The Acoustic Guitar Forum

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

Thread Tools
Old 08-18-2023, 08:30 PM
rollypolly rollypolly is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 1,938
Default Tell me about vintage entry level Gibson archtops

So I’ve 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. It’s 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.
Martin GPC-15ME, Model America 1
1968 00-18
1957 Gretsch New Yorker
Recording King RO-T16 and RO-06
K. Yairi spruce/walnut parlor
Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2023, 08:22 AM
RLetson RLetson is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 354

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
Old 08-19-2023, 12:24 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 169

Granting there will be variance from instrument to instrument, but I have found the “lower grade” 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.

I’ll 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 don’t 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, it’s 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 you’re after, “only a Gibson is good enough.” 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

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

Thread Tools

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:57 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=