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  1. #1

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking for a small (3/4) archtop jazz acoustic guitar so I can play without plugging in. Maybe I should have a round hole?

    I have around 500-600 €

    I've seen the Epiphone Masterbilt Century Olympic, but I don't know if it will sound too low; and seeing how you master the subject, surely there are much more interesting guitars.

    Thank you very much and good luck to everyone.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    There won't be much in that price range that are good sounding solid topped guitars. Gonna be a tough find. I've heard that the Epi's don't have much acoustic volume.

  4. #3

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    If you don’t definitely need an archtop, but want that sound from an acoustic, check out a Tacoma C1 Chief. Tacoma is long out of business, but you can always find a used Chief for sale.

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  5. #4

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    Why does it have to be 3/4 size? There's quite a lot of secondhand acoustic archtops on reverb, eBay and Gumtree - a lot of 1960s and 50s models for instance - that are surprisingly cheap. But I don't think I've ever spotted any 3/4 size... I'd just keep your eyes peeled for one with a smaller body than the norm.
    To throw you a curveball: there are a lot of good parlour-size steel string acoustics out there. By Recording King and The Loar among others. Some people love the Gretsch Jim Dandy (I've never tried it). Recording King did a series called Dirty 30 that were great 30s style models: their 'Harmonella' models had floating tailpieces. They crop up secondhand frequently.
    Another curveball: you could probably find an entry level Gyspsy jazz guitar in your price range. Thomann's Harley Benton brand do a very cheap nylon Gypsy guitar and a more expensive steel stringer.

  6. #5

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    My little guitar is a Seagull Coastline Grand parlor. It barks like a Gypsy jazzer and does the old timey blues thing too. I picked it up used for a couple hundred US $. Cheap cost, but well built. That's really Seagull's thing.

  7. #6

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    Eastman made a couple of smaller Archtops ER-0 (El Rey Acoustic) and a small 13" or 14" for the Japanese market awhile back. Not sure other tham say Walkin Guitars in Japan to find them?

  8. #7

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    Not advocating this particular instrument due to budget but I bought a Waterloo WL-S to scratch a similar itch to what you describe. A small (but full-scale) parlor size flattop per others’ suggestions will probably get you far.

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  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by danipat
    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking for a small (3/4) archtop jazz acoustic guitar so I can play without plugging in.
    Most of us use a full scale instrument to play unplugged. What are we missing? What's imporant about having a small rarely built sized guitar?

  10. #9

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    The only 3/4 archtops that even find to mine is the guild freshman they was built in the 60s, and those came with single coils or Franz pickups which may or may not limit their suitability for jazz noises.

    My baby guitar is a current guild m20, which I very much adore. It's small, dark, smooth and dry, which might lend itself to this sort of thing. They make an import version of it, too; the m120? A Waterloo is never a bad choice, either, but pricey.

    If you want to explore the parlor idea further, there are lots of larrivee models out there, and people seem to like their Eastman and Alvarez models. Maybe a yairi? Not sure that many, if any of my suggestions can be found in the price range, though. Maybe a Yamaha silent guitar?

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Most of us use a full scale instrument to play unplugged. What are we missing? What's imporant about having a small rarely built sized guitar?
    Just speaking for my Seagull, which is a full scale, but small bodied guitar, it has a very unique voice--barks like a Selmer/Maccaferri and does the Robert Johnson blues thing. It also travels well. It's really sturdy and it easily fits in the overhead bin of an airplane.

  12. #11

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    On reflection, if you can use a flattop there a lot of nice choices in that price range. I bought my wife an Alvarez MSD1 mini dreadnaught and it sounds fabulous and loud. Here's one right now on "the Verb."

    Alvarez MSD1 | Big Bri’s Music | Reverb

  13. #12

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    Try searching for a 'travel' guitar. These are typically small, less expensive, and widely available, often used. Some designs have a fairly decent sound quality. I acquired a Composite Acoustics archtop several years ago for travel because they're designed to fit easily in the overhead compartment on a plane as a carry on item.

    The neck and fretboard are spot on, with great frets and setup. Because it's composit, it is stable to changes in temperature and humidity. If you drop an oar while canoeing you can use it for a paddle (joking)!

    I think I paid a little over $1k US at the time, so used one should be about in your price range.

    Small Acoustic Jazz Guitar?-20200608_073646-jpg

  14. #13

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    Flat top Taylor GS Mini. USD499. 23.5” scale. Standard Taylor bolt-on neck. 14th fret body join. 1 3/4” nut. 15” radius. Laminate back and sides in a variety of wood combinations. Satin finish. I have the mahogany top version. Solid top, sapele laminate back and sides. Freaking Loud for such a little bitty guitar! But responsive enough for finger picking.
    Last edited by TedBPhx; 06-08-2020 at 05:58 PM.

  15. #14

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    My front porch quarantine guitar is a Gibson LG-2 "American Eagle".
    We are well bonded. I appreciate this guitar more & more. Sweet & well balanced

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone

    Small Acoustic Jazz Guitar?-20200608_073646-jpg
    Love that guitar!