The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Archtops

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 08-18-2023, 08:30 PM
rollypolly rollypolly is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 2,201
Default Tell me about vintage entry level Gibson archtops

So Iíve been eyeing vintage archtops, particularly Gibson l-30, l-37, and l-48 as well as the es-120, etc.
I already have a 57 Gretsch New Yorker that I like. Itís all laminate but sounds good and work has been done on it to make it play buttery.

So am I missing something by not having an entry level Gibson? Or is my New Yorker about the equivalent?

As for the es-120, I have a good Ibanez Artcore so again I wonder would I be gaining something or is this just that persistent GAS? Those vintage Gibsons seem to always be calling.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-19-2023, 08:22 AM
RLetson RLetson is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 388
Default

It's all about the individual instrument, even with pro-level models. I've played L-5s that did nothing for me, but a friend has as '40s midrange Epiphone that I would be quite happy to own. I sold off a very decent '45 L-7 because I wasn't playing it. And so on.

You never can tell until you get your hands and ears on one. Play every example you can and you'll know when you've found a keeper.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-19-2023, 12:24 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 276
Default

Granting there will be variance from instrument to instrument, but I have found the ďlower gradeĒ vintage Gibsons to be wonderful. I have a 1960 L50 (one step up from the L48); a 1924 A Jr. mandolin; and just bought a 1925 L Jr. guitar. Each one has helped me advance my playing into new territory.

Iíll add that it also matters who and where you buy from. I am fortunate enough to have been able to shop at Mandolin Brothers and RetroFret in person, both excellent shops with great expertise in vintage instruments generally, and in vintage archtops particularly. I donít think I would have taken the plunge without being able to play them first.

As far as the pull of a vintage Gibson versus other makes, itís true: Nothing else quite sounds the same. I had a Harmony Monterey in mint condition, a wonderful guitar, as my first foray into archtops. Then I got to Mandolin Brothers and played some vintage Gibsons and understood the difference. I remember I just brushed the strings of what became my L50 as it was hanging on the wall and it stopped me in my tracks. Had to buy it (and it was at a very reasonable price).

Stated differently, if that classic Gibson sound is what youíre after, ďonly a Gibson is good enough.Ē Others may be excellent instruments that sound great in their own way. But if you want the real thing, get The Real Thing.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-23-2024, 10:16 PM
rollypolly rollypolly is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 2,201
Default

Here we are six months later and I just ordered an L-48 on reverb. A player grade example for a low price but according to the seller itís loud and plays good. I still like my New Yorker and Ibanez but maybe the Gibby will bring another flavor. Iím still on the hunt for that perfect acoustic workhorse and maybe thisíll cover that search as well. Fingers crossed.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-25-2024, 02:18 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 276
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rollypolly View Post
Here we are six months later and I just ordered an L-48 on reverb. A player grade example for a low price but according to the seller itís loud and plays good. I still like my New Yorker and Ibanez but maybe the Gibby will bring another flavor. Iím still on the hunt for that perfect acoustic workhorse and maybe thisíll cover that search as well. Fingers crossed.
Congratulations! I sometimes mull over getting an L-48, just to hear how it compares to the L-50.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-26-2024, 11:33 AM
rollypolly rollypolly is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 2,201
Default

Thanks! Waiting anxiously for FedEx to drop it off today. Will update with initial thoughts once itís here.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-26-2024, 03:38 PM
rollypolly rollypolly is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 2,201
Default

Initial thoughts on the L-48. It's one of the prettiest guitars I've owned. Someone in its past refinished it in a natural/violin burst and it looks like a big violin.
All the stuff you expect with a Gibson, well made and good looking woods. Neck is comfortable with the short scale. However, the fretboard radius is noticeably flatter than my New Yorker. One thing about my New Yorker is the fretboard plays very fast even if it's longer scale.

The sound is like my New Yorker but bigger , more bass, more warmth, more volume. Trebles are about the same. Similar metallic plunkiness , I guess because it's laminated woods.

Overall it seems like a cool guitar to noodle on but it could potentially be a nice jazz box, just need to figure out a pickup setup on it. I could see it replacing my New Yorker but I've had very little interest when I've put the NYer up on marketplace and eBay so I may be "stuck" with it for now.

Anyways, I'll play it for a while and try to get a pickup on it and see how it sounds electrified. It won't be replacing any flattops or anything.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-26-2024, 05:10 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 276
Default

I shared this in a couple of other threads, but in case you missed it, whatís demonstrated here might help you in taming the metallic sound:

https://youtu.be/EOaXOXE9ITg?si=RXXXLybQ8l-cEGsr

I donít remember if the L-48 has a raised fretboard or if itís on top of the body, flattop style, as the L-50 has. That will affect what pickup you can use, at least for putting it in the traditional neck position.

Congratulations on the New Guitar Day!
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Archtops

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=