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Old 11-23-2020, 08:15 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by ArchtopLover View Post
...I am curious, for such a high-end, masterpiece, custom made archtop guitar, from this period, why would the master luthiers have chosen to use a "round" (not exactly, in this case), sound hole?

I own, and play, two cheapo (in contrast to this example), vintage archtops, one is a 1934 Gibson L-50 (first of its name) and the other is a 1928 Gibson L-4...With the round sound hole there is absolutely no natural reverb...And, the lower register is much fatter and more full sounding too...
I think you answered your own question when you described the defining characteristics of these instruments vis-a-vis their f-hole counterparts and which, when taken in light of the existence of the "classical archtop" school, actually make perfect sense in a steel-string virtuoso guitar: powerful natural acoustic projection, immediate response, and extended frequency range with minimal sonic artifacts (that natural reverb that sounds so sweet in more intimate surroundings is largely unnecessary in a concert-hall setting); while the design/execution is sound - Johnny Smith used one as his go-to-acoustic, Harry Volpe played a similar Gretsch Synchromatic 400 at least through the early postwar period, and Howard Roberts' Kalamazoo-era Epiphone signature model was an updated variation on a 16" cutaway platform - the concept belongs to a style of music already well in decline when these guitars were built, and I wouldn't be surprised if the aforementioned three examples are in fact the only ones in existence. By the same token, many flattop players looking to cross over find typical archtops strident, steely-sounding, and lacking dynamic/frequency range (they're not when played with the proper technique, but we all know that around here...), so this may indeed be an idea whose time has finally come - and I've had a guitar of this size/type on my bucket list for many years...
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