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  #1  
Old 06-22-2020, 07:15 PM
Cybenator Cybenator is offline
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Question Archtop Necks

Coming from a person with small hands. Looking at older, 40's-50's-60's archtops, do they all have baseball bat type necks? Is there a brand-and/or model I should be concentrating on?

Hoping to keep it under $1100 to the door.. Exceptions could be made.
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:31 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Most of them indeed have larger necks - considered a necessity when a 14-60 or 15-62 set (often with a wound B) was factory issue, even after the adoption of adjustable truss rods - and the few vintage examples that don't (some '37-39 Epiphones, late F-Series Martins) are well out of your price range; that said, you might be able to find a late-production (mid/late-60's) player-grade Gibson L-48, Guild A-50, or Gretsch New Yorker in the $1K+/- range if you're patient and willing to look around...

If you're OK with a 1-3/4" neck the Eastman archtops have a modern profile: the AR605 - a no-frills, all-solid/all-carved 16" non-cutaway - can be had used for under $1K (again, patience is the key here), the 1920's Gibson L-4 clone AR400 for $600-700 used; finally, if you're just looking to get your feet wet until you have the funds to step up to a full-bore 17" jazzbox, the recently-discontinued Godin 5th Avenue acoustic - an all-laminated 16-incher in the mold of the Harmony/Kay student instruments of the '50s/60s - can be had for around $300 ($450-500 if you can find a new-old-stock example), and if you've ever played a Seagull mini-jumbo you'll find a lot to like in the 5th Avenue...
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Old 06-23-2020, 02:17 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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My 1946 Epiphone has a very modern Vee neck, not overly big at all, and a fairly narrow nut - around 1 11/16" or a tad less.
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Old 06-23-2020, 03:04 PM
JoeYouDon't JoeYouDon't is offline
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All of the Gibson archtop offshoots I've played (Kalamazoo, Cromwell, Recording King, etc...) have fairly substantial necks. I think it's more common for necks without truss rods to be chunky.

In that price and age range it might be worth investigating Gretsch. There are Gibson L-48s and L-50s that might fit that bill too. The ones I've encountered vary pretty wildly, so I'd caution getting anything sight unseen.

Also possible one of the Chicago brands (Kay, Harmony, Silvertone) might have something that fits your hand well too, and should certainly be within that price range.

Epiphones are worth checking out too, my '41 has a very comfortable C shape.
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Old 06-24-2020, 04:44 PM
OKCtodd71 OKCtodd71 is offline
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I don't any vintage archtop really worth having will come in under $1100, unless it needs $$$ worth of repairs. You'll get a lot more guitar for your money if you go with newer construction, less likely to need neck reset, refret, bracing issues etc. Eastman's are great guitars albeit with 1&3/4" nut width. I think to "go vintage" you're going to have to tend towards the higher end. An inexpensive student model from 1935-1955 will be beaten to death by most offering you'll come across built in the last 40 years, especially the last twenty.
If you buy a vintage guitar in this price range, I think you'll be paying more for "vintage" than "guitar". Folks seem to love Godin too.
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Old 06-24-2020, 07:31 PM
Cybenator Cybenator is offline
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Guess I was fooling myself looking at archtops in that price range. I don't want a wall hanger, I want a player...
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Old 06-24-2020, 09:15 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cybenator View Post
Guess I was fooling myself looking at archtops in that price range. I don't want a wall hanger, I want a player...
As I said before, you have to be patient and persistent; as long as you don't expect to get a dead-mint museum piece with tags and original strings - although it does happen once in a rare while if you hit the right garage sale (my father's mechanic had a circa-1950 18" Epiphone Deluxe like this in the late-60's, wanted $200, should've grabbed it) - player-grade instruments are out there in or close to (make an offer if you're interested) your price range. Here's a few Reverb listings - and if you check eBay, CL, or Google-search the exact model(s) you're looking for you're almost certain to find others:

https://reverb.com/item/33684061-gibson-l-48-1946-1957
https://reverb.com/item/34341773-gib...wnish-sunburst
https://reverb.com/item/33105348-gre...brown-sunburst
https://reverb.com/item/33637377-gre...ar-brooklyn-ny
https://reverb.com/item/33690723-epi...ard-shell-case
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Old 06-30-2020, 05:57 AM
davidbeinct davidbeinct is offline
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Iím smitten with the idea of owning an archtop and love Guilds, so I keep looking at this:
https://reverb.com/item/34285273-gui...ri-ca-100-1962
Itís more than I can spend right now but only a bit above your budget. Neck sounds about right?
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:44 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbeinct View Post
I’m smitten with the idea of owning an archtop and love Guilds, so I keep looking at this:
https://reverb.com/item/34285273-gui...ri-ca-100-1962
It’s more than I can spend right now but only a bit above your budget. Neck sounds about right?
A .89 first-fret measurement is definitely on the thick side - in this case it's reflective of their New York Epiphone roots, as is the three-piece mahogany/maple/mahogany construction (FYI many of the Italian craftsmen from lower Manhattan made the move to Guild and Gretsch when Epiphone had labor issues - both were only a short train ride away, in Hoboken and Brooklyn respectively) - but with a weight just over five pounds it's probably a real tone monster...
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Old 07-01-2020, 04:56 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cybenator View Post
Coming from a person with small hands. Looking at older, 40's-50's-60's archtops, do they all have baseball bat type necks? Is there a brand-and/or model I should be concentrating on?

Hoping to keep it under $1100 to the door.. Exceptions could be made.
I would think that Guild should be the first place to look if you require a smaller neck.

They had a substantial footprint in the archtop arena, and a bunch of different models.

Here's a reverb.com link where the parameters are $1000-1500 Guild, you'll see a couple of possibilities. The sellers often take 'offers', so check it out.

https://reverb.com/marketplace?make=...price_min=1000

You may find that 'baseball' type necks not only vary a whole lot, but often times larger necks are far easier to play than smaller narrow necks.

Do NOT allow your "logic" to override what your hands have to say.

In other words: Play them, take notes, observe.

Happy hunting!

Howard Emerson
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:16 PM
Cybenator Cybenator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
I would think that Guild should be the first place to look if you require a smaller neck.

They had a substantial footprint in the archtop arena, and a bunch of different models.

Here's a reverb.com link where the parameters are $1000-1500 Guild, you'll see a couple of possibilities. The sellers often take 'offers', so check it out.

https://reverb.com/marketplace?make=...price_min=1000

You may find that 'baseball' type necks not only vary a whole lot, but often times larger necks are far easier to play than smaller narrow necks.

Do NOT allow your "logic" to override what your hands have to say.

In other words: Play them, take notes, observe.

Happy hunting!

Howard Emerson
Am I missing something from your link, as I only see the one acoustic archtop?
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2020, 05:17 AM
RockerDuck RockerDuck is offline
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The thinnest neck archtops I've played are the Ibanez archtop guitars. They are players with fast necks. My recently sold Gretsch 6120 had a thin neck too.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:00 AM
Ray175 Ray175 is offline
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I have a 1961 ES-175D whose neck is significantly slimmer than the 1958 model that I had some years ago......
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Old 07-08-2020, 01:58 PM
Aspiring Aspiring is offline
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I have recently played several different archtops and ended up with Collings i30 with their 60s slim profile neck.

They offer that neck on all of their electrics so it is one option if you are looking for something slimmer.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:44 PM
Cybenator Cybenator is offline
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Somehow this post got off track, I'm looking at (Acoustic archtops). Sorry for the confusion.
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