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RJVB 10-17-2021 01:26 PM

Distinguishing The Loar LH-350 and LH-650

I'm talking with someone selling a LH-650 for considerably less than what I've already seen them being listed for. I'll be going to look at and try the instrument soon, and I wonder if anyone here can tell me how make certain this is not an LH-350 being sold for almost what it cost new - above and beyond what the label inside might say.

I know the 650 has a solid back, but if this particular individual doesn't have a nicely figured back it's going to be hard to determine whether it's solid or laminate. I've read somewhere that the 350 has a V-shape neck which would be a distinguishing feature w.r.t. the 650's C-shape neck, but it seems a bit weird that they would have built such similar models so differently.

mr. beaumont 10-18-2021 08:12 AM

The "50" series have the cutaway and the rounded neck. It's the 300/600/700 that have the non cutaway and the V neck. 350/650 are rounded.

There should be a label in the soundhole to clear things up, but the 350 will also have a very plain back, whereas the 650 will have moderate, wider flame.

RJVB 10-18-2021 08:52 AM


You seem to know them well, anything undesirable to look out for?

mr. beaumont 10-18-2021 09:08 AM


Now, I haven't come across any in a few years, but here's my experience.

I owned a 600. I thought it was a great "raw materials" guitar, but it did have some issues when I got it--2 high frets and a nut that was cut too low. So a little work and it was a great sounding guitar. If I had kept it just set up for rhythm playing, it would have been a keeper for me, but it sounded so good that I wanted to play it all the way up the neck, and then that very sharp V neck bothered me. I ended up selling it, but I really believe, for an old school rhtyhm guitar on a budget, nobody else comes close.

Now, the deal with the Loar I've found is that there is a BIG jump in quality from the 300 series to the 600 series. The 300 series guitars I've played have just not been very good. Particularly a 309 (non cut P90 model) I tried that was just a terrible guitar.

The 600's and 650's are really good...light, LOUD.

So I think it might be pretty easy for you to tell the difference.

RJVB 10-18-2021 10:00 AM

That's good to hear, because I'll definitely want to do fingerpicking on her too (and will be trying how that works out). I've heard examples of that on an LH-600 so I know it's possible, and if they're as light as you say they might work with the silk & brass strings I use on my mini-jumbo (currently Thomastik AC111 and they've really made that guitar open up when not using a pick). In fact, I'm kind of hoping to be either completely underwhelmed, or fall in love enough to decide to sell the mini-jumbo without hesitation ;)

mr. beaumont 10-18-2021 10:18 AM

Archtops do like heavier can fingerpick them, but it's a bit of a different sound...the 600/650 being solid wood instruments, they're more Mother Maybelle and less "blues box" in sound.

RJVB 10-18-2021 12:02 PM

Different is good, no? :)

I fingerpick my m-j and I think she isn't really made for that either. It works, she responds well enough almost all the way up the fretboard, but it's been a chore finding the strings and a set-up that may convince me. Or not, jury is still out; now that I finally have found the strings (or string tension) that give me the impression I can also hear myself play (when fingerpicking), I think the sound may be a bit too cathedral to my taste - and the trebles too easily too jangly (or if you're listening to a run-of-the-mill piezo pickup sound). The impression I have from listening to lots of demo videos is that an archtop could address both problems. Somewhat less sustain, and trebles that sound much more like those of an electrical guitar.

My plan is to take the m-j along when I go look at the 650.

PaulHintz 10-18-2021 06:29 PM

I purchased a 350 from a local store two years ago that was marked down, waayy down, probably because the neck has a full D sort of profile and a 1 13/16 inch nut. Widest string spacing Iíve ever encountered on an archtop and I love the guitar. Good top, lots of resonance. I got lucky, given the reports by Mr Beaumont and others, here and on the jazz forum. Try before you buy, but try one if you get a chance. I did have the dreadful pick guard replaced. And the single ugly-knob volume control replaced at schatten thumb wheels.

RJVB 10-19-2021 03:17 AM


Originally Posted by PaulHintz (Post 6835550)
a 1 13/16 inch nut. Widest string spacing Iíve ever encountered on an archtop

That's the impression I got, but according to the specs it's a 1 3/4" nut. The difference is minimal of course, but almost 1.6mm seems a bit much for a measuring error on your part or a manufacturing glitch on their part. Either way, the wider the better for me!

RJVB 11-04-2021 04:01 AM

Well, that was a bummer... When I finally did get a time and date agreed to meet, the seller apparently got remorse, spent the evening playing the guitar and decided to keep the instrument (and that after lowering the price under 800Ä days before). I'm regretting a bit not having maintained the meeting in order to get to know the instrument, but I have more urgent things to do while here, sadly.

Another one did pop up though, AND I had some unexpected cash inflow, so who knows...

RJVB 11-05-2021 12:28 PM

Nothing left to see here.

stevo58 11-06-2021 01:40 AM

rule violation


RJVB 11-06-2021 03:12 AM

Hi, the reason I asked about "WTB" posts is that the rules about mentioning sales are very strict; from what I understand you can get into trouble by even alluding to the fact that you intend not to keep an item. Unless you’re a paying member.

Maybe I was being overly cautious anyway, after all there are plenty of threads asking buying advice… so I've decided to convert my question into one of those.

Either way, I’m looking for something with a more common neck profile, meaning a 650, or maybe rather an Eastman equivalent like the ar805(ce).

mr. beaumont 11-08-2021 11:02 AM

RJVB, you might consider joining over at

I've seen Loars pop up for sale there.

PaulHintz 11-08-2021 08:26 PM

And thereís a strong European membership at that forum, since thatís where the site is hosted.

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