neck width
    - You need a small instrument due to shoulder pain

    An archtop guitar is basically constructed like a cello. And a cello is meant to be played with a bow – continuous stimulation. Played with a bow it is loud and it produces sustained notes. Picked – not so much.
    As an archtop guitar is picked with fingers or a pick it it will always have a short sustain and strong attack. Small instruments are also very quiet. The reason why archtops got bigger during the swing area was the search for volume. They were played with a lot of force and strictly as rhythm instruments. If that's what you enjoy playing at home you'll be fine – even with a smaller guitar as you don't need the volume and sustain. For fingerpicking these kind of guitars will sound boxy and short though.
    If you like to play everything else a flattop is way superior in volume and sustain and IMHO much more enjoyable at home. Did you think about a Selmer- or Maccaferri-style guitar instead of an archtop? Or a nice vintage Martin or Gibson flattop?
    Yes, you have the criteria down; although, as discussed previously, I would say relatively small dimensions, in other words, I am eliminating the 18" with a 4" box.

    I recognize that neither the sustain nor the volume will be as 'nice' as my flattops. I'm more than happy to make the tradeoff between sound and looks (per my initial post, I've always wanted a nice archtop). So while I do appreciate the suggestions, a flattop isn't going to scratch this itch

  7. #56

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    Nice to meet you, Oldgoat.

    I too own a nice little Larrivee Parlor.

    I'm right handed but my sensitive shoulder is on the left, where the strap comes over.

    Sorry, I have not read the entire thread so forgive me if I'm missing something here.

    Have you considered your sensitivity to the weight of the instrument?

    Also, you own two fiddles that are narrower (at lower bout) but deeper than your typical archtop.

    I don't know anything about the new small-bodied acoustic archtops from Collings ('bout half your budget.)

    I do know that I've got two ancient small-bodied archtops that I really dig.

    Happy hunting & good luck!

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat View Post
    No amp, I'm too lazy to have to get it out and plug it in. I'm typically playing on my sofa...
    Don’t need to use a cable anymore. There are several inexpensive wireless systems available that are small and reliable.

  9. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Nice to meet you, Oldgoat.

    I too own a nice little Larrivee Parlor.

    I'm right handed but my sensitive shoulder is on the left, where the strap comes over.

    Sorry, I have not read the entire thread so forgive me if I'm missing something here.

    Have you considered your sensitivity to the weight of the instrument?

    Also, you own two fiddles that are narrower (at lower bout) but deeper than your typical archtop.

    I don't know anything about the new small-bodied acoustic archtops from Collings ('bout half your budget.)

    I do know that I've got two ancient small-bodied archtops that I really dig.

    Happy hunting & good luck!
    Thanks...so, don't leave me hanging...what are the two archtops you have now?

    Weight is not the issue, it's simply the angle of my right shoulder.

  10. #59

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    Dangit Goat! I'll go out on the limb: you should just buy Omph's L-7. It checks every box. Well...almost every one. You're gonna have a lot of change left over. Bummer!

    Instant access to the pre-war 16" Gibson L club. I'd be happy to be corrected by one of our forum experts, but I don't think you're gonna find a L-5 in this condition and vintage within your budget. And AFAIK this era is just about your only choice for a Gibson L with a 1 3/4 nut. (again...happy to be corrected)

    The reason that I'm so happy to be corrected is that I've been wanting all the same things you're looking for. I just can't afford to do it now.

    Please put me out of my misery so I can leave all my hand wringin' & head scratchin' & plottin' & schemin' behind :-)

  11. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft View Post
    Dangit Goat! I'll go out on the limb: you should just buy Omph's L-7. It checks every box. Well...almost every one. You're gonna have a lot of change left over. Bummer!

    Instant access to the pre-war 16" Gibson L club. I'd be happy to be corrected by one of our forum experts, but I don't think you're gonna find a L-5 in this condition and vintage within your budget. And AFAIK this era is just about your only choice for a Gibson L with a 1 3/4 nut. (again...happy to be corrected)

    The reason that I'm so happy to be corrected is that I've been wanting all the same things you're looking for. I just can't afford to do it now.

    Please put me out of my misery so I can leave all my hand wringin' & head scratchin' & plottin' & schemin' behind :-)
    It is definitely on my list, but I'm afraid you're going to have to a few more sleepless nights of hand wringing.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Fingerstyle Jazz? Why not get a Buscarino Cabaret? I can always sell you mine, it's very nice. (Been thinking about reducing my stable, need some floor space back).
    Gene Bertoncini's Buscarino is the finest classical guitar I've ever played. A truly amazing instrument.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  13. #62

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    Waterloo WL-AT Archtop Acoustic Guitar| Waterloo by Collings Guitars

    1.75" nut width. Made by Collings. Acoustic 14 13/16" archtop.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat View Post
    Thanks...so, don't leave me hanging...what are the two archtops you have now?

    Weight is not the issue, it's simply the angle of my right shoulder.
    Thanks for asking!

    Gibson L-2, 1924 & ca.1938 Vega "Vegaphone." Vega's a hair larger than the L-2.


    I got no more $ and no job or Ooomph's L-7 would be causing me even more heartburn (than it already is!)

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Waterloo WL-AT Archtop Acoustic Guitar| Waterloo by Collings Guitars

    1.75" nut width. Made by Collings. Acoustic 14 13/16" archtop.
    I really wish I could understand the price of these, as compared with the Waterloo flattops, but I can't. I am not sure what the street price will eventually be, but there are new Waterloo ft's that can be bought right now for $2200. - - $2700., while these start at $4500.
    I'd have to bet there's a good percentage of components used on these that are also used on Waterloo ft's.
    So where 's the extra $2000. ??

    Just MHO, of course, but nonetheless to me a sad headscratcher.........

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post
    I really wish I could understand the price of these, as compared with the Waterloo flattops, but I can't. I am not sure what the street price will eventually be, but there are new Waterloo ft's that can be bought right now for $2200. - - $2700., while these start at $4500.
    I'd have to bet there's a good percentage of components used on these that are also used on Waterloo ft's.
    So where 's the extra $2000. ??

    Just MHO, of course, but nonetheless to me a sad headscratcher.........

    Am holding out hope they sound good enough.

    Wasn't knocked out by the flat top I tried.

    No matter, I can't have one.
    Last edited by rabbit; 11-17-2019 at 06:02 PM.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Am holding out hope they sound good enough.

    Wasn't not knocked out by the flat top I tried.

    No matter, I can't have one.
    I wasn't that knocked out by the Waterloo ft I tried either, and I really wanted to be. It sounded like the old Harmony Patrician / Sears Silvertone I started on.

    Then I read that Bill Collings aimed for the sound of a classic Regal for his Waterloo archtop, which if he succeeded, is a 'never mind' for me.

    And now it's a $4000. +/- 'never mind'.

  18. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post
    I wasn't that knocked out by the Waterloo ft I tried either, and I really wanted to be. It sounded like the old Harmony Patrician / Sears Silvertone I started on.

    Then I read that Bill Collings aimed for the sound of a classic Regal for his Waterloo archtop, which if he succeeded, is a 'never mind' for me.

    And now it's a $4000. +/- 'never mind'.
    My first guitar was also a Sears. I remember my first electric guitar as well, single pickup Decca. Bought it used. Guitar AND amp for $100. I'll never forget the amp. While I don't remember the brand, but I do remember it had a tremolo built in. Crimson and Clover for the win!
    Last edited by Oldgoat; 11-17-2019 at 09:40 PM. Reason: clarity

  19. #68

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    So I'm derailing this thread a little, so shoot me.

    I certainly can't play mine with the same authority as this guy but the boxes, vintages & tones
    of our fiddles a quite similar.

    A luck stiff, I am:


  20. #69

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    Not vintage, but what about Dan Koentopp?

    Archtop thoughts/recommendations-koentopp-jpg
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  21. #70
    Wow, beautiful guitar!

  22. #71
    Well, out of fear or be subjected to the wrath of this forum, I went with the L7 Juan (omphalopsychos) had listed. Received it on Tuesday. I am very happy with it. The neck took a bit to get used to and I've ordered a new pickguard; however, there is absolutely no stress on the shoulder. Nice, well-balanced sound and easy to play. I was actually very surprised at the setup...very low (yes, I know I can raise it). Coupled with a lighter weight string and shorter scale length than my other guitars and it is very 'user-friendly' Now, if I can only get my fingers to go where I want them to!

    Shout our to Juan. He was very patient with my flood of questions...in addition to sending some more pics, I had him measure several dimensions for me (I won't bore you with the details, but that was a learning experience). Anyhow, definitely a great buying experience. I discovered awhile ago, with other, non-music, forums I am on that when you get multiple recommendations from the community at large, you pay attention.

    Which brings me to a second shoutout. I'm not a Jazz player, so I don't know how much time I will spend on this forum in the future; however, I really appreciated all the helpful advice. Several of you opened up my eyes to some potential future options. Now it may have just been the topic (try discussing which motor oil to use on a car or motorcycle forum!), but it was great to read a thread without any sniping. Maybe if I started a thread on what strings to use, I'd have a different opinion (maybe that is the guitar equivalent of motor oil)?

    Thanks

  23. #72

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    Wow Oldgoat, Happy NGD !!!

    I think you made a very fine choice, but I may be biased a bit as a happy owner of a '34 L-7 myself.
    If you are used to playing flat tops, you will probably notice much less bass in the sound and perhaps a "dryness" to the tone. But as you get to know your L-7, I assure you that you will find the tone dripping with character and inspirational mojo.

    Regarding strings, I have tried 3 different approaches on my L-7 with mixed results. My first sets of strings were phosphor bronze round wound 12's and they were perfectly fine. They did the job well and the guitar sounded good, but I decided I wanted to experiment anyway. My next set of strings were Monels and frankly I couldn't stand them. They made the guitar sound very thin, so they didn't last long. My next experiment with strings was flatwounds. I ended up putting on a set of light Curt Mangan flats, and subbing a 12 & 16 for the top two strings. This set has worked out just great for me. I think they've been on the guitar a year now and I think the guitar sounds just the way it should. I'm planning to stick to this formula for now. The only downside of the flats vs the rounds is I think you loose a little acoustic volume. But I like the sound better.

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go View Post
    Wow Oldgoat, Happy NGD !!!

    I think you made a very fine choice, but I may be biased a bit as a happy owner of a '34 L-7 myself.
    If you are used to playing flat tops, you will probably notice much less bass in the sound and perhaps a "dryness" to the tone. But as you get to know your L-7, I assure you that you will find the tone dripping with character and inspirational mojo.

    Regarding strings, I have tried 3 different approaches on my L-7 with mixed results. My first sets of strings were phosphor bronze round wound 12's and they were perfectly fine. They did the job well and the guitar sounded good, but I decided I wanted to experiment anyway. My next set of strings were Monels and frankly I couldn't stand them. They made the guitar sound very thin, so they didn't last long. My next experiment with strings was flatwounds. I ended up putting on a set of light Curt Mangan flats, and subbing a 12 & 16 for the top two strings. This set has worked out just great for me. I think they've been on the guitar a year now and I think the guitar sounds just the way it should. I'm planning to stick to this formula for now. The only downside of the flats vs the rounds is I think you loose a little acoustic volume. But I like the sound better.
    Only a complete, mouth breathing, lowest common denominator would use flatwounds on an archtop!! :P

    I like monels FWIW.

    I'm jealous of the L7!

  25. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Littlemark View Post
    Only a complete, mouth breathing, lowest common denominator would use flatwounds on an archtop!! :P

    I like monels FWIW.

    I'm jealous of the L7!
    Now that's more like it...I'm thinking steel and silk is the only way to go!


    Actually, here is what was on the guitar "The strings are made by Philippe Bosset. The gauges are light (12-53), but I increased the trebles to 13 and 17 to give them more body. So it comes to 13 - 53 for the gauges."

    They sound good to me.

  26. #75

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    Ahhh.... Blessed Relief! I was happy to see that guitar sell and wondered if it was you. Thanks for the update. I wish you many years of enjoyment.

    Sorry I can't be more obnoxious, but that's exactly how I handle string gauge on mine. Bronze for the more acoustic and nickel for the more electric. Heavier really helps the unwound strings sing for me.

    OK... one question: I've never handled an L of this vintage. You say the neck took some getting used to. What was it about the neck: shape, girth or....?

  27. #76
    While it is quite a bit thicker than my other guitars, that didn't really bother me. The more problematic aspect is the shape of the neck. The back of the neck of all my other guitars is a smooth arc. The back of the neck on the L7 is a rounded V-shape so there is definitely a 'point' in the dead center of the neck. It was pretty uncomfortable for a few days.

  28. #77

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    It was a really fun deal, especially getting to read all the comments here while you did your research. I'm glad the guitar is in good hands. PLEASE don't put flats on it!

  29. #78

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    just for info...possibly the most celebrated acoustic archtop maker of all time-john d'angelico-'s string of choice was bronze 80/20 on hex core!!! which he helped to pioneer with early d'addario fam stringmakers

    (of course disregard this info if using magnetic pups)

    now back to your penzoil! ^ hah


    cheers

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    just for info...possibly the most celebrated acoustic archtop maker of all time-john d'angelico-'s string of choice was bronze 80/20 on hex core!!! which he helped to pioneer with early d'addario fam stringmakers

    (of course disregard this info if using magnetic pups)

    now back to your penzoil! ^ hah


    cheers
    That reminds me. I was at Eric Schoenberg’s shop recently and I asked him what was special about his brand of strings (which he carries). He didn’t really have a lot of detail other than he asked D’Addario to make them “the way they used to”.

  31. #80

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    yeah well i have nothing but respect for eric s...he's been around a long time..but his expertise, i believe, is really acoustic flat tops...which he is amazing with...

    per archtops, and electrics/amps and the evolving related minutia..i've found less so..

    & not a put down at all! everyone has their strengths!


    cheers

  32. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    It was a really fun deal, especially getting to read all the comments here while you did your research. I'm glad the guitar is in good hands. PLEASE don't put flats on it!
    I haven't used flat wound strings in decades (on an electric guitar)...never even thought about it being a possibility for an acoustic guitar. Learn something every day.

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    yeah well i have nothing but respect for eric s...he's been around a long time..but his expertise, i believe, is really acoustic flat tops...which he is amazing with...

    per archtops, and electrics/amps and the evolving related minutia..i've found less so..

    & not a put down at all! everyone has their strengths!


    cheers
    Yeah who trusts a guy that has 3-4 1920s L5s hanging on the wall most of the year?

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    Yeah who trusts a guy that has 3-4 1920s L5s hanging on the wall most of the year?
    A lot of guitar dealers know only archtop values, as in buy low, sell high. The minutia may not be of interest to them. Neatomic is spot on about Eric S. There are dealers who know quite a bit about archtops, but most do not.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    Yeah who trusts a guy that has 3-4 1920s L5s hanging on the wall most of the year?
    hey, you're the one who wrote he can't even tell you what design of strings he brands to string em with!!!

    don't get why u'd draw the negative out of a well meaning post...i was very respectful with what i wrote! like to spice things up huh? hah

    schoenberg shop is legendary!



    cheers

  36. #85

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    I'd be surprised to meet a dealer in the bay area who knows much about archtops, tbh. Remember a few years ago when you all helped me relabel the 50's ES-150 that Gryphon was calling an ES 300?

  37. #86

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    I cant give any advice for finding the right guitar, but as far as an overview of old Gibsons go this website might give some valuable info: Vintage Guitars Info - Gibson collecting vintage gibson guitars
    A really cool page from before the web stores took over the internet.

  38. #87
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    hey, you're the one who wrote he can't even tell you what design of strings he brands to string em with!!!

    don't get why u'd draw the negative out of a well meaning post...i was very respectful with what i wrote! like to spice things up huh? hah

    schoenberg shop is legendary!



    cheers
    Seems like I have stumbled onto the motor oil topic of this site ...it's not strings, it's "How much does Schoenberg know about archtops"

  39. #88

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    Wanted to make sure you got a bit of a show!

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    I'd be surprised to meet a dealer in the bay area who knows much about archtops, tbh. Remember a few years ago when you all helped me relabel the 50's ES-150 that Gryphon was calling an ES 300?
    There used to be a dealer in Berkeley who knew his stuff about archtops. His store was called "Blue Note Music". His archtop specialty did not translate to much financial success and his store went under. Trad jazz guitarist Tony Marcus is an archtop dealer (and he operates a bit under the radar) and he knows quite a bit about archtops. I have never met Steve Swan, but I am told that he knows his stuff about archtops. Stores like Gryphon, Schoenbergs, Sylvan music (Santa Cruz) and a few other long running Bay Area music stores know more about archtops than Guitar Center, but that ain't saying much.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  41. #90

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    yeah agree... blue note was nice shop...certainly had some nice archtops..tho info varied with staff...still tho a solid store..and always had the flatwounds!!

    my archtop gold standard mentor was always rudy pensa...he was into them as treasures long ago..why he amassed his museum like collection!!..but he was equally a fan of the lesser archs, like rics and gretsches...early friend and seller of godin too! a true lover of all things guitar!

    just a beacon in my book...never to be replaced too easily anywhere in this world...east west north or south

    cheers