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  #1  
Old 07-13-2016, 07:50 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Default L-48

Found myself with time to kill in Seattle. Went to a few places to try reso's and arch tops. The Godins and Gretcshs and D'angelicos didn't really send me. I tried a Gibson L-48 a little older than me and I really liked it. They want a little more than its normally worth, but its in great condition. I would be the second one to ever take it home.

I could buy a new carved top Eastman for the same $. Kind of torn. Feel free to chime in with thoughts, advice. Thanks.

Last edited by Mandobart; 07-14-2016 at 06:19 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-14-2016, 06:28 AM
robroy robroy is offline
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love vintage Gibsons myself. better resale value too.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:21 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I'd go with a one-owner vintage piece over a new MIC axe any day; those old student-model (that's what they were, FYI) L-48/50 archtops can be surprisingly good-sounding guitars, far better-built than their contemporary counterparts (try to find a Harmony Montclair in playable condition and you'll see what I mean) - and with the renewed interest in archtops Henry J. would do well to give some serious thought to bringing them back to the lineup...
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:19 PM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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L-48s vary quite a bit in sound and value. Tops were either spruce, mahogany, or laminated mahogany.
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:57 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
I'd go with a one-owner vintage piece over a new MIC axe any day; those old student-model (that's what they were, FYI) L-48/50 archtops can be surprisingly good-sounding guitars, far better-built than their contemporary counterparts (try to find a Harmony Montclair in playable condition and you'll see what I mean) - and with the renewed interest in archtops Henry J. would do well to give some serious thought to bringing them back to the lineup...
Yup. I have an L50, the difference being the carved top; the L48 has the laminated top. Wonderful instrument.

I agree that Gibson should bring back this grade of archtop, one for players and not blinged out. The new Epiphone archtops may be a step toward that. I'll have to take a look at them in person.
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:36 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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...I agree that Gibson should bring back this grade of archtop, one for players and not blinged out....
Heard rumors a while back that Guild might market an updated version of the A-50 - based on the existing MIK T-50 Slim Jim platform, but with a full-depth body and minus the built-in pickup - intended to compete with the Godin 5th Avenue and Gretsch New Yorker (to which we can now add the Epiphone Zenith Masterbilt) and similarly priced. The way I see it, the aforementioned instruments fill the same niche as the old '50s/60s Kay and Harmony archtops did in their day; a latter-day L-48 would be positioned as either a step-up from the low-end or Gibson's entry-level jazzbox (as it was in its heyday) - and if Henry J. can market an all-solid J-15 for $1500 and the first-run ES-335 Studio for similar money (new ones cost $400-500 more - small wonder...) I see no reason a late-50's/early-60's-style all-laminated/all-acoustic L-48 can't be sold for $1200-1300...
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:53 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Its just my ears and opinion, but it wouldn't take much to compete with the Godin 5th Avenue and Gretsch New Yorker as far as acoustic tone. I played a few this past week and would describe their acoustic sound as tight and dead. I'm possibly making an unfair comparison to my custom carved top octave mandolin and mandocello which are full of depth, warmth, sustain and punch. These instruments are in the guitar frequency range (both have a high E tuned the same as on a guitar in standard tuning). Likewise my carved top Eastman MDC805 mandocello has an awesome acoustic tone - this is why I'm leaning towards an Eastman archtop guitar. I haven't yet found an Epiphone Zenith Masterbilt to try. The Guild A-150 (http://www.zzounds.com/item--GLD3796...ZBgfgodQqYMfA=) has me curious. Haven't had a chance to play one yet.

The low (non-elevated) fretboard on the L-48 would limit pickup options and placement. I eventually chose not to buy. It may be one of those regrets later on....
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Old 07-15-2016, 10:51 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
Its just my ears and opinion, but it wouldn't take much to compete with the Godin 5th Avenue and Gretsch New Yorker as far as acoustic tone. I played a few this past week and would describe their acoustic sound as tight and dead...The Guild A-150 has me curious...

The low (non-elevated) fretboard on the L-48 would limit pickup options and placement. I eventually chose not to buy. It may be one of those regrets later on...
FYI both the Godin and Gretsch are string with light-gauge strings, so I'm not surprised; I set up my 5th Avenue with PB 14's and it's a whole different animal...

The Guild A-150 is a nice low/midrange jazzbox, but vis-a-vis Eastman it has its own thing going on - not better or worse, just different (in the same sense as a Gibson Super 400 and Epiphone Emperor back in the day) - and if you approach it in that frame of mind I think you'll like it as much as I do...

As far as the L-48 is concerned, I say skip the pickup and appreciate it for what it is - a solidly-built vintage jazzbox that's one-owner clean and will provide another century or more of service with similar care...
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Old 07-15-2016, 02:35 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
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I know Gibson had the solid pressed archtops out a year ago, the Venetian and L9 I think, but at prices higher than I've seen for vintage L4s and L7s. They were rather fancy in their appointments, but a plainer (non-pickup) version ought to reach that $ 1,500 price point.

A bit off topic, but Retrofret has a batch of acoustic L4s in various flavors at the moment, including an oval hole, an L4C and an L4N... and an L5, an L50 and an L48. Oh yeah. An L3 as well. Steve, get across the bridge to Brooklyn and check them out.

Now, back to listening to Eddie Lang...
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:44 PM
Hot Vibrato Hot Vibrato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
The low (non-elevated) fretboard on the L-48 would limit pickup options and placement.
This is a fair point. However I made a pickguard and installed a low-profile Kent Armstrong suspended humbucker on one for a friend/customer a couple years back. I had to locate the pickup further from the neck than I otherwise would have liked, and I was concerned that it might interfere with his picking, but that has proven to not be a problem. He's a jazz player and he just completed his master's degree in music and it's still his favorite guitar, although he also has a nice Eastman and a Collings archtop. I have a more aggressive picking hand, and I'm not quite so sure that I would have adapted so easily to the pickup location myself.
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