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  #1  
Old 05-04-2016, 03:46 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Default Playing one of Eric Clapton's Monteleones

Several months back I had a chance to stop by John's shop to play a pair of guitars he built for Eric Clapton. John got out his iphone and shot a little video that actually came out very nicely.

This is the one that does not have a floating pickup, but other than that they are identically beautiful!

https://youtu.be/s_calfkhKy8

High dropped D is the tuning if you're wondering.

HE
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:31 PM
tdq tdq is offline
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Nice guitar and picking! What's the nut width on that?
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:02 PM
Archtop Guy Archtop Guy is offline
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Great playing dude, and a nice reminder that a nice archtop is a nice guitar, not just a jazz guitar.
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:07 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Originally Posted by tdq View Post
Nice guitar and picking! What's the nut width on that?
That's 1 & 13/16". It felt great to me, but also because it was deeper as well.

John typically builds a 1 & 3/4" lower profile, but Eric, as you might expect, loves a larger, , meatier neck, and his signature Martin is certainly an indication of this.

My 1930 Gibson L-5 is even bigger than than what Eric had made.

HE
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:38 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Originally Posted by Archtop Guy View Post
Great playing dude, and a nice reminder that a nice archtop is a nice guitar, not just a jazz guitar.
Thank you.

I've owned a 1930 TGL-5 since 1976, and have played bottleneck & country blues style music on it, almost exclusively. It was John's exposure to my playing, and to another local musician, Billy McEwan (who played a 1928 Gibson L-5), that basically pointed him towards building his arch tops with more sustain than is typically heard.

Here's a shot of John & me taken for an article that appeared in Fretboard Journal back in 2009.



Best,
Howard Emerson
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:53 AM
kkfan kkfan is offline
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That's a beautiful guitar. And super playing. Makes the guitar shine ever brighter. Thanks for sharing the clip, Howard!

I always prefer to hear the acoustic voice of archtops as that, IMHO, is the only element that demonstrates the skills of a luthier.

Is the body deeper than 3"? It looks that way in the video.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:19 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Originally Posted by kkfan View Post
That's a beautiful guitar. And super playing. Makes the guitar shine ever brighter. Thanks for sharing the clip, Howard!

I always prefer to hear the acoustic voice of archtops as that, IMHO, is the only element that demonstrates the skills of a luthier.

Is the body deeper than 3"? It looks that way in the video.
It's a little deeper than 3", maybe 3.25" or so.

HE
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:19 PM
tdq tdq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
That's 1 & 13/16". It felt great to me, but also because it was deeper as well.

John typically builds a 1 & 3/4" lower profile, but Eric, as you might expect, loves a larger, , meatier neck, and his signature Martin is certainly an indication of this.

My 1930 Gibson L-5 is even bigger than than what Eric had made.

HE
I struggle fingerpicking on my archtop - it's spec'd at 1 3/4 but certainly doesn't feel like my flatop with the same spec. I'd love one with a nut width like that. I don't supposed these come cheap.....
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdq View Post
I struggle fingerpicking on my archtop - it's spec'd at 1 3/4 but certainly doesn't feel like my flatop with the same spec. I'd love one with a nut width like that. I don't supposed these come cheap.....
Many archtops with a 1-3/4" nut width will only have a 2-1/16" string spacing as opposed to the 2-1/4" to 2-5/16" found on many flat tops. This may account for the difference in feel.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:49 PM
kkfan kkfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
Many archtops with a 1-3/4" nut width will only have a 2-1/16" string spacing as opposed to the 2-1/4" to 2-5/16" found on many flat tops. This may account for the difference in feel.


Any particular reason for an archtop to be constructed like that?
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:24 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Originally Posted by tdq View Post
I struggle fingerpicking on my archtop - it's spec'd at 1 3/4 but certainly doesn't feel like my flatop with the same spec. I'd love one with a nut width like that. I don't supposed these come cheap.....
The sooner people start looking at a neck as if it were a waistline, the better.

1 & 3/4" is a linear spec of one thing: Nut width. Period.

It doesn't take into consideration the string spacing, how the fret ends have been finished (which can ABSOLUTELY affect possible string spacing adjustment), the circumference of the neck, the profile of that circumference, the depth from the fret tops to the back of the neck, neck width at 12th fret, etc, etc.

If you're having trouble with your plucking hand, you can easily widen the string spacing by regrinding the bridge top, and reslotting, but of course the prior considerations have to be met.

Also: Do you sit or stand when you play? That will affect the centerline of how the neck meets your fretting hand.

Oh, and as far as John's instrument go, they start around 25K, but you can find plenty of builders who build to spec for a whole lot less.

HE
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:31 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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Is he still building mandolins? At one time, he was the second coming of Lloyd Loar to the mandolin community. I think David Grisman has or had several of his mandolins.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:48 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Is he still building mandolins? At one time, he was the second coming of Lloyd Loar to the mandolin community. I think David Grisman has or had several of his mandolins.
Hi Harry,
Yes, John still builds mandolins & mandolas, etc.

Recently a FB friend purchased a used 10 string mandolin. I believe John made 5 of those, but he no longer makes them......at the moment.

Regards,
Howard
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:48 AM
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Awesome work... on both the instrument and the playing. Thanks for sharing that with us. It's the closest I'll ever get to both!
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:19 PM
tdq tdq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
The sooner people start looking at a neck as if it were a waistline, the better.

1 & 3/4" is a linear spec of one thing: Nut width. Period.

It doesn't take into consideration the string spacing, how the fret ends have been finished (which can ABSOLUTELY affect possible string spacing adjustment), the circumference of the neck, the profile of that circumference, the depth from the fret tops to the back of the neck, neck width at 12th fret, etc, etc.

If you're having trouble with your plucking hand, you can easily widen the string spacing by regrinding the bridge top, and reslotting, but of course the prior considerations have to be met.

Also: Do you sit or stand when you play? That will affect the centerline of how the neck meets your fretting hand.

Oh, and as far as John's instrument go, they start around 25K, but you can find plenty of builders who build to spec for a whole lot less.

HE
I measured it and it's closer to 1 11/16th. I did try putting on a 1 3/4 nut with a wider string spacing but the high and low E's were too close to the edge. Fiddling with the bridge top would be too risky for me. Perhaps a more skilled luthier could take a look.
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