Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Archtop question - this or that?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by El Tele Lobo, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2014
    Carved or laminate body?

    Body mount or floating pickup?

    Full size humbucker or mini humbucker? (or something else?

    Tube amp or solid state?

    For each...why?

    Bonus : Are Tweed tube amps out of the question with an archtop?

    Misty Mountain likes this.

  2. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    Body mount.
    Filtertrons! :)
    Absolutely not, they sound great.

  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Body mount
    Low output PAFs
    "Absolutely not, they sound great" (to quote a famous TDPRIer ;) ... or is that infamous ...)

  4. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Assuming you are not really concerned about using it as an acoustic except for practice. This might not be true but your pickup defaults suggested that to me (e.g. piezo wasn't in there).

    Laminate - bang for the buck
    Body mount - more options for pickups
    Wilde L500C - I like em
    Current drive SS amp (Quilter or similar)
    If I already had a tweed I wouldn't hesitate
    El Tele Lobo likes this.

  5. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 4, 2014
    Arivaca AZ
    Laminate - bang for the buck
    Body mount - more options for pickups
    Wilde L500C - I like em
    Current drive SS amp (Quilter or similar)
    If I already had a tweed I wouldn't hesitate[/QUOTE]

    Thick Hardwood carved bodies,(like Carvins) and others will give you a sound closer to a Center block semi hollow.

    Me if I'm looking for carved/artchtop I might want soldid spruce.

    Laminate will often give a louder acoustic sound again if they are full hollow not center block.

    Stay away from thinline if you are going to use it acoustic at all.

  6. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2014
    I'm thinking 2.75 to 3" body depths; 16 to 17" bouts. Traditional, fully hollow archtops.

  7. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2007
    Brisbane Australia
    You forgot "Flatwound or roundwound strings ?"
    El Tele Lobo and brookdalebill like this.

  8. cabra velha

    cabra velha Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Jan 21, 2016
    estados unidos
    Not much point going with a floating PU rig on a laminate top (although I'm certain someone will dispute it).

    Carved solid top archtops are marvelous works of luthiery, but in practical terms an awful lot of great guitarists did a huge catalog of work on variations of the ES-175 (both HB and P90 versions). The same can be said about the Deluxe but I think solid state always had a bigger foothold with jazz players. Quilters are really popular in the jazz forums. I've played my jazz boxes through tweed clones, the VHT S6U, Mesa's, getting the stereotypical jazz-guitar-fog-tone isn't that difficult, a little reverb is useful. So, no, tweed amps are not out of the question.

    Things get tricky (and sometimes expensive) when you are chasing a specific tone, you can spend several G duplicating Wes Montgomery or Pat Metheny's rig but seriously you can get 90% of the way there with modern hybrid modeling amp . . .and maybe playing with your thumb. Then of course lots of people hate the way Metheny or Wes sound, and they spend more Gs on duplicating a Charlie Christian rig.

    If I was going to order one of those Chinese custom archtops I would definitely go floating PU and solid woods, just for the variety.
    drlucky and El Tele Lobo like this.

  9. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    Look at the Guild Newark Street X175. Shock horror . . . single coils!

    But they'll blow your mind.
    drlucky and El Tele Lobo like this.

  10. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Questions 1-3: what sound are you after? For swing and early bop (late ‘30s-50s…) single coil, floating if you have to have acoustic volume. But for early swing sound. my AVRI52 does a great job! For post-bop and later maybe a nice set humbucker guitar? But my Baja 60s tele does a grea job!

    For amps: what sound are you after :D? Early jazz: tweed all the way. Wes Montgomery, Emily Remler: blackface. More “modern” sounding… pricey solid state (or not so pricey… I have discovered an old Yamaha G100 at my jazz school … what an amp, and so cheap!).

    Closing quote. If you ask whether tweed amps are no good at something, you’re bound to get this answer:

    Mr. Lumbergh and Vladimir like this.

  11. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 24, 2009
    I've been shopping for a good flattop and ran across the new Epiphone Masterbuilt Archtop line. I plugged an Olympic into a Fishman Loudbox and was pleasantly surprised by how good it sounded. They are laminate bodies with floating pickups and everything is well thought out and solid. And the playability is great-action is low and you can really zip around. For a working musician who needs the look and sound of an archtop I think they're a viable alternative. They come in three sizes with the larger two having a choice between f holes and a round sound hole with the round version being acoustically louder.

    KyAnne likes this.

  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    Since I see humbuckers on the question list ... some indirect ideas to consider:
    I bought a used and abused semi-hollow a couple years back and recently fixed it up. It's fun but sounds just like a regular LP plugged in. Would your full hollow arch-top be a lot different? I think the full arch-top would be different if you ran with acoustic pickups and an acoustic amp, but I've done that with a regular solid body guitar too and it sounded like an acoustic. Based on my acoustic guitar that I mounted a Strat single coil in (which makes the guitar sound like a Strat plugged in), the feedback could be a problem with the full hollow which helps answer your question about tweed tube amps and why the players all went solid body styles as the amp output went up.

    Go full size humbuckers .. all the mini humbuckers I've tried are too muddy. You can experiment with different pots and caps and fix that to an extent but in a hollow/semi-hollow configuration it is an all-day problem dragging the wires in and out.

    The practical side of the carved vs laminate is I'd go laminate unless you have played this style of instrument for years and already have a mini fleet of laminated ones that you want to try something different.

    awasson and El Tele Lobo like this.

  13. brogh

    brogh Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    weeeeellll that's no easy question right there ..

    Laminated/carved ...

    I'd like a carved top, and solid wood back and sides this if i was playing small clubs, if the stages are bigger laminated helps to address feedback, but this is just from a perspective of practicality.

    Nobody in the audience will be able to distinguish a solid/laminated guitar sound, so being practical might help, for quality and sound i'll go solid all the way.


    had various archtops along the way mounted & floating, i like the fact that the top does not have a hole in it, however with good pickups it's really not THAT big difference.

    mini/regular HB

    sound might be different but it's really a matter of taste

    Tweed tube amp

    I maybe wouldn't get a tweed type, but a quiet tube amp sure .. think about the fender BF & SF twin.

  14. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015

    I like laminate tops, thin bodies, single pickup, single coil, solid wood bridge, tube amp, and I like tweeds fine with it. But I'm playing rock and roll. For clean jazz, I'd go carved top, floating pickup. Still a tube amp for me, but a clean one. And get fancy with a clip on condenser mic on the body going to the pa.

  15. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015

    Yes. Semi-hollow guitars sound nothing like fully hollow archtops. Same for anything with a center block. I think of a 335 as a subtle variation on a solid body design.

  16. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    1. Solid carved is great, laminate depends on the quality of the laminates.
    2. Either.
    3. Both are good as well as some singles(P90's). Feedback and RF noises can be dealt with or used as an advantage.
    4. Either will work, but I like Tubes better.

    Tweed worked back in the day, why not now?

  17. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    This is my answer.

    photo 1.JPG photo 4.JPG

    If your talking about solid carved tops THEY MUST BE BRACED CORRECTLY !!!! A top with pickups in is not braced the same as an archtop with a floating pickup. and X braced top will sound differently than a parallel braced archtop.

    Laminated tops bracing doesn't matter so much and are largely used for pickup in tops build guitars.

    Tweeds deluxes ect. not so good unless tone stack has Treble, bass an mid will be better.

    I use a Magnatone Twilighter with this guitar. It should be about high fidelity with archtops.
    An Ampeg with new speakers is a good alternative also. It worked for Johnny Smith.
    Misty Mountain, ac15 and bottlenecker like this.

  18. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    May 9, 2005
    I really like my 1959 Ampeg Rocket on low volume for arch top sounds. Generally, with an es225, which even as a thin hollow, sounds more “acoustically alive”, jazzy and “hollow” than even my “deep” 2.75 jazz boxes.
    bottlenecker likes this.

  19. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    I really would love to try an Ampeg. I read rave reviews everywhere especially for jazz.
    Although I’d say that a Twin Reverb would probably be what you’re going for as you say.

    Re: your remarks concerning practicality etc. Personally, I think that the variables are: (a) are you going only for the amplified sound? If so, no reason to spend the extra dough on a carved top with a floater; (b) you are discounting single coils, but they really are what makes the charm of early jazz sound, from Charlie Christian, to Barney Kessel, to Jimmy Raney. So if you’re going for a swing/early bop sound, I would keep my eyes open for a P90 or Charlie Christian guitar.

    As for me, I have my “electric jazz sound” covered by my teles, and would only want an archtop for that early ‘50s, Barney Kessel swing sound, and for being heard (slightly) acoustically on a very small stage, so for me a solid top with a rhythm chief or something like that makes sense. I admit to also being fascinated by ES125s, so that’s something I want to try a bit more in-depth.
    Flakey likes this.

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