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  1. #1

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    Artur Lang-img_1958-jpgArtur Lang-img_1961-jpgArtur Lang-img_1960-jpgArtur Lang-img_1964-jpgArtur Lang-img_1965-jpgArtur Lang-img_1962-jpgArtur Lang-img_1970-jpgArtur Lang-img_1969-jpg

    Hi folks

    I am offering a guitar from master luthier Artur Lang.
    I hope the pictures tell the story.

    It has a 17" body (exactly: 437 mm), straight neck, very playable with what I like to call a flat C profile & new frets - ready to go.

    My asking price is 2.900.- €

    If you are not interested at all: enjoy the pictures!


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2
    Artur Lang-img_1977-jpgArtur Lang-img_1978-jpgArtur Lang-img_1979-jpgArtur Lang-img_1975-jpgArtur Lang-img_1974-jpgArtur Lang-img_1973-jpgArtur Lang-img_1976-jpgArtur Lang-img_1971-jpgArtur Lang-img_8178-jpg

  4. #3
    Only Gibson lovers / believers around here - eh?

    Many cannot imagine: even Germans are able to build top notch archtops! Surprise. surprise!!

    Here is your chance to confirm this- do not miss it!

  5. #4

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    Great looking guitar!

    I like the arch of both front and back of the guitar... reminds me of Roger jazz guitar.

    Also the neck angle and side view is really cool to look at.

    Love the headstock - simplicity.

    I see something on the bridge - is there a pickup in the bridge saddle area?

    Wondering how acoustically it sounds...

  6. #5
    Hi soulstar403 ,

    Has zero to do with the concept of the Roger guitars. Apart from that: way superior in comparison.

    No pick up intergrated in the bridge.

    Nice acoustic sound


  7. #6

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    Did the guitar ever have a pickguard?
    As I looked up some of these Lang guitars, there were 'oval' shaped pickguards...
    interesting also...

    Does it come with original case?


  8. #7
    Hi Soulstar403,

    I am pretty sure it once had a pickguard - when it was new, decades ago (but plays pretty well without )
    Repro pickguards are available here: (scroll down)

    No - I have only this newer case, where the guitar fits snuggly in.


  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by alteklampfe
    Only Gibson lovers / believers around here - eh?

    Many cannot imagine: even Germans are able to build top notch archtops! Surprise. surprise!!

    Here is your chance to confirm this- do not miss it!
    Alteklampfe, your guitar is beautiful. Germans build really great archtops. Good luck with the sale!

  10. #9

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    A beauty!

    I'm definitely liking the contours of the body, f-holes and headstock on this baby.

  11. #10
    liking is good - buying is better!

  12. #11

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    I love the tortoise binding and heel plate

  13. #12
    Hi, where is the guitar located ?

  14. #13
    The guitar lives in Germany

  15. #14

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    Although it does not look like that at first and second look, Artur Lang made an incredible variety of archtop guitar models.

    The "Standard" model line was the first of the big-bodied Langs, i.e., 17 and more inches wide. It was released early in 1955, and stopped around 1968, years before his more or less involuntary retirement, the time when he noticed he could no longer work to his high self-imposed quality standards.

    Unlike the "higher" models, "Standards" didn't sport side dots. Also, the side spots on the guitar above don't look to be put in line precisely; something that Lang himself hardly ever would have tolerated on one of his guitars.
    Maybe that string spacer was altered at some time - impossible to tell from pics - , the rest of the guitar looks to be in original condition.

    The absence of an adjustable truss rod shouldn't be considered a disadvantage in by far most archtops made by Lang, on the contrary. Later Langs with such a device are still superb guitars - as was each single one that left Lang's workbench, but he must have considered them more as electro-acoustics.

    Be prepared that Lang archtops are hardly feeling and sounding like American guitars. I'm cheeky enough to claim the first are more balanced guitars, both sonically and physically.
    Lang's own sophisticated designs, and, for example, his way of best selecting or fitting a particular neck (regardless of the actual neck wideness) to the corresponding body, were just one factor for this.
    Though Langs are characterised by a typical basic sound (we call it the "Lang Klang"), of course, guitars from different periods sound different. You'll understand when reading in the "Artur Lang guitar" thread, where I tried to point, for example, to the extraordinary wood that Lang used for his earlier models.
    And you'll understand why I recently have to be reluctant to tell much more: commercial folks (not related to the Lang family) with very little knowledge about the man and his approach of guitar making, and zero practical experience with Lang guitars, are preparing to cash in on new "original" Lang guitars. It would be unwise to furnish them a fit occasion about Lang guitars.

    Players, IMHO, should not ask for the actual market price of such an acoustic archtop guitar before they have been defining their own sonic demands, maybe also their very own demands on the dimensions of the guitar neck, etc.. Like D'Angelico, Lang was an early custom maker.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 11-23-2019 at 12:32 PM.

  16. #15

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    I'd love to own something like this one day. Such 'futuristic' old design.

    Anyone know what the back/side wood is likely to be? I have a few guesses. There's some real tight ray fleck that reminds me of Anigre. Or possibly Sycamore, but the softness of the annular rings seems a bit unusual for the maple varieties I know.

    I too really like the tortoise binding. I have a blonde American archtop that has it. I like how it matches my Fender 358's :-)

  17. #16

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    << […] the softness of the annular rings seems a bit unusual for the maple varieties I know. >>

    What do you mean by "softness"?
    Not to support the actual seller, but if you mean that guitar back would show unusually wide growth rings, you're mistaken. Beyond that, the wideness (or narrowness) of annular rings doesn't always correspond to the specific weight of the wood, nor to its stiffness, and certainly not to the sound velocity.

    Artur Lang selected his woods from three places; meanwhile we know a lot about them. Like by far most violin makers did, still do, he used Alpine spruce (Pica abies), and European or mountain maple, botanically known as Acer pseudoplatanus. Please, spare me with Sycamore, and other expressions … and consider that Lang worked in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, an Alpine townlet!
    Anigre is an African wood species - admittedly, I am often amazed to experience how similar the conditions in Germany and Africa are.

    Like with everything else related to archtop guitar making, Lang - on the other hand an absolutely humble man - was also obsessed about selecting his woods at the tone wood dealers.
    Lang's basic principle was: get the best available spruce for the top, at least, sonically AAAAA. The guitar back, being not so important for the sound, is hardly ever highly figured, let's say, it's visually AA to AAA. Of course, Lang used some breathtaking spruce for some of his Super de Luxe models: bearclaw from old mountain trees, or extremely narrow and even-grained, straight growth; almost not available anymore. I promise you'll never forget the sheer appearance of such wood, when you've been lucky enough to come across such a guitar!
    In some cases, Lang gave a damn about using book-matched plates - Stradivari and Guarneri would clap their hands!

    Like the name implies, the back of the "Standard" model looked often a bit plainer, sometimes even showing no flame figure at all. Sonically, this is no drawback. And visually - well, what would you think, if you came across a maple back like the following pic shows (on a Lang)? Boring? Awful? Or do you know that violin makers hunt for such wood to make the delicate, hand-elaborated bridges? The more ray flecks they see, the better - among others, it's a dead-sure sign that the wood was precisely quarter-cut. Quarter-cut is stiffest cross-grain, that's also what counts for large acoustic archtop guitar plates.
    To me, simple ray flecks are a sort of desired wood figure too, at least, when the guitar finish is kept transparent enough to show if there are any. The look around recurved edges is lovely. Of course, some maple substitutes, like Anigre wood, can also show nice 'flecks'.

    Artur Lang-dscf4564b-jpg

  18. #17
    Hi CCROFT,

    " softness of the annular rings" - which picture gave you that idea? Be assured: Mr. Lang was already experienced enough not to use "soft" wood where good hardwood is needed.

    And I guess it is a bit farfetched to assume that a tonewood supplier in the Bavarian Alps stocks exotic woods like
    Anigre or Sycamore in the 50ies. What for? He needs mainly to cater the needs of the bowed instrument makers in Mittenwald. And what do they need? Right!

    Today we have that craze for AAAAA.... grade maple, "cello-grade" wood, spectacular flame etc. - what everybody seems to expect from a "boutique" builder. Not back in these days: "cello - grade" wood was mainly saved for: yep cellos! Simply because guitars (archtops included) where cheap instruments compared to bowed instruments. For Lang as a luthier focusing strictly on handmade, all solid, acoustic instruments solely it was a matter of commercial success to choose relatively cheap but good sounding wood.

    I am well aware that a today´s builder will not dare to offer a new guitar with a plain looking back like the above pictured Lang - at least when he wants to add a high price tag. Look is a undeniable marketing factor of course!

    As talking about wood grain: look at the silky cross-grain of the top: I think this is at least correct?

    Artur Lang-img_5137-jpg

  19. #18

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    Some additions to post #17 above:

    In the 1950's and 1960's not many West German archtop guitar makers used solid carved backs for their flagship instruments: Arnold Hoyer, Gustav Glassl (Hopf), Roger (a special case due to the German carve technique) - and Artur Lang who never touched pressed or laminated plates.

    Lang was severly traumatized and completely fundless in 1949, when he arrived from a (often deadly) Siberian labor camp in South Germany. In 1951 he started archtop guitar making. After only three or four years, when he also made approximately 100 guitars for resellers like Alosa, Schmidt and Zöphel, his guitars sold themselves under his own name without any advertizing blablabla, etc.. Many players from the Bavarian radio dance bands and orchestras came by; the waiting time was up to two years. For a Super or Super de Luxe model you had to spend 1000 or more Deutschmark - which was a stiff price for the average German at that time. In 1957 Lang moved into his own home - for many other Germans this was not so easy (weird enough that the same seems to happen again today: less and less young families can't afford an own home or tenement).

    So, the hardworking and quite successful Lang earned enough for making a living. He just didn't care too much about money, and wasn't depending on acquiring cheaper or left-over wood that, for example, would have been rejected by cello makers. He was an analytically thinking, mentally independant luthier, and when he decided to use also some non-bookmatched top plates, or to drop the most highly figured woods for the backs, etc., he always had good reason to do so. Still today, making (long) guitar necks of highly figured maple may look awesome, but is de facto functionally unreasonable.

    It's correct that rough cello plate wedges were offered in more qualities than the wedges for "Gibsongitarren".
    Looking at the 1970's tone wood catalog of one supplier, where Lang used to appear (though probably no longer after the early 1970's) - checking and tapping the wedges one by one for hours, like several eyewittnesses had reported - reveals: the maple wedges for cellos were offered in nine (!) qualities with a price spread factor of 20, while the archtop guitar wedges were offered in still seven qualities with a price spread factor of 10. We have to consider though that cello plates have to be about 34" long, whereas for guitars about 23" are enough.

  20. #19

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    Sorry guys!! I certainly didn't mean to say this was in some way an inferior piece of wood. The softness I see is not to do with soft, as in wood that should be harder. It's the figure I'm talking about, which I personally think is very beautiful. I'm wondering about the vertical ribbon-like shading. I've tried to indicate what I'm talking about in the attached photo, with the black arrows added by me.

    On closer inspection, I can in fact just barely make out the annular rings. I didn't see them first time due to my old eye-sight... or the website... or maybe the photo is a touch soft.

    Once again, I did not mean to attack the quality of this instrument in any way. This just looks a little different to me than what I'm used to. I forgot that European Sycamore is different than N. American. I have some Platanus Occidentalis that looks very similar, and it's known to be an excellent tonewood.

    I'd delete my post, but then your responses might seem quite insane! My apologies for causing any grief.

    Please believe what I said to open my post, which was how much I admire these instruments. I really would like to own one, but I can't buy a guitar I haven't had in my hands. These are hard to come by where I live. I think this particular specimen is very attractive.

    Thanks for all the added info, and best of luck with the sale!
    Attached Images Attached Images Artur Lang-guitar-back-jpg 

  21. #20

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    The good doctor has identified the back plate/rim wood used by Lang as Acer Pseudoplatanus. That is essentially "Maple that looks like Sycamore", as opposed to actual Sycamore, such as Platanus Occidentalis. Different genus, under which are various species for each. Hooray for Linnaeus! Sycamore is typically softer than maple, and AFAIK is not typically used for carved plates of musical instruments.

    Here's the back plate of one of my Langs - exhibits some of the same streakiness and mild figuring. If I didn't already have some Langs and was in the buyer's market, I'd buy
    Alteklampfe's Lang in a second.
    Attached Images Attached Images Artur Lang-lang_5090-jpg 
    Last edited by Hammertone; 11-26-2019 at 02:06 AM.

  22. #21

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    Don't worry, ccroft, we're all here to ask questions, and learn!
    To keep down misunderstandings we have to develop a common language about what we're actually talking. Especially the current world situation should teach us that it can not be effective if each of us has any definition of a fact …

    The longitudinal ribbon-like shading or stripe figure on that guitar back you're pointing to should be susceptible to light reflection (chatoyance), similar to the common fiddleback stripes. Of course, we can't see that on a (static) foto.

    The explaining how ribbon or stripe figure is produced, is a bit complex; wood experts explain it in the following way: it appears when wood that has interlocked grain is cut radially. Interlocked grain is the result of repeated cycles of spiral growth, varying back and forth from left- to right-hand spirals. These reversing spirals create a characteristic visual effect, due in part to the variation in the length of the severed vessels at the surface. The lines are long where the grain direction is parallell to the surface but reduced nearly to pore diameter where the vessels intersect the surface at a considerable angle. The varying light reflectiveness of the fiber tissue also contributes to the overall appearance.


    Speaking of figured maple: violin makers frankly admit that it hides imperfections unlike plain or uniformly grained maple.

    Let's come back to immediately and physically experiencable facts! Studying and playing Lang (and other) guitars for years, it's really hard to find any negative point in Lang's approach of guitar making, but there's one evident when watching the pics on this thread; Hammertone's Lang above is concerned also, the more other brands:
    When playing my 1996 L-5WM, its body contour just doesn't feel smooth enough to my chest. It leaves a thin, but ugly skin indentation about a hand's width below my right nipple, caused by the sharp and edgy binding - they didn't round off the binding at all! No, I'm not a skinny man, and I don't mind getting some scratches during my work or a hot night, but my guitar is not authorized to do that …
    Artur Lang used single ply binding (2mm wide) on the back of the "Standard", later even on some "Super de Luxe" models. Why? Ok, then he started suffering from a heart disease … After all, Lang rounded the binding edges perfectly off (even the reinforcing bindings around the sides were rounded off), but due to the sonically necessary recurve at the edge the guitar body does not rest on the chest as comfy as is the case with a wider and smoother binding + purfling.

    Heck, you guitar makers, provide the most pleasant feeling wherever a guitar has to touch the player's body! You can leave the razor-sharp edged guitars to the heavy metal guys, if they want them.
    If guitar companies mainly operate cost-saving measures, the bulldozer has to come in the end … or folks decide they could get better guitars elsewhere.

  23. #22

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    Thanks Fret! I think you nailed it. Never really thought about what happens when you freeze that shimmer in a photo.

    There's a few luthiers over here that soften or bevel some parts. Steve Anderson and Bernie Lehmann to mention two. Lehmann does a very comfortable bevel where the picking arm lays over the edge.

  24. #23

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    Yes, people are different, and guitar ergonomics are still underrated.

    No problem here with the picking arm, neither with huge 19" boxes. Ape arms … my missis would tell "It's not just the arms, darling!"
    The contact between the chest and the edge of the guitar's back can hurt, and, of course, this is depending on how you hold/tilt the guitar.

    So, a 'body bevel' for the wimps? Not necessary because the human body is amazingly tolerable and trainable! More playing time would cure my aberration, similar to the development of skin callus on our finger tips.
    Talking of calluses … when I get to know someone new, I always look immediately, if he/she is a working human being (calluses on the hands), or a thinking human being (calluses on the head). The best show both!

  25. #24

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    It really would be awesome to see a great demonstration of these rare Lang guitars! I've seen a few clips on Youtube - guitars for sale.. but nothing in depth and detail in terms of acoustic sound... perhaps a pickup sound differences...
    I also haven't really found NGD review on Lang guitar...

    Oh and speaking of pickups, were there any particular pickups in those era in Germany when Lang was making the guitars?

    For example I know that Levin guitars from Sweden had the famous Kjell pickups sort of similar to P-90s... apparently they are really nice pickups.

    Any information on that?
    Or anybody with a Lang can do some good audio/video samples?

  26. #25

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    Lots of pix of Langs with Dearmond floating pickups.

  27. #26

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    It is a leap of faith sometimes buying an instrument, one has to live outside the comfort zone occasionally !
    I have never played a Gibson archtop, would i buy one, not sure - they seem very expensive ...
    I bought a Lang, and it does ooze quality in both sound and construction, yes am tempted with altekampfe's Lang.
    I have collected a lot of Ol'frets posts, amounting to 14 pages about Lang guitars, which perhaps could be edited to produce an informative read on Lang guitars? perhaps Ol'fret could do this or perhaps there is something already out there? Just a thought that it might help anyone interested...
    now to count my pennies...

  28. #27

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    Thanks, for all your interest in the work of one of the more obscure master guitar makers!
    Though Lang has been regarded as the undisputed master of German archtop guitar making for many years, he still is - paradoxically - widely unknown. This is certainly also due to the difficulty of finding a suitable and reasonably well-preserved Lang in the market at all. Anyone who has one, usually separates only in special situations, or because he has inherited and does not make music, or because he wants to change to a more suitable Lang (custom neck dimensions, top model, etc.).
    An example of the general level of Lang guitar awareness is my own devotion to the jazz guitar decades ago, which I owe largely to two known jazz guitar cats in Germany. Both have rummaged in their careers through an armada of old and new guitars, and own / play a variety of models, including also each an original D'Angelico. But it speaks for itself that neither of them has ever held a Lang in their hands ...

    My friend HR is the real spiritus rector for all researching on Lang and his guitars. He has been infected since 1963, when he was allowed to personally pick up his first Lang from the master, and has been working passionately and intensively on the matter for the last 20 years now. Did I say intensely? Hardly anyone I know of has ever more analytically, sophisticately and passionately restored and measured archtop guitars. Just one example: HR uses, among other things, the neck pocket depth, standardized at two points, to determine the age of Lang instruments, even though the vast majority of necks are glued!

    HR has acquired extreme knowledge of Lang guitars in recent years, almost comparable formerly to Simone F. Sacchoni in the Stradivari violin world.
    HR had a really extensive documentation about Lang in preparation (he explained me many of the data and findings), which would surely have included also recordings of individual instruments by professionals - if not, in March of this year, the situation would have changed dramatically. I'm reluctant to repeat myself, but above I described the reason: commercial folks (not related to the Lang family) with very little knowledge about the man and his approach of guitar making, and zero practical experience with the guitars are preparing to cash in on new "original" (trademark rights) Lang guitars. The sad result is that, currently, it would be unwise to furnish a fit occasion about the specifications and making of Lang guitars.
    I recall the original Kohlert woodwind company, once fabulous handmade saxophones on the world market until the 1960‘s, whom suffered a similar fate years ago: the former brand reputation became more than watered down, and to younger people, now this name is mainly known as a cheap Chinese entry-level line.

    What I want to say: HR, who has no, at least not much, pecuniary interest in Lang guitars, is currently in a dilemma. Personally, being a little younger than him, in terms of Lang guitars I am not more than his helping pinkie.
    Perhaps, despite this problem, in the interests of Lang's unique creations, posterity can somehow be assured of secured knowledge, but at the moment I still see no path to follow. The future will tell it; otherwise, new and younger enthusiasts may look forward to an exciting and rewarding, if sometimes laborious job. Good luck!
    HR's report on a 12-string Lang archtop should still appear ... there again Lang was time ahead of his counterpart D'Aquisto in New York.

    I ask for your understanding if, for reasons mentioned above, more in-depth information about Lang guitars is currently not available. This has nothing to do with secret-mongering, and certainly not to push the market prices of Lang guitars up.
    If someone has a clear interest in buying and playing a Lang, I‘d feel happy to help if possible.

  29. #28
    um - just want to sell the guitar pictured at the start of this thread.... (if you don´t mind)

  30. #29

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    Alte - this keeps your ad on P.1, where it belongs! :^)

  31. #30