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Old 11-01-2019, 10:55 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is online now
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 8,401

If you really want an archtop that will sound good unplugged, you gotta look for a solid top (usually, though there are exceptions) and at least a 3" deep body.

Gibson has made MANY over the years. Two of my favorites that fit the bill (and don't break the bank completely) would be the lowly L-50 and the very nice (but for whatever reason, not as valuable as some) L-7.

The gold standard would be something like a 20's/30's 16" L5 (like Maybelle Carter)

Man...the sound...

Also, heavy string high action on an archtop really does make them sing...but of course there's a point where playability suffers.

A lot of jazz guys (myself included) actually use heavier strings on their electrics than their acoustics! Plugged in, with a low action, I can use something like a .014 for the high E. But that's on a guitar that does NOT sound like much unplugged.

Here's arguably one of the best players on the planet on an old L5.

Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
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