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Old 11-27-2018, 08:25 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Staten Island, NY
Posts: 10,020

Been playing archtops since 1962 - not set up for pics but here are some of the more memorable ones that have passed through my hands:
  • Harmony student model: the one with the big treble clef stencil on the peghead, painted "binding," and faux grain on the body - rented from the music school and quickly replaced, took some of my first lessons on this one
  • Harmony Broadway: first guitar I owned, lasted me until my first year of college when the ravages of the old Black Diamond strings finally took their toll on the non-adjustable neck and questionable dovetail joint
  • Gretsch 6117 Double Anniversary: bought brand-new in May 1964 from the old Silver & Horland store on Lower Manhattan's Park Row and still in my stable, served as my all-purpose electric through the late-70's - presently in semi-retirement until I can get the characteristic decomposing binding issues taken care of
  • 1946 Epiphone Blackstone: I was always drawn to the old New York Epis ever since I saw them hanging in the 14th Street (Manhattan) pawnshop windows as a kid (still am), and at $350 w/OHSC in '82 it was the first one I owned and could afford on my then-limited income - never installed a pickup, used it for comping and vocal accompaniment with the doo-wop group I sang with a couple years later until I traded it toward the next entry
  • 1947 Gibson L-7: one of the first white-label A-series postwar instruments (very low three-digit serial number), this one appeared to have been made from a leftover prewar body fitted with a postwar top (the differing plate recurve patterns are distinctive and recognizable to an experienced archtop aficionado) which seemed to limit its volume capabilities (then again, I was probably spoiled by the characteristic Epiphone cutting power of the Blackstone) - recorded well on bluesy solo work and functioned nicely for American Songbook ballad accompaniment, but I found it rather limited/limiting compared to what I knew a good 17" Gibson could do and sold it about 15 years ago
  • Carlo Robelli ES-450: made by Peerless in the early-2K's for Sam Ash, this big blonde pre-Switchmaster ES-5 knockoff (3 P-90's, 3 volumes/master tone) that I nicknamed "Elvis" became my electric jazz/blues/rockabilly box for a decade - refitted it with a StewMac rosewood bridge (for tone) and a trapeze tailpiece (when the Bigsby B700 started to tear up the top), still use it on occasion when I want that Bop-era 17" body "thump"
  • Godin 5th Avenue acoustic: just a fun little 16" archtop in the mold of the mid-1900's Harmony and Kay student guitars, this one's made to a standard of quality/playability the old boxes couldn't begin to approach (and sounds like a period instrument with Martin Monel mediums) - not the most refined tone in the archtop world but it purrs, it barks, I can fingerpick it credibly (responds like a 000 with a more "forward" midrange), and my kids found it a total hoot when I used it to teach
  • Godin CW II: everything you need and nothing you don't: two P-90's, a cutaway, volume/tone/PU selector switch, and tone for days, this little blonde jazzbox will cover every iconic archtop tone of the last seven decades as well as producing a few all its own - at just a tick over five pounds (nearly three pounds lighter than the Robelli) it's my go-to for jazz/blues/rockabilly, backup for my P-90 Les Paul in low-/medium-volume environments, and with its reduced acoustic output (but surprisingly rich unplugged tone) it's also my late-night couch guitar
Um, not for nuthin', but why isn't this thread on the Archtop suboforum...?
"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."
- Mark Twain
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