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  #1  
Old 02-07-2021, 03:26 PM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is online now
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Default THE LOAR LH-300-VS ???

Howdy everyone. Thinking of picking up an Archtop acoustic for some rhythm playing on classic country and some western swing style music. With a not so great budget of around 750.00

The Loar LH-300-VS appears to be a decent deal since it has a carved solid wood top and maple back and sides. Would prefer a 1 11/16 nut, but I think they only come in 1 3/4.

So will be very interested in hearing your words of wisdom on the Loar and if there are any other options I should look into, new or used.

Thanks in advance
Bill
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:41 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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I've had an interest in Loar archtop guitars as they seem to be a good value for their prices.
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:57 PM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is online now
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Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
I've had an interest in Loar archtop guitars as they seem to be a good value for their prices.
I agree. They appear to be a great value. Hopefully someone will be able to chime in that has some experience with them.
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:18 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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A couple issues:
  • Loar neck geometry (extremely important for any archtop guitar FYI) can be very hit-or-miss, particularly on the low-end models like the LH-300; unless you're in a position to cherry-pick your guitar from dealer stock - or you're buying from a highly-reputable dealer whom you can trust to do the job for you - I'd personally avoid most Loar archtops regardless of price...
  • As their name implies, Loar built their reputation on authentic copies of 1920's Gibsons (the flagship LH-700 is a near-double for a "Mother Maybelle" L-5); in so doing, however, they also chose to duplicate the thick, deep-V neck carve of the Prohibition-era originals - and while this may not be a problem for you, if you require a slimmer neck (for comfort or health reasons) as I do, you're not going to find it here...
  • Although Eastman archtops have a 1-3/4" neck it's a fairly slim profile, and unless you're ready to shell out $2000+ for a vintage Gibson/Epiphone or $5000+ for an entry-level comp box from Mark Campellone they're about the only real game in town in an affordable solid-carved archtop (I'm not really impressed with the competing Peerless offerings); if you can stretch your budget a bit, here's a nice player-grade AR610 for sale on Reverb (FWIW I'd offer him $1K and take it from there):



    https://reverb.com/item/38209287-eas...4aAnHYEALw_wcB
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:03 AM
tdq tdq is offline
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I have a Loar LH-700. I did try a different 300 and 600 side by side in a store - thought the 600 was better but it was ages ago, I don't remember why. Bought a LH-700 online, love it to bits but I did have to lower the bridge/saddle considerably to get the action comfortable. I suspect the neck angle wasn't great but I can live with it. The nut says it was 1 3/4 but it is a bit narrower and the strings spacing was much narrower that I'm used to at the bridge, I found it a bit cramped but not sure what is usual for archtops. I cut a new saddle and made the spacing wider. A purist would probably cringe at what I've done but it works for me. The nut/spacing fine might be fine for you, if you prefer narrower anyway.
I would definitely try before you buy, if you can, for a LH300.
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Old 02-08-2021, 06:20 AM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is online now
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Thank you so very much for the great information Gentlemen. From reading this, I will prob be holding off on the Loar. I will have to purchase online and with the issues your talking about I would want to check it out first.

Anyone try the Epiphone Masterbuilt series of archtop acoustics ?
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Old 02-08-2021, 06:37 AM
RomanS RomanS is offline
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I've owned an LH-300 for a few years, and like it a lot.
It is really loud, and has that brash, in-your-face 1930s rhythm tone, great for chunking out 4-to-the-floor Freddie Green chords, or for Maybelle Carter-style country picking, not so great for delicate, "pretty" styles (an Eastman would be better there - the Loar and Eastman are like the polar opposites of acoustic archtop tone...)

But if you have never played one (or any other pre-50s archtops), try to do so before buying - the neck is HUGE. It is slightly more than 1" thick at the 1st fret, has an angular V profile, and the string spacing at the nut is wider than on any other 1-3/4" nut guitar I have, from E to e it is about 1.55"/39mm. String spacing at the bridge is wider than anything with a TuneOMatic or Fender-style bridge, but slightly less than the typical 2-3/8"/60mm of a fingerpicking-oriented flattop.

These are said to vary in quality, I guess I got lucky, mine doesn't have any finish flaws at all, the fretwork could have been nicer, but since chunking out swing chords requires fat strings and high action, anyway, that's no deal breaker...

So, for the music you intend to play, it seems to be the only affordable new option (I love Eastmans, but the Loar is much better than those for that vintage swing and country tone! The only alternative would be a vintage, pre-60s Gibson, Epiphone, Kay, Regal, etc. - and one in nice playable condition would definitely cost quite a bit more!
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Old 02-08-2021, 09:54 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill1962 View Post
...Anyone try the Epiphone Masterbuilt series of archtop acoustics ?
I have, and they're neither fish nor fowl: pressed-top instruments designed to sell on the basis of their "cool factor" to flattop players who have no idea what a real archtop is supposed to be, lacking the historical accuracy to appeal to Epiphone aficionados, and a built-in UST that sounds brash and thin - small wonder they were discontinued. FWIW there's been a long-standing rumor that Epiphone realized their mistake early on (in case you haven't noticed the Masterbilts have been off the market for a while, and most dealers who still have them in stock have been heavily discounting them), and they're planning to release a series of carved, historically-accurate reissues of their New York archtops designed to compete with the Loar LH-600/700 and the Eastman lineup in the $1500-3500 range; given the fact that under new management they've started reissuing some of the Kalamazoo-era electrics (Riviera, the early-60's solids, and a USA-built Casino) and flattops (Frontier, Excellente, and both Pac-Rim and USA versions of the Texan) there may well be some truth to the story - I used to own a '46 Blackstone, and with the revival of interest in archtops I'd like to see Epiphone re-emerge as a force in the market...
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:52 AM
RomanS RomanS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
I have, and they're neither fish nor fowl: pressed-top instruments designed to sell on the basis of their "cool factor" to flattop players who have no idea what a real archtop is supposed to be, lacking the historical accuracy to appeal to Epiphone aficionados, and a built-in UST that sounds brash and thin - small wonder they were discontinued. FWIW there's been a long-standing rumor that Epiphone realized their mistake early on (in case you haven't noticed the Masterbilts have been off the market for a while, and most dealers who still have them in stock have been heavily discounting them), and they're planning to release a series of carved, historically-accurate reissues of their New York archtops designed to compete with the Loar LH-600/700 and the Eastman lineup in the $1500-3500 range; given the fact that under new management they've started reissuing some of the Kalamazoo-era electrics (Riviera, the early-60's solids, and a USA-built Casino) and flattops (Frontier, Excellente, and both Pac-Rim and USA versions of the Texan) there may well be some truth to the story - I used to own a '46 Blackstone, and with the revival of interest in archtops I'd like to see Epiphone re-emerge as a force in the market...
Whoa, I hope that's true, I would be first in line to get one...

Yeah, those Epi Masterbuilt "archtops" are some of the most underwhelming guitars I ever tried. Being a big Dave Rawlings fan, I was excited to find the Olympic model at a local store - I think I put it down again after less than 5 minutes, it had no volume and terrible tone unplugged.
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Old 02-08-2021, 05:01 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Whoa, I hope that's true, I would be first in line to get one...
No, you wouldn't - you'd be looking at the back of my head...
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Old 02-08-2021, 05:40 PM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is online now
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Thanks for all of the great advice and sharing your wisdom. I appreciate it even though you killed my dream....lol

Since I am not able to try one out, and not comfortable ordering with the potential issues. Looks like my quest for an Archtop acoustic will continue.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:14 PM
Prof_Stack Prof_Stack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill1962 View Post
Thanks for all of the great advice and sharing your wisdom. I appreciate it even though you killed my dream....lol

Since I am not able to try one out, and not comfortable ordering with the potential issues. Looks like my quest for an Archtop acoustic will continue.
You could consider a used Godin 5th Avenue acoustic for a decent price to get you in the game. I eventually got their Jazz Model 5th Avenue archtop, but then upped the game later to a '30's Gibson Archtop which I love, which I don't plan to change anytime soon.
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:50 AM
stevo58 stevo58 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill1962 View Post
Thanks for all of the great advice and sharing your wisdom. I appreciate it even though you killed my dream....lol

Since I am not able to try one out, and not comfortable ordering with the potential issues. Looks like my quest for an Archtop acoustic will continue.
Well, keep an eye out for a used one; they do come up. I bought an LH-700 a few years ago on eBay for €700. I was the only bidder. The original owner had already had a luthier set it up and dress the frets. It also had a K&K Definity already installed. I took a chance, considering it “pre-selected.” Very happy I did. I love the guitar, and it is beautiful. I have no problem with the huge neck (it is immense and not for everyone) even though I have small hands - I’d been gravitating towards beefier necks with a pronounced V anyway. You do need to be comfortable with that sort of neck. And you need to be clear in your head that it will sound NOTHING like any flat-top you’ve ever played, and you may have to adjust your technique to get the best out of it.

It replaced an acoustic Fifth Avenue. Although that was a very well built guitar, I wasn’t looking for that Harmony vibe and it just didn’t do it for me.

Steven

Last edited by stevo58; 02-21-2021 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:32 AM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is online now
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Howdy everyone, Thanks again for all of the great advice and sharing your wisdom. I was still alittle curous about the 300, so I emailed a couple of places like the Loar Store with some questions about QC. Never did get any type of a reply. So I will forget about them.
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Old 02-21-2021, 12:02 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill1962 View Post
...I emailed a couple of places like the Loar Store with some questions about QC. Never did get any type of a reply...
I rest my case...
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