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  1. #1
    After a roller coaster of near misses, almost haves, high hopes, and broken hearts, I picked up a used Peerless Monarch that I found locally.

    I'll rewind a little bit...

    I've been wanting to get into archtops for a while now. My background is in very amateur classical guitar playing followed by a long history of Django Reinhardt's music, mostly as a rhythm guitarist. I went to a couple of guitar stores and tried all the archtops I could - consisting almost entirely of Ibanez art core models. There were a couple of nice ones, but the prices seemed pretty steep for what they were. The used archtop market in Sweden is fairly non-existent. My options are to buy something and have it shipped, or settle for something that comes with a high premium.

    A good friend and bandleader plays on a wonderful Heritage Eagle Classic which I have tried on many occasions and found to be quite a lovely instrument. So when a used Heritage Eagle popped up in the local classifieds, I took it as an omen and charged ahead. The price was good but it had a headstock crack - the "Gibson smile" I learned for this forum. After a lot of excellent feedback from this site, I decided to go ahead with the purchase and planned on getting the guitar repaired. The seller instead decided to go ahead with someone else. Oh well, win some, lose some - strike one.

    A couple of local players I know are really into the MIJ L5 copies - Epiphone Emperors, Aria pro ii PE-180, Grecos, and Ibanez's. I'm no expert, but I liked the ones that I tried, and compared to the Art cores I've been testing, they were all far superior instruments. I found a shop in Sweden that was selling a used PE-180 for a decent price and called them up to inquire. I was told all amazing things on the phone. Well, let's just say that the shop promised more than it should have. The guitar arrived with undisclosed fretboard pitting and truss rod problems ( also in filthy condition with old rusty strings) - issues which were specifically asked about. Again, I received some excellent advice here on the forum and after having a guitar shop examine the guitar, I decided to send it back. I would have paid less for the guitar if I knew it needed repairs. Win some, lose some - Strike two.

    Recently I inquired about a beautiful Heritage Super Eagle from a fellow forum member and after some discussion and very helpful advice - I decided to pull the trigger. There was a significant hurdle in the way - I'm currently in Europe and the guitar is in the States. Well, let's just say that there are some super individuals on this forum and I'm lucky to know a few. With some help, it was arranged to have the guitar shipped to another fellow forum member where I could then pick it up the next time I am state-side. After a long week following Fedex updates and delayed delivery, the guitar arrived but was damaged in shipping. It was decided to ship the guitar back to make the shipping claim easier. Must say I was a little heartbroken on this one - not sure when another one of these will cross my path. I will say that I am thankful and grateful for the members in the transaction. It is scary to conduct business over a virtual handshake and hope for the best. Sometimes things just don't work out, and in this case, everything was resolved with class and in a swift manner. - Strike three. Win some, lose some ( I keep telling myself this).

    Reading through old threads, the Peerless guitars all came highly recommended, which was a little frustrating considering that guitars seem to have become quite scarce in Europe. So when one just popped up locally - recall that the used market here is an archtop desert - I almost ran out the door to pick it up. It's a nice guitar. I don't have much to compare it to; I like it better than all the Art cores I tried, but not as much as the MIJ L5 copies, and sure as hell not as much as the Heritages. It seems to be set up fairly well with action at 2.1mm on the low E string. No buzzes unless I really dig in - I'm fairly heavy-handed. Strung up with TI 13 flatwounds.

    Hopefully, it will tide me over until something nicer comes along. But man, it's not a good idea to try the nice guitars first. I'm happy to have found something but it definitely feels like settling for less after these guitars have fallen through the fingers.

    Here's a couple of pics and videos to add to the archive. The recordings were made with a cell phone and a Rode videomicro mic. I upped the gain a little on the acoustic recording. For the plugged-in recording, I aimed the mic at my AER alpha, which has about a quarter turn on the "effects" dial. Nothing else but a hungry cat meow, so the sound is not as polished as with some fancier equipment. The playing could also be polished - but it's an honest sound, which is what a potential buyer would be interested in.

    Three strikes to a Peerless Monarch-20210929_121407-jpgThree strikes to a Peerless Monarch-20210929_121634-jpgThree strikes to a Peerless Monarch-20210929_121647-jpgThree strikes to a Peerless Monarch-20210929_122138-jpgThree strikes to a Peerless Monarch-20210929_122243-jpg


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  3. #2

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    I’ve owned every guitar on your attempt to purchase list, including the Monarch. It was a real shame that the SE was damaged. Those guitars check all of the boxes. Enjoy your time with the Monarch, as those guitars are pretty good. I preferred it to a PE180.

  4. #3

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    Beautiful guitar!

    I have a Peerless Sunset, which I've been thinking about selling since I got some other guitars (Gibson 135 and 175), but it's a very well-made guitar and fits in well with the music I play.

    I see that yours has the same interesting feature as mine on the headstock: "Since. 1970". Weird, but no biggie.

    Enjoy!

  5. #4

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    Congrats Nick. Sorry that the Heritage did not work out. The Peerless will hold you over just fine till the right ES-175 shows up.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    I’ve owned every guitar on your attempt to purchase list, including the Monarch. It was a real shame that the SE was damaged. Those guitars check all of the boxes. Enjoy your time with the Monarch, as those guitars are pretty good. I preferred it to a PE180.
    Yes, I believe the Super Eagle would have been a great fit. Looks like I'll have to be patient for a bit longer. I like the Monarch so far but feel the acoustic sound to be a little lacking.

    Cheers!

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Congrats Nick. Sorry that the Heritage did not work out. The Peerless will hold you over just fine till the right ES-175 shows up.
    I do believe I need to try out some more of them! Perhaps in the near future

    Thanks again good sir!

  8. #7

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    Nice looking Monarch.

    What is the neck like? I have a chance to buy one, but I'm worried about ending up with a thin necked guitar (I don't like thin necks - I find them uncomfortable to play on). Is like the neck on an Eastman, or at least a Medium C (neck thickness of 22mm or more at the 1st fret)?

    Ellen

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by EllenGtrGrl
    Nice looking Monarch.

    What is the neck like? I have a chance to buy one, but I'm worried about ending up with a thin necked guitar (I don't like thin necks - I find them uncomfortable to play on). Is like the neck on an Eastman, or at least a Medium C (neck thickness of 22mm or more at the 1st fret)?

    Ellen

    It looks like it might borderline too thin for you. Measuring 20mm at the first fret.

    That being said, I find it pretty comfortable to play and it doesn't feel amazingly skinny - I didn't even think about it until you asked. I've owned some guitars with serious baseball bat necks and every time I pick up a solid body electric (I've never owned one) they feel ridiculously thin. But I also can usually get used to anything after an adjustment period.

    Can't compare it to the Eastmans as I don't really remember what they felt like. It seems to be a pretty popular guitar, so I'm sure someone else has more experience. Perhaps a picture is more helpful.Three strikes to a Peerless Monarch-20211015_213007-jpg

  10. #9

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    Good score - "All things come to those who wait...." Congratulations, and play it in good health!

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by littleknicky
    It looks like it might borderline too thin for you. Measuring 20mm at the first fret.

    That being said, I find it pretty comfortable to play and it doesn't feel amazingly skinny - I didn't even think about it until you asked. I've owned some guitars with serious baseball bat necks and every time I pick up a solid body electric (I've never owned one) they feel ridiculously thin. But I also can usually get used to anything after an adjustment period.

    Can't compare it to the Eastmans as I don't really remember what they felt like. It seems to be a pretty popular guitar, so I'm sure someone else has more experience. Perhaps a picture is more helpful.Three strikes to a Peerless Monarch-20211015_213007-jpg
    Thanks for measuring the neck thickness for me. You're right, 20mm is too thin for me for playing comfort. I think I will consider saving my money, and get an Eastman.