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Old 11-03-2021, 12:11 PM
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rschultz rschultz is offline
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Default Acoustic player looking for an archtop

Hi

I’m a flat top acoustic player, I strum and fingerpick. Lately I’ve been considering an archtop but I don’t know much about them. I definitely don’t play jazz. I think I’d like an archtop with a single neck pickup. I’m just not sure what kind. Probably not a HB, maybe a single coil or something similar.

I’d like it to sound similar to a flat top when strummed… just with that midrangey archtop slightly electric sound.

Suggestions? Say $1000-1500?. That Godwin 5th Avenue looks like a nice guitar for the money, but there may be others.
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Last edited by rschultz; 12-21-2021 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:34 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is online now
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Godin Kingpin with the single P-90 is a pretty good choice for what you want.

No archtop is going to sound like a flat top unplugged, but the Godin has a pleasant, somewhat quiet acoustic voice.

A solid topped archtop will get you more acoustic tone, but also generally get you further away from a flat top sound.

A used Eastman could fall into your budget, on a lower model...they have the stringy "Benedetto" sound, they do function as acoustic guitars, but they are generally going to have a floating humbucke. They're nicely constructed, but that sound just isn't my thing.

The most "acoustic" of the budget acoustic archtops are the Loar, but something like a Loar 600 is going after a very different sound and response than a flat top.

Guild has a model out currently that comes with a Rhythm Chief like pickup. I've never encountered one in person.
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Last edited by mr. beaumont; 11-03-2021 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:54 PM
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So a P90 will clean up ok? Iíve only played humbuckers.
Thanks.
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Old 11-03-2021, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
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So a P90 will clean up ok? I’ve only played humbuckers.
Thanks.
oh yes absolutely. They have a pretty nice tone clean, articulate, a little bit of attitude.. I love P90s.

The bring a bit more noise (buzz) than w/a humbucker.

but if you're playing clean, it won't be really anything too noticeable.
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Old 11-03-2021, 03:29 PM
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I went to GC and played the Godin through a Blues Jr. sounded nice, didnít want to stay in tuneÖ could be new strings or crappy tuner or bridge. But a nice guitar for $700
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Old 11-03-2021, 04:33 PM
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Probably new strings - my Godin 5th Ave Kingpin doesn't have any tuning problems at all (and I even have a Bigsby on it...)
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Old 11-03-2021, 05:05 PM
YamaYairi YamaYairi is offline
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Eastman makes the nicest archtops I have played.
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Old 11-03-2021, 05:33 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschultz View Post
I went to GC and played the Godin through a Blues Jr. sounded nice, didn’t want to stay in tune…could be new strings or crappy tuner or bridge. But a nice guitar for $700
IME it really comes into its own - not to mention being easier to tune - with a new set of strings (I use D'Addario Chromes medium flatwounds on my CW II -the single-cutaway/twin P-90 version of the Kingpin - and Martin Monel MM13 mediums on my all-acoustic 5th Avenue); as far as the pickup is concerned there are different flavors of P-90, and this one is from the more subtle side of the spectrum exemplified by the current generation of "underwound" aftermarket PU's (Lollar, Duncan, et al.) - should be just what you're after...
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Last edited by Steve DeRosa; 01-21-2022 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 11-03-2021, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YamaYairi View Post
Eastman makes the nicest archtops I have played.
Thereís an Eastman AR503ce at a local shop for $1100. I think I prefer the single neck pickup instead of the pair. I might go check it out.
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Old 11-03-2021, 08:51 PM
YamaYairi YamaYairi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschultz View Post
Thereís an Eastman AR503ce at a local shop for $1100. I think I prefer the single neck pickup instead of the pair. I might go check it out.
It won't be there long at that price. Grab it!
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Old 12-22-2021, 02:51 PM
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Listening to a lot of YouTube clips, I think to get a real acoustic tone I either need to mic it (not really feasible)... or use a piezo, maybe like the K&K definity pickup. I also could get a floating P90 or humbucker and wire them in stereo like I do my dual source guitar. Really both of them could be passive. But then I could blend them outboard.

So I could buy an archtop with a single neck pickup and then add the piezo.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-22-2021, 07:09 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschultz View Post
Listening to a lot of YouTube clips, I think to get a real acoustic tone I either need to mic it (not really feasible)... or use a piezo, maybe like the K&K definity pickup. I also could get a floating P90 or humbucker and wire them in stereo like I do my dual source guitar. Really both of them could be passive. But then I could blend them outboard.

So I could buy an archtop with a single neck pickup and then add the piezo.

Thoughts?
Yes that's exactly what I did with my Eastman arch top. It was all acoustic originally. I added a JJB SBT, then a Kent Armstrong floating neck pickup. Wired them up to a TRS output jack, with the magnetic pickup on the tip and SBT on the ring. Stereo 1/4"cable to my Baggs MixPro preamp, where I can blend the two (all mag pickup, all piezo, or anywhere in between). Mono 1/4" cord out to amp or PA.

That said, the carved top and back Eastman has a great acoustic tone. It mics well.

Last edited by Mandobart; 12-22-2021 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 12-22-2021, 07:11 PM
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Which Eastman? Iíve been considering a Loar 600
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Old 12-22-2021, 07:55 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
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Which Eastman? Iíve been considering a Loar 600
My Eastman started life as an MDC 805 (mandocello). While it's very common for people to convert an arch top guitar to a mandocello, I'm the only one I know of who went the other way. Easy to do - I just switched out the nut and bridge. Can easily be reversed if desired. So now it's essentially an AR 805.
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Old 12-23-2021, 08:37 AM
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I was in a somewhat similar boat years ago. I ended up with an Eastman AR810CE-7. It came with nickel roundwounds and a floating pickup - I decided to remove the magnetic pickup and commit to bronze strings. It is much louder and a bit more "flat-top-like" with the bronze strings, but it still has a hard and prominent midrange bark that makes it a different animal.

I don't miss the magnetic pickup at all for my needs, but I did add an earlier K&K archtop pickup (two piezo disks internally). I ended up not amplifying very often at all, and when I did feedback was a problem if a band was playing. I now plan to enhance it with an Aura pedal and either plug the F-holes or use anti-feedback if I play it out. Not much playing out happening for now though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rschultz View Post
Hi

Iím a flat top acoustic player, I strum and fingerpick. Lately Iíve been considering an archtop but I donít know much about them. I definitely donít play jazz. I think Iíd like an archtop with a single neck pickup. Iím just not sure what kind. Probably not a HB, maybe a single coil or something similar.

Iíd like it to sound similar to a flat top when strummedÖ just with that midrangey archtop slightly electric sound.

Suggestions? Say $1000-1500?. That Godwin 5th Avenue looks like a nice guitar for the money, but there may be others.
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