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Author Topic: Archtop acoustics.  (Read 300 times)
Silence Dogood
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« on: June 14, 2019, 02:43:23 AM »

Not sure why but in all my years of playing, Iíve never noticed these much.  But Iíve become very interested in them.  Anyone here play an archtop acoustic?  There are some excellent deals on old Harmonys etc out there, though I doubt Iíd buy a guitar like that without playing and inspecting it first. 
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2019, 11:45:21 AM »

Not sure why but in all my years of playing, Iíve never noticed these much.  But Iíve become very interested in them.  Anyone here play an archtop acoustic?  There are some excellent deals on old Harmonys etc out there, though I doubt Iíd buy a guitar like that without playing and inspecting it first. 

I don't own one but my friend acquired an old Kalamazoo recently and it is very nice. Light, responsive and very cool. Looks just like this one which unfortunately has been sold. I think he paid more for it though. 

https://reverb.com/ca/item/7523437-1937-kalamazoo-archtop-sunburst
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Queequeg
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2019, 12:21:15 PM »

Not sure why but in all my years of playing, Iíve never noticed these much.  But Iíve become very interested in them.  Anyone here play an archtop acoustic?  There are some excellent deals on old Harmonys etc out there, though I doubt Iíd buy a guitar like that without playing and inspecting it first.  
Yeah, you definitely need to play them first; especially an old Harmony (or similar) because most of them, due to advanced age, need a neck reset, which will likely set you back more than what you pay for the guitar.
The other thing is that unlike duck's friend's nice old Kalamazoo, which is light and responsive, most of the old inexpensive archtops I run across could not possibly be described as nice, light or responsive. Too many I've played (mostly Harmonys) are unplayable due to the action on the neck and sonically dead. I'd love to find one of those old Kalamazoos, though. I know they're out there. I just know they are.
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tlp2
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2019, 12:26:36 PM »

They sound different, not everyone likes that.  I do, different is fun.  
I got this one for $50 at a thrift store, it needed a little work.  
Pic is here, scroll down: http://www.larriveeforum.com/smf/index.php?topic=53380.0  
The pickup is a recent addition and not permanent.  

Check out the Jason Isbell Alabama Pines vid.  Fun. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCMsUQmS0Bo


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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2019, 02:46:02 PM »

I played achtops for years mostley older Gibson's and Epiphone's a few Silvertone's.Played old folk,country,blue's just about any style.Not an instrument for most theses days.I don't put limits of use on any guitars.
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2019, 07:37:18 PM »

The thing with archtops is that they are not really designed to do what singer songwriters, country singers and most folksingers want to do with them. David Rawlings makes great use of his but again in more of a back ground role. Made to play rhythm and fills in big bands. Then someone, thinking it would be cool if he could get a solo, put a pickup in one and the rest is history.   
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Silence Dogood
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 11:29:45 PM »

I discovered yesterday that the AGF has an entire section devoted to ďarchies.Ē   Made for some absolutely excellent reading, as I read several threads from each page.

Iíve been noticing the all-lam archtop that Godin puts out.  Their stuff is pretty inconsistent in my experience and Iíd not buy one without playing first.  Same with the Loar and Epiphone options: would definitely try before I buy, but Iíd not hesitate to own any of them.  The old Gibsons and Strombergs are obviously the standard, but Iíd not shell out the cash.

There is a local guy at a guitar show I go to each October who has a booth.  He usually has about 50 old archtops for pretty cheap. Most are the crappy stuff of yesteryear that isnít ideal.  Iíd never even waste $50 on something like that.  But Iíve noodled around on some of his stuff before and remember some of the guitars being pretty cool.  

What Iím looking for is an acoustic that I can play rock and roll on, and some of these archtop guitars felt right for that.  Oddly enough, I have never played a high-end acoustic that I could rock on. Most are for strummers or fingerstyle, but I like to bend strings and play it like itís a Strat.  I have a Strat/Marshall set up but just prefer the simplicity of flipping open the case and grabbing a guitar.  I keep thinking the right archtop would be good for this?  Iíve played a few cheap flattops over the years that rock, and I even love the thin tone of a cheap guitar for rocking out, but every high-end guitar (including my Larrivee) has been like an arm-wrestling match. I had an Ovation for a while but it felt like playing an electricónot good for me.

Just some of my thoughts.  
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2019, 12:20:40 AM »

I discovered yesterday that the AGF has an entire section devoted to ďarchies.Ē   Made for some absolutely excellent reading, as I read several threads from each page.

Iíve been noticing the all-lam archtop that Godin puts out.  Their stuff is pretty inconsistent in my experience and Iíd not buy one without playing first.  Same with the Loar and Epiphone options: would definitely try before I buy, but Iíd not hesitate to own any of them.  The old Gibsons and Strombergs are obviously the standard, but Iíd not shell out the cash.

There is a local guy at a guitar show I go to each October who has a booth.  He usually has about 50 old archtops for pretty cheap. Most are the crappy stuff of yesteryear that isnít ideal.  Iíd never even waste $50 on something like that.  But Iíve noodled around on some of his stuff before and remember some of the guitars being pretty cool.  

What Iím looking for is an acoustic that I can play rock and roll on, and some of these archtop guitars felt right for that.  Oddly enough, I have never played a high-end acoustic that I could rock on. Most are for strummers or fingerstyle, but I like to bend strings and play it like itís a Strat.  I have a Strat/Marshall set up but just prefer the simplicity of flipping open the case and grabbing a guitar.  I keep thinking the right archtop would be good for this?  Iíve played a few cheap flattops over the years that rock, and I even love the thin tone of a cheap guitar for rocking out, but every high-end guitar (including my Larrivee) has been like an arm-wrestling match. I had an Ovation for a while but it felt like playing an electricónot good for me.

Just some of my thoughts.  

An archtop to play rock'n'roll on? Gibson ES-335 or something like that works well. Why not an electric guitar for electric music?
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Silence Dogood
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2019, 01:18:38 AM »

An archtop to play rock'n'roll on? Gibson ES-335 or something like that works well. Why not an electric guitar for electric music?
Hello.  I love electric guitars and own a great one.  But I have a large family living in a small house, so my rig is in a closet and itís a hassle to drag it out and set up.  Wish I had a music room, but the proverb of wishing in one hand comes to mind.  So acoustic is way more convenient for me, and since Iíve done it so long now, itís my preference. 
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2019, 03:53:39 AM »

Depending on the dime you have to spend you might want to look at mid 60's L48 and L50 by Gibson.The newer Epiphone architops I've played couple are nice though I think they have bridge pu's built in but I only played them acoustically.
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Silence Dogood
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2019, 05:13:01 AM »

Depending on the dime you have to spend you might want to look at mid 60's L48 and L50 by Gibson.The newer Epiphone architops I've played couple are nice though I think they have bridge pu's built in but I only played them acoustically.
Iíll never spring for a high-end instrument again in all likelihood.  I have a Collings mandolin that I finally got after many years of longing.  Itís super nice and way beyond my abilities, but itís not that big a deal at dayís end.  I feel the same about guitars these days. Good enough is good enough for me. 

ducktrapper: I was thinking of something.  Assuming youíve not done so already, check out some old footage of Hank Snowís acoustic playing.  He was basically a rock guitarist (almost a shredder) in a nudie suit.  He wasnít afraid to get WAY up on the fretboard and really lay it down.  He did some monster bending too.  I honestly donít understand why more people donít play like this.  An acoustic guitar simply has tons more character than an electric.
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2019, 02:19:49 PM »


Assuming youíve not done so already, check out some old footage of Hank Snowís acoustic playing.  He was basically a rock guitarist (almost a shredder) in a nudie suit.  He wasnít afraid to get WAY up on the fretboard and really lay it down.  He did some monster bending too.  I honestly donít understand why more people donít play like this.  An acoustic guitar simply has tons more character than an electric.


Got any You Tube links? 
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2019, 02:35:48 PM »

Hello.  I love electric guitars and own a great one.  But I have a large family living in a small house, so my rig is in a closet and itís a hassle to drag it out and set up.  Wish I had a music room, but the proverb of wishing in one hand comes to mind.  So acoustic is way more convenient for me, and since Iíve done it so long now, itís my preference.  

I have this tiny Gem amp and little Orange spkr cab in my loft. The Gem 2.0 has two settings for power. 4.0 watts or at the push of a button, 0.4 watts. I can actually play more quietly on the electric. Took it outside earlier for some blues in the morning. I had the volume to eleven and the Gain on full using the 0.4 watt setting, it sounded deadly, beautiful natural tube distortion but since I was aimed at the lake, I doubt the neighbors could even hear it.

Unfortunately, the black flies were so bad that I only got a third of the way into Free Bird before I had to go inside. As the Trucker's say, "It's a loooong song".      




* Amber and Orange with Gem.jpg (74.54 KB, 720x960 - viewed 10 times.)

* Gem power selector.jpg (63.78 KB, 960x720 - viewed 12 times.)

* Gem 2.0 control panel.jpg (58.56 KB, 960x486 - viewed 10 times.)
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2019, 02:40:43 PM »

Iíll never spring for a high-end instrument again in all likelihood.  I have a Collings mandolin that I finally got after many years of longing.  Itís super nice and way beyond my abilities, but itís not that big a deal at dayís end.  I feel the same about guitars these days. Good enough is good enough for me. 

ducktrapper: I was thinking of something.  Assuming youíve not done so already, check out some old footage of Hank Snowís acoustic playing.  He was basically a rock guitarist (almost a shredder) in a nudie suit.  He wasnít afraid to get WAY up on the fretboard and really lay it down.  He did some monster bending too.  I honestly donít understand why more people donít play like this.  An acoustic guitar simply has tons more character than an electric.

I'm not saying you can't play the music on an acoustic, just that good acoustic archtops are difficult to find and often don't work the way you want them to until you amplify them. The electric guitar's character comes from the player and the amp. Way more versatile in the rock'n'roll world. I just have to have both. Love Hank Snow. Bob Dylan got a lot of ideas from him. As for acoustic rock'n'roll, there's always the Everly Brothers and The .... Beatles! 
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2019, 08:07:12 PM »

Something weird happened with this photo. The and shows up twice with a K in the middle but it doesn't in reality. And I just noticed that there are four black knobs but only three in reality as you can see in the pic below. Suddenly, there's two tone knobs. Very weird.


* Gem 2.0 control panel.jpg (58.56 KB, 960x486 - viewed 12 times.)

* Amber and Orange with Gem.jpg (74.54 KB, 720x960 - viewed 12 times.)
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2019, 08:37:15 PM »

I wondered about that, too, Tom! I thought you had stuck two different stickers on there... didn't notice the knobs.

Funky looking little head - is there some hand painted orange paint on there? 
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2019, 11:11:10 PM »

I wondered about that, too, Tom! I thought you had stuck two different stickers on there... didn't notice the knobs.

Funky looking little head - is there some hand painted orange paint on there? 

Yep. I couldn't make the cab red so I made the amp orange to match it.  I'm an idiot sometimes. 
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Silence Dogood
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« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2019, 02:16:42 AM »

Got any You Tube links? 
https://youtu.be/qtJz_Wm-gG0

Hankís not shredding here but it is a good example of how he played way up on the neck.  That guitar is really belching out some deep tone too, and sounds like it probably had some pretty heavy strings on it, something very common in those days.  Hank was a master and dominated the instrument.  I always love watching him play.  Chet Atkins said how there was ďno money up thereĒ on the higher frets.  Hank surely made a nice living up there. 
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Silence Dogood
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« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2019, 05:42:20 AM »

Something weird happened with this photo. The and shows up twice with a K in the middle but it doesn't in reality. And I just noticed that there are four black knobs but only three in reality as you can see in the pic below. Suddenly, there's two tone knobs. Very weird.
Man, I love that guitar.  I bet itís a joy to play!
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Silence Dogood
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« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2019, 08:18:57 PM »

Went out guitar-lusting today in Dallas.  Several big shops and lots of archtops.   Verdict: UNDERWHELMED.  Iíll stick to my flattops because all the archies, including the $$$, were beaucoup hard to play.  They sure look cool, and I remembered the ones in the past being way more user-friendly.   Oh well!
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