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  #1  
Old 01-23-2022, 05:17 PM
Sage Runner Sage Runner is offline
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Default More Arch-Top Lovers

A little surprised there are not more Arch-Top activity here? I’ve known for 45 years Acoustic Arch-tops were not as in Vogue or popular with the masses. Seems when David Rawlings hit the scene there was an up-tick-and there was definitely new Arch-top’s available now like Eastman. I get feeling most guitar folks think or correlate Arch-tops with only Jazz. Jerry Garcia played them often. I think it’s just the way it’s always been and still is!!!- just like fine Jazz from the Blue/Note Era or Django. it’s a Wine that is acquired. I do believe it’s likely true that-people that get into Acoustic Arch-Tops have already been playing for years! It would Be interesting if Tommy Emmanuel started playing strictly Arch-tops! how the Flat-topper’s would react?? Bet you would see a surge?? Anyway just some thought’s. Think I’ll play my 48’ Broadway for a bit!
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Old 01-23-2022, 06:46 PM
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I own and play four different archtops. There are a few of us out here…. But, as you said, we are rare birds among the AGF flattop crowd.
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Old 01-23-2022, 06:54 PM
RLetson RLetson is offline
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More of a matter of the right tool for the job. I've had archtops for more than 20 years, and I use them for swing. I suppose I could play some folkie-fingerstyle stuff, but their voices aren't really suited for that. (Well, maybe for Merle-Chet material, but then they'd be amplified.) I do have one modern-voiced handbuilt that could serve as a do-everything guitar, but even that one isn't going to give me the voice I get from my Goodall.

The closest thing to a play-anything guitar has been my Michael Dunn Daphne--an atypically-voiced Selmer-style grande-bouche. And many Hot Club-style players would find it too "wet" for authentic Django music. (I think they're wrong, but then I've heard Michael play it.)
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:15 PM
darkwave darkwave is offline
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Yeah - it is a bit unfortunate that archtops are most often referred to as "jazz guitars" these days. It doesn't help that the uninitiated see the acoustic archtops and expect to hear a dark electric jazz tone out of them as well.

I say this because I definitely have been there. I was fascinated by archtops since they were put forth as the pinnacle of the craft, and eased my way into it over the years. I now have two hollow archtops (and my main band guitar is an Epiphone Elitist Sheraton, but I don't really consider that an "archtop"). My Eastman AR810-7 is strictly acoustic, with bronze strings and mag pickup removed. My Harmony Patrician has been hacked up a bit and is soon getting 2 single coils mounted like a CC (if I can get moving on it). I love the dynamics they have compared to my solid and semi guitars.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:21 PM
SheiLaLa SheiLaLa is offline
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I'm new to guitar and have acquired a strong desire to add an archtop to my little collection. I didn't notice this section of the forum until I developed the urge for an archtop, but I'm sure glad you guys are here.
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Old 01-23-2022, 10:56 PM
Sage Runner Sage Runner is offline
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I been playing since 69’ owned a slew of old flattops & Mandolins over years and a few Arch-tops along the way. Had few electric A-Tops-but My first serious Acoustic one was a 31 L-5 I lucked upon back in 1990’ in small shop. Needed a bridge. I wasn’t too much into them at the time but I made a solid Ebony Bridge for it. Didn’t keep it very long but It was amazing-but didn’t realize really how amazing. Sold it to D.Grisman in 1991’ for decent profit. Was raising kids and such so sold lot guitars I should if kept. Month or so later I strolled into Schoenberg’s shop. He had 3 early 16” L-5’s None sounded close to one I sold. It was then I realized I let go a special guitar. Well that L-5 was one that all the years later I always harkened back to that tone. Over years I started playing little Jazz/more jump blues and other stuff. I’m a luthier’ So I acquired couple old EPI’s in last 7 years on the cheap- because they needed just little love. A 53’ Zenith/42’ Ritz and a 48’ Broadway. -The Broadways not quite what the 31’ L-5 was but actually pretty darn close. Bottom line— not selling my A-top this time. I enjoy the Variation of musical challenge tinkering with Jazz and Django stuff. An old CO-worker friend has been playing a Eastman Acoustic AT for 20 years in his 3 piece old Cowboy music Group. They play trail rides/wineries and events. So Arch-Tops can fit the Bill for more than just Jazz
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:44 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idaho Guitars View Post
...I acquired couple old EPI’s in last 7 years on the cheap - because they needed just a little love. A '53 Zenith/'42 Ritz and a '48 Broadway. The Broadway's not quite what the '31 L-5 was but actually pretty darn close...
I used to own a '46 Epi Blackstone (also a 16-incher like your Zenith, and second only to the Spartan in the small-body lineup), played a bunch of other Epis back in the day (they were the top of the food chain in terms of NYC hometown brands, and were relatively plentiful in the '60s-70s), and as you've discovered they're a very different animal than Gibsons; the carving patterns and dimensions (also very different) give them a more projective sound - what the old-timers referred to as "cutting power" - and if you were a big-band comper working one of the 2000+ seat houses in their New York heyday, an Emperor or Deluxe would get the job done where a Super 400 or L-5 might get lost in the mix. While a Gibson might be a better choice as a solo instrument - they tended to have a smoother, more rounded tone (as in the case of your L-5) that made them more accessible to a newcomer - if you knew how to work an Epiphone they could be real tone monsters, and IMO it's this lack of understanding how to get the best from them, rather than any deficiencies in quality, that keeps their prices relatively low on the vintage market...

FYI here's some cuts you may appreciate:
  • Al Caiola on his '40s Epiphone Broadway anchoring the rhythm section (piano-bass-guitar - no drums) for these Johnny Mathis classics:



  • Grady Martin's fluid Tex-Mex soloing on Marty Robbins' "El Paso," performed on a 16" New York-era Epiphone archtop (possibly the same '53-54 Zenith Marty used in the 1965 live clip):


There was also a recent thread you might find of interest, discussing some of the key points of archtop technique in several genres:

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=635470
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:07 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Oh, we are here...

There's still not nearly enough budget minded acoustic archtops out there to make them truly "popular" again...but there are more now than there has been since the archtop "heyday."
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Old 01-24-2022, 01:21 PM
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ssstewart ssstewart is offline
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I love reading, and as a youth (same time i started playing classical guitar) i started collecting old books. there was and is something romantic about reading an old book, not only in the history of the paper/binding and even the ethereal experience on the senses ( smell, look and feel)
That same romance is why i love Archtops, got my first one at 15, a few years after i started playing classical guitar. I smell all my guitars (yes im a weirdo) but i linger a little longer when i smell the f hole of an archtop..its reminiscent of how i feel about the nose of a nice merlot wine. The feel of an archtop...nothing makes me feel as in contact with a guitar as when i play my 29 archtop...i can feel it in my chest, arm and lap...like the guitar is a true extension of yourself. the sound is truly unique and its like a time machine to let me experience (if only for a brief period) a live version of tones from many decades past. Lastly, their beauty. I love all my guitars and play at least 3-4 daily and get something out of each guitar, be it nylon classical, my 12 string, 6 string dreads or electrics but nothing is as beautiful (imo) as an Archtop, they are more than works of art. Their shape alone exudes music in motion for me.
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File Type: jpg 4th shot.jpg (59.5 KB, 130 views)
File Type: jpg 5th back.jpg (46.0 KB, 130 views)
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1929 SS Stewart Professional Archtop
George Rizsanyi Custom Quilt Maple Acoustic
2021 Denver DD4412
Yamaha G-130A Melvina
1979 Classical Private Que luth
2003 Briarwood YCL-1
1960 Spanish Parlor
2003 A&L Acoustic
1972 Yamaha Acoustic
Fender CD60 Acoustic
1982 Ovation
2020 Fender Tele
80's frankenstrat
Yamaha THR5A
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Old 01-24-2022, 02:02 PM
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Craig Wilson Craig Wilson is offline
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Don, that Stewart is gorgeous. It's obviously been restored - did you do it yourself?


My first archtop is approaching the final turn. I just finished making the ebony bridge, finger rest and tailpiece.
Next up is final sanding, dye on the back and sides to pop the maple grain, and then french polish.


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Old 01-24-2022, 02:47 PM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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Default Here are three of my archtops.

First, this is a 16" Carpathian Spruce / Austrian Maple Monarch model made by North Carolina luthier John Buscarino. While a smaller archtop, it has tapered depth rims from 3" to 3-1/2" which gives it a balanced voice, fast attack and weight to its trebles.



Next, this is a 16" Carpathian Spruce / Honduran Mahogany oval hole, Zelig model hybrid archtop by Pennsylvania luthier Bill Comins. This instrument also has tapered rims (3-1/4" to 4") and a non-carved ladder braced back like a flattop. It sounds 75% archtop with 25% flattop additional bass and complexity.



Lastly, this is a 17" Italian Spruce / Bosian Maple Artifex model archtop by Uzes, France luthier Bryant Trenier. This is a straight ahead 3-1/8" deep archtop in the school of Jimmy D'Aquisto. It has a big, balanced voice and a surprising amount of sustain acoustically.

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  #12  
Old 01-24-2022, 02:52 PM
Sage Runner Sage Runner is offline
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Wowzers!!! Those are sweet Archtops. My friend. I had opportunity to buy a Blonde late 80’s Benedetto’ Manhattan from a good friend. Wished I did. That was about 15 years ago. They’ve skyrocketed in price now. Bunch of quality luthiers crafting them in last 15-20 years.
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Old 01-24-2022, 02:55 PM
Sage Runner Sage Runner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssstewart View Post
I love reading, and as a youth (same time i started playing classical guitar) i started collecting old books. there was and is something romantic about reading an old book, not only in the history of the paper/binding and even the ethereal experience on the senses ( smell, look and feel)
That same romance is why i love Archtops, got my first one at 15, a few years after i started playing classical guitar. I smell all my guitars (yes im a weirdo) but i linger a little longer when i smell the f hole of an archtop..its reminiscent of how i feel about the nose of a nice merlot wine. The feel of an archtop...nothing makes me feel as in contact with a guitar as when i play my 29 archtop...i can feel it in my chest, arm and lap...like the guitar is a true extension of yourself. the sound is truly unique and its like a time machine to let me experience (if only for a brief period) a live version of tones from many decades past. Lastly, their beauty. I love all my guitars and play at least 3-4 daily and get something out of each guitar, be it nylon classical, my 12 string, 6 string dreads or electrics but nothing is as beautiful (imo) as an Archtop, they are more than works of art. Their shape alone exudes music in motion for me.
Gotta love that Birdseye Maple!!! I bet originally that had a Burst that hid some of that fabulous wood
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Old 01-24-2022, 02:57 PM
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ssstewart ssstewart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Wilson View Post
Don, that Stewart is gorgeous. It's obviously been restored - did you do it yourself?


My first archtop is approaching the final turn. I just finished making the ebony bridge, finger rest and tailpiece.
Next up is final sanding, dye on the back and sides to pop the maple grain, and then french polish.


thanks Craig, appreciated. Yes, all restoration done by me as a labor of love. took about 9 months. bought in pieces/neglected but i loved the maple and bones of it. neck reset, etc etc, fretboard restored, cleaning, hydrating, french polish, all original except new machine heads and rebuilt bridge ( used a piece of 1815 ebony as seen from stage 1 photo 1 to photo 2) and made a pickguard out of a piece of cedar (photo 1)

Yours is beautiful, very very nice work. look forward to following you and your progress and seeing it come to life.
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1929 SS Stewart Professional Archtop
George Rizsanyi Custom Quilt Maple Acoustic
2021 Denver DD4412
Yamaha G-130A Melvina
1979 Classical Private Que luth
2003 Briarwood YCL-1
1960 Spanish Parlor
2003 A&L Acoustic
1972 Yamaha Acoustic
Fender CD60 Acoustic
1982 Ovation
2020 Fender Tele
80's frankenstrat
Yamaha THR5A
Traynor Dynagain30
1965 Ampeg Gemini II
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Old 01-24-2022, 02:58 PM
Sage Runner Sage Runner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Wilson View Post
Don, that Stewart is gorgeous. It's obviously been restored - did you do it yourself?


My first archtop is approaching the final turn. I just finished making the ebony bridge, finger rest and tailpiece.
Next up is final sanding, dye on the back and sides to pop the maple grain, and then french polish.


Craig that Guitar your crafting looks fabulous. I’m a small time Flat-top builder since late 80s. Remember when the Benedetto’ book came out—Always wanted to craft an Arch-top. Maybe someday
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