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  1. #51

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    In the small (and shrinking by natural causes) circles where I'm at home, standards and the Great American Songbook are very much alive. But there's next to no bridge to contemporary jazz. The Sibelius Academy produces fantastic jazz musicians, but for them, bebop was the birth of jazz, and they avoid 4/4 like a pest. For the general audience, their stuff goes "over the dandruff", i.e. is too theoretical/introspective and forgets about the essence: swing.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Not everyone in the world thinks guaranteeing wages and worker safety is as important as it is in the USofA. A domestic company is saddled with factory requirements that do not exist in other parts of the world. OSHA, EPA and of course wages will effectively kill or maim any new US attempt at a new production company.
    Rant starts now....
    Not sure why Ibanez gets so little notice here but the Ibanez archtops made in Japan models, of which I have both, are very well made, and the workmanship on them is consistently excellent. Way under the prices being discussed. And they play nice and sound good. (Yea I have the zealotry of a convert, but I did keep my L5.)

    But we have another problem here. The “American Standards” (Rodgers, Porter et al) repertoire died off long ago in the general public. Those were compact listenable tunes the audience knew and could identify with. (Note how the Joe Pass standards albums kept him earning ‘Best Jazz Guitarist’ for years.) Sure we can, and Joe did too, throw in the occasional “real” jazz piece but seriously the general listening public isn’t all that keen on Giant Steps. With the noted shrinking of attention spans, the continuous improvisation on a couple of modes isn’t catching to the ears of a ‘civilian’. They want to tap their toes to the music. We need as practicing musicians to be honest with ourselves about playing what the audience wants and understands. As Tal Farlow said: “we’re playing to the Satin Doll set”. Which is dying off.

    So we are in the position of playing an instrument with a narrow range of use to a declining base of interested listeners. And, having to either play standards that few under 40 ever heard, or playing “Real” jazz stuff that has now mostly been heard by jazz students. The archtop market, American or not, is dying because of those factors. Do you really think the vulture capitalists now at Gibson would have essentially killed the line if they thought there was money to be made? On the number one lusted-after brand of archtop? Products losing money is not how to sell a company at a profit, and KKR people buy companies to sell at a profit.

    Personally I blame schools throwing out music and art programs to fund sports, leaving us with a whole bunch of untrained ears. But that’s another rant)))
    This is all logical but doesn't necessarily explain everything. Before he went bankrupt, Henry J. was making and selling a good number of very nice archtops. The guitar division of Gibson was healthy. It was the other electronic "lifestyle" stuff that ironically sank the company.

    It was just a few short years ago that one could view lots and lots of beautiful Gibson archtops at big guitar shows and online at Wildwood Guitars, The Music Zoo, and even The Guitar Center. They looked better than the Gibsons from any other period.

    That all ended with the bankruptcy.

  4. #53
    True.....up till 2017 The Gibson Crimson shop was pumping out a lot of archtops. I actually bought the last Tal Farlow made.The Death of the American Archtop-970690de-8899-451a-810d-fffd3e797ff1-jpgThe Death of the American Archtop-5578af9b-104f-41e3-8296-3204cb6a55d0-jpg

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Gibson should always have their iconic archtop guitars available, even if at a price point that will result in very few sales. The L-5, Super 400 and ES-175 should be out there. Even if only on a "custom shop" type of basis. Why abandon any particular market to competitors?

    My prediction is that companies like Gibson and Harley-Davidson will need to contract in order to stay profitable with declining customer bases. Old guys should not cry in their beer regarding changing fashions. Life is not static. It never was.
    How about the return of the ES-125? Could they not make a better version than Godins copies and make a nice profit? Seems like a guitar ripe for profit, no? Would have some crossover appeal I think and not at a brutal price point.

  6. #55

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    [How about the return of the ES-125?]

    ES-1250?

  7. #56

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  8. #57

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    "I don’t think hand made guitars and working musicians go hand in hand." rirhett

    This is certainly the mantra/practice for most working musicians. What would you do to a drunk that spills a drink or knocks over your vintage guitar? Most musicians don't play Carnegie Hall. Good playing . . . Marinero

    P.S. I even use a "working" Classical guitar for my Classical gigs unless there is absolutely no audience contact/interaction during the performance.
    Last edited by Marinero; 07-15-2020 at 03:15 PM. Reason: addition

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    My contacts in NY say that a typical jazz club gig is $ 100, even $ 50...
    It's not just jazz, it's the same with other music genre/styles. I got paid the same (and better) in the 70s.

  10. #59

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    One of the things to consider is musicians are no longer really needed. So the tools they used are no longer needed as well. Sure there are bespoke builders, but it's really for the very few.
    Up until the IPhone revolution it was really still musician driven. Even if it was really banal music being sold. But since YouTube and IPhone anyone can sell themselves without any real talent skills. There are no more pesky barriers to hold anyone back. And it only costs the actual device to get in the game.

    I say all this because really aside from say Slash, there are no real guitar hero's to sell instruments. And the need of anything like an archtop is really a novelty nowadays.
    Most people buy cheaper flat top guitars or the few expensive ones. Archtops are associated with Jazz, and that music has been a money killer for music sales from downloads to clubs,etc.

    When I grew up Johnny Smith, Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, were guitar hero's looked up to and were also a Gibson associated guitar models as well.

  11. #60

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    ...And adjusted for inflation, I was paid much more for gigs in the 70's and 80's than in the new millennium!

  12. #61

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    So all of the evolutionary changes aren't entirely bad. There are few guitar heroes, it's true. But there is no scarcity of amateur guitarists or music lovers. There may be more opportunity, more access for average people to express themselves musically even if they suck. There's joy in just trying.

    Archtops will always be around, just in smaller numbers. You can still find lutes, after all.

  13. #62

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    Epiphone no longer has any archtops on their website. There are still some semi-hollow bodies. It's interesting that it appears Gibson must have made the decison that there is no money in archtops, either Gibson or Epiphone brand. A lot of people liked their import Epiphone Joe Pass model hollow bodies for the price. It seemed like a standard introduction to archtop guitars. It's interesting that D'Angelico is making archtops but Gibson and Epiphone have quit. Gibson even had its own factory in China to make Epiphones.

    There will always be people who love archtop guitars, but like people who love jazz, they are a small percentage of the population. There have always been people who appreciate art, film and music and seek out quality beyond what is popular.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by zephyrregent
    It's interesting that D'Angelico is making archtops but Gibson and Epiphone have quit.
    This is the common misconception that keeps coming up.

    Gibson has not quit. See above posts complaining about price. It's true that they are not part of their standard "lineup", and are not shown on their website, which is a bummer, but they have not quit.

    If you've got the money, honey, they've got the time.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    This is the common misconception that keeps coming up.

    Gibson has not quit. See above posts complaining about price. It's true that they are not part of their standard "lineup", and are not shown on their website, which is a bummer, but they have not quit.

    If you've got the money, honey, they've got the time.
    The same applies to our friends over at Heritage with the exception of their Standard H-575 & Standard Eagle models.
    The Heritage "Custom Shop" upgrades to these two models can quickly push prices slightly under Gibson Custom Shop Archtops.

  16. #65

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    Actually Rap has taken over such a huge share of the music entertainment industry, musicians are a moot point !

    We can thank Kanye West for his demise of the music we use to love. Not only him but that's what people want and kids try and emulate. They are no longer content being musicians, but the whole package and all of the accolades.

    The beautiful thing about music to me was the improvisation of playing with other players. And the deeper the conversation of the grooves,harmony,etc.
    But we are now in a Visual Age as well as a Narccistic one in my opinion.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    We don’t mass produce consumer goods in the West much anymore. Whether it’s wise to rely on Asia for all our consumer goods is a different question. That leaves only bespoke hand made luxury goods to be made in the US. And those, almost by definition, are not the tools of working people.
    Well, we don't manufacture small goods that are relatively inexpensive here because of labor costs, etc. It is much more profitable to exploit inexpensive labor in other parts of the world and pay for shipping then it is to manufacture them here in the US. Anything that is sold on a tight margin where pennies make the difference is often manufactured somewhere where labor is much less expensive. In addition to low labor and overhead costs in places like China, India, etc., shipping is remarkably inexpensive across the Pacific Ocean to the US thanks to economies of scale.

    But the US does manufacture food, cars, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, building materials, agricultural implements, etc., etc. there are still factories all over America, although as a percentage of the employment base this is probably much reduced from 50 or 100 years ago. In the case of cars, even many "foreign" brands are built in North America. My Subaru was built in Indiana, for example. And quite a few components in "American" cars are imported from overseas, so they are not as American as it might seem at first glance.

    Although by the same token, the percentage of the American population working in agriculture has shrunk even more precipitously with a number of knock-on socioeconomic effects (pulling the numbers out of my increasingly unreliable memory, something like 40% of the population in 1900 to 2% of the population now, which has economically devastated rural small-town America).

    To get back to guitars, I am not sure that I buy the thesis that the American archtop is dead. That is true in terms of large scale manufacturing but America is chock-full of people who have struck out on their own to make these instruments on a small scale basis. There might be as many archtop guitars being made in the US now as there was 75 years ago, just that instead of most of them being made at Guild, Gibson, Gretsch, etc., they are being made in little shops in every state.

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    We can thank Kanye West for his demise of the music we use to love. Not only him but that's what people want and kids try and emulate. They are no longer content being musicians, but the whole package and all of the accolades.
    I don't think we can blame any one person for the demise of jazz, and especially not that particular gentleman since rap and hip-hop pre-dated him by decades. The first rap song I heard was "The Message" and that was something like 1982.

  19. #68

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    I think we can blame Kanye for many things, especially every time he opens his mouth!
    Self professed genius, and he said it so it must be true. Just like Trump, where do these narcissists get so many followers from? We are at an all time low in many areas of our society currently.

    Maybe the public is just completely stupid, and were finally seeing it play out. But when the lowest common denominator wins strictly by earnings power,we're seriously doomed as a society !

  20. #69

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    When you try to drive prices as high as possible, and to turn a musical instrument into a novelty item ("lifestyle" was it called!), one of the target groups you are going to alienate is, in this case, musicians. 10k for an L5, or 5-6k for an 175, are prices that in my opinion, put these guitars out of the market, regardless of how good an instrument they might be. And if you are going to only sell a handful per year, might as well use the workforce in other projects..

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    When you try to drive prices as high as possible, and to turn a musical instrument into a novelty item ("lifestyle" was it called!), one of the target groups you are going to alienate is, in this case, musicians. 10k for an L5, or 5-6k for an 175, are prices that in my opinion, put these guitars out of the market, regardless of how good an instrument they might be. And if you are going to only sell a handful per year, might as well use the workforce in other projects..
    Exactly. Whether prices are "fair" or not, and what that even means, is a different discussion, but it's a fact that I've driven to gigs in cars far cheaper than what a L5-CES is going for here in Europe. That price it out of my range.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    When you try to drive prices as high as possible, and to turn a musical instrument into a novelty item ("lifestyle" was it called!), one of the target groups you are going to alienate is, in this case, musicians. 10k for an L5, or 5-6k for an 175, are prices that in my opinion, put these guitars out of the market, regardless of how good an instrument they might be. And if you are going to only sell a handful per year, might as well use the workforce in other projects..

    Hi, A,
    In the Classical world, renowned luthiers (Wagner, Somogyi, Hauser, Torres, Bouchet, etc.) get from 15K up to 35K for their top models but these are largely played by performing concert artists or purchased by collectors. I don't think the average musician could tell the difference from say a 3K to 5K luthier-built instrument and one of these top end instruments and much of their value is in the name and mystique. Fortunately for the luthiers, they usually have waiting lists as long as ten years for their products. Good playing . . . Marinero

  23. #72

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    As I read this thread it strikes me that the most successful, popular and wealthy rock and blues musicians generally have used instruments in the price range of amateurs. Granted, they often had many of them though.

    Pete Townsend and Carlos Santana played SG Specials. Jimi Hendrix mostly played Strats. The Beatles also used guitars within reach, as did Clapton.

    I recently saw Yes. They sound great. Steve Howe played a ES-175, not exactly a Stradivarius.

    Clapton's 1964 Crossroads 335 was originally simply called a 335. The custom shop version sells for $15K as a replica of that assembly line guitar. I'd have to wonder if Clapton could have afforded to buy this replica back in the day he got his original.

    Often we chase illusions.

    One of my all time favorite old bands is Spirit. Randy California recorded the early albums with a Sears Silvertone.


  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    As I read this thread it strikes me that the most successful, popular and wealthy rock and blues musicians generally have used instruments in the price range of amateurs. Granted, they often had many of them though.
    Certainly one of the reasons for the popularity of the guitar is and has been that it is inexpensive, compared to many more ‘serious’ instruments. This is one reason it’s the basis of many rock and blues bands - it’s an “Everyman” instrument.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, A,
    In the Classical world, renowned luthiers (Wagner, Somogyi, Hauser, Torres, Bouchet, etc.) get from 15K up to 35K for their top models but these are largely played by performing concert artists or purchased by collectors. I don't think the average musician could tell the difference from say a 3K to 5K luthier-built instrument and one of these top end instruments and much of their value is in the name and mystique. Fortunately for the luthiers, they usually have waiting lists as long as ten years for their products. Good playing . . . Marinero
    This is true, but as you mention, they are independent small luthiers, with small production numbers usually. It would be hard to move factory numbers of guitars. And even they today, judging from flamenco makers in Spain, have hardly the waiting lists they had a few years back.

    From friends, myself, and musicians I see buying stuff, a good estimate of what people are willing to pay nowdays would be around 5k for an archtop, and 3-3,5k for a laminate.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    I think we can blame Kanye for many things, especially every time he opens his mouth!
    Self professed genius, and he said it so it must be true. Just like Trump, where do these narcissists get so many followers from? We are at an all time low in many areas of our society currently.

    Maybe the public is just completely stupid, and were finally seeing it play out. But when the lowest common denominator wins strictly by earnings power,we're seriously doomed as a society !
    Well, yes, we can blame Kanye for many things just not the demise of jazz.


    Apparently all it takes to be a genius these days is to claim to be one. The public is almost but not quite stupid. PT Barnum and HL Mencken pointed this out decades ago, although both seemed to believe in the intractable stupidity of the general public. Lincoln was a bit more optimistic when he noted (something along the lines of) "you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all the time but you can't fool all the people all the time." But there is enough gullibility that con men can thrive; and there are those who will continue to laud them even when the con is revealed.

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Well, yes, we can blame Kanye for many things just not the demise of jazz.


    Apparently all it takes to be a genius these days is to claim to be one. The public is almost but not quite stupid. PT Barnum and HL Mencken pointed this out decades ago, although both seemed to believe in the intractable stupidity of the general public. Lincoln was a bit more optimistic when he noted (something along the lines of) "you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all the time but you can't fool all the people all the time." But there is enough gullibility that con men can thrive; and there are those who will continue to laud them even when the con is revealed.
    When people confuse conviction with wisdom, you get a lot of what we have now. It's inarguable.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    A domestic company is saddled with factory requirements that do not exist in other parts of the world. OSHA, EPA and of course wages will effectively kill or maim any new US attempt at a new production company.
    With respect, I cannot disagree more. I cannot grasp the logic which lets you to use 'kill or maim' to describe the interventions which every shift, every day keep American workers from being killed and maimed.

    + + +

    For example: Fifteen years ago my friends and clients at Upton Bass were importing double-basses. Fed-up with the trouble it took to bring their suppliers up to the Upton quality standard, they started setting up to build from scratch. A ton of people, including some who should have known better, told them that they would never compete with the Romanians and the Chinese on quality or price.

    They politely told those folks that they disagreed, plunged in lip-deep and imported high-skill craft factory jobs from Eastern Europe to Connecticut. Now Upton is the largest manufacturer of double-basses in the US. They have won multiple awards for skill and tone (the latter blind-tested). Their client list is a who's-who of the DB world.

    What does it take to build archtops? Skilled, organized people who really, really want to build archtops.

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    What does it take to build archtops? Skilled, organized people who really, really want to build archtops.
    Sure, if you're only looking at the supply side. The other half is the demand side: who's going to buy them and what does it take to sell sufficient archtops to make it worth going into business and not losing one's shirt? That is why the current primary builders of arch tops in America are small one person shops.

    The current ownership and management at Gibson, I am sure, took a long hard look at the bottom lines of the different products and jettisoned the ones that didn't make money. That would be archtops, because the audience to purchase them is very, very small and Gibson had to compete with the used/vintage market for sales. Since the standard belief in the guitar playing public is that old/vintage is always better than new, makers face some stiff headwinds in competition from their own past.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Gibson should always have their iconic archtop guitars available, even if at a price point that will result in very few sales. The L-5, Super 400 and ES-175 should be out there. Even if only on a "custom shop" type of basis. Why abandon any particular market to competitors?

    My prediction is that companies like Gibson and Harley-Davidson will need to contract in order to stay profitable with declining customer bases. Old guys should not cry in their beer regarding changing fashions. Life is not static. It never was.
    I read once that Chevy loses money on the Corvette every year, but they keep it going for the image. Other models make up for it. Don't know if that's true or not.

  31. #80

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    As in fly fishing gear and wood working tools, there is a great gulf between functionally adequate and something that is a true pleasure to handle and use. How much that matters depends on the individual. Of course, I would note that most who have their musical passions stirred by a great archtop, regardless of point of origin, also enjoy their Tele's so it's not just the music. It's the art in the craft.

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I read once that Chevy loses money on the Corvette every year, but they keep it going for the image. Other models make up for it. Don't know if that's true or not.
    The new mid-engine Corvette is a marvel at that price point. Incredible.

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Sure, if you're only looking at the supply side. The other half is the demand side: who's going to buy them and what does it take to sell sufficient archtops to make it worth going into business and not losing one's shirt? That is why the current primary builders of arch tops in America are small one person shops.

    The current ownership and management at Gibson, I am sure, took a long hard look at the bottom lines of the different products and jettisoned the ones that didn't make money. That would be archtops, because the audience to purchase them is very, very small and Gibson had to compete with the used/vintage market for sales. Since the standard belief in the guitar playing public is that old/vintage is always better than new, makers face some stiff headwinds in competition from their own past.
    The archtop shops are small indeed. Nothing wrong with that. A guitar company needn't be Toyota or whatever.

    I'm confident that Gibson makes a profit on their archtops, given that they make them on order. L5s will never be their highest selling guitar model by any stretch of the imagination, but they don't need to be. I really don't see a problem.

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    personally i blame schools throwing out music and art programs to fund sports, leaving us with a whole bunch of untrained ears. But that’s another rant)))
    yes.

  35. #84

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    I totally disagree. Kids have always formed their own musical tastes outside of school.

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil59
    I totally disagree. Kids have always formed their own musical tastes outside of school.
    Tastes yes, skills not so much.

  37. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    Tastes yes, skills not so much.
    But don't taste and interest lead to skills? This thread is about the "death of the American archtop." Jazz has been on the decline for many decades, regardless of what schools have or haven't done. I am no defender of the disgraceful emphasis on sports--at the expense not so much of music but of academic standards!!!

  38. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil59
    I totally disagree. Kids have always formed their own musical tastes outside of school.
    I agree. My mother was a brilliant singer of classical music. She did it professionally before my father died--after, she took a day gig but still sang in a performing classical choir. At home she played classical recordings often and worked on instilling a love of that music in me. She was appalled when I started a doo wop group and then developed a love of jazz. Even more so when, after teaching myself to play on her classical guitar, I bought an electric guitar and started playing rock & roll.

    I've been hearing the argument from jazz people for 60+ years that if people were just more exposed to and taught about jazz they'd learn to like it. That might be true for some, but most people like what they like. Sadly, it's not jazz.

    As for me, I can't tolerate classical music at all.

    Danny W.

  39. #88

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    A couple of points.

    There is a lot of interest in archtops thanks to mainly Americana/roots music. I see them all the time at festivals.

    I bought a 175 in 1981 or 2 for about $900. If just adjusted for inflation, it would cost $2552. And that’s not considering the improvements in manufacturing such as CNC etc. that have occurred in the interim.

    So the amount Gibson was charging for the 175 until recently was a “prestige tax”.

    That’s OK, I get it, but there’s no reason American companies cannot produce a reasonable product at a reasonable price.

    And don’t bring up labor costs, or regulations, cause those are just a small fraction of production costs.

    Anyway, not sure there’s a real lesson here, except that I think if Gibson and other manufacturers wanted to make a “workingman’s” archtop like the 125 or 135 they could, at a reasonably low cost.

  40. #89

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    The American flattop is far from an endangered species. Martin produces 100K+ annually, and there's a host of others. The archtop market is so much smaller that economies of scale don't realize and investments in more efficient methods aren't worthwhile. Labor costs do factor in - just look at the price differential between parallel American and Far East models. European labor is even more expensive and regulated than American, and industrial guitar manufacturing went into a nosedive in the 1970s. Furch in Czechia stlll makes fine guitars, but even they terminated their archtop line years ago. No demand, no supply.
    Last edited by Gitterbug; 07-17-2020 at 06:39 AM.

  41. #90

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  42. #91

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    Some interesting ideas here. In my experience, Music finds you. However, early exposure in school systems would help accelerate that experience at an earlier age. Why are people drawn to certain genres of Music? I think it's partly cultural and partly personal. For example, if you're born in Plano, Texas, you'd be more likely, as a generalization, to hear C @ W music growing up in a community rather than Jazz, Classical, or Bossa. And, for many/most, it sets your early preferences for music. The converse can also be said that if you grow up in the suburbs of the Midwest, you're more likely to listen to Rock Music. And, in America's black communities it would be rap, R & B, and Jazz. Yes, of course, these are generalizations but they are valid for the majority of people and easily provable if you walk the streets of these areas and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood. However, aside from cultural, one's personal preferences are more complex. As a young person growing up in Chicago, most people in my neighborhood listened to R @ R/Rock. I enjoyed R @ R, but despised most Rock Music: Beetles, Beach Boys, Monkeees, Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, Buckinghams, etc. However, at an early age I was attracted to the music of Sam and Dave, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Rufus Thomas, Jr. Walker, Booker T, etc. And, when I first discovered Chicago DJ Marty Faye and Daddio Daley on AM radio at the age of 12, I became hopelessly addicted to Jazz. I can't honestly explain this reality and have given it considerable thought over the years. But, it is real and has been a lifetime of love. So, music can be both cultural and/or personal but I agree that early exposure is important.
    Play Live! . . . Marinero

  43. #92

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    Teach your children well. Didn't somebody say that?

    I heard lots of music when I was in the womb. My parents played classical and lots of other good music all the time in our home and never stopped. I shudder to think what my tastes and exposure to the world's great music would have been had I depended on school to inform me. And there was no getting away from popular music once we kids got a little older, but that was through neighborhood and school friends, not school itself.

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug View Post
    Furch in Czechia stlll makes fine guitars, but even they terminated their archtop line years ago. No demand, no supply.
    In fairness, this was about American Achtops, but trends are similar. Bottom line? There is still demand here.

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan View Post
    In fairness, this was about American Achtops, but trends are similar. Bottom line? There is still demand here.
    In fairness, this was not about rap and music education either. My point is that the demise of the archtop has been evident for decades, and the U.S has been its last bastion. The demand is there but not enough of it and too scattered. While some posters are crying after the L-5, others suggest the return of the ES-125 or something similar for the working guitarist. For me, the Godin 5th Ave ticks most of the boxes in the Volks-Archtop category, but evidently does not satisfy the cork-sniffing archtop aficionados.

  46. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug View Post
    In fairness, this was not about rap and music education either. My point is that the demise of the archtop has been evident for decades, and the U.S has been its last bastion. The demand is there but not enough of it and too scattered. While some posters are crying after the L-5, others suggest the return of the ES-125 or something similar for the working guitarist. For me, the Godin 5th Ave ticks most of the boxes in the Volks-Archtop category, but evidently does not satisfy the cork-sniffing archtop aficionados.

    Sorry, G,
    It was just too tempting to ignore! Play live! . . . Marinero

  47. #96
    Well if the fact that I love Gibson archtops makes me a cork sniffer I guess I will wear that title as a honor. I was blessed to live in a certain time. I can remember in the 1970's when you could walk into a music store and play a L5,175,S400, or a Guild AA. They were all hanging on the racks.
    Last edited by vinnyv1k; 07-17-2020 at 05:06 PM.

  48. #97
    The Death of the American Archtop-d4c6e543-3e27-4095-aa23-dfc54ece091f-jpg

  49. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post

    And don’t bring up labor costs, or regulations, cause those are just a small fraction of production costs.
    Sorry, but that is just not true. By most estimates, wages + wage-related taxes + wage-related benefits typically far outstrip other costs (such as raw materials). When these costs are 70% of the total production costs you can see why companies will spend tens of millions of dollars to relocate a factory (think Gibson moving from Kalamazoo to Nashville).

    Labor Costs are the Biggest Cost of Business

    Collings is a good example. The cost of living in Austin has increased by more than 60% over the past two years (30+% 2018 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019). You can see the impact in the cost of Collings Guitars as they struggle to pay appropriate wages to their employees trying to remain in Austin.

    Austin '''Cost To Live Comfortably''' Increase Is Highest In Nation | Austin, TX Patch

    When the Healdsburg Guitar Festival was still going, I remember seeing table after table of archtop builders in there with the flat-top luthiers. But this definitely represents the bespoke market. Hopefully, as Gibson pulls back from the edge of bankruptcy, they will be able to again offer the 175s or other hollow-body archtop at an affordable price.

  50. #99

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    [I can remember in the 1970’s when you could walk into a music store and play a L5,175,S400, or a Guild AA. They were all hanging on the racks.]

    I can remember 1996 when my wife, a scientist, did a stint with Harvard in Boston. On a weekend trip, we passed a small town in Vermont and I found a used guitar shop. Your faves were all hanging on the wall there...



  51. #100

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    Ok, just for fun let's review - "The Death of The American Archtop" (emphasis mine)


    1. Gibson has stopped making them (false)
    2. There is no demand for them (false)
    3. The only reason that Gibson is making fewer of them now than when Henry was in charge is because of low demand (false)
    4. Archtops don't make up the majority of Gibson or Fenders lines (true)
    5. Archtops, especially carved tops with extra binding and inlays etc. cost more than Stratocasters (true)
    6. The Beatles did OK without them (true)
    7. Jazz has been in decline for a long time (true)
    8. A working musician is defined as someone who earns $4,800.00 to $18.000 per year from gigs. (???)
    9. Working musicians don't have very many jazz gigs anymore (true)
    10. We don't need no stinkin' L5s, but since they exist they should be cheap, and "working musicians" should be able to easily afford one, and if they can't then no one should have one (contradictory)
    11. We don't need to worry about the financial security of working musicians in any terms beyond L5 ownership (so it would seem)
    12. It's fun to agitate class warfare using the L5 as a symbol of pretentious wealth (sadly true)


    Ok, just kidding. Have great weekend all.