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  1. #1

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    Wich Archtop guitar would you recommend for somebody with small hands and a small posture?
    Last edited by Hellena; 12-09-2019 at 11:29 AM.

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  3. #2

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    It strongly depends on your budget.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    It strongly depends on your budget.
    My budget is around € 1000 to € 1500 ( $1100 to $1600)

  5. #4

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    Knowing your budget is critical to answering this question. Small-bodied archtops (15" or smaller at lower bout) are available from about $700 to $7000, and more if you want a custom-made instrument.

    Knowing your desired application would be helpful.

    Do you want a primarily acoustic archtop (fully hollow, spruce top) or would a semihollow be more in your line (typically but not always plywood with a center block)?

  6. #5

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    A GB10. 14.5 by 2.5”. Might be found at the high end of the budget.

  7. #6

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    If you're in no big hurry, you can get a very nice custom guitar from Wu or Yunzhi, through Yolanda Team, for ~$1500 shipped. You can get whatever size you want, for any part of the guitar. I have a couple of Benedettos, a Bambino and a Bambino Deluxe, which are probably about the right size, but I rarely play with them because I prefer my Wu. Lead time is ~3 months for a custom build. I don't know how long the wait for a Yunzhi is, but almost certainly no more than that, perhaps less. Several people here have Wu guitars, and I've heard of no bad experiences. 410 Gone
    I don't know why the link comes up as 410 Gone, but it takes you to the right place.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by dconeill
    Knowing your budget is critical to answering this question. Small-bodied archtops (15" or smaller at lower bout) are available from about $700 to $7000, and more if you want a custom-made instrument.

    Knowing your desired application would be helpful.

    Do you want a primarily acoustic archtop (fully hollow, spruce top) or would a semihollow be more in your line (typically but not always plywood with a center block)?
    a primarily acoustic, I think, I am a singer/ songwriter and I play acoustic guitars like Taylor/ Baton Rouge. I tend to use jazz chords in my new work and looking for a more suitable sound. It is hard to find smaller models if you don't know what to look for

  9. #8

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    GB10s are not known for their acoustic sound.

  10. #9

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    Generally there are three aspects of 'guitar size' -- the width of the lower bout, the depth from front to back and the scale length.

    So for example, you might find that you like a slimmer guitar like an Eastman El Rey 4 even though it has a slightly longer scale (16" x 2.25" @ 25"). Or you might find that a medium-deep guitar like an Epiphone Joe Pass II works for you because it has a shorter scale (16" x 2.75" @ 24.75").

    The choices are nearly endless. Hit the stores, try a bunch, see what lights you up. Happy hunting!

  11. #10

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    Would a Godin 5th Avenue be too unfathomable? It's pretty acoustic, especially without but also with pickup(s). It's also very light. Used ones available for well under 500 clams.

  12. #11

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    The Ibanez artcores have small, very comfortable necks. The AF series have several models with floating pickups (AFC95, etc) which are better at amplifying the natural acoustic sounds.

  13. #12

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    I second the recommendation for Wu/Yunzhi, especially if you primarily want an acoustic archtop. Most of the others mentioned here have very little acoustic output, from dead to marginal.

    Here are some examples:

    15 inch yunzhi fully handmade solid wood archtop electric jazz guitar-in Guitar from Sports & Entertainment on AliExpress

    Yunzhi 15 Inch F Hole Cutaway Fully Handmade Solid Wood Archtop Guitar - Buy Archtop Guitar,F Hole Electric Guitar,Solid Wood Guitar Product on Alibaba.com


    Small Size Archtop-15inch_hollow_body_handmade_jazz_guitar-jpg

  14. #13

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    Really a nice 16 inch Eastman acoustic with a floater would be the best. Neck will be regular but I don't see that as a problem. Small hands on regular neck better than huge hands on regular neck. This option would give you the most acoustic bang for the buck. Also a Gibson L 50 would be good and a Gibson too.

  15. #14

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    Hellena, what exactly is your "small stature?" I am barely 5-7, and mostly legs, with a short trunk. My wife is quite a bit shorter than me, but when we sit she sits a tad taller. So when sitting, even a 16" guitar is a bit uncomfortable. My main archtop is a Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno, 15". But I think that's out of your price range.

  16. #15

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    Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso:

    Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso | Guitars 'n Jazz

  17. #16

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    Mary Halvorson (recent MacArthur Foundation awardee) appears from her photos to be on the small side. But she uses a Guild Artist Award - a 17" archtop. I don't think one's physical size is a barrier to using a large guitar, as evidenced by several players. However, I know from personal experience that a guitar that is subjectively too big can be a trial - so it's a personal choice.

    For the cited budget a good sounding acoustic archtop might be hard to find.

    I'm pretty sure I wouldn't trust AliBaba as a vendor, which someone above recommended, but that might be just me. I certainly have a negative impression of that company.

    Perhaps a good bet for the OP would be to contact Guitars'n'Jazz and talk to them about what small, primarily acoustic archtops they have. Often they have 15" versions of Eastman models, or maybe a 16" would suffice, like an Eastman ER4 or one of the Eastman archtops.

    Another promising vendor is SoundPure; they also have various sizes available.

    I have not purchased from either Guitars'n'Jazz or SoundPure, but they seem to have good reputations and might be able to assist the OP.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Would a Godin 5th Avenue be too unfathomable? It's pretty acoustic, especially without but also with pickup(s). It's also very light. Used ones available for well under 500 clams.
    The Godin body size is very comfortable, the neck is pretty chunky.

    John

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellena
    a primarily acoustic, I think, I am a singer/ songwriter and I play acoustic guitars like Taylor/ Baton Rouge. I tend to use jazz chords in my new work and looking for a more suitable sound. It is hard to find smaller models if you don't know what to look for
    It's going to be really hard to find a small-bodied, slim-necked archtop that sounds good in your price range. In terms of what's currently being made, the only things that are anywhere near your price range with a real acoustic sound are Eastmans (used) and Loars (LH 600 or 650 new), but they're not so small, and do not have slim necks. There are also the recent Epiphone Masterbilt archtops that sound OK-ish acoustically, but the necks are kind of chunky. Somebody upthread suggested a Godin 5th Ave acoustic model, which sounds pretty decent. But it's not terribly loud (any Taylor flattop will be a lot louder), and has a chunky neck.

    Otherwise, there is vintage stuff out there that might work, but that's a journey unto itself. There are some "parlor guitar" sized older guitars from companies like Harmony and Kay that have a sort retro-cachet, but they mostly sound like crap except for handful of models with carved tops that are pretty rare. There are also some acoustic Guilds and Gretsches from the 50s and 60s with skinnier necks (e.g., Gretsch Corsair such as this

    Archtops typically have a more midrangey, less boomy and trebly sound than flattops. If that's what you're looking for, I think you'll likely do better trying different strings (maybe even flatwounds) on a flattop you like and can play comfortably then going on a wild goose chase for an archtop.

    John

  20. #19

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  21. #20

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    I am a big fan of vintage Epiphones, from the '30's and '40's. I own a few, including a '43 Ritz, which is 15-1/4" wide at the lower bout. I think it's great for acoustic Americana and roots music, and is a very comfortable body size to hold. I think these 15" Epis(made from about '35 to '49) can be very good deals, although they often need a neck reset and or fret work to play their best. The necks often have an 1-5/8" nut, with a full carve, making them extremely comfortable to play. The 14" guitars, made until '35, would also be a good choice, but are much more scarce(and forget the 13" ones, they're very pricey). I paid $700 for my Ritz. Look perhaps, for a late '40's Epi Byron.

    You can see videos of me demoing the Epis I have repaired, including the Ritz, at my facebook page, 'David Richard Luthier', to give you a sense of how they sound.

    A Gibson L-50 might also be a good choice, depending on year, and condition, but Gibsons tend to be more expensive than vintage Epiphones.

  22. #21

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    Small Size Archtop-jamebaycentury_splash_v2-jpg

    slim hollow with comfy epi c neck..and jazzy p90 type pickup

    cheers

  23. #22

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    Part of the problem is that small archtops usually mean vintage archtops and they usually don't come with small narrow necks. A good size and sounding small archtop might be a 1930-40s Gibson L-30 or Epiphone Olympic. But then again, the neck might be too full for you. Here are some examples... (Remember, these are actual vintage guitars and not current reissues)

    Gibson L-30 Sunburst 1937-1940 | Victrola Syndrome | Reverb


  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by dconeill

    I'm pretty sure I wouldn't trust AliBaba as a vendor, which someone above recommended, but that might be just me. I certainly have a negative impression of that company.
    Actually, I only linked to the alibaba site because they had pics of 15" Yunzhi guitars.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellena
    My budget is around € 1000 to € 1500 ( $1100 to $1600)
    In that budget, a used Gibson ES-339 Studio with 60's neck.

  26. #25

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    If you want a small git with big sound the Ibanez AG86 is laminated bubinga and the lower bout is 14". It's amplified sound is Waaaay better than it's price and appearance would lead you to believe. But, even large bodied archtops have less than wonderful acoustic only sound. I think in the long run you'll have to go flat top acoustic and amplify it.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellena
    My budget is around € 1000 to € 1500 ( $1100 to $1600)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hellena
    a primarily acoustic, I think, I am a singer/ songwriter and I play acoustic guitars like Taylor/ Baton Rouge. I tend to use jazz chords in my new work and looking for a more suitable sound. It is hard to find smaller models if you don't know what to look for
    Worth investigating:
    Peerless makes or made a little fully carved (spruce/maple) acoustic jazz guitar called the "Serena."
    -Neck Scale : 24.60" | 628mm
    -Body Width : 12.8" | 325mm
    -Body Depth : 3" | 77 mm
    I'm not sure of the width of the neck, but I suspect it's not large.
    It comes with a floating pickup.
    Peerless has a presence in Europe, so you can perhaps find a used one at a retailer.

    I played one at the Peerless booth at NAMM a couple of years back (where I met Doc Dosco and the owner of Peerless) and it was quite a nice little guitar.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by dconeill
    I'm pretty sure I wouldn't trust AliBaba as a vendor, which someone above recommended, but that might be just me. I certainly have a negative impression of that company.
    I've placed over 50 orders with them to date & had three problems, a tea tray (part of a tea set) arrived broken, another set of tea ware arrived with one piece the wrong colour, & a third order was missing some items. I had the money back in my account within 24 hours every time. Despite the 12 hour time difference. And the six weeks the stuff takes to arrive.

    My experience of Amazon / Ebay's not so good...

    My wife buys cloth to sew into clothes to resell - when she had 18 meters of cloth delivered to the wrong address, (her fault, she clicked through checkout not noticing she'd defaulted to an old address) she messaged the seller & was told she'd have to pay $70 to have the items redelivered or go & collect them herself - a 600 mile round trip....while she was thinking what to do they messaged her back saying not to worry, if she could wait a few days they'd arrange everything...

    Whatever reasons there are for not buying from China Customer Service shouldn't be a concern.

    Back to guitars...

    +1 for Ibanez.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellena
    a primarily acoustic, I think, I am a singer/ songwriter and I play acoustic guitars like Taylor/ Baton Rouge. I tend to use jazz chords in my new work and looking for a more suitable sound. It is hard to find smaller models if you don't know what to look for
    As someone who has built dozens of guitars I can tell you that it is a much bigger challenge to build an archtop that has a good acoustic voice than a flat top. Most factories don’t bother.

    I think I know what you are looking for: a rich sounding acoustic guitar that has a separation of tones that keeps a 7th, 13th or 6th chord sounding like what they are and not mud, and a clean and balanced sound for single note runs. Me too. But most archtop guitars are meant as electric guitars with overtones, not as acoustic guitars. As a general rule they tend to sacrifice acoustic tones to fight feedback or make room for heavy hardware. Many will sound thin, tinny, harsh and nasally compared to the average dreadnought.

    Now look for a rare small one that does all that.

    So I would highly suggest playing as many as you can. Be flexible with form factor. It will be a rare individual gem that will fit the bill, not a particular make or model. And definitely look for used. Good acoustic archtop guitars are out there, but they are rare.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  30. #29

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  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny
    In that budget, a used Gibson ES-339 Studio with 60's neck.
    That's not an acoustic guitar.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellena
    a primarily acoustic, I think, I am a singer/ songwriter and I play acoustic guitars like Taylor/ Baton Rouge. I tend to use jazz chords in my new work and looking for a more suitable sound. It is hard to find smaller models if you don't know what to look for
    How big are your Taylor/Baton Rouge guitars?

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    That's not an acoustic guitar.
    Didn't realize that was desired. I don't read every post but I see that was mentioned later.

    In that case I'd just recommend a flat-top. I'm not aware of any suitable archtops in that price range. There's always the chance that something interesting and well-priced will appear on the used market of course, but nothing comes to mind.

  34. #33

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    Based on the OP's criteria, I'd recommend trying out a used Heritage H575. They are solid wood; 16" bout; full hollow; excellent build quality and nice acoustic output. They can be found just under $2k USD on the used market, but are a great value.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellena
    Wich Archtop guitar would you recommend for somebody with small hands and a small posture?
    Please keep in mind that arch-tops project their sound forward very strongly and what you hear as a player is but a fraction of what the audience hears. This might cause you to sing more quietly than necessary to compensate for the perceived volume. Record your practice with a mic 15-20 feet away to see what I'm talking about.