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  #1  
Old 07-26-2023, 08:00 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
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Default The Real Thing

Had to share this: The great Jonathan Stout demonstrating a Lloyd Loar signed L5. It’s such an articulate instrument, so clear and even sounding across the strings:

https://www.retrofret.com/product.as...ic-Guitar-1924

According to Retrofret, this one has a Virzi.

I have to get over there this weekend to see if they will let me experience this magnificent instrument. Obviously out of budget, but they have other instruments that might be within reach…
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Old 07-26-2023, 09:20 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I played two 16" dot-neck L-5's at MandoBros back in the day, a '24 with Virzi and a '28 without...

Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't all that impressed with the '24 as an all-arounder - while it had a wonderful, woody solo tone (one that Jonathan Stout used to great advantage in the video), the '28 had the incisive bark and forward midrange that led the first generation of jazz players to adopt it as a suitable replacement for the banjo, without losing its utility as a solo instrument (just ask Eddie Lang)...

That said, if you're looking for something more accessible I had a chance to play one of these the same day I played the '28 - I could well imagine the then 80-year-old instrument sounding much the same when it left Kalamazoo during Prohibition, and if you're blessed enough to live another 80 years you'll have a near dead-ringer in looks and tone for about 1/100 the price of an original:



https://www.archtop.com/ac_23_LH700_723.html

- and, for an additional $199, they'll set you up with a handmade replica pickguard...

Caveat: I don't know what your preferences are, but I will say that the late-model version has the same cheeky, chunky, deep-V 1-3/4" neck as the original - almost indistinguishable in my side-by-side comparison - and if you're used to slimmer profiles (as I am) either one can be a real bear to handle...
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  #3  
Old 07-26-2023, 10:04 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
I played two 16" dot-neck L-5's at MandoBros back in the day, a '24 with Virzi and a '28 without...

Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't all that impressed with the '24 as an all-arounder - while it had a wonderful, woody solo tone (one that Jonathan Stout used to great advantage in the video), the '28 had the incisive bark and forward midrange that led the first generation of jazz players to adopt it as a suitable replacement for the banjo, without losing its utility as a solo instrument (just ask Eddie Lang)...

That said, if you're looking for something more accessible I had a chance to play one of these the same day I played the '28 - I could well imagine the then 80-year-old instrument sounding much the same when it left Kalamazoo during Prohibition, and if you're blessed enough to live another 80 years you'll have a near dead-ringer in looks and tone for about 1/100 the price of an original:



https://www.archtop.com/ac_23_LH700_723.html

- and, for an additional $199, they'll set you up with a handmade replica pickguard...

Caveat: I don't know what your preferences are, but I will say that the late-model version has the same cheeky, chunky, deep-V 1-3/4" neck as the original - almost indistinguishable in my side-by-side comparison - and if you're used to slimmer profiles (as I am) either one can be a real bear to handle...
Yes, I played one of the early The Loar L5 tributes at Mandolin Brothers back in the day (Rest In Peace, Stan). The neck was interesting, but nothing I couldn't get used to. My Loar era (but definitely lowest level) 1924 A Jr. mandolin has a pretty pronounced V-shaped neck, as does my Mid-Missouri M-0. Obviously they're at the other end of the size scale from a guitar neck.

Having taken up tenor banjo over the last few years, it's interesting for me to go back and listen to guys like Lang, Kress, et al. I can hear how they are adapting tenor banjo technique to the guitar, as well as going for a smoother version of that cutting tone the tenor has. Eddie Lang always played with a bright tone when playing lead, as Jonathan does here, and that definitely echoes tenor banjo. You can hear the change from how Lang approaches things differently with his L4 in the Venuti duets and band sides: Almost no lead work, all comping, albeit VERY active comping. Once he gets to the L5, Lang injects lead lines and soloing into his accompaniment and those lines jump out; those old L5s indeed have an incisive tone.

I will definitely check out a Loar again, and I definitely want to try this L5 (and I think they have four others of various pre-and post War vintages in stock).

Saying that, it's not the most interesting thing in their current acoustic inventory for me. That would be the L75 (unfortunately also a budget buster). Having played a round hole archtop mandolin, over the past year and a half, I am even more curious about round and oval hole archtop guitars. I'll try to compare the two this weekend.
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Old 07-27-2023, 08:57 AM
CopyCat CopyCat is offline
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Thanks for the heads-up on the original link. I’d love to hear your impressions if you get a chance to play this one. I enjoyed the Jonathan Stout demo.
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Old 07-27-2023, 08:15 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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...I enjoyed the Jonathan Stout demo.
FYI Jonathan Stout (AKA CampusFive) is a fellow AGF member, self-confessed ex-metalhead, and one of my favorites of the new generation of archtop players keeping the prewar acoustic virtuoso jazz style alive; here's a few more clips:




- and just for good measure, some chord-solo work on a 16" L-5 (this one from 1932):

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Last edited by Steve DeRosa; 07-27-2023 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 07-27-2023, 09:27 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
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Jonathan is indeed brilliant. I have three of his recordings, one with the Campus Five, as well as his two solo acoustic albums, from which I've learned a lot.
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Old 07-28-2023, 11:59 AM
Sam Sherry Sam Sherry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L50EF15 View Post
. . .the most interesting thing in their current acoustic inventory for me . . . would be the L75 (unfortunately also a budget buster). Having played a round hole archtop mandolin, over the past year and a half, I am even more curious about round and oval hole archtop guitars. I'll try to compare the two this weekend.
Over the years I've owned a 1929 Gibson L4 archtop / large-round-hole, a ca.1932 L4 same and a 1934-35 L75.

I liked the L4s, with birch or maple back, better than the mahogany-back L75. The tone generally was more focused. The '29 was the pick of the bunch; it's in France in the hands of my old friend Ted Scheips.

You better really enjoy a large V-neck. That ship has sailed for me, but I still get it -- those are nice guitars and they can cover a lot of ground.
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  #8  
Old 07-29-2023, 07:19 PM
CopyCat CopyCat is offline
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I recently played a round hole L-4, a 1934 I think, and found the neck quite comfortable. A nice V, full, but not a baseball bat.

The guitar sounded great. It was quite beat up and had been sitting in the shop for years as far as I know. I was toying with getting it and not in the least worried someone else would beat me to it. But wouldn’t you know…poof! Kinda funny.
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Old 07-30-2023, 09:16 AM
Sage Runner Sage Runner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
I played two 16" dot-neck L-5's at MandoBros back in the day, a '24 with Virzi and a '28 without...

Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't all that impressed with the '24 as an all-arounder - while it had a wonderful, woody solo tone (one that Jonathan Stout used to great advantage in the video), the '28 had the incisive bark and forward midrange that led the first generation of jazz players to adopt it as a suitable replacement for the banjo, without losing its utility as a solo instrument (just ask Eddie Lang)...

That said, if you're looking for something more accessible I had a chance to play one of these the same day I played the '28 - I could well imagine the then 80-year-old instrument sounding much the same when it left Kalamazoo during Prohibition, and if you're blessed enough to live another 80 years you'll have a near dead-ringer in looks and tone for about 1/100 the price of an original:



https://www.archtop.com/ac_23_LH700_723.html

- and, for an additional $199, they'll set you up with a handmade replica pickguard...

Caveat: I don't know what your preferences are, but I will say that the late-model version has the same cheeky, chunky, deep-V 1-3/4" neck as the original - almost indistinguishable in my side-by-side comparison - and if you're used to slimmer profiles (as I am) either one can be a real bear to handle...
. I had similar experience with a few Early L-5s. At the time in early 1990’s I owned a 1930 L-5 that was a incredible Arch-top. I was down in San Rafael’ /Bay area. I stopped into Eric Shoenberg’s shop. He had 3 Early 16” L-5’s. Two from the mid 1920’s and one from 1929. I played them and was not impressed. They were okay, but not the Sonic resonant arch-tops I expected. Some of the reason could have been the set- up so ill through that out there. But all three lacked in my opinion. The old saying it’s the individual guitar not the Name on the Headstock rings true. That’s been my experience. I have experienced it with old Epiphone’s as well. If you find a gem. Hang onto it. That 1930 L-5 I had is the one guitar I wished most I would of hung onto. Fortunately my 1948’ Broadway has the same Sonic resonance and quality—just 1” wider at the lower bout.
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