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  #1  
Old 12-01-2017, 09:22 AM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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Default Guild A-150 Savoy vs Loar LH-350

Sorry if this question has been asked, but I searched for it and didn't find it.

If you had to choose between the Guild A-150 Savoy and the Loar LH-350, which would you choose?

I realize that the answer is usually: "It depends, what style music do you play..." The thing is, I don't know yet. I have a Guild Dread that I have played for a long time. Love it. But I wanted to try some new things and the archtop sound is really growing on me.

I play fingerpicking (bare fingers no pick) right now. I probably would start there on the archtop -- but OTOH, new guitar, maybe time to try something new and play with a pick for a change.

the Guild and Savoy seem to be evenly priced used. Seems like the Loar has some QC issues, but if you get a good one they're great. The Guild is actually MIK, so not much difference in some ways. I think the Savoy is a pressed top whereas the Loar is carved.

IDK, is that a huge difference?

I welcome all opinions (if you can... can you tell me why you would choose one over the other?)

TIA!
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2017, 04:13 PM
k_russell k_russell is offline
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I tried both a few years ago and opted for the Guild. I liked the sound of both guitars but the Guild fit my hands better.

I play classical guitar, primarily. and don't usually finger pick my Guild. It works well for me on the few occasions that I play it finger style.

Last edited by k_russell; 12-02-2017 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:13 PM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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Thanks! Since I own an Guild, I do lean that way, anyway. But I was worried that the pressed Solid top would not have the sound and resonance of the Carver arched top of the Loar.

But from a sound perspective (when played unplugged) you thought the Guild at least held its own?
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:10 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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The Loar will be a good deal louder acoustically.

I haven't loved the QC on the 300 series Loars I've played. The 600 series is much better, but also more expensive.

The new Guilds are very generic sounding. Not impressive at all.

A much better option than both for a first dabble into arch tops with magnetic pickups would be a Godin Kingpin.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:03 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
...A much better option than both for a first dabble into arch tops with magnetic pickups would be a Godin Kingpin.
What Jeff said...
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:19 PM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post

A much better option than both for a first dabble into arch tops with magnetic pickups would be a Godin Kingpin.
I've never played a Kingpin, but I played a Seagull and a Godin Multiac -- and didn't like either. String spacing felt off to me -- I don't know how to describe it other than that. Really didn't care for the Seagull sound, and even the Multiac seems like it is expecting to be played plugged in, not acoustic. And that's fine except even plugged in, it has a very "electric" sound to it. (Honestly, even in the hands of Doyle Dykes, I don't dig the Godin sound.) Which is fine, I guess, except I want something more woody and airy feeling.

Are Kingpin's different? (Obviously you like them.) I've seen your YouTub channel and respect you opinion. I just always thought that the Kingpin was made to be played plugged in.

The thing that intrigues me about the Guild is the floating pickup. Sounds different than a lot of the other things I've heard plugged in (at least through YouTube. Never heard one live.)

Edit: Just looked them up on the Godin website as well as a couple of other online retailers. Many different models, and they range in price quite a bit. Can anyone give a quick Primer on them? What to look for? What to avoid? That kind of thing?

Last edited by ChapinFan; 12-03-2017 at 12:32 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-03-2017, 01:27 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Well, from the two guitars you mentioned, I thought you were looking for an arch top to plug in...

Arch tops are a weird beast...people associate their plugged in sound with mellow, round, somewhat dark jazz tones--but their unplugged sound is nothing like that. Furthermore, some of the best sounding plugged in arch tops (often with laminate tops!) aren't much to write home about unplugged--and some of the best unplugged arch tops are difficult to amplify--and sound little like those smoky set pickup jazz tones when they are.

You've selected two pretty different instruments. The pressed solid top on the Guild is really just marketing...they're just not much of an acoustic guitar. The one i tried reminded me a lot of a decent but laminate archtop like the Epiphone Emperor regent.
The Loars are carved top and loud and responsive...so if you want an acoustic archtop, they're a much better choice.

I suggest the Godin because it's very high quality, sounds great plugged in, and, if strung with some .013 Monel or Pure Nickels, has a very good unplugged sound. The Godin have a lot of bass for a small archtop, which I think flat top players would appreciate (The Loar, while a more "real archtop" sound may set your ears on end if you're used to playing flat tops...they can be quite harsh if not played in the style that suits them best)

If at all possible, get out and play some of them...archtop are a whole 'nuther deal. A really fun rabbit hole to go down.

This is a video I made ages ago, compares the Godin with a Loar 600 and an old Kay archtop. I think it'll be helpful.



The Kay is a "pressed" top. I think it's tone is quite similar to the Guild you mentioned.

By the way, since I made this video I've gone back to round wounds on both of these, and the acoustic tone is definitely better. I use Monel on the Godin, and bronze on the Kay (set up for strict rhythm guitar only duties)

My electric arch top is a Heritage 575, so the Godin acts as a "split the difference" guitar--sounds good plugged in, but also nice sitting on the couch.
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Last edited by mr. beaumont; 12-03-2017 at 01:44 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-03-2017, 02:17 PM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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Thanks Jeff.

Believe it or not, I'm having trouble finding an acoustic archtop to play around here. Some semi-hollow body guitars, but not full hollow body. Guess they're not so popular around here.

I don't suppose you've ever played something like the Guild Benedetto or Artist Award, have you?

Those are really a high end (for me) and nothing I would start with. But I'm still looking for a "Do it all" guitar -- sound great plugged in. Sound great acoustic. Maybe it doesn't exist in the sub $10K range tho. IDK.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:24 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChapinFan View Post
Thanks Jeff.

Believe it or not, I'm having trouble finding an acoustic archtop to play around here. Some semi-hollow body guitars, but not full hollow body. Guess they're not so popular around here.

I don't suppose you've ever played something like the Guild Benedetto or Artist Award, have you?

Those are really a high end (for me) and nothing I would start with. But I'm still looking for a "Do it all" guitar -- sound great plugged in. Sound great acoustic. Maybe it doesn't exist in the sub $10K range tho. IDK.
I have played an Artist award...wonderful guitar!

I still think a much cheaper Guild X-175 is a better electric, though...but if you want a Swiss Army Guitar (at least for when it comes to jazz sounds), anything Johnny Smith related is a good bet.

I think, in the cheaper range, if you want a guitar that works both ways, look at Eastman, look at the Loar, and seriously, the lowly Godin. And jump into the world of archtops...you'll see why so few of us just have just one!
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:27 PM
Cameleye Cameleye is offline
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You might also consider Eastman. I've an 805 ce that I mainly play acoustic with light roundwound nickels and I think it sounds pretty good unamplified. Plugged in, it's got that jazz mellow in spades.
These are often under 2K guitars.
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2017, 06:16 PM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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OK, thanks Jeff and Cameleye.

Man, I wish there were some place around here I could just go and play a few so I could see what its like. Maybe I'll head off to GC and play one of their semi-hollow bodies or something. IIRC they had some Epiphones and Ibanez "archtops"

While I'm at it... do you know anyone who has gone to this?

Nazareth Archtop Guitar Building Class

It's $3500 but you come out with (in theory) a Benedetto -copy archtop. Not sure where I would find the week -- let alone the $3K -- but it sounds like something that would be really cool to do.

BTW, GC has a 1960 Kay archtop for sale. ($329.99) Is that what you played in thatr video? DId you put the DArmond floating pickup on yourself? I might be underestimating it, but that looks like a fairly simple install... no?

Last edited by ChapinFan; 12-03-2017 at 06:23 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-03-2017, 07:58 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChapinFan View Post
OK, thanks Jeff and Cameleye.

Man, I wish there were some place around here I could just go and play a few so I could see what its like. Maybe I'll head off to GC and play one of their semi-hollow bodies or something. IIRC they had some Epiphones and Ibanez "archtops"

While I'm at it... do you know anyone who has gone to this?

Nazareth Archtop Guitar Building Class

It's $3500 but you come out with (in theory) a Benedetto -copy archtop. Not sure where I would find the week -- let alone the $3K -- but it sounds like something that would be really cool to do.

BTW, GC has a 1960 Kay archtop for sale. ($329.99) Is that what you played in thatr video? DId you put the DArmond floating pickup on yourself? I might be underestimating it, but that looks like a fairly simple install... no?
The install is VERY simple.

I'd never buy an old Kay sight unseen. They range easily from sublime to unplayable.

Mine is "huge neck tiny frets better have your A game, chump" difficult to play, but it sounds exactly like 1958 or so.

Re: the guitar building class...someday, when I'm retired, I will do something like this...looks like a wonderful experience.
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  #13  
Old 12-03-2017, 08:17 PM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
The install is VERY simple.

I'd never buy an old Kay sight unseen. They range easily from sublime to unplayable.
K. Thanks, that's really good advice. I'll cross that off of my list. Maybe if the DeArmond pickup is an easy install, I should focus on acoustic archtops and just plan on adding the pickup. (I'm not sure what that means, or if it opens up new possibilities... but it was a thought.)
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:36 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by ChapinFan View Post
...It's $3500 but you come out with (in theory) a Benedetto-copy archtop...
$3500 gets you a brand-new top-of-the-line Eastman, an excellent-condition used Heritage (one of the most underrated bargains on the market in a hand-carved archtop BTW), or any one of a number of vintage Gibson or (especially) Epiphone bandstand veterans from the 1930's-1950's; if you're in a position to spend that kind of money I'd strongly recommend the latter option - that was the heyday of the acoustic archtop guitar, they've long since come into their own tonally (carved archtops, like fine violins, often take decades to develop their full tonal potential), they're made to a standard/with materials not likely to be seen again in a regular-production guitar, there's an unmistakable vibe that you'll never achieve with a new instrument, and in the black art of archtop graduation and tuning there are no guarantees how things are going to turn out...
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:15 AM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
$3500 gets you a brand-new top-of-the-line Eastman, an excellent-condition used Heritage... or any one of a number of vintage Gibson or (especially) Epiphone bandstand veterans from the 1930's-1950's; if you're in a position to spend that kind of money I'd strongly recommend the latter option...
Well, yeah... but the NGI training also comes with a guided tour of the Martin factory
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