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  #31  
Old 11-17-2016, 11:33 PM
jomaynor jomaynor is offline
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Originally Posted by 815C View Post
Here's my attempt to make a flat top do an archtop's job....

Really fine playing.

The overall tone of the D-18 style guitar was not overbearing nor overreverberating, but the string squeak of the bronze strings is quite unavoidably present with the rapid chordal shifts of a jazz tune.

Bronze on a flattop can make some divine sounding ringing chords, as we all know, but this bronze/flattop combination is far less well suited for typical jazz or classical chordal movement. Have you tried monel strings on that flattop yet?
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  #32  
Old 11-18-2016, 03:34 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Originally Posted by Hot Vibrato View Post
I love the Gypsy jazz sound, but I've never played a real Selmer Macafari guitar, or any of the reproductions made by top luthiers, and I've been unimpressed with the import versions that I have seen. I just don't think many high quality examples exist in the region in which I live. However, it seems that with such light strings, they would be at a disadvantage in terms of sheer volume (lighter strings = less top movement = less volume). I've often wondered how Django was even heard at the clubs in Paris, using 1930's sound reinforcement technology. Have you ever tried playing an acoustic guitar in a loud club? Impossible to hear acoustically, and tricky to mic, even with modern technology. It's maybe a subject for another thread, but I wonder how it was possible back then for Django's solos to be audible in a live venue.

I guess I'm the one who used the word "average", but I wasn't considering that most flat tops and archtops in existence are cheap student brands that are mostly unacceptable for any serious player. So let's forget about Kays, Harmonys, Silvertones, or other cheapo brands for the moment. If we're comparing Gibson and Epiphone's vintage archtops vs. Gibson's and Martin's' flat tops from the same timeframe, then I disagree. I would say that the average archtop sounds better to me. It may be apples and oranges, but I like the archtop sound better, and they're far more versatile than some folks on this thread give them credit for.

Much like Gypsy jazz guitars, there's not many boutique archtops in this region, but I've played plenty of vintage Gibson and Epiphone archtops, and great sounding examples can be had for $2000 or less. In my experience, the more expensive models are more ornate, but they don't sound much better than their more humble counterparts. In fact, I prefer the sound of Gibson's parallel-braced guitars to their more expensive X-braced models, and Epiphone's parallel-braced models sound even better to me than Gibson's.

You can have the $10,000 archtops. There are plenty of more affordable, more modest vintage guitars that sound just beautiful to my ears.

Thank you. I couldn't have said it better myself.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKaEiY4Xelc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc1zuJ3VjLI

Nobody bothered to tell Eddie Lang that he was using the wrong guitar for his solo pieces: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQjSf4nxP7Q

Maybe so... I was just pointing out the fact that I'm disappointed in the tone of most "good" flat tops. If I hadn't brought it up, then we wouldn't be having this interesting conversation. I always enjoy reading your thoughtful remarks, so thanks for contributing.
Some interesting points salient to this thread here.

"I love the Gypsy jazz sound, but I've never played a real Selmer Macafari guitar, or any of the reproductions made by top luthiers"

I have played a genuine Selmer Maccaferri, and a couple made by a fine luthier friend of mine using original parts obtained from Louis Gallo.
Played solo, out of context, they sound very poor, but played in manouche style by an expert you get, not a wide tonal range but that "pre-war" swing sound - which is actually harsh and thin.

The Eddie Lang pieces you chose are excellent examples as to the thinner sound of early archtops. A long way from ideal for melody work as illustrated. Yes you can hear every note and the virtuosity of the player, but compared to say, a fine 00 or 000 martin 12 fret flat top it doesn't compare.

I have a '34 Gibson archtop - it is a thing of beauty, and if I wanted to give a rhythmic chop in a band it would work perfectly, but for melody playing - thin.

Here's an example :

Somne time ago i wanted to use it to video my version of an old American songbook piece - "All Of Me" I was unimpressed with the Gibson for it and so in frustration, I turned to my 000 flat top :



The '34 archtop is incisive and projects well, but has little sustain and the bass is dry and flat ....as one would expect - for a rhythm box.

The 000 (when properly in tune) has a perfect balance across the strings, and good sustain as one would expect from a design (including a suitably wide fretboard) intended for auditorium use any time between 1902 and now.

As a side note, I also (currently) have a wonderfully built Eastman archtop built to the same dimensions as the old L-4, but built lighter to give a wider tonal sound.
I only have one video of this which was made to sell it. I'm no longer a charter member and not trying to sneak in a rogues sales pitch so just look at thins from 2.00 on, to hear the fuller sound of a good modern archtop :



Whilst the sound is much fuller - it still doesn't equal the open tonality of, say a dreadnought :



Hope that helps illustrate the difference between the design and purposes of these guitar styles.
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  #33  
Old 11-18-2016, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jomaynor View Post
Really fine playing.

The overall tone of the D-18 style guitar was not overbearing nor overreverberating, but the string squeak of the bronze strings is quite unavoidably present with the rapid chordal shifts of a jazz tune.

Bronze on a flattop can make some divine sounding ringing chords, as we all know, but this bronze/flattop combination is far less well suited for typical jazz or classical chordal movement. Have you tried monel strings on that flattop yet?
Thx! Yeah, that SQUEAK is present for sure. Maybe I should have used some FastFret or something like that. Have not tried Monel strings yet - might give them a shot.
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  #34  
Old 11-18-2016, 11:37 AM
jomaynor jomaynor is offline
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Thx! Yeah, that SQUEAK is present for sure. Maybe I should have used some FastFret or something like that. Have not tried Monel strings yet - might give them a shot.
Monel is inherently less squeaky than bronze. (I personally can't abide the anti-squeak lubricants like FastFret, etc. Or Elixir strings, with their slick feel, either. Too WD-40ish feeling for me - no thanks.)

Monel (Martin Retro) strings have less overtone chime for static chords than bronze, but still more than flatwounds, and they produce more dynamic volume than silk & steel.
I would think that either monel or nickel bronze would work well for you.

Who made the flattop that you are playing in the video clip?
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  #35  
Old 11-20-2016, 06:51 AM
Hot Vibrato Hot Vibrato is offline
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Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post

The Eddie Lang pieces you chose are excellent examples as to the thinner sound of early archtops. A long way from ideal for melody work as illustrated. Yes you can hear every note and the virtuosity of the player, but compared to say, a fine 00 or 000 martin 12 fret flat top it doesn't compare.
I disagree. First of all, bear in mind that those Eddie Lang recordings were made in the 20's, which leaves much to be desired in terms of fidelity.

But also bear in mind that the guitars you mentioned (00 and 000) existed in Eddie Lang's day, and he could have played one if he wanted, but he chose to play his L5 because it happened to be the best tool for the job.

I'm sure Lang's virtuosity would shine through regardless of what guitar he played, but I think the L-5 is perfect, and that his recordings would not have sounded as good had he played a flat top.

P.S. Love the clips! Thanks for posting!
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  #36  
Old 11-20-2016, 09:53 AM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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+1. Also, listen to Carl Kress and Dick McDonough from that same time period or slightly later for an example of the beautiful rich sound of the early L-5s.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgNDZsSOpjM
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  #37  
Old 11-20-2016, 10:37 AM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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@nooneinparticular

The difference between a flat-top dreadnaught and an archtop is not unlike that between a gymnasium and a nice concert hall.
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Last edited by Kerbie; 11-26-2016 at 02:40 AM. Reason: Rule #1
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  #38  
Old 11-20-2016, 10:43 AM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post

The Eddie Lang pieces you chose are excellent examples as to the thinner sound of early archtops.
Sorry, but they are "excellent examples" of early recording techniques reduced to low bitrate MP3 files uploaded to YouTube and likely heard over computer speakers. Even the electronic recordings that followed the acoustic horn recordings had a range of 100hz-5Khz, hardly what you're used to hearing post 1950.

I guarantee you that he produced world class sound in person. I also suspect that he could get WAY more out of your '34 than you or I can.

FYI:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramophone_record
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Last edited by Wyllys; 11-20-2016 at 11:03 AM.
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  #39  
Old 11-20-2016, 11:50 AM
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Please remember rule #1 folks.
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  #40  
Old 11-22-2016, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by jomaynor View Post

Who made the flattop that you are playing in the video clip?
That guitar was made for my by John S Kinnard in San Diego.
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  #41  
Old 11-22-2016, 08:27 AM
Frogstar Frogstar is offline
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Just to chime in with my two bits, I have effectively little-to-no experience with archtops--but while I was at the music store this past Saturday, they had a Gretsch New Yorker hanging on the wall. After pulling it down and playing it, I can definitely say that obtaining an archtop is on my radar now.
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  #42  
Old 11-22-2016, 09:03 AM
Hot Vibrato Hot Vibrato is offline
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@nooneinparticular

The difference between a flat-top dreadnaught and an archtop is not unlike that between a gymnasium and a nice concert hall.

You figure it out...
So, one sounds bad and one sounds good? One's good for basketball and the other is not? I'm confused by your analogy.
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  #43  
Old 11-22-2016, 09:07 AM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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So, one sounds bad and one sounds good? One's good for basketball and the other is not? I'm confused by your analogy.
Bad and good are judgement calls and likely situational. Think about the difference in how sound "lives" within the two rooms cited...and the two guitars (boxes).

Disclaimer:

I'm a sound person as well as a musician. It's like the RT60 measurements I have to deal with.
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  #44  
Old 11-22-2016, 11:24 AM
jomaynor jomaynor is offline
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Originally Posted by 815C View Post
That guitar was made for my by John S Kinnard in San Diego.

Thanks - it's a wonderful sounding instrument, and you play it gracefully.
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  #45  
Old 11-22-2016, 12:16 PM
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"Flat top guitars sound lame to 'you'".

I have no problem whatsoever with that. Happy guitar playing.
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