Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 90
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I've always lusted after these old archtop guitars. Well, I'm a lucky man. My wife of f..., let's just say many years wants to surprise me with an archtop for Christmas. After a bit of searching she came to the conclusion that she had no idea what I wanted, so she told me the surprise as basically, 'find one you like'. It was the wise decision since I don't even know what I want. And the more I look, the worse it gets. Anyhow, here are my initial thoughts.

    First, although I've been playing on and off for 50+ years, I still pretty much suck. But that's OK. I play fingerstyle exclusively. Haven't held a plectrum (love that word) in 40 years. I've learned and forgotten hundreds of songs but that list includes pop, rock, jazz, blues, classical, etc. My main two guitars are a '94 Breedlove C1-M and a nice little rosewood Larrivee parlor. If you are familiar with those two guitars, you are probably scratching your heads wondering what my preferred sound profile would be. I just like something that is well-balanced, not real tinny or overly boomy. I need a relatively small or thin body because of an old shoulder injury. I like fairly low action, prefer 1 3/4" nut, don't care about amplification. Basically, something that I will enjoy playing with a pleasant sound.

    Part of me is drawn to the old L5's. (I am a woodworker and love the patina of old woods...not wanting to get into the argument of the sound difference). I just love the look of those old archtops. Due to my shoulder, perhaps a 30's build to get the 16", but how playable are these? Maybe pre-war isn't the best approach, Maybe a used Benedetto or perhaps an L5 CT (George Gobel model) that is a bit thinner...but then I lose 1/16" at the nut. Analysis paralysis. I have a healthy budget, say $10k. In summary, I am looking for something with good playability that sounds nice, looks great and, ideally, is not a terrible investment.

    Thanks

    Thoughts?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Well I would recommend staying with Gibson for sure otherwise you just never know what will happen. I see a beautiful Campellone on Reverb for $6000 but and 18 inch guitar that would be a killer and probably the only non Gibson I would consider. Otherwise you have an L5 and the market is good for buyers but again you might just only want a 16 inch guitar. But just to fair, the best that is not a terrible investment is going be and L5. The food chain starts there basically and is downhill from that point. The exceptions would be not something I would recommend and then they get expensive but you have a nice budget.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Hey, ya ol' goat! Welcome to the Forum!



    Many of us here will envy someone with a long marriage, and a spouse allowing a $10K budget for a guitar -- congrats on your life!!

    The good and bad of your situation: there are too many options!!! New, used, custom/boutique -- with that budget and those specs, the sky's the limit!

    We're not sure where you live, so you may or may not get to play many guitars before buying; if you can't, are you comfortable buying a nice guitar online?

    Steve Holst can build whatever you want, probably for half your budget! Give him a call!

    For people with shoulder/back injuries/pains, a serious consideration would be an "ergonomic" guitar -- not for strict "traditionalists" because they may look funny, but excellent for those with open minds and ears! Chris Forshage is in Texas, and has made some more "acoustic" models for people around here; I have a "hollowbody" version of his "Orion" model, but it's still designed for use with an amp. These are the most comfortable (for sitting) guitars you can buy!! Victor Baker and others make them, too. You'll have to wait a year or so to get one, but again, you'll get a comfortable guitar with whatever specs you like.

    Happy hunting, and let us know what you find!

    Marc

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    Well I would recommend staying with Gibson for sure otherwise you just never know what will happen. I see a beautiful Campellone on Reverb for $6000 but and 18 inch guitar that would be a killer and probably the only non Gibson I would consider. Otherwise you have an L5 and the market is good for buyers but again you might just only want a 16 inch guitar. But just to fair, the best that is not a terrible investment is going be and L5. The food chain starts there basically and is downhill from that point. The exceptions would be not something I would recommend and then they get expensive but you have a nice budget.
    Thanks.Yeah, I just don't know about 18 inches. Do I want something that is nice to look at? Certainly, but I want to play it. Is there much variation in the setup of older L5's? How would you rate the overall playability? It is my understanding that the L5's went to 17" in '35; although it appears some shipped in 36 were 16". Probably doesn't really make that much difference. Do you happen to know if they changed the depth of the box at the same time? As far as the L5's on Reverb are there any that you feel are a good value (or that should be avoided due to condition or price)?
    Thanks (Gotta add, when I saw your user name, I figured this has to be providence as I went to Wake and we are the Deacons )

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Hey, ya ol' goat! Welcome to the Forum!




    The good and bad of your situation: there are too many options!!!
    Marc
    Tell me about it! Hell I stand in front of the toothpaste display for 15 minutes trying to figure out which one I want. Used to be two choices...Crest or Colgate. The only thing I can count on is that somehow they manage to continuously shrink the size of the tube while keeping the box the same size.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Fantasic acoustic sound (x-braced), has the 1-3/4” nut, slightly thinner body, highly desirable vintage Gibson, will hold value well, 10k budget, very reliable dealer:

    1963 Gibson Johnny Smith Sunburst > Guitars Archtop Electric & Acoustic | Laurence Wexer Ltd.
    Last edited by fws6; 11-16-2019 at 03:08 PM.
    "Oh, those jazz guys are just making that stuff up!" - Homer

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Hey, ya ol' goat! Welcome to the Forum!



    Many of us here will envy someone with a long marriage, and a spouse allowing a $10K budget for a guitar -- congrats on your life!!

    The good and bad of your situation: there are too many options!!! New, used, custom/boutique -- with that budget and those specs, the sky's the limit!

    We're not sure where you live, so you may or may not get to play many guitars before buying; if you can't, are you comfortable buying a nice guitar online?

    Steve Holst can build whatever you want, probably for half your budget! Give him a call!

    For people with shoulder/back injuries/pains, a serious consideration would be an "ergonomic" guitar -- not for strict "traditionalists" because they may look funny, but excellent for those with open minds and ears! Chris Forshage is in Texas, and has made some more "acoustic" models for people around here; I have a "hollowbody" version of his "Orion" model, but it's still designed for use with an amp. These are the most comfortable (for sitting) guitars you can buy!! Victor Baker and others make them, too. You'll have to wait a year or so to get one, but again, you'll get a comfortable guitar with whatever specs you like.

    Happy hunting, and let us know what you find!

    Marc
    Had to look up Chris Forsage. Interesting. I just kinda have my heart set on the older L5's. That being said, I will definitely 'bookmark' this as it may well be something I will want to do someday. Just not there yet.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    There is a used 16” Campellone Deluxe thinline at Rudy’s in NYC that is about the nicest guitar I have ever played. The playability and sound is just magnificent. And, of course, it is beautiful. It doesn’t look old (it isn’t), but it’s a very fine guitar. If I could have any guitar I wanted right now, it would be that one. I’m only sharing this because it’s not in the cards for me.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark M. View Post
    There is a used 16” Campellone Deluxe thinline at Rudy’s in NYC that is about the nicest guitar I have ever played. The playability and sound is just magnificent. And, of course, it is beautiful. It doesn’t look old (it isn’t), but it’s a very fine guitar. If I could have any guitar I wanted right now, it would be that one. I’m only sharing this because it’s not in the cards for me.
    Thanks....I can't seem to find it on their website. Maybe it's been sold?

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    My '34 L-7 is a super player. Not exactly gorgeous, but kinda what you might expect from a wrinkley 86 year old.
    These old guitars can play great -- at least some of them. BTW, mine was less than $3K.

    I was lucky enough to find mine in a local shop on consignment.
    If you can get some guitars in your hands that will be way more informative than surfing the web.

    Also, I gotta say -- I played a little Larivee parlor guitar a few years ago. It was just super. I still think about it

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat View Post
    Thanks.Yeah, I just don't know about 18 inches. Do I want something that is nice to look at? Certainly, but I want to play it. Is there much variation in the setup of older L5's? How would you rate the overall playability? It is my understanding that the L5's went to 17" in '35; although it appears some shipped in 36 were 16". Probably doesn't really make that much difference. Do you happen to know if they changed the depth of the box at the same time? As far as the L5's on Reverb are there any that you feel are a good value (or that should be avoided due to condition or price)?
    Thanks (Gotta add, when I saw your user name, I figured this has to be providence as I went to Wake and we are the Deacons )
    Well I am Deacon and went to seminary for those who wanted to be permanent deacons in the Catholic Church. The providence of course it that you are cash buyer and it is just about finding the correct guitar. This guitar below I would probably buy today if I did not just get a Super 400ces about a month ago. It is not strictly and acoustic it is a Wes L5. It only has one pickup so should have acoustic sound for sure just not as much as a full acoustic. The price is fine and this guitar in my opinion will hold value better than anything you will buy and if you need or want to sell in future, should not be difficult. Here it is and you heard from the Deacon. I in fact if I sell my Elferink Guitar I would buy this one right now.

    2013 Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery | Christopher's Gear | Reverb
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Here's a '30's L-7 for sale by a forum member. I've played it and it's a really sweet guitar in great shape for its vintage. If I didn't have a '36 on layaway I would seriously consider trying to purchase this one. I bought a '38 Epiphone Broadway from the seller a couple of years ago and I can highly recommend him as can others on this site and through his Reverb shop.
    1934 Gibson L7 $4500 plus shipping

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    If I was looking for a mostly acoustic instrument with that kind of budget I'd find a way to weasel out a 10% finders fee. And by that I mean a trip to the big city so I could find the right one for me. Especially if I was interested in the smaller and older L guitars. Don't overlook L-4, 7, 10 and 12, and keep an eye out for Epi. A 16 inch L5 can blow the budget with ease.

    I don't have as much experience with different archtops as a lot of folks here, but there's a BIG difference in the acoustic tone of the two I own. It's such a personal choice, and it varies between instruments of same make, model and vintage. Like who carved it and how was he feeling that day in 1935.

    And how are you going to be able to really know how it feels in your lap? Not to mention neck and nut varieties. You may actually prefer a more modern 17, which really opens the flood gates of options. Like the Johnny Smith mentioned before. Who doesn't want to check that out?

    Edit: Just saw Marks post. Personally, I'd buy that L7 in a heartbeat if I had the scratch.
    Last edited by ccroft; 11-16-2019 at 04:36 PM. Reason: looked at Omph's L7 again

  15. #14
    Thanks...while I think I'd rather have something that is vintage, this is a beautiful instrument and definitely worthy of consideration...added it to my watch list. (I am partial to the sunburst and natural finishes.)
    Thanks

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by marcut View Post
    Here's a '30's L-7 for sale by a forum member. I've played it and it's a really sweet guitar in great shape for its vintage. If I didn't have a '36 on layaway I would seriously consider trying to purchase this one. I bought a '38 Epiphone Broadway from the seller a couple of years ago and I can highly recommend him as can others on this site and through his Reverb shop.
    1934 Gibson L7 $4500 plus shipping
    What is the general thought on the L5 vs L7?

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft View Post
    If I was looking for a mostly acoustic instrument with that kind of budget I'd find a way to weasel out a 10% finders fee. And by that I mean a trip to the big city so I could find the right one for me. Especially if I was interested in the smaller and older L guitars. Don't overlook L-4, 7, 10 and 12, and keep an eye out for Epi. A 16 inch L5 can blow the budget with ease.

    I don't have as much experience with different archtops as a lot of folks here, but there's a BIG difference in the acoustic tone of the two I own. It's such a personal choice, and it varies between instruments of same make, model and vintage. Like who carved it and how was he feeling that day in 1935.

    And how are you going to be able to really know how it feels in your lap? Not to mention neck and nut varieties. You may actually prefer a more modern 17, which really opens the flood gates of options. Like the Johnny Smith mentioned before. Who doesn't want to check that out?

    Edit: Just saw Marks post. Personally, I'd buy that L7 in a heartbeat if I had the scratch.
    That would, no doubt, be the smart thing to do. But I figured out a long time ago if I can't be smart, I'll be consistent. So stupid it is! Plus it is an issue of time, which is quite precious, especially this time of year. Of course, this is also why one of my criteria is a reasonable investment so that I don't lose my shirt if I need to sell it.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by marcut View Post
    Here's a '30's L-7 for sale by a forum member. I've played it and it's a really sweet guitar in great shape for its vintage. If I didn't have a '36 on layaway I would seriously consider trying to purchase this one. I bought a '38 Epiphone Broadway from the seller a couple of years ago and I can highly recommend him as can others on this site and through his Reverb shop.
    1934 Gibson L7 $4500 plus shipping
    That ad is actually what led me to this forum. Since you've played it, do you happen to remember how the action and sound were?
    thanks

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    $10 000 is a crazy budget! I'd look at handmades from Bill Comins, Mark Campellone et alia.

    Joseph Yanuziello makes a copy of the 1929 16" Gibson L5. I am not necessarily recommending this exact one but take a look: Yanuziello Elle-5 (2014) .

    You may contact Joe Yanuziello to order one with your desired 1.75" nut width. I asked Joseph for a quote in 2013 and he quoted $12 500 for one custom made for me. I don't know what it is today.

    Jackson Cunningham, Andrew Mowry can make you their interpretation of the 1923-1929 Gibson 16" L5. Jackson was quoting $8500, Mowry was quoting $6500 a few years ago.

    Collings has the AT-16. That one is hard to come by and when it does, the owner asks a very high price for it. I feel that it is hyped beyond its worth as a guitar.

    Guitars like that are pretty much lifers. I don't think you are one to consider resale so you may as well go for it. Hee! Hee!

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Hey Goat. This "previously sold" area holds a lot of info on different makes and models, including bout size, depth, weight and so on. It's been an awesome educational resource (and time waster) for me. Like if you want to compare a '47 to a '34.

    Just in case you didn't seen it yet: archtop.com: Previously Sold Instruments

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    @ the OP, I think you need to define "relatively thin or small body". Those are different things and any given specs will mean different things to different people. I probably associate those words with max depth of 2.5" deep and max bout width of 16" or 16.5".

    It's not a traditional looking guitar, but the Collins CL Jazz would fit the bill. I have the laminate version Eastside Jazz which is the same size but with a shorter 24 7/8" scale vs. 25.5" on the CL Jazz. The laminate has a huge and pleasing acoustic tone - totally shocking for the size - and I'm sure the carved/solid/longer scale version would be a significant step up. I doubt you'd find a more comfortable archtop than that (15" x 1 11/16" deep). I play my Eastside Jazz a lot now, all while standing up, and it's so much more comfortable than my 16" x 2 7/8" archtop which it sort of replaced.

    Also, pretty decent resale on the CL Jazz.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft View Post
    Hey Goat. This "previously sold" area holds a lot of info on different makes and models, including bout size, depth, weight and so on. It's been an awesome educational resource (and time waster) for me. Like if you want to compare a '47 to a '34.

    Just in case you didn't seen it yet: archtop.com: Previously Sold Instruments
    Thanks....I think...just scanned it and saw a lot of great possibilities...alas all sold

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    First question is whether you're looking for a primarily acoustic or electric instrument. That will guide you quickly towards or away from specific instruments and reduce the confusion of the field of search. If you want a primarily acoustic instrument, the field narrows much more quickly- among Gibsons mainly the older L-5, consider the L-4 (16" guitar that superficially resembles the ES-175), the venerable L-7. Note CES designations are primarily electric guitars. If you want a primarily electric instrument, then there's a surfeit of choice. Consider the Johnny Smith among Gibsons; it straddles the electric versus acoustic divide.

    Second question is size; sounds like you will want a smaller bodied (17" or less, maybe less than 3" at the rims) instrument. A Byrdland? Among Gibsons, look for the T designation for thinner guitars that fit under the right arm easily.

    Third question is vintage versus modern.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    $10 000 is a crazy budget! I'd look at handmades from Bill Comins, Mark Campellone et alia.

    Joseph Yanuziello makes a copy of the 1929 16" Gibson L5. I am not necessarily recommending this exact one but take a look: Yanuziello Elle-5 (2014) .

    You may contact Joe Yanuziello to order one with your desired 1.75" nut width. I asked Joseph for a quote in 2013 and he quoted $12 500 for one custom made for me. I don't know what it is today.

    Jackson Cunningham, Andrew Mowry can make you their interpretation of the 1923-1929 Gibson 16" L5. Jackson was quoting $8500, Mowry was quoting $6500 a few years ago.

    Collings has the AT-16. That one is hard to come by and when it does, the owner asks a very high price for it. I feel that it is hyped beyond its worth as a guitar.

    Guitars like that are pretty much lifers. I don't think you are one to consider resale so you may as well go for it. Hee! Hee!
    Yeah I thought it was a crazy budget but then I made the mistake of looking at Reverb without a pricing qualification. There are a whole lot of archtops that top $10k. In fact, I told my wife I saw one that was a great deal...25% off! Now only $75k. I'd be afraid to touch it. Knowing me, I'd trip and land on it.

    There are a lot of great luthiers out there; however, I'm really not wanting a custom build.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    First question is whether you're looking for a primarily acoustic or electric instrument. That will guide you quickly towards or away from specific instruments and reduce the confusion of the field of search. If you want a primarily acoustic instrument, the field narrows much more quickly- among Gibsons mainly the older L-5, consider the L-4 (16" guitar that superficially resembles the ES-175), the venerable L-7. Note CES designations are primarily electric guitars. If you want a primarily electric instrument, then there's a surfeit of choice. Consider the Johnny Smith among Gibsons; it straddles the electric versus acoustic divide.

    Second question is size; sounds like you will want a smaller bodied (17" or less, maybe less than 3" at the rims) instrument. A Byrdland? Among Gibsons, look for the T designation for thinner guitars that fit under the right arm easily.

    Third question is vintage versus modern.
    Acoustic as I will never use an amp. Prefer smaller and thinner. My Larivee and Breedlove are ~4" deep. I have looked at some of the T type models. As for the third question, I prefer vintage over modern. Given that criteria, what do you think?

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat View Post
    What is the general thought on the L5 vs L7?
    My general thoughts are one day I can own a vintage L7. I'll need a lottery for the L5.

    On forum, when it comes to players it seems to be they're pretty much the same guitar in a given era.... most of the time. L7 is less bling and rosewood board instead of ebony. This can matter some people's ears. And the tail-piece.

    Maybe not as simple as you'd think it'd be. Just remembered this in case you didn't find it: Gibson L7 vs L12 Vs L5? Differences?

  27. #26

    User Info Menu


  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    With that budget I would consider a two step approach. I think that Eastman makes most of their guitars with 1-3/4 nuts. You could start with one of their models and then take your time to shop for the holy grail after you figure out what does and does not work for you.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    So as much as I love Gibson Archtops, I would recommend a used Mark Campellone, Franz Elferink or similar archtop build instead.
    You will get a superior instrument at much less entry price.

    It would be best to play it in person or at least get a 48 hour approval period. But once you figure which specs work for you, you can start shopping!

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    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.)
    .................................................. .......................................
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat View Post
    Thanks....I can't seem to find it on their website. Maybe it's been sold?
    I also noticed it’s not on the site & should have mentioned that. But, it may still be in the store. I played it about 3 weeks ago, then looked for it on the site the next day and it was not there.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    The Benedetto Bravo has a 1.75" wide neck, and a relatively thin body at 2.5", and can be had new for $5250, much less used. Look at Reverb for both new and used. Eastman copies Benedetto pretty closely, and most have 1.75" nut widths. You can get a carved spruce top for a very reasonable price.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat View Post
    Thanks....I think...just scanned it and saw a lot of great possibilities...alas all sold :smile-new:
    You can always look at the for sale section :-)

    This is how I use previously sold: Maybe I'm wondering what a L-10 is. Do a 'Find on Page' for L-10, and then click through the highlighted listings. Each listing is a link to the sales page for that instrument, where you'll find decent photos and some pertinent info along with some stuff about how well it's been set up and what a wonderful thing it is. Ignore the boiler plate sales speak of course. There's 7 or 8 L-10's there, and you'll soon know what they are.

    In your case I might look at L-7's. He's sold over a hundred. Maybe make some notes about what you're interested in like year, body depth, and nut width. And then go looking at L-5. You will learn quite a lot, and spend a some quality time lusting after guitars. We call it guitar porn around here.

    My apologies if you already did this.

    I see that some of the folks who know these instruments better than I are chiming in. You can believe pretty everything you read. I think more of these guys will be showing up. There's a ton of experience in these parts.

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft View Post
    remembered this in case you didn't find it: Gibson L7 vs L12 Vs L5? Differences?
    Thanks, just read through it

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200 View Post
    With that budget I would consider a two step approach. I think that Eastman makes most of their guitars with 1-3/4 nuts. You could start with one of their models and then take your time to shop for the holy grail after you figure out what does and does not work for you.
    What is the patience thing of what you speak?

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Patience would be waiting until you know what you want before buying. Buying quickly and then looking for something better is just the normal way of doing things here.

  37. #36
    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.)
    I agree. If you are building a guitar in 1935, you are building it to sound good acoustically. If you are building a guitar in 2019 to be played through an amp, your focus should be on how to create the best sounding guitar with electronics in play. As we all know, there are a different factors that need to be taken into consideration. Both are "purpose-built".

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    Patience would be waiting until you know what you want before buying. Buying quickly and then looking for something better is just the normal way of doing things here.
    Thank goodness, I was afraid I was going to have to find another forum!

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat View Post
    Thank goodness, I was afraid I was going to have to find another forum!
    haha... +1 for the hedonists!

    cheers

  40. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny View Post
    @ the OP, I think you need to define "relatively thin or small body". Those are different things and any given specs will mean different things to different people. I probably associate those words with max depth of 2.5" deep and max bout width of 16" or 16.5".

    It's not a traditional looking guitar, but the Collins CL Jazz would fit the bill. I have the laminate version Eastside Jazz which is the same size but with a shorter 24 7/8" scale vs. 25.5" on the CL Jazz. The laminate has a huge and pleasing acoustic tone - totally shocking for the size - and I'm sure the carved/solid/longer scale version would be a significant step up. I doubt you'd find a more comfortable archtop than that (15" x 1 11/16" deep). I play my Eastside Jazz a lot now, all while standing up, and it's so much more comfortable than my 16" x 2 7/8" archtop which it sort of replaced.

    Also, pretty decent resale on the CL Jazz.
    It is really difficult to quantify. Obviously, I'm fine with my Breedlove, which is ~15 1/2 lower and 4" deep. If the lower bout were much bigger, I'd want something thinner. If the box was much deeper, I'd want something smaller. I have both the 24.9 and 25.5 scale length and for some reason that doesn't bother me nearly as much as the 1/16" at the nut. My guess is that the added difficulty of 'fitting fingers' on the smaller scale is offset by the reduced string tension of the shorter scale. But more than likely, it's all between my ears.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    +1 on the L7 recommendations, btw.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat View Post
    Acoustic as I will never use an amp. Prefer smaller and thinner. My Larivee and Breedlove are ~4" deep. I have looked at some of the T type models. As for the third question, I prefer vintage over modern. Given that criteria, what do you think?
    OK, then I would steer clear from any guitar with a pickup mounted in the top. A guitar with a floating pickup might be fine, even if you never plug in. I would suggest vintage acoustic Gibsons (16" L5, L4, also L7 but not the L5ces or L4ces which stands for "cutaway electric Spanish"; or a Johnny Smith). These will be voiced towards the bright side, designed to cut through a big band- crisp and punchy. They've got their own charm.

    I am not promoting archtop.com, btw, but their website makes the examples easy to find. There are other great sellers of arch top guitars out there and you should check them out.

    1970's Gibson Johnny Smith

    1949 Epiphone Triumph Regent, First Year

    1939 Gibson L-5 Premiere, Natural Finish

    1994 Gibson 'George Gobel' Custom (George Gobel model, thin line)

    If you want a warmer, rounder sound then I think you're mostly looking into boutique stuff. You might find a real D'Angelico at the upper end of your price range, or a Barker or Hollenbeck on the vintage side (there are of course many more options; ISTR that Deacon Mark was selling a Barker on this forum, but the search only shows me 3 of 15 threads with "Barker" in them).

    My own 17" arch top was made by forum member Matt Cushman and it is a wonderful guitar- modern voice which is warmer with more bass response than the 30s-40s archtops, plus a great neck and wonderful playability. It is a Benedetto style instrument. I play finger style almost all the time and it responds well to that, unlike many archtops which want the drive of a plectrum. Other wonderful luthiers have been mentioned by others in this thread.

    2013 Trenier Rosine
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Nothing like a 16” Gibson archtop. It is the original archtop and the measuring rod of all other archtops.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    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.)
    Many are but, as I'm sure you know, there are exceptions. I'm lucky to own a 2016 Trenier Motif oval hole, in fact the one on his website that Pasquale Grasso filmed a video with. It's designed to be played acoustically - actually it's designed to be played fingerstyle - but it also sounds really great with a plectrum. It sounds kind of mind-bogglingly good fingerstyle though...and it took me a while to figure that out...it wasn't until I found a thread where a 7-string Motif player had quoted part of a Trenier email and that hipped me to explore it more fully for fingerstyle, because with a pick it already sounded better than any acoustic archtop I'd played. I was actually thinking of selling it and buying the 2013 Trenier Rosine at archtop.com (which I've actually played, and sounds amazing) until realized just how special the Motif sounds with fingers (you would not believe how long the notes sustain for and the overtones!! when I visited my parents they were totally dazzled by this). Trenier is not taking orders currently but maybe watch out for a Motif or other Trenier oval-hole to perhaps come to market sometime. Used would be within budget but new would not be.

    I also think nut width itself is overrated - one must also consider the width at higher frets. Many 1.75 and 1 11/16" nut guitars are virtually indistinguishable by the 9th fret (although some 1.75" guitars will be a beefy 2 1/4" at say the 12th fret which I personally find too wide and have sold guitars due to...now I know that it's not just about nut width).

    For a purely acoustic experience I think there's a lot to be said for an oval-hole archtop...even more so if playing fingerstyle. I also used to own a McKerrihan oval-hole, and I've played the 16" oval hole Andersen which is currently at archtop.com - a nice guitar and quite well-priced currently. Andersen 1 11/16" guitars feel often very similar to his 1.75" guitars IMO.

    If I were the OP and if I just wanted something more comfortable than his 4" flat top, I'd definitely check out out the Andersen at archtop.com - like I said I've played it and it's very nice, and IMO it's well-priced. There's also a 17" Andersen oval-hole on Gbase for $7,500 perhaps worth checking out? But a 17" may give him trouble if he has shoulder issues.

  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    OK, then I would steer clear from any guitar with a pickup mounted in the top. A guitar with a floating pickup might be fine, even if you never plug in. I would suggest vintage acoustic Gibsons (16" L5, L4, also L7 but not the L5ces or L4ces which stands for "cutaway electric Spanish"; or a Johnny Smith). These will be voiced towards the bright side, designed to cut through a big band- crisp and punchy. They've got their own charm.

    I am not promoting archtop.com, btw, but their website makes the examples easy to find. There are other great sellers of arch top guitars out there and you should check them out.

    1970's Gibson Johnny Smith

    1949 Epiphone Triumph Regent, First Year

    1939 Gibson L-5 Premiere, Natural Finish

    1994 Gibson 'George Gobel' Custom (George Gobel model, thin line)

    If you want a warmer, rounder sound then I think you're mostly looking into boutique stuff. You might find a real D'Angelico at the upper end of your price range, or a Barker or Hollenbeck on the vintage side (there are of course many more options; ISTR that Deacon Mark was selling a Barker on this forum, but the search only shows me 3 of 15 threads with "Barker" in them).

    My own 17" arch top was made by forum member Matt Cushman and it is a wonderful guitar- modern voice which is warmer with more bass response than the 30s-40s archtops, plus a great neck and wonderful playability. It is a Benedetto style instrument. I play finger style almost all the time and it responds well to that, unlike many archtops which want the drive of a plectrum. Other wonderful luthiers have been mentioned by others in this thread.

    2013 Trenier Rosine
    Definitely some interesting options, with the exception of the ~$20k L5. A bit too rich for my blood. Really wish the Gobel was 1 3/4" like the Johnny Smith (looks like they have two of these available)
    Thanks

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Sorry I boofed up my post. I meant to reference that nice looking L-7 mentioned in post #12. It looks great.

    yup. That guitar looks delish.
    Nicer shape than mine, but more $$ too.

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    I recommend taking your time. Christmas is soon. Don't rush into it. Play lots of guitars. Find out what you like to play.

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    A nice spruce top Guild should always be a suggestion.

  49. #48

    User Info Menu


  50. #49
    Paul Duff certainly makes a beautiful guitar; however, I do have a lean towards vintage. Interesting when I went to check it out, he had a link to his distributor (Carter Vintage). They seem to have decent pricing on a variety of instruments. I'm guessing there is a lot of churn in the market in Nashville.

    The Gibson L-5 you linked looks nice almost too nice for the price. Are there some red flags regarding that one?

  51. #50
    Foolish me. Several of y'all had mentioned Benedetto, so I went on to Reverb to look at them.


    Benedetto Fratello 1988 Sunburst | Django Books | Reverb

    Drop dead gorgeous. Of course, you can tell it is professionally photographed, so it probably doesn't look quite as nice in person. They have another one, that is also very nice:

    Benedetto Fratello 1988 Honey Blonde, Handcrafted by Bob in | Reverb

    But, man is that first one ever a looker. Why foolish me? Check out the price.