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eyesore 12-29-2018 06:45 AM

small body arctop
who makes a small body archtop that has pickup and isn't too expensive ? under $800.thanks.

Steve DeRosa 12-29-2018 12:55 PM

Depends what you mean by both "small body" (archtop guitars have been made in widths as great as 19", and 17"/18" instruments are common among mainstream jazz players) and "pickup" (built-in, suspended, UST, humbucker, single-coil, multi-source) - that said, I'll offer you some suggestions based on what I think you might be looking for:

Epiphone Olympic: Ostensibly introduced to cater to the David Rawlings fans, this one shares the ~14" body of the original '30s New York version but little else in terms of either tone or construction; good news is that it comes with a factory UST with volume/tone controls (mounted inside the lower f-hole), so if this is the sound/size you're after it's your sole option TMK. Be advised, however, that there have been rumors of a wholesale discontinuation of the Masterbilt archtop line - considered neither fish nor fowl by most archtop aficionados - in favor of a more historically-accurate/tonally-superior all-carved lineup, targeted at the similar (and very successful) Eastman guitars (and comparably priced in the low four-figure bracket); FYI there's been a major price drop across the board - lending further credence to the story - so this may be your last chance. Note that the matching hardshell case is extra, sending your $499 bargain into the mid-$600 bracket - and for my money there's better to be had at that price; here's a link:

Godin Kingpin: A 16"/single P-90 archtop in the mold of the early-postwar Gibson ES-125/Epiphone Zephyr, this one's a favorite of blues/roots/early jazz fans on a budget, with all the tone and QC the Godin family (Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Norman, Art & Lutherie, LaPatrie) guitars are known for. While it doesn't offer the unplugged volume of its all-acoustic 5th Avenue counterpart (which can be fitted with a suspended pickup if this is important to you), with the right setup it has "that" tone if you're just chilling out on the couch or laying down an acoustic track; plugged in it punches way above its weight, and many pros who own four- and five-figure jazzboxes keep one of these $600 puppies around for that Swing-era electric vibe - here's a demo from one of our fellow AGF'ers:

The Loar LH-350: This one's a true carved-top/single-cutaway 16" jazzbox in the mold of the postwar Gibson L-4C, with a suspended humbucking pickup to allow full acoustic capability; while they can be excellent guitars for the money - several of the regular posters here on the Archtop subforum own them - neck geometry (extremely important on an archtop guitar - far more so than on a flattop) can be iffy, so you may want to seek the hands-on assistance of a knowledgeable friend when it comes time to make a choice. Here's a link:

Godin CW II: The cutaway/twin-pickup version of the aforementioned Kingpin, and everything I said above applies here as well; although the generally-advertised street price (~$1K) is a bit above your stated $800 budget, they can be had for much less if you shop around:

Best of luck in your search... :guitar:

Livingston 01-10-2019 12:56 AM

Not sure how you personally define "small body archtop". I have been gravitating towards smaller body archtops for sometime now. For me, since the majority of classic archtops are 16" to 17" at the lower bout, I consider 14.5" to 15" small bodied.

Below are three that I have acquired over the years

1. Ibanez GB40TH - 14.5" lower bout, 2-5/8" body depth (at the rim)
2. Eastman AR603CE-15 - 15" lower bout, 2-3/4" body depth
3. Ibanez Artcore United AG195 - 14.5" lower bout, 2-3/4" body depth
(Whoops! Corrected body depth measurements.) :)

All three sound wonderful. They feel so comfortable to hold as well. Of course, to each his/her own.

You can get an Ibanez AG for $400 on eBay give or take.

Good luck in your search.

Bill Pillmore 01-12-2019 08:54 AM


Originally Posted by eyesore (Post 5932239)
who makes a small body archtop that has pickup and isn't too expensive ? under $800.thanks.

I use to own a Gibson 3/4 body with a single p90. It was in your price range. A real fun couch guitar too.

eyesore 01-12-2019 08:48 PM

very nice selection Livingston

Grizzly Adams 01-14-2019 12:58 PM

I am new to the forum. Not necessarily a recommendation, but Martin made a small bodied arch top in the 30s - the R-18. They can still be found, although many have been converted to flat tops.

The R-18 did not fair well against the Gibsons, and so had a short production history. I have one built in 1936, and it has a very sweet tone, but not great volume. :)

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