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  1. #1

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    I somehow, after some mindless internet ting, found myself on a site with lots of cool road worn telecasters.

    These telecasters were the real deal not some retro copy. One of them was Danny Gatton's main guitar. What a beautiful instrument.

    Anyway I tried to Google some original road worn Archtops but could only find a few which got me thinking why aren't there more roadworn archtops?

    Are archtop players much more precious about their instrument wiping them down carefully after every gig as opposed to tele players that soak their instruments in beer?

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  3. #2

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    Check out Jim Hall’s 175, from a thread here a few years back:

    Jim Hall's Gibson ES-175 up close!

  4. #3

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    Also Pat Metheny's 175 took some punishment:

    Worn Archtops-8f266b01-7c9f-4194-b74b-c33c1d063695-jpeg

  5. #4

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    I wonder if it’s because you spend much more money on an arch top so you look after them?


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  6. #5

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    Look no further than the mad scientist of L-5s, Tuck Andress. He plays very very hard and goes through vintage L-5s like Ritchie Blackmore went through Strats. The difference is that Tuck Andress has made some of the most wonderful music in history on his guitars. I assume most of you know his playing - once you hear the bass, percussion, comping and melody he turns out simultaneously, you have to wonder how any one guitar could generate all that sound! He modifies his guitars to suit his playing, which causes an uproar among purists - but they're his guitars and he does what helps him be him. So if he wants a Bartolini pickup and plays drums on his guitar's top, it's fine with me. His relationship with his guitars reminds me a bit of Willie Nelson's relationship with Trigger.


  7. #6

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    He does? Maybe things have changed since this interview:Tuck Andress | Vintage Guitar(R) magazine

    What guitars did you use on this album?
    I just use one – I’ve recorded every album with exactly the same guitar on every song, and it’s a ’53 Gibson L-5.
    How has that held up?
    Great, because I only use it in the studio or just to practice around the house. I don’t travel with it. I have another L-5 – a ’49 – that I’ve traveled with for the last 12 years. They’re similar, and I was just lucky enough to come across a couple of great ones.
    Why the preference for vintage guitars?
    The sound. But there’s also a big randomness in life where it happened that I went in the store at the right time and I got a great guitar. At that point, I liked that guitar, and as I played new guitars, others didn’t sound the same to me. My ear grew to love the sound of these instruments.

  8. #7

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    Our own Jake Reichbart has a well-worn Ibanez archtop he's done thousands of gigs with. Barney Kessel's ES-350 and Herb Ellis's ES-175 clearly had some miles on them as did Tal Farlow's Gibson prototype.

    Although I have to say that I have owned most of my guitars for longer than 10 years and some of them around 40. I won't say that they look new, but none of them look like a road worn Telecaster including my Telecasters.

    On the other hand, Steve Howe's 1964 ES-175 looks practically brand new despite touring with him in Yes for decades. But he basically doesn't let anyone else touch it.

  9. #8
    Bern Nix who worked with Ornette among others. Worn like an old friend with many miles on the road:
    Worn Archtops-screen-shot-2021-07-18-10-10-44-pm-pngWorn Archtops-screen-shot-2021-07-18-10-10-25-pm-png

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    Our own Jake Reichbart has a well-worn Ibanez archtop he's done thousands of gigs with. Barney Kessel's ES-350 and Herb Ellis's ES-175 clearly had some miles on them as did Tal Farlow's Gibson prototype.

    Although I have to say that I have owned most of my guitars for longer than 10 years and some of them around 40. I won't say that they look new, but none of them look like a road worn Telecaster including my Telecasters.

    On the other hand, Steve Howe's 1964 ES-175 looks practically brand new despite touring with him in Yes for decades. But he basically doesn't let anyone else touch it.
    If I remember, I’ll snap some new shots of Herb’s 175 focusing on the worn areas. I forget when, but it went back to Gibson at least once, maybe more than once, for some work which sure looks like it involved some finish work. I don’t think it shows as much wear as it likely would otherwise.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    He does? Maybe things have changed since this interview:Tuck Andress | Vintage Guitar(R) magazine
    As I recall it, that article was published over 30 years ago. He’s either gone through 2 or 3 more or the one he tours with has been modified multiple times. Look at the images of him over the years on Google - different tuners, different finishes, different pickguards, different wear patterns, some with pup switches and some seemingly with an empty hole, etc. I read an article some years ago about how he’s angered many vintage guitar people because he’s “consumed” a few L-5s that would require major restoration to be “normal” again. I can’t prove it, but I have no trouble believing it based solely on available photos.

  12. #11

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    Could be, I have not listened to him or he and Patti in quite a few years and I have never seen them live. I remember there being an article out on the Internet a number of years ago in which he talked about his guitars. At that time, as I recall, he only had the same two instruments. One of them had the front pickup replaced with a low impedance pickup. The bridge "pickup" was actually the preamp. The tone he is going for is by no means the typical smoky fat jazz box tone; I think at that time he was touring without an amp, going directly into the PA and I thought he said that he recorded direct to the desk.

  13. #12

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    In the foreground is my 1961 ES-175D that has travelled a lot. The back is down to bare wood
    Worn Archtops-20210531_210715-jpg

  14. #13

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    As I mentioned on another thread, my 175 has started to relic itself. Maybe I’ll leave it to develop that ‘road-worn’ look!

    Worn Archtops-b5f0348b-78cc-4b22-9aba-752026c65969-jpeg

  15. #14

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    My '48 L5P has many years of honest wear.



    Last edited by Hammertone; 07-19-2021 at 05:37 AM.

  16. #15

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    The last time I saw Frank Vignola, his Thorell was looking well-loved. The back had several signatures on it, and scuffs from where his suit jacket buttons rubbed against the finish. He loves that guitar, but he isn't afraid to play it. I also saw Bucky a few years before he passed, and the Benedetto he was touring around with certainly looked like an instrument that had seen many many miles and even more hours of playing. I think jazz guitarists that are playing out or touring aren't much different than other touring musicians.

    I almost think of being able to keep a guitar pristine as a luxury. It's not that a touring guitarist doesn't care necessary, it's just that the environmental factors of the job are different.

  17. #16

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    Worn Archtops-img_0844-jpg

  18. #17

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    From luthier Bryant Trenier's Facebook page, these photos from 2018 of Pasquale Grasso's first Trenier guitar, made in 2012.

    Worn Archtops-35306017_1886866464711567_4755564510855561216_n-jpg

    Worn Archtops-35299873_1886866221378258_8448422575012315136_n-jpg

  19. #18

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    The neck of Peter Mazza's Gibson Super V.

    Worn Archtops-303937_1868667616402_2125849076_n-jpg

  20. #19

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    Jonathan Kreisberg's 175 has lots of wear on the forearm area, the back and most of the finish worn off the neck.

    Worn Archtops-19884037_10213841210133226_7751465851862021022_n-jpg

    Worn Archtops-67807494_2528079533947308_1882119621897617408_n-jpg

  21. #20

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    You can remove the finish on a Tele, wear half an inch into the body, and it is essentially unharmed. An archtop isn't that sturdy, since the top, back, and sides have to be reasonably thin. An archtop might implode into pieces, but a plank just keeps on keeping on. You could burn it in the fireplace, but it can survive a lot of heat, and a lot of bangs. It's useful as a club in a bar fight, which would ruin an archtop.

  22. #21

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    65 years of wear on the neck of my Hofner 459:

    Worn Archtops-dsc_0337-jpeg

  23. #22

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    My Hofner Chancellor toured with Squirrel Nut Zippers and, I was told, The Black Crowes. There’s still a piece of making tape with the letters TBC on the case.
    Attached Images Attached Images Worn Archtops-5ad20861-8c02-4799-8be6-077c3d751806-jpeg Worn Archtops-8e852d5f-d958-4e46-9e74-338036de4e06-jpeg 

  24. #23

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    It's about this guy Murphy and his lab, right? The relic hype is so postmodern; Inside out and upside down. I just can't get my head around this relic business.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    It's about this guy Murphy and his lab, right? The relic hype is so postmodern; Inside out and upside down. I just can't get my head around this relic business.
    I had a play of a new Heritage Eagle that had finish checking all over it, and a few dings here and there from the factory.
    Not my cup of tea. I like it on actual vintage instruments, but not on a new guitar. It just seems silly.

    It was a very nice playing and sounding guitar though.

  26. #25

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    I tell people I don’t like relics. But I once played a Nash telecaster I would have bought if I had the funds.


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