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-   -   Archtop Necks (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=584814)

Cybenator 06-22-2020 07:15 PM

Archtop Necks
 
Coming from a person with small hands. Looking at older, 40's-50's-60's archtops, do they all have baseball bat type necks? Is there a brand-and/or model I should be concentrating on?

Hoping to keep it under $1100 to the door.. Exceptions could be made. :)

Steve DeRosa 06-22-2020 08:31 PM

Most of them indeed have larger necks - considered a necessity when a 14-60 or 15-62 set (often with a wound B) was factory issue, even after the adoption of adjustable truss rods - and the few vintage examples that don't (some '37-39 Epiphones, late F-Series Martins) are well out of your price range; that said, you might be able to find a late-production (mid/late-60's) player-grade Gibson L-48, Guild A-50, or Gretsch New Yorker in the $1K+/- range if you're patient and willing to look around...

If you're OK with a 1-3/4" neck the Eastman archtops have a modern profile: the AR605 - a no-frills, all-solid/all-carved 16" non-cutaway - can be had used for under $1K (again, patience is the key here), the 1920's Gibson L-4 clone AR400 for $600-700 used; finally, if you're just looking to get your feet wet until you have the funds to step up to a full-bore 17" jazzbox, the recently-discontinued Godin 5th Avenue acoustic - an all-laminated 16-incher in the mold of the Harmony/Kay student instruments of the '50s/60s - can be had for around $300 ($450-500 if you can find a new-old-stock example), and if you've ever played a Seagull mini-jumbo you'll find a lot to like in the 5th Avenue...

MC5C 06-23-2020 02:17 PM

My 1946 Epiphone has a very modern Vee neck, not overly big at all, and a fairly narrow nut - around 1 11/16" or a tad less.

JoeYouDon't 06-23-2020 03:04 PM

All of the Gibson archtop offshoots I've played (Kalamazoo, Cromwell, Recording King, etc...) have fairly substantial necks. I think it's more common for necks without truss rods to be chunky.

In that price and age range it might be worth investigating Gretsch. There are Gibson L-48s and L-50s that might fit that bill too. The ones I've encountered vary pretty wildly, so I'd caution getting anything sight unseen.

Also possible one of the Chicago brands (Kay, Harmony, Silvertone) might have something that fits your hand well too, and should certainly be within that price range.

Epiphones are worth checking out too, my '41 has a very comfortable C shape.

OKCtodd71 06-24-2020 04:44 PM

I don't any vintage archtop really worth having will come in under $1100, unless it needs $$$ worth of repairs. You'll get a lot more guitar for your money if you go with newer construction, less likely to need neck reset, refret, bracing issues etc. Eastman's are great guitars albeit with 1&3/4" nut width. I think to "go vintage" you're going to have to tend towards the higher end. An inexpensive student model from 1935-1955 will be beaten to death by most offering you'll come across built in the last 40 years, especially the last twenty.
If you buy a vintage guitar in this price range, I think you'll be paying more for "vintage" than "guitar". Folks seem to love Godin too.

Cybenator 06-24-2020 07:31 PM

Guess I was fooling myself looking at archtops in that price range. I don't want a wall hanger, I want a player...

Steve DeRosa 06-24-2020 09:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cybenator (Post 6419999)
Guess I was fooling myself looking at archtops in that price range. I don't want a wall hanger, I want a player...

As I said before, you have to be patient and persistent; as long as you don't expect to get a dead-mint museum piece with tags and original strings - although it does happen once in a rare while if you hit the right garage sale (my father's mechanic had a circa-1950 18" Epiphone Deluxe like this in the late-60's, wanted $200, should've grabbed it) - player-grade instruments are out there in or close to (make an offer if you're interested) your price range. Here's a few Reverb listings - and if you check eBay, CL, or Google-search the exact model(s) you're looking for you're almost certain to find others:

https://reverb.com/item/33684061-gibson-l-48-1946-1957
https://reverb.com/item/34341773-gib...wnish-sunburst
https://reverb.com/item/33105348-gre...brown-sunburst
https://reverb.com/item/33637377-gre...ar-brooklyn-ny
https://reverb.com/item/33690723-epi...ard-shell-case

davidbeinct 06-30-2020 05:57 AM

Iím smitten with the idea of owning an archtop and love Guilds, so I keep looking at this:
https://reverb.com/item/34285273-gui...ri-ca-100-1962
Itís more than I can spend right now but only a bit above your budget. Neck sounds about right?

Steve DeRosa 06-30-2020 06:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davidbeinct (Post 6424598)
I’m smitten with the idea of owning an archtop and love Guilds, so I keep looking at this:
https://reverb.com/item/34285273-gui...ri-ca-100-1962
It’s more than I can spend right now but only a bit above your budget. Neck sounds about right?

A .89 first-fret measurement is definitely on the thick side - in this case it's reflective of their New York Epiphone roots, as is the three-piece mahogany/maple/mahogany construction (FYI many of the Italian craftsmen from lower Manhattan made the move to Guild and Gretsch when Epiphone had labor issues - both were only a short train ride away, in Hoboken and Brooklyn respectively) - but with a weight just over five pounds it's probably a real tone monster...

Howard Emerson 07-01-2020 04:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cybenator (Post 6418124)
Coming from a person with small hands. Looking at older, 40's-50's-60's archtops, do they all have baseball bat type necks? Is there a brand-and/or model I should be concentrating on?

Hoping to keep it under $1100 to the door.. Exceptions could be made. :)

I would think that Guild should be the first place to look if you require a smaller neck.

They had a substantial footprint in the archtop arena, and a bunch of different models.

Here's a reverb.com link where the parameters are $1000-1500 Guild, you'll see a couple of possibilities. The sellers often take 'offers', so check it out.

https://reverb.com/marketplace?make=...price_min=1000

You may find that 'baseball' type necks not only vary a whole lot, but often times larger necks are far easier to play than smaller narrow necks.

Do NOT allow your "logic" to override what your hands have to say.

In other words: Play them, take notes, observe.

Happy hunting!

Howard Emerson

Cybenator 07-02-2020 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Howard Emerson (Post 6425412)
I would think that Guild should be the first place to look if you require a smaller neck.

They had a substantial footprint in the archtop arena, and a bunch of different models.

Here's a reverb.com link where the parameters are $1000-1500 Guild, you'll see a couple of possibilities. The sellers often take 'offers', so check it out.

https://reverb.com/marketplace?make=...price_min=1000

You may find that 'baseball' type necks not only vary a whole lot, but often times larger necks are far easier to play than smaller narrow necks.

Do NOT allow your "logic" to override what your hands have to say.

In other words: Play them, take notes, observe.

Happy hunting!

Howard Emerson

Am I missing something from your link, as I only see the one acoustic archtop?

RockerDuck 07-05-2020 05:17 AM

The thinnest neck archtops I've played are the Ibanez archtop guitars. They are players with fast necks. My recently sold Gretsch 6120 had a thin neck too.

Ray175 07-08-2020 07:00 AM

I have a 1961 ES-175D whose neck is significantly slimmer than the 1958 model that I had some years ago......

Aspiring 07-08-2020 01:58 PM

I have recently played several different archtops and ended up with Collings i30 with their 60s slim profile neck.

They offer that neck on all of their electrics so it is one option if you are looking for something slimmer.

Cybenator 07-09-2020 02:44 PM

Somehow this post got off track, I'm looking at (Acoustic archtops). Sorry for the confusion.


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