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  #1  
Old 08-31-2019, 06:46 AM
Llewlyn Llewlyn is offline
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Default Recommendation for my first jazz box

I would like to dive deeper into jazz and was thinking of buying an archtop w following considerations:

- Price range around $1500.
- I play exclusively with my fingertips.
- I am not very comfortable with 1 11/16 at nut and prefer 1 3/4 ish.
- I am looking for mellow, jazz, warm tone rather rocky/country overdrived tone.
- It is desirable, but not mandatory, that the guitar is "loud" and nice unplugged.

From a quick google search I was gravitating around:

Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso
because it's fingerstyle designed but doesn't seem to be popping around the "best jazz box"

Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin CW II
On the contrary, this is ubiquitous among reviewers, but I've heard that the sound is rather thin.

Clearly will go to shops and A/B test as many as I can.

What guitar would you recommend me to add to my list and what do you think of the twos above?

Ll.
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2019, 08:09 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llewlyn View Post
I would like to dive deeper into jazz and was thinking of buying an archtop w following considerations:

- Price range around $1500.
- I play exclusively with my fingertips.
- I am not very comfortable with 1 11/16 at nut and prefer 1 3/4 ish.
- I am looking for mellow, jazz, warm tone rather rocky/country overdriven tone.
- It is desirable, but not mandatory, that the guitar is "loud" and nice unplugged...

Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin CW II...this is ubiquitous among reviewers, but I've heard that the sound is rather thin...
I own one (as does Tony Bennett's guitarist - and I'd tend to think he and his boss both know a little something about tone), and if you're looking for that thumpy/thuddy tone most often associated with laminated jazzboxes you're not going to get it here - which I personally think is a good thing if you're a fingerpicker. If you're familiar with the Godin family of acoustic instruments (Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Norman) the CW II feels virtually identical to one of their mini-jumbos in a blindfold test, exceptionally lightweight and very "acoustic" in terms of handling qualities - mine comes in just a tick over five pounds on the strap, about 2-3 pounds less than a comparably-sized ES-175/Epiphone Zephyr Regent - and the twin P-90 pickups and ultra-thin (laminated) woods used in its construction give it an "airy" tone, reminiscent in many respects of the similarly-constructed Brooklyn-made Gretsch instruments of the '50s/60s. It's not an acoustic powerhouse - you need to be looking at an all-carved Eastman if you're after that kind of versatility - but if you set it up with flatwound 13's you'll get a clear, crisp, forward amplified tone, not thin by any means, as well as a useful low-volume unplugged practice tone. FWIW Godin also makes a twin-humbucker version if you feel you need a more-classic '50s bop/rockabilly tone, but these tend to be hard-to-find here in the lower 48 - you might want to check with some of the Canadian dealers if you're interested...

Hope this helps...
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:39 AM
Llewlyn Llewlyn is offline
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Yes Steve - it helps a lot.

I am thinking of trying the one w/o cutaway

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/guit...000?src=3XBACR

to save a few bucks more.

Ll.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:01 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Nice guitar - fellow AGF'er Jeff Matz (AKA Mr. Beaumont) owns one and does some fabulous things with it - but IME the CW II offers more stylistic versatility thanks to the additional (bridge) pickup and cutaway; mine serves as my go-to blues/rockabilly/jazz-comping axe, as well as backup at any gig where I'm using either my P-90 goldtop Les Paul or Gretsch Electromatic semi-hollow - as I suggested above it incorporates many of the best elements of each - and as a fingerpicker I think you'll appreciate the extra definition and presence afforded by the bridge pickup...
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:10 AM
mot mot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llewlyn View Post
Yes Steve - it helps a lot.

I am thinking of trying the one w/o cutaway

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/guit...000?src=3XBACR

to save a few bucks more.

Ll.
Nut on the one linked here is a little on the narrow side. I prefer the 1 3/4 too which is why I skipped past this choice. I still haven't got one, so am following with interest.
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:43 AM
Ray175 Ray175 is offline
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At that price point you may want to consider the various L5, L4, ES175 etc copies produced by Ibanez in the mid 1970's.... plenty of them around
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:31 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray175 View Post
At that price point you may want to consider the various L5, L4, ES175 etc copies produced by Ibanez in the mid 1970's.... plenty of them around
Nice stuff - sorry I didn't pick up one of those Johnny Smith copies that George Benson was using while his signature model was in development (and which go for $2500 or so these days); could be a good choice for the OP if not for the '70s-style slim neck (which I personally love, but to each his own)...
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:54 AM
Llewlyn Llewlyn is offline
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Uooo that's right there are those -- I'd love one of them!
Too bad has slim profile and 1 11/16 at nut

BTW: no one comments on the Peerless MT?

Ll.
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:51 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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Does it have to be new? Some old Kalamazoo (made my Gibson) and Gibson archtops can be had in your range. KG-31, L-50, L-48 - all based on the original 16 L-5 design. I love my old Kalamazoo KG-31.
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:32 PM
Llewlyn Llewlyn is offline
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They are super interesting but I wish to play amplified too.

Thanks for all these recommendations,

Ll.
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:25 PM
M Hayden M Hayden is offline
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Get a nice well-built Ibanez and swap electronics to do what you want. I’ve got an AFJ81 single-neck-pickup with a Benedetto pickup, and it’s great plugged in and audible unplugged, and it plays very well. I think I have $600 into it including pickup mods...
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:11 PM
1Charlie 1Charlie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llewlyn View Post
They are super interesting but I wish to play amplified too.

Thanks for all these recommendations,

Ll.
I amplified my 1943 L-50 with a loaded pickguard, built specificallyto fit it, and including a slim pickup, volume knob and 1/4" jack. Mounts using the two screws that held the old pickup. No modification of the guitar is requred.

It sounds great, looks great. And, best of all, when not playing plugged in, I get the wonderful fully-carved tone of an old Gibson archtop.

I had the loaded pickguard custom made by this guy on Reverb:

https://reverb.com/item/3245061-kay-...to-your-guitar
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:16 PM
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I think Eastman Archtops are a fine option and most of them have the 1 3/4" nut you are looking for and very comfortable necks. Their arch tops range from the ES-375 variant to the floating pickup, more acoustic ones. And you have a good range of sizes as well.
When I demo'd several of them a few years ago, I thought the AR372 (ES375 variant) laminated series had a specific flavor (less acoustic, very warm plugged in); and the all solid carved series had another flavor (louder acoustically, and more acoustic plugged in).
My least favorite was the 400, laminated back and sides and solid arch top series. I thought I could tell quite a difference between those and the 600 and up series.
I ended up with an AR603CED-15, but I liked the 372 very much, just differently.
I would certainly check out a used Eastman.
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:06 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyg View Post
I think Eastman Archtops are a fine option and most of them have the 1 3/4" nut you are looking for...
My least favorite was the 400, laminated back and sides and solid arch top series. I thought I could tell quite a difference between those and the 600 and up series...
TMK the 400-Series Eastman archtops are all-laminated; solid top/laminated sides-&-back begin with the 500-Series - 600's and up are all-carved/all-solid...
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:26 PM
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Steve, thanks for correction.
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