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  #1  
Old 10-13-2017, 06:21 PM
hotroad hotroad is offline
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Default Picks, Capo's and Tunings

Just picked up a Peerless Monarch today in sunburst. Great guitar. So now the questions about picks, capos and tunings.
1. I read that you are supposed to use a thick pick for archtops. Is that the norm.
2. Will my capos for my flat top guitars work on this one though the strings will be a bit heavier, 13's.
3. Does anyone use drop D or open tunings on an archtop?

As you can tell, I am a newbie to archtops and this is my first. So I will do the trial and error method but thot I would ask these few questions to get started.

By the way, Doc Dosco, an accomplished archtop player on YouTube, has been a huge help to me in so many ways. He is a superstar at customer service, follow up, communication, pricing, and a fun guy to work with.
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2017, 01:02 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotroad View Post
Just picked up a Peerless Monarch today in sunburst. Great guitar. So now the questions about picks, capos and tunings.
1. I read that you are supposed to use a thick pick for archtops. Is that the norm.
2. Will my capos for my flat top guitars work on this one though the strings will be a bit heavier, 13's.
3. Does anyone use drop D or open tunings on an archtop?
  1. Not necessarily - I've been using Dunlop Nylon .60/.67 (the rare orange ones)/.73 picks for the last 30+years, on a variety of instruments, and had no problem with either volume or tone
  2. Traditionally, archtop players don't use capos - since they're predominantly jazz instruments we're used to playing in flat keys (try asking a trumpet or sax player to transpose to "guitar-friendly" concert E on the spot - and get ready to duck ); since you've never owned an archtop before, there's also a whole different technique involved in getting the best out of it - what the old Big Band players called "coaxing the velvet out" - and you're not going to get it by just grabbing a heavy pick and whacking away. Start by working on movable chord/scale formations - there's a distinct and characteristic difference in tone that you're not going to get with a capo - and adopt more of an orchestral string players' technique: "stroke" rather than "strum," "glide" rather than "pick," and let the guitar do all the work when it comes to volume/tone
  3. Some players will occasionally use drop D, but that's largely vanished from the scene as players who need the extra low range have adopted 7-string instruments, with either a low B or low A; '30s soloist Carl Kress (a converted tenor banjo player) was known to tune his guitar in fifths - which gave him a low Bb on the 6th string - but other than that virtually every player I'm familiar with uses standard tuning
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:07 AM
hotroad hotroad is offline
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Great to get this info as I start out on my archtop. I will use a capo but forget the altered tunings for now. I also have a ton of pedals I want to use with my Monarch so it will be interesting to see how it reacts to the pedals.
I personally am very grateful for the input from a seasoned player. Thanks very much.
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...Peerless Monarch Archtop
...Lowden F-35 Redwood/Koa...for sale
...Breedlove Myrtle 12 string
...Emerald X20 Artisan Woody
...Martin D28, 1967
...Ovation Shallow Bowl Celebrity MINT...For Sale
...FOR SALE...LD Systems Dave8 Roadie PA System
...Amplification... HK Audio Lucas Nano 300
...Shertler David Deluxe
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  #4  
Old 12-30-2017, 08:02 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotroad View Post
Great to get this info as I start out on my archtop. I will use a capo but forget the altered tunings for now. I also have a ton of pedals I want to use with my Monarch so it will be interesting to see how it reacts to the pedals.
I personally am very grateful for the input from a seasoned player. Thanks very much.
A lot depends on the guitar and your style.

Traditional wisdom says really thick picks - 2-3 m/m but this tradition is about plectrum style rhythmic playing where it s necessary to hack out closed chords a'la Freddie Green etc.
For a lighter built modern arch-top on which m,ore melodic style are preferred less mass in the pick might be acceptable.

generally capos on archtops are anathema ....then came David Rawlings.

After writing this I see reference to pedals - if youjust want to distort the sound of an archtop, surely the best place for this enquiry shold be in electric guitars - not archtops?
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  #5  
Old 12-30-2017, 10:44 AM
blackie51 blackie51 is offline
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Quote:
I will use a capo but forget the altered tunings for now
I would advise against forgetting the altered tunings. I have a '39 Gibson archtop and use it in Open G, Open D, DADGAD and CGDGAD tunings all the time. ( And I use capos too. ) Try out the open and altered tunings, you may find a sound you like somewhere in one of them. Besides, you can always go back to standard tuning in a couple seconds.

Tom
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Old 12-30-2017, 02:51 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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It's just a guitar, play it however you want to play it. You can play any kind of music on it, tune it how you like, use whatever strings you want to. I personally use light strings and tune down a tone on my main archtop. .011 - .050, same string gauges I am told Jim Hall used, good enough for me. I recently saw a picture of Taylor Swift playing a very recent Gibson L5 CES...

Brian
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  #7  
Old 12-30-2017, 03:18 PM
coldfingers coldfingers is offline
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Of course you can use any kind of pick you like, but I do think a person should at least experiment with a smaller, heavier pick on an acoustic archtop than they might use on a flattop. As I just posted on another thread, I like the Pro-Plec 1.5mm teardrop picks, but there are many to choose from. The thing about the smaller, fatter pick is it will force you to play differently, which is something you'll need to do anyway moving from flattop to archtop.
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