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  1. #1

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    Ok - brand new guy here one more time. One more noob question.

    I've bought many guitars over the years via Ebay, and in recent years Reverb, and more recently a few from Sweetwater. All good.

    So I am still learning the ropes as I search for just the right first jazz guitar, and I realize that not all the shops list their cool used inventory on Ebay or Reverb. Gruhn, for example. Elderly, and Wildwood too, I think, and no doubt many others.

    So here's the question: Where should I look? Brick & mortar aside, what are your go-to places that have a website but do not list their inventory on Ebay, Reverb or Gbase? A place that does a proper setup before it ships. Not 5-figure boutique stuff - I am a jazz noob afterall. Continental USA only, preferably. Any recommendations?

    Thanks!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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  4. #3

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    Chicago Music Exchange which might be relevant given your handle.

    archtop.com which tends to be a little higher end.

    Guitars 'n' Jazz Guitars 'n Jazz - 400 Archtops in stock - choose don't settle
    Last edited by Cunamara; 02-27-2021 at 01:13 AM.

  5. #4

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    If you don't want a high end guitar (probably a wise choice at this point) there are lots of choices. If you've had good experiences at Sweetwater you might just consider them. A lot of people like the Ibanezes, the Godins, the PRS SEs and the D'angelicos. Among those four manufacturers there are probably dozens of models that might be suitable. You might even try a Telecaster. There's no law that says you have to play jazz on an archtop. Look them over, Google up some reviews, ask around and pick one. There are a lot of really good mid-priced guitars. Happy hunting.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Chicago Music Exchange which might be relevant given your handle.
    Oh yes. I've spent countless hours in their shop. Reason alone to visit Chicago.

  7. #6

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    Call Peter Wagonner at Lavonne Music Savage, Mn. He knows as much about guitars as Geaorge Gruhn. He also doesn't advertise his store that much.
    Another good guy to deal with is Dave Rogers at Davesguitars.com they are also honest as the day is long!

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    Call Peter Wagonner at Lavonne Music Savage, Mn. He knows as much about guitars as Geaorge Gruhn. He also doesn't advertise his store that much.
    Another good guy to deal with is Dave Rogers at Davesguitars.com they are also honest as the day is long!
    Hi and thanks for the tip. I did not know about Lavonne. I will check them out. I see Dave's Guitar Shop on Reverb all the time. He always has beautiful stuff. I've spent some time at Trane in La Crosse, years ago too.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan0996
    If you don't want a high end guitar (probably a wise choice at this point) there are lots of choices. If you've had good experiences at Sweetwater you might just consider them. A lot of people like the Ibanezes, the Godins, the PRS SEs and the D'angelicos. Among those four manufacturers there are probably dozens of models that might be suitable. You might even try a Telecaster. There's no law that says you have to play jazz on an archtop. Look them over, Google up some reviews, ask around and pick one. There are a lot of really good mid-priced guitars. Happy hunting.
    Thanks, Jonathan. Yes, I am enjoying the hunt (and the education) very much. Part of the fun is that although I pretty much already own all the guitars that I (truthfully) should ever need - I don't have an archtop, and I am enjoying learning about them. So by reading this website, looking at guitars for sale on Reverb and every other cool place that you guys suggest, I am starting to compile an informal set of criteria that I think I'd like. Maybe its a PM2 or a beat up old 175, or possibly this interesting looking thing: Guild X-175 Manhattan Dynasonic Hollowbody Electric Guitar - Black | Sweetwater

    That Guild doesn't appear on the Guild website. It might be a SW exclusive, but even my guy at SW doesn't know for sure....

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoT
    Hi and thanks for the tip. I did not know about Lavonne. I will check them out. I see Dave's Guitar Shop on Reverb all the time. He always has beautiful stuff. I've spent some time at Trane in La Crosse, years ago too.
    Nothing runs like a Trane!

    Dave’s has an incredible selection—they also have a store in Milwaukee, which is closer to your neck of the woods. Not so big on vintage, other than Dave’s personal collection (!), but they can get you just about anything in a brand they carry.

    Lavonne’s is highly recommended. Also Willie’s Guitars in St. Paul. Both of these specialize in vintage but do have some new as well.

    Madison has a Dave’s as well, also the web mentions Guitar Shop of Wisconsin. Not sure if this is the same vintage place I used to go to, which I know has since moved. Spruce Tree Music is one of the best places for acoustic instruments.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoT
    Ok - brand new guy here one more time. One more noob question.
    I've bought many guitars over the years via Ebay, and in recent years Reverb, and more recently a few from Sweetwater. All good.
    So I am still learning the ropes as I search for just the right first jazz guitar, and I realize that not all the shops list their cool used inventory on Ebay or Reverb. Gruhn, for example. Elderly, and Wildwood too, I think, and no doubt many others.
    So here's the question: Where should I look? Brick & mortar aside, what are your go-to places that have a website but do not list their inventory on Ebay, Reverb or Gbase? A place that does a proper setup before it ships. Not 5-figure boutique stuff - I am a jazz noob afterall. Continental USA only, preferably. Any recommendations? Thanks!
    I recommend you look right here, in this forum. There are some real experts here, including some who setup the guitars prior to shipping. You'll also get a better deal compared to any retailer, and we are generally a friendly bunch.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    I recommend you look right here, in this forum. There are some real experts here, including some who setup the guitars prior to shipping. You'll also get a better deal compared to any retailer, and we are generally a friendly bunch.
    I like that idea very much. Thank you!

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Lavonne’s is highly recommended. Also Willie’s Guitars in St. Paul. Both of these specialize in vintage but do have some new as well.

    Madison has a Dave’s as well, also the web mentions Guitar Shop of Wisconsin. Not sure if this is the same vintage place I used to go to, which I know has since moved. Spruce Tree Music is one of the best places for acoustic instruments.
    Great recommendations. Thank you! I am unfortunately living away from Chicago these days, but (pre-Covid, anyway), I do get back several times a year...

  14. #13

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    I had a great experience with Bernunzio Music in New York https://bernunzio.com/.

    They had two archtops I was interested in, spoke to Mark(?) told him my preferences and desires he suggested one over the other, it arrived beautifully setup ready to play, very positive experience.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoT
    Hi and thanks for the tip. I did not know about Lavonne. I will check them out. I see Dave's Guitar Shop on Reverb all the time. He always has beautiful stuff. I've spent some time at Trane in La Crosse, years ago too.
    Did you know Randy Hembd?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoT
    Ok - brand new guy here one more time. One more noob question.

    I've bought many guitars over the years via Ebay, and in recent years Reverb, and more recently a few from Sweetwater. All good.

    So I am still learning the ropes as I search for just the right first jazz guitar, and I realize that not all the shops list their cool used inventory on Ebay or Reverb. Gruhn, for example. Elderly, and Wildwood too, I think, and no doubt many others.

    So here's the question: Where should I look? Brick & mortar aside, what are your go-to places that have a website but do not list their inventory on Ebay, Reverb or Gbase? A place that does a proper setup before it ships. Not 5-figure boutique stuff - I am a jazz noob afterall. Continental USA only, preferably. Any recommendations?

    Thanks!
    In NYC:

    Rudy's Music Stop, though they're mostly pretty high end.

    TR Crandall nothing cheap, but they have several $2.5-3k-ish archtops on their site.

    Retrofrets - similar to Crandall

    Rivington Music I think they also use GBase, but they have a website with usually a few used archtops.

    Also, believe it or not, Guitar Center. They have a lot of used archtops at fair-ish prices on their site and a good return policy.

    Also search for a bazillion threads in "best archtop under [$N]". And +1 on the for sale section here. I've had good experiences both buying and selling.

    All that said, my most recent purchases and sales have been on Reverb. And be preferred for "just the first right jazz guitar" to be a moving target.

    John

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Did you know Randy Hembd?
    Hi there, No I did not know Randy.
    I was never employed at Trane, but I have visited as a client/specifier of their equipment years ago.

  18. #17

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    Ah. Randy was a welder at Trane and also leader of the late great Skydog Blues Band, a La Crosse institution back when I lived there.