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  1. #1

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    Someone suggested starting a photo thread discussing the photos of Jazz Archtops.

    I'll go first with a few of my favorites. A few years ago I began working in the dark with a black backdrop. The room is completely dark aside from some photographic lighting. Every photo is shot with a hand held camera and no flash. I've had some happy accidents. Now if I can only turn those into "on purpose."

    The Ibanez GB200







    The Heritage Golden Eagle Florentine









    The Guild Artist Award and The Napolitano Primavera, and its 9 layers of bound headstock, taken with an old iPhone 6S phone.



    The abalone fretboard of the Heritage Johnny Smith comes alive out of the dark



    And of course she holds a rose in her pick guard...these rose bound HJS are fairly rare.


  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    What sort of lighting? How many lamps? How do you get the different angles?

  4. #3

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    Archtops jazz guitars aren’t my instrument (I play nylon strings), but I think they are the most beautiful looking guitars. Following this thread.

  5. #4
    The Heritage collection continues with a trio of 2 Super Eagles and a Kenny Burrell, which had some mods (KA PAF, Ebony pick guard, and a tailpiece from a Buscarino). All work was done by the late great Aaron Cowles. I'd sold this SKB to the good Dr., only to beg for him to return it barely a year later! This photo was during the days that my only camera was an iPhone 6 circa 2011.



    and after I'd sold this Blue SE to a buyer back east, 3 or more years later, it landed in the hands of our esteemed good Dr. I feel it simply wanted an updated photo shoot after I'd actually acquired camera equipment. I ended up with the guitar this time to list it for sell. I've not seen the guitar since. Perhaps she found a home.



    Who could forget this striking pair. The SKB and a rare Heritage ghost built Gretsch. Essentially a Super Eagle in Gretsch trim. iPhone 5 pic



    My former "on fire" Tal Farlow



    The '73 Super 400, a one owner from Portland, OR that came in its original case AND its Denim COVER! I'd never heard of such a thing before I'd seen it. The shading and the burst, and the silking of the woods were stunning. Taken with an iPhone 6.





    Peeking over the shoulder of that iconic Dexter Gordon wall framed poster is my first WesMo, circa 2013 hence an iPhone 5 pic



    here's that Trio again from an iPhone 5



    and a duo of SE's.



    and one SKB next to a Twin, iPhone 5


  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    What sort of lighting? How many lamps? How do you get the different angles?
    A standard photographic lighting kit can be acquired from eBay for about $150, nothing fancy. I'm a big spender, so I opted for the linen backdrop option for another $50. Lights are 4 per soft box (a fancy term that describes the housing, stand, and cover and the UL spec to house 4 bulbs each). I have 3 sets of 4 bulbs each, i.e. 3 soft boxes, to cover all angles. Plus several other lighting sets and umbrellas. But the down side is, can you imagine attempting to set up that gear in a 10x8 room that is already filled with a full scale sold iron squat rack, an incline decline bench, 600 pounds of 45 pounders, a leg bench, a rack of 20 dumbells from 10 to 125 pounds, a Specialized road bike (my pride and joy), a ton of boxes from former purchases, and a 3' x 5' horizontal table? Exactly...I've zero room. Why don't a dumb the squat rack and bench? I don't lift heavy any more so I don't need it...but it's an attachment from 30 years ago working for SPD. It's there if I need it!

    Well, it has to double as my "dark room." If I had an actual room, sized to where I could actually step back, set up lighting, and work from a tripod, I'd be good. But retirement has its privileges, so I'm super downsized.

    Here's a simple starter lighting set including bulbs, stands, soft boxes, and back drops.

    Photographic Softbox Reflective Umbrella 5500k Daylight Lasting Lighting 8.5f... | eBay


    Bottom line, I'm squished up against all shots barely 3' away. Great if your gear is shooting on a micro level, but I'm not. I'd love to use a telephoto lens, which I have, but the space won't allow me to get away with it. So I'm relegated to use a Fuji 56mm 1.2 lens, which has superb bokeh (the backdrop) and one shot per breath, in order to keep the camera as still as possible.

    Fujifilm FUJINON Lens XF56mm F1.2 R Japan Ver. New / FREE-SHIPPING 4547410266627 | eBay

  7. #6
    This is the 2nd finest Golden Eagle I've ever owned, snuggled up next to an Artist Award. iPhone 6





    the shading was some of the best Heritage ever...so why then did you sell it!!!

    Here's my very first attempt at shooting in the dark with my first camera and lighting. The camera is a Fuji mirrorless X-T2...guess what the guitar is? What do you win if you're right? An attaboy!



    the trio...again, with an iPhone 5



    what better way to show I've your wall art and stereo gear than with a DH Super Eagle, that I dubbed "lady rose" because of her fine shading. iPhone 5



    A 18" WU sighting, housing a Pete Biltoff CC, and about $1k of work after it arrived. I was experimenting with a Black and White setting.



    And what collection is complete without a "one that got away" category. Shot in the dark using only a single focused lamp for lighting...Here's a one off P90 555 arch top. I'm actually proud of these shots for hand held shots. The good Dr. sent me this guitar to sell for a lowly $1800...did I buy it? Heck no, because I had a brain lapse!!!






  8. #7
    Oh, ANGLES?

    Well, that's where my piano player creativity comes in.

    No seriously, you've simply got to experiment turning the camera to different angles. I started trying to duplicate other arch top shots that I'd seen. That's what the first darkroom shot was from. It was from a photo of a Gibson Johnny Smith I'd seen laying flat on her back in the dark, like a good girl should. Uh boy, I hope that doesn't get censored.

    Now, I simply wing it.

  9. #8
    Now, are we ready for my 1 year holiday shots from Russia and Ukraine on a Nikon date from 2001?

  10. #9

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    Gorgeous photos, and thanks for the Ebay links. The shots are so dramatic, my memory of each guitar came rushing back to my aging brain.

    You could make a few dollars as a pro photographer, Greg. You'd just have to convince your clients to move your weights out of the 'photo booth' during shoots.

    How do you avoid reflections in your shots? That drives me nuts, especially when taking photos of dark instruments.

    A buddy of mine is a professional, specializing in sports action photography and studio stills. Back in 2010 I received a call from him asking to photograph a couple of my guitars. The photos were intended as an anniversary gift from the spouse of another guitar-a-holic (like me). He took the shots in my 100 square foot music room, crowded with amps and gear. I couldn't believe how beautiful the finished product came out. Like you, he had his umbrella, lights and white paper (instead of black) rolled out for the session. The rest was pure talent.

    Here are three of the photos:

  11. #10

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    Here are several picked off of my phone just now. I believe all of these were taken with a Canon EOS M50.









  12. #11

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    And these are all iPhone 12 Pro. It can do an impressive job on the fly.









  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    Gorgeous photos, and thanks for the Ebay links. The shots are so dramatic, my memory of each guitar came rushing back to my aging brain.

    You could make a few dollars as a pro photographer, Greg. You'd just have to convince your clients to move your weights out of the 'photo booth' during shoots.

    How do you avoid reflections in your shots? That drives me nuts, especially when taking photos of dark instruments.

    A buddy of mine is a professional, specializing in sports action photography and studio stills. Back in 2010 I received a call from him asking to photograph a couple of my guitars. The photos were intended as an anniversary gift from the spouse of another guitar-a-holic (like me). He took the shots in my 100 square foot music room, crowded with amps and gear. I couldn't believe how beautiful the finished product came out. Like you, he had his umbrella, lights and white paper (instead of black) rolled out for the session. The rest was pure talent.

    Here are three of the photos:
    You can tell a pure Pro like William! Great shots!

    Regarding reflections in daylight shots, the key is to make them work for you, rather than against you. With dark room lighting, and if you've got the space, one can simply adjust the lighting to where a curve is accentuated on a body part. Typically I'm up against it with less than a foot of space between the light and the subject, due to a lack of space. Typically you'd have at least 3 feet between the light source and the subject being lit. I've had a few of those where I was shooting a Guild Benedetto Johnny Smith and I was intentionally attempting to highlight the curve just inside the edge by ever so thin a margin. Regarding Photography it's all about the lighting. Notice how William has highlights on the brass edges. That's adjusting the distance of the lighting from the subject and angling it just enough to appear on the brass.

    My past dark shot came by accident. I had the guitar atop that 3 x 5' table. Set on top of that was a black section of large glass that I purposely acquired for a certain shot I was attempting to duplicate. Set the guitar atop the glass and photograph both the guitar and a reflection of the guitar atop the glass. I didn't succeed in that shot because I couldn't get back far enough to successfully shoot it...a lack of space limits the shots one can take. So I went to the next step in shooting the guitar and glass anyway without the glass reflection. The shot's the first shot I took of that light sunburst Ibanez L5 w/ DeArmond pickup... Uh oh, I gave it away.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan
    Here are several picked off of my phone just now. I believe all of these were taken with a Canon EOS M50.








    All great guitars and photos! Now, next time go to a lower F-stop. Doing that will make the black background completely disappear. Notice where you can still make out the folds in the black background? Increase the distance of the guitar from the background, and lower your F-stop to at least 7, and you'll observe the black background disappear entirely, and the only thing remaining will be the guitar suspended into space.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan
    And these are all iPhone 12 Pro. It can do an impressive job on the fly.








    Very credible bokeh too. Nice job! See what one can do with a little space!

  16. #15
    My 2010 ES175, in the daylight nestled up next to a Twin Custom 15


  17. #16
    A Heritage non cutaway Golden Eagle...oh those were the days!



    And my trusty old Infiniti G37X sedan, it's first day lowered on KW performance coilovers.


  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    All great guitars and photos! Now, next time go to a lower F-stop. Doing that will make the black background completely disappear. Notice where you can still make out the folds in the black background? Increase the distance of the guitar from the background, and lower your F-stop to at least 7, and you'll observe the black background disappear entirely, and the only thing remaining will be the guitar suspended into space.
    2B~ Is this what you mean by making the black background completely disappear, making the guitar appear to suspend into space?
    (Another pro photographer took this shot of my Heritage H-575 Custom)

  19. #18

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    I think I need a cigarette

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    All great guitars and photos! Now, next time go to a lower F-stop. Doing that will make the black background completely disappear. Notice where you can still make out the folds in the black background? Increase the distance of the guitar from the background, and lower your F-stop to at least 7, and you'll observe the black background disappear entirely, and the only thing remaining will be the guitar suspended into space.
    Hmmm…..this was an old setup of mine. Maybe I could have done something else to help with the background. I just looked at the EXIF data and these were generally at f/3.6. I can darken the background enough in post to remove any hint of a background, but I don’t always want to do that. Any other tips would be welcome. Could it be that the background used was velvet?

  21. #20

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    Jazz Archtop Photos-sebring-l5-1-jpg
    Jazz Archtop Photos-sebring-l5-jpg

  22. #21

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    2b - you could make a Sears Stella look drool-worthy! Fact is, this thread stands as testimony to one of the archtop guitar's finest qualities: their sheer aesthetic beauty. The hugely talented makers of these fine instruments had an eye for proportion and elegance and lavished decorative embellishments to their finest work that belied the phrase "gilding the lily." These lilies will never wilt, and the gilding is deployed to simply enhance, never outshine. These works of art need no frame, the forms themselves provide the proper context.

    Archtop guitars are cool.

  23. #22

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    A lot of really wonderful photos in this thread, but 2B, you set the bar awfully high. Your photos are always fabulous.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 06-21-2021 at 05:08 PM.

  24. #23

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    Large-hole L4 / L75s are no longer 'my thing' but they have a unique, toneful sound. This L-75 was ridden hard . . .

    Jazz Archtop Photos-top-downward-jpg

    IMO these instruments are what Orville Gibson was aiming for several decades earlier.

  25. #24

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    Really amazing work 2B and I’m super glad to see you posting so much dude
    Big

  26. #25

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    Wow the photos are great so good that if you get the guitar it might disappoint you ( not really but.) How a guitar looks in a photo. can set in our mind and we expect something but the real proof is the playing. I remember once getting a photo of a blond Barker 18 inch guitar which was for sale and rare in that it was blond and 18 inches. The guitar looked great but later when I had chance to see it up close it was not what I expected. The wear and neck just did not quite get it right in the photo.

    Then by the same token I remember thinking about buying a 17 inch sunburst Barker from the late 1970's. It look sort of plain in the photo and nothing special I of course played many Barkers so this just did not standout. Well in person the guitar was just beautiful and played like a dream beyond the pictures by far.

    Pictures tell a thousand words but playing the guitar in person tells the real soul.