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  #1  
Old 02-19-2019, 11:24 AM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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Default Please help me with the choice of a budget acoustic archtop.

I am new to archtop guitars, but I always liked their looks and their "different" tone.
I'd like to purchase a brand new archtop guitar. to be used mainly acoustically i.e. not plugged in.
I mainly play fingerstyle, and a bit of flatpicking.
My three most important considerations are:
1) Good unplugged tone
2) A wide neck at the nut (possibly 1 3/4 but also a
Gibson neck width (1.73) would be OK as long as string spacing at the nut is at least 36 mm
3) Affordable price (not exceeding $600/700).
Can you help me with your suggestions?
Thanks!

Last edited by gerardo1000; 02-19-2019 at 11:25 AM. Reason: typo
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2019, 11:47 AM
kayakman kayakman is offline
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How about "the Loar"?never played on though,if your on a tight budget that might be the ticket...
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2019, 12:04 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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The Loars are very good "raw materials" instruments. Expect them to need a setup, add that as part of your budget.

The 600/700 series is all solid wood, sounds a good deal better than the 300 series, and there seems to be more care in the quality control department...a used 600 would fit your criteria nicely.

Keep in mind, they do have a very "vintagy" V shaped neck.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:12 PM
BradleyS BradleyS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
The Loars are very good "raw materials" instruments. Expect them to need a setup, add that as part of your budget.

The 600/700 series is all solid wood, sounds a good deal better than the 300 series, and there seems to be more care in the quality control department...a used 600 would fit your criteria nicely.

Keep in mind, they do have a very "vintagy" V shaped neck.
Just curious, would you place the Loar above the Eastman for quality build and sound ?
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  #5  
Old 02-19-2019, 01:04 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyS View Post
Just curious, would you place the Loar above the Eastman for quality build and sound ?
Build quality, no. I guess really, it's the finishing touches with the Loar more than anything, but Eastman is doing a really nice job on their guitars...so build quality, Eastman gets the nod.

Sound--that's more subjective. If you want that old school archtop sound for say, playing swing rhythm, the Loar is MUCH better.

The Eastmans tend to follow the Benedetto aesthetic--a little quieter, a bit "nasal", but more polite sounding, in a way. They're not my bag, but someone who plays mostly flat top guitars might really like them as the tone won't be as much of a shock to the system.
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:02 PM
tdq tdq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerardo1000 View Post
I am new to archtop guitars, but I always liked their looks and their "different" tone.
I'd like to purchase a brand new archtop guitar. to be used mainly acoustically i.e. not plugged in.
I mainly play fingerstyle, and a bit of flatpicking.
My three most important considerations are:
1) Good unplugged tone
2) A wide neck at the nut (possibly 1 3/4 but also a
Gibson neck width (1.73) would be OK as long as string spacing at the nut is at least 36 mm
3) Affordable price (not exceeding $600/700).
Can you help me with your suggestions?
Thanks!
I have a Loar 700 which is great but I had always found it uncomfortable for fingerstyle, although great for choppy jazz chords and flatpicking.
I thought it was the string spacing - it is spec'd at 1.75" but I think it's more like 1 11/16". My flat top (which I do find comfortable to play fingerstyle) is 1.75 but when holding them side by side I can see that the Loar nut is a tad narrower and the string spacing at the nut is also a bit closer. I then realised that the string spacing at the bridge is MUCH narrower. I replaced the top part of the bridge with wider spacing slots and it's much more comfortable now. I'd still like to adjust the spacing at the nut but that's a job for someone with more precision.
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:03 PM
Tenzin Tenzin is offline
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Was there a price estimate given when Waterloo announced their archtops at NAMM?
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:52 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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TMK no, but $3500 might not be out of the question...
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Old 02-20-2019, 11:52 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
TMK no, but $3500 might not be out of the question...
I was hoping for closer to $2500, but I guess when you take into account that it's still a carved archtop (just made to look like an old pressed top archie) $3500 is still a pretty good deal considering what a Collings branded archtop goes for!
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2019, 02:43 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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My thoughts exactly, Jeff...
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  #11  
Old 02-20-2019, 02:52 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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The budge is extremely limiting, and probably limits you to a Loar - I had two , not bad sounding but very poor build quality, or, perhaps a Godin?

I am on my second Eastman and think they are great, but not within your budget.

Frankly, if you know about guitars, then I'd say, look for an old Harmony!

However, archtops are built to be driven hard, being essentially rhythm boxes, so not ideal for finger picking.

This might help :
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  #12  
Old 02-21-2019, 12:16 AM
stevo58 stevo58 is offline
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A Loar 600/700 would be good. Buy used so someone else has already done the fret and setup work for you. But these are definitely old-school guitars, as you would expect from what is essentially a late-20s L5 copy. And you have to like a beefy neck with a strong V (I do, despite my smallish hands).

I recently bought a used 700 on the Bay and other than the expected roughness in the f-holes and under the fingerboard extension there are NO QA issues - it’s very clean. But no, not at an Eastman level. But perfectly fine. I am delighted with the guitar.

I also got it for the upper end of your budget, with an installed K&K Definity and external K&K preamp. I was the only bidder. Second time in 45 years of playing I’ve gotten lucky. (First time was a pair of like-new AKG 414B-ULS for €500).

Steven
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  #13  
Old 02-21-2019, 01:42 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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If you choose to go the Loar route - just check that the neck set enables a fair bridge height and keeps the tailpiece off the top.
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  #14  
Old 02-21-2019, 05:51 AM
stevo58 stevo58 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
If you choose to go the Loar route - just check that the neck set enables a fair bridge height and keeps the tailpiece off the top.
Yup. Best to buy used and try first.

Steven
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  #15  
Old 02-21-2019, 01:17 PM
Big Band Guitar Big Band Guitar is offline
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I would normally say Eastman but its double your budget.

It looks like Eastman is only offering the AR610 and the AR810 at this time.
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