Lower End Archtops

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Paul in Colorado, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm looking for a decent archtop for playing swing rhythm guitar. Something with a floating pickup would be great, in the $1200-$1500 range. The D'Angelico EXL-1 is one I've looked at online, but I've been told that they are kind of "stiff" sounding due to a think finish. Any suggestions?
     
  2. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    Eastman.
     
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  3. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    These days, you can get a real nice sounding and looking archtop for 3 to 5 franklins. And, those prices are for new guitars. Used, a lot less.
    Go on ebay and check it out
     
  4. JazzboxBlues

    JazzboxBlues Tele-Afflicted

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    You may be able to swing a 50s Gibson ES125. I believe they are the best value in vintage guitars. I had a '53, sold it and replaced it with a '57. The '57 is currently in the shop for a refret.
    This is what one sounds like in the right hands. It also is the first one I bought and foolishly sold.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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  5. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Been doing some searching and buying. The Epiphone older models seem pretty good under maybe $800. (mid 2000's years and older) I like long scale, but most are 24.75. The Broadway, Zephyr and Emperor Regent are long scale. There's a floating pickup model.. forget maybe the Emperor.
    Gretsch G100 has floating pickup.
    Some Guilds have it and are nice.
    The modern import DiAngelico's dont have great reviews IIRC...?
     
  6. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    If that's you budget I would agree w/ the 150 rec, (although that is not a floating PU) I would go w/ Godin King Pin before I would go offshore, the KP is significantly lighter in construction than most of the PR guitars I have played.
     
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  7. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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  8. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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  9. tubejockey

    tubejockey Tele-Meister

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    Almost anything from the Ibanez artcore series will be an excellent choice. And you would have enough left for a sweet set of pickups.
     
  10. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I like the stock Ibanez floating pickups. The ceramic humbuckers on their AK series were crappy, but I think the new Artcore PUs are fine.
     
  11. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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  12. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can speak personally how good the Eastmans are. I was able to spend considerable quality time with one....a beautiful archtop with a floating pickup. Not my style of guitar, but I enjoyed every moment I spent with it.

    I have not looked at the above Ibanez link, but I can testify the performance vs dollars spent on these instruments is beyond belief. While perhaps not what you are looking, (no floating pickup) I've had two AF75's that were superb and well worth more than the $ outlay. I traded for one and spent $175 for the other. Both were exceptional instruments that surprised the hell out of me

    The best of the lot for me however, was a used Ibanez AK96. It was an amazing guitar and one I should have never sold. Not only was it one of the most beautiful instruments I've laid my eyes on.... (beautiful antique violin sunburst finish) the feel of the neck was "I'm home!" and the intonation (even with the floating wood bridge) was among the best of any guitar I've had and certainly THE BEST of any guitar of this ilk I've had the pleasure to play....including several sweet Gibsons and Guilds that were 6 to 10 times the price .

    Now, I'm not a Jazz guitarists, so I may be speaking out of my arse here, but I know a great guitar and great tone. Again, the quality of construction, fit, playabilit, tone and general mojo of these Ibanez archtops is beyond belief.....especially in the used department.

    Just the ramblings of a sad sack who sold them when money was tight and misses them (especially the AK96!) very much. My daughter said the AK96 was her favorite sounding guitar of any one I play.
     
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  13. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's

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    Guild Savoy?
     
  14. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^ I concur with this.
     
  15. Shidoin

    Shidoin Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Guild X-150 Savoy. Has a floating DeArmond and sound wonderful. Easily within your budget.
     
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  16. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been saving a set of Ibanez Super 58's (in Gold) for a while now. I was going to change em on in the AK96, but decided to keep it stock for a while. While I would have upgraded the pickups if I kept it, I must say I was very happy with the clean to mild grit tones the stock pickups provided. When I bought it, it had a fairly new set of chrome wound flatwounds on it (D'Addario I think) and I wound up keeping them on as I loved the tone and feel so much. Did a blues gig with it and it kicked major arse!

    A pickup upgrade takes these jewels into a whole nother level imho.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sounds like you're looking for a legit acoustic archtop with a pickup?
    Seems like you're getting suggestions for hollow and semi hollow electrics.

    I'd guess that the criticism of stiff sound will go with anything in the price range, and maybe finding one to try, or even trying a few looking for a looser better sounding example would be in order.

    I would also suggest the Gitane Petit Manouche archtop for bang for the buck great sound in a legit guitar that might suit.
    The petit bouche is the small soundhole version Django played and is supposed to be the lead instrument, where the (IIRG) grande bouche is the big soundhole rhythm guitar.
    You could probably get a mini hum mounted, they sound vrey nice for low priced guitars I'd guess because the design just works.
    It's a longer scale, 26.25, which maybe also helps.

    That D'Angelico might be pretty cool, and I've played a supposedly real one that had the typical stiff sound of an acoustic archtop, compared to a dreadnaught with big round warm bass.

    Saw this review of it...
     
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  18. oatsoda

    oatsoda Tele-Meister

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    B.S. about the Exel being stiff. It's only stiff if you play it stiff. I like mine better than the Artcore I started on, or the Electromatic I moved to after that. A really sweet instrument, and classy like beer in a glass.
     
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  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    look for old Kay/Harmony models. Get them cheap and do or pay for some work (frets and tuners etc). Vintage guitars with mojo and history.

    .
     
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  20. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you want something that works straight out of the box: Eastman. Every single one I tried was flawless, and played and sounded great.

    If you don't mind investing a bit of work: The Loar. I have an LH-300 that sounds great unplugged, has a really nice neck (if you prefer huge wide ones, like I do) - but could need a bit of fret work; I put a floating CC-style pickup on mine. There ARE Loars that come with floating pickups - but only with those cheesy, cheap generic mini-humbuckers - so if you go the Loar route, I'd buy one without a pickup, and then get a floating CC or P90 from Pete Biltoft, or something from Benedetto, or a Dearmond monkey on a stick reissue.

    I have also tried the Guild Savoy reissue, but that had a tiny neck which I personally hated (it's listed as 1 11/16", but felt more like one of those unplayable 1 5/8" abominations, and was really thin to boot!)
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
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