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  #1  
Old 07-15-2022, 06:19 PM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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Default Searching for “That” sound?

I want an acoustic archtop that can make that mellow jazz sound. That sound that archtops make when plugged in with a little reverb. That sound that flattops make when you play bar chords and strum up the neck. That sound that makes you think of cats with berets and brushes on drums.

Is there an acoustic archtop that can make “that sound” unplugged?
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2022, 08:38 PM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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Many of the best archtops can produce that sound—D’Angelicos, D’Aquistos, Monteleones, Gilchrists, Manzers among them. Early Gibson L-5s. The very best of these guitars have a natural acoustic reverb to them.
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Old 07-16-2022, 10:48 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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I spent quite a number of years searching for "that sound" and I think I found it with the Eastman AR910EC guitar I purchased a few years ago.

- Glenn
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Old 07-16-2022, 11:13 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
I want an acoustic archtop that can make that mellow jazz sound. That sound that archtops make when plugged in with a little reverb. That sound that flattops make when you play bar chords and strum up the neck. That sound that makes you think of cats with berets and brushes on drums.

Is there an acoustic archtop that can make “that sound” unplugged?
I was with you until the bit about "plugged in".
That isn't an acoustic archtop, its an electric guitar.
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Old 07-16-2022, 07:30 PM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
I was with you until the bit about "plugged in".
That isn't an acoustic archtop, its an electric guitar.
I was mostly talking about the reverby sound; less so about the electric sound.
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  #6  
Old 07-17-2022, 12:52 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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For me, there are two sounds that a good archtop makes that has a good pickup on it:

1) The acoustic sound of an archtop, which is on the bottom of my list of guitar sounds I like;

and

2) The amplified sound of an archtop through a clean amplifier at low volume levels through that good pickup. This is the sound I love and wanted to obtain.

I understand what you are looking for even if others don't. See if you can find an Eastman AR series archtop to play. A whole lot of jazz musicians used to playing old Gibson L5 guitars into an amp are using guitars like the Eastman AR series because they sound great and are reasonably priced. Also, the quality is excellent.

- Glenn
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Old 07-17-2022, 06:36 PM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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“The acoustic sound of an archtop, which is on the bottom of my list of guitar sounds I like” — Glennwillow

Oh no! I guess tastes do vary, but I love the sound of this purely acoustic D’Angelico—sweet, woody, and with a liquid quality at times which imparts an almost amplified feel and sounds completely distinct from a flattop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veUuZrn1rgs

And this early Gibson L-5, which is so naturally full and wonderfully articulate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqjAPGDJLgs

These instruments sound, to my ears, like guitars should sound! —Richard
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Old 07-17-2022, 09:08 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Hi Richard,

Yes, there are plenty of people who like the sound of an archtop played acoustically.

But,... you know... we each have our own preferences, and that acoustic archtop sound does not fit any of my preferences. I like an acoustic guitar to have a little more body. At the same time I understand that for others it might be just right.

I'm glad it's a sound you like.

- Glenn
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Old 07-18-2022, 05:20 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Mott View Post
“The acoustic sound of an archtop, which is on the bottom of my list of guitar sounds I like” — Glennwillow

Oh no! I guess tastes do vary, but I love the sound of this purely acoustic D’Angelico—sweet, woody, and with a liquid quality at times which imparts an almost amplified feel and sounds completely distinct from a flattop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veUuZrn1rgs

And this early Gibson L-5, which is so naturally full and wonderfully articulate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqjAPGDJLgs

These instruments sound, to my ears, like guitars should sound! —Richard
Richard,
I can totally understand why Glenn doesn't much enjoy the acoustic sound of an acoustic archtop. It's a fairly expensive proposition finding the ones that would change that mindset.

HE
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Old 07-18-2022, 06:04 AM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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Howard, totally! It takes a truly superb archtop (like that Monteleone you just posted!) to produce a full sound and show what an archtop is capable of. Unlike great flattops, they are scarce as hen’s teeth and only a small handful of builders today are making them at that level. So I always think that people get turned off archtops because the instruments they are most likely to have encountered are not capable of much—with a cropped sound and difficult to play. On the other hand, if Glenn did not like that D’Angelico or the ‘33 L5, then I know it is time for me to stand down!
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Old 07-18-2022, 09:35 AM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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I've been watching YouTube videos of archtops and found a few that tickle my ears.

The Ribbecke Halfling is not surprisingly somewhere between a flat top and an archtop. Used versions are rare and a new one exceeds my target budget.

The Eastman AR910 sounds nice, but I'm still funny about made in China guitars.

I like the Anderson Oval Hole Archtop which similarly to the Halfling, sounds halfway between a flat top, but leans a little more toward an archtop to my ear. There are few to be found.

One guitar I found (that I haven't been able to find again) included a jazz amp which might help me find that amplified sweet spot, even though I'm not an amp kind of guy.

Please keep those comments coming!
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Old 07-18-2022, 10:40 AM
RLetson RLetson is offline
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At the edges of the tonal envelope, archtops can be thin and brassy, harsh, nasal, or (oddly enough) muted. In the sweet spot, the trebles are rather sweet, the bass range is round, and they still manage to bark and growl and cut when played hard. All of mine tend toward the nasal (an almost resophonic honk) when played hard, but they also chunk. And there has to be some sustain, but nothing like what you get with a flat-top (let alone, say, a Goodall).

A builder friend once remarked that getting treble is easy--it's the low register that presents the challenge. That accords with what my ear likes about the archtops that I like most, and I think that's what I hear in a good rhythm chunk *and* a single-string solo or chord-melody passage: a round/sweet high end requires a low-end component.

In my herd, the modern Eastman 805CE offers a good combination of the above qualities, but the best all-around voice belongs to one built by Tom Crandall nearly 30 years ago. And my old (1946) Epi Broadway can be pretty sweet, though it really likes to be played harder. And I just spent a week at swing camp with a Loar 600 that turns out to be a very respectable rhythm chunker when it's wearing a 13-56 phosphor bronze set.
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Old 09-24-2022, 03:43 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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My 1995 Gibson Citation has "that" sound unplugged. In fact, that is the way I always play it. The only time I had it plugged in was at the shop where I bought it, and that was mainly to make sure the pickup still works. It does and it has that late night smokey solo guitar sound. So, either way (plugged or unplugged) this guitar has THAT sound.

I also have a new Eastman FV-880CE-SB. It has a really nice unplugged sound and, like the Citation, plenty of volume unplugged. Plugged in it also has a nice warm sound. I just think that Eastman consistently builds a really nice archtop, well worth the money.

However, for THAT sound (at least the sound I want to hear most from an archtop), the Citation is it for me. I don't want to say that it can't be beat because I just know that Steve DeRosa has something in his back pocket that will do the trick.

Tony
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Old 09-24-2022, 06:43 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
...for THAT sound (at least the sound I want to hear most from an archtop), the Citation is it for me. I don't want to say that it can't be beat because I just know that Steve DeRosa has something in his back pocket that will do the trick...
Unfortunately I don't, at least not at the present time; hoping to commission a custom build somewhere down the line (when time/money/space permit), based on the uber-rare 1949 Epiphone Emperor Concert, that might change that situation - here's some pics if you're not familiar with the original (FYI only three made - yes, you heard that right - two blonde and a single sunburst):









I know there's an old saying that gentlemen prefer blondes, but that Ambertone burst really does it for me...
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Old 09-24-2022, 07:11 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
Unfortunately I don't, at least not at the present time; hoping to commission a custom build somewhere down the line (when time/money/space permit), based on the uber-rare 1949 Epiphone Emperor Concert, that might change that situation - here's some pics if you're not familiar with the original (FYI only three made - yes, you heard that right - two blonde and a single sunburst):









I know there's an old saying that gentlemen prefer blondes, but that Ambertone burst really does it for me...
That looks to be a BIG guitar! I would think it could be mighty loud with a big beautiful tone. Only three made, I guess one would have to commission a build to get something like that. The terms "vintage" and "rare" seem to equate to "very expensive". I hope you do get that commission done one day.

Regarding finishes, I prefer natural on an acoustic (flat top) guitar, and sun burst on an archtop. Most of the pics I have seen of the Gibson Citation are natural finish, while mine is called "tobacco burst". I am very fortunate to have gotten that.

Also, I don't care at all for pick guards on acoustic (flat top) guitars (none of mine came with them) and the opposite for archtops. On them, I like pick guards, but without they can also look great.

I have not had the opportunity to play a vintage Epiphone archtop yet, but they do show up locally on rare occasions. Considering how highly thought of they universally seem to be, I will have to make a point of getting to a shop that gets one in. George Van Eps played a 7 string Epiphone as I recall having read.

Tony
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