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  1. #1
    Hi -

    First post here...

    I'm looking for an 8 string archtop / Jazzbox / Gibson 175 clone to convert to a 6 string. I am 6'6" with giant hands and long fingers to match.

    I have such a beast in Strat. It's great!

    Eastman makes a 7 string archtop, and it's in the running. But I've yet to find an 8 string. The Eastman will produce am E to E @ the bridge of 60.5 mm (roughly 2 3/8"). This might be fine. My giant Strat is a whopping 72 mm (2 3/4 @ the bridge). I'd need an 8 string "donor guitar" for that.

    A 2.125" (2 1/8") nut is desired; the Eastman has that. So an 8 > 7 string for "donor guitar" is for fanning.

    I can go to a luthier and pay 5K+ and wait a year. I'm new to guitar (sax since Nixon, keys since Woodstock). I'd like to avoid the luthier if possible, for both reasons.

    Thanks!

    - Jeff Newton p/k/a Saxophone Tall.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I'm not sure I've ever seen an 8 string archtop.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    I'm not sure I've ever seen an 8 string archtop.
    I've yet to see one! May be the "holy grail" of guitars!

  5. #4

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    IIRC Ralph Novak made some hollow 8 string guitars (Charlie Hunter model), but with his dual pickup setup, they might not convert to a 6 string very well. And then there is the issue of his fanned frets (I tried a couple of his guitars and could not bond with the fanned frets myself)

    Years ago when I was trying 7 string, I bought a 7 string archtop that the seller had converted to 6 string (he was a classical guitar player and he liked the 1 7/8 nut). He had the nut and pickup and bridge saddle changed and it worked for him. I had a new nut made to convert it back and sourced an original pickup and had the bridge saddle recut to 7 strings and converted it back. His conversion had so devalued that guitar, that even with the work I put in to restore it to stock, I was in it pretty right.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    I'm not sure I've ever seen an 8 string archtop.
    Sure, Bob Conti used to play a couple different models!




  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    IIRC Ralph Novak made some hollow 8 string guitars (Charlie Hunter model), but with his dual pickup setup, they might not convert to a 6 string very well. And then there is the issue of his fanned frets (I tried a couple of his guitars and could not bond with the fanned frets myself)
    My giant Strat is not "fanned fret" (if what you mean is "multiscale" fret?) If what you mean is that E to E@ bridge is a bigger number than at the nut, I LIKE that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Years ago when I was trying 7 string, I bought a 7 string archtop that the seller had converted to 6 string (he was a classical guitar player and he liked the 1 7/8 nut). He had the nut and pickup and bridge saddle changed and it worked for him. I had a new nut made to convert it back and sourced an original pickup and had the bridge saddle recut to 7 strings and converted it back. His conversion had so devalued that guitar, that even with the work I put in to restore it to stock, I was in it pretty right.
    Yeah, resale for my project will be nil! (should have sold it to me!) I want 2 1/8 nut, not 1 7/8.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Sure, Bob Conti used to play a couple different models!
    Thank you! I just sent him an email as to what, where to get, etc. He's a big cat. I'm tall and thin.

    That's a 335 clone, not a 175 (which is the goal), but it might work great!
    Last edited by Saxophone Tall; 05-29-2021 at 12:03 PM. Reason: added content

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Sure, Bob Conti used to play a couple different models!
    Quote Originally Posted by Saxophone Tall View Post
    Thank you! I just sent him an email as to what, where to get, etc. He's a big cat. I'm tall and thin. That's a 335 clone, not a 175 (which is the goal), but it might work great!
    The guitar in the video above started out as a Hofner Jazzica Custom - a completely hollow jazz guitar with a floating pickup and a single volume and tone control mounted to the carved spruce top plate. It is a one-off, converted into an 8-string, thinline guitar by Saul Koll. Saul built a new neck for it and cut the body depth down to a thinline.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Sure, Bob Conti used to play a couple different models!



    I'd forgotten all about that! Good call. Your memory is way better than mine.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post

    The guitar in the video above started out as a Hofner Jazzica Custom - a completely hollow jazz guitar with a floating pickup and a single volume and tone control mounted to the carved spruce top plate. It is a one-off, converted into an 8-string, thinline guitar by Saul Koll. Saul built a new neck for it and cut the body depth down to a thinline.
    Thanks... that type won't work for me purposes, as I need 8 to convert to 6. Thanks for the info....

  12. #11
    You're essentially looking for a very wide fingerboard 6 string? Or am I misunderstanding you completely? Do you WANT two extra tuners? Why not have one built by Yunzhi, or Mr Wu, or any of the Chinese custom shops? They'll build to spec, with the materials you want.
    Explain why an 8 string conversion, with the inherent replacement of tailpiece, bridge saddle, and nut, and extra tuning machines and maybe misaligned polepieces on a pickup arrangement, would be better than a wide spaced 6 string designed that way from the start? I'm just thinking that it's a lot of trouble for something with a dubious chance at success.
    The Chinese guitars are quite reasonable, especially when the guitar you seek will be somewhat of a compromise if you can find it at all.
    Good luck either way and I hope you find what you need!

  13. #12

  14. #13

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    If you already have a guitar, why not have a neck made to your specifications? I've done that three times and am happy with the results.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by P4guitar View Post
    If you already have a guitar, why not have a neck made to your specifications? I've done that three times and am happy with the results.
    I'm looking for an archtop. Apparently, it's not possible to "swap necks" on these.

    My initial thought was just to widen the neck (apparently impossible) or do as you say (apparently also impossible).

    I have a giant Strat that was 8, made to 6. I want a Jazzbox version of it.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note View Post
    That's my thread. Yes, that's what I'm looking for.

  17. #16

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    I agree with Jimmy. For one thing, I don't know that there is such a beast as an 8 string arch top other than some custom built guitars like Charlie Hunter used- and I think he has switched to 7 string, if I remember correctly.

    I think that if you want a nut that wide, a bridge that wide and pick ups to accommodate, you are really talking about a full custom instrument. By the time you make all the necessary modifications from 8 string to 6 string, if you could even find such a guitar, your costs are going to be close to just getting one built for you from the get go.

    In terms of cost effectiveness, Ms. Lora/Mr. Wu might be a good option. In the US, Matt Cushman (if he is still building, he hasn't been active here on the forum for some time) has very reasonable prices- I have one of Matt's guitars and it is excellent; and Mark Campellone as well is second to none and might be interested in the challenge.

  18. #17

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    My 8 string arch top, fanned frets, played with cello endpin, an idea based on the Brahms classical guitar, Special 8 string pup by K. Armstrong. Guitar beautifully made, on an experimental basis, by Victor Baker. He is a really great luthier, can’t recommend him enough.

    As far as I know, no one except me has a guitar like this. I LOVE IT!

    I’m 6’3”, and I found that it plays best, with the best articulation, finger style but with a thumb pic. Like Lenny Breau.
    Attached Images Attached Images 8-String Jazzbox / Archtop / ES-175 or 335 Clone To Convert to 6-String-d5c3536e-6d8c-4321-85ee-dda4c10af297-jpg 

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    I agree with Jimmy. For one thing, I don't know that there is such a beast as an 8 string arch top other than some custom built guitars like Charlie Hunter used- and I think he has switched to 7 string, if I remember correctly.
    Were can I find one of Charlies? Who made them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    I think that if you want a nut that wide, a bridge that wide and pick ups to accommodate, you are really talking about a full custom instrument. By the time you make all the necessary modifications from 8 string to 6 string, if you could even find such a guitar, your costs are going to be close to just getting one built for you from the get go.
    $400, been quoted that by Guitars& Stuff in NJ (they can do the 7 string Eastman conversion). And Mark in England (PCsGC Guitars) can do it as well. He made my giant Strat, 8 to 6. It's quite doable and a reasonable cost!

    My "classical Strat":



    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    In terms of cost effectiveness, Ms. Lora/Mr. Wu might be a good option. In the US, Matt Cushman (if he is still building, he hasn't been active here on the forum for some time) has very reasonable prices- I have one of Matt's guitars and it is excellent; and Mark Campellone as well is second to none and might be interested in the challenge.
    I will check out Matt and Mark; thanks! I' checking out Yunzhi. I'll check out Lora and Wu - do you have full names for them?

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    My 8 string arch top, fanned frets, played with cello endpin, an idea based on the Brahms classical guitar, Special 8 string pup by K. Armstrong. Guitar beautifully made, on an experimental basis, by Victor Baker. He is a really great luthier, can’t recommend him enough.

    As far as I know, no one except me has a guitar like this. I LOVE IT!

    I’m 6’3”, and I found that it plays best, with the best articulation, finger style but with a thumb pic. Like Lenny Breau.
    How about that! You play it like a cello? Can you play it "guitar" style? I will check out Victor Baker. Cost? TIme to get? What's the nut? What;s the E to E at the bridge? Can you kindly measure? Can you strum it, too? Or is it too wide?

    I've got you by 3" ... C to A on piano.

    Wanna sell it? ha ha....

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    My 8 string arch top, fanned frets, played with cello endpin, an idea based on the Brahms classical guitar, Special 8 string pup by K. Armstrong. Guitar beautifully made, on an experimental basis, by Victor Baker. He is a really great luthier, can’t recommend him enough.

    As far as I know, no one except me has a guitar like this. I LOVE IT!

    I’m 6’3”, and I found that it plays best, with the best articulation, finger style but with a thumb pic. Like Lenny Breau.
    I actually contacted Victor before .... $6000 .... a bit over my budget. Also a 12 month lead time.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saxophone Tall View Post
    I'm looking for an archtop. Apparently, it's not possible to "swap necks" on these.

    My initial thought was just to widen the neck (apparently impossible) or do as you say (apparently also impossible).

    I have a giant Strat that was 8, made to 6. I want a Jazzbox version of it.
    Not impossible - Ralph Patt had the neck/fingerboard on his archtops widened to accommodate 8 strings, so no reason why the same could not be done to increase the string spacing for 6 strings. Requires new nut, bridge and probably tailpiece as well.

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz View Post
    Not impossible - Ralph Patt had the neck/fingerboard on his archtops widened to accommodate 8 strings, so no reason why the same could not be done to increase the string spacing for 6 strings. Requires new nut, bridge and probably tailpiece as well.
    Well.... I was told by several (not just one) luthier that it was NOT possible.

    Not that I know anything (I don't). I'm new to guitar.

    Do you know who did Ralph Patt's work? I'd like to contact him / her.

    Thanks,

    - Jeff

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saxophone Tall View Post
    I'm looking for an archtop. Apparently, it's not possible to "swap necks" on these.

    My initial thought was just to widen the neck (apparently impossible) or do as you say (apparently also impossible).

    I have a giant Strat that was 8, made to 6. I want a Jazzbox version of it.
    Two of the three instruments I had necks made for are archtops, one a Gibson L5 and the other was a custom instrument, both of which use the traditional dovetail neck joint. The only reason I mentioned custom necks is that your spec may be very hard to come by otherwise.

    Anything is doable.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saxophone Tall View Post
    Were can I find one of Charlies? Who made them?
    Charlie Hunter played Novax guitars for years, then worked with Wes Lambe (after Ralph Novak had to slow down due to health reasons), and now works with Wes and Clay Conner (a former student of Ralph Novak's). You may give Wes & Clay a call to see if they could do some kind of neck for you ...

    [Not sure if Ralph still sells these, but you can cal him ...] FWIW, I played a Novax guitar for years, and never had problems getting used to the fanned-fret neck!

    Marc

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by P4guitar View Post
    Two of the three instruments I had necks made for are archtops, one a Gibson L5 and the other was a custom instrument, both of which use the traditional dovetail neck joint. The only reason I mentioned custom necks is that your spec may be very hard to come by otherwise.

    Anything is doable.
    Sure, but I'm still in search of anybody who will either (a) widen the neck on my Cort Joe Beck, (b) build me a custom wide neck Jazzbox archtop for a reasonable price (not 6 grand+) in a reasonable amount of time (not one year+) or (c) make a wide neck and put it on the Cort, etc.

    Maybe the Chinese Dr. Wu, etc. crowd?