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Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by drmordo, Jan 18, 2021.
The Loar LH 600 has a hand carved top and back and sides and has a lacquer finish. If you look around you can find a good deal. I snagged one on CL for 500. I love it. I found a 50's, Dearmond FHC monkey-stick pickup, a few years ago at a yard sale. A perfect match.
Go for a Hofner, older Framus, or even Redwood (not anymore in uk shop) or Harley Benton - inexpensive.
Actually they can be incredibly resonant, but not like a flat top is resonant, and there's a fair amount of bang-for-the-buck with the current D'Angelico line.
As far as sustain goes: Although the original intent of the design was for playing rhythm in an orchestral setting as a banjo replacement, many of the good ones (the original 16" Gibson L-5's for instance) had more going for them than their original players used them for. For instance, here's my 1930 Gibson L-5 in open D with bottleneck:
And here's a newer build (2016) made by my lifelong friend, John Monteleone. I'm playing 1 of a pair that John made for Eric Clapton. High dropped D tuning.
In general you can get much more of what a good acoustic flat top does for less money than you can for an acoustic carved archtop.
I'm with Peego here. Unfortuntely, good sounding archtops are going to be several thousand $$. You're looking at really big pieces of solid spruce and maple that start out thick and are carved into archtops. Even when the rough out work is automated, the final contouring and graduation is done by hand. The plates are actually "tuned" to get optimal sound. So a lot of labor and skill is involved. You may luck out on a used instrument if you have the time to prowl and shop.
In the new market, Eastman has a lot of experience as they started out in the violin family of instruments and their guitars are built more by craftsmen than machines. The low cost of Chinese labor makes them hard to compete with in terms of sound per dollar.
Yeah used EXL-1 stock is way way down and prices are way up, because of all the bored stuck in the house masses.
Except of course those struggling to not become homeless, but us fortunate have been buying all the used stock and not replenishing it well. These models also came in an oddly large number of solid color finishes and few natural wood finishes.
Mine was called champagne and was basically white.
I would make 100% sure though that you try some in stores if your goal is to have "a nice sounding archtop acoustic".
I've played some old good ones including one made in the D'Angelico shop by one of his apprentice workers, and I can't stress enough that these guitars are not "nice sounding acoustics" in the traditional flat top manner.
In addition to the more short sustain punchy sound that responds best to hard strumming with big strings, the sound is not really heard from the players position behind the guitar. Not really a satisfying playing experience as an acoustic guitar, unless you need it for the narrow range of use it's good for.
It occurred to me last night to suggest a Django style Manouche.
Much more satisfying playing experience, more resonant, and more bang for the buck in terms of how inexpensive an enjoyable sounding example is compared to the F hole archtop. I've never played a Grande Bouche (large soundhole for rhythm) but mine is a Gitane by Saga, Petit Bouche and it's a satisfying guitar to play.
One more vote for the Grote 'Jazz' Guitar, $169 on Amazon.
I really enjoy the acoustic sound of it, but it also shines when plugged in either clean or light crunch/OD.
My thoughts are that the lower the price the more the glue because there is more laminate used.
This doesn't rule out a resonant body but you may find that even within one model there is huge variation. One might be crap and the next off the line be lovely.
I just put a track on " Todays Backing Track" with my Loar LH 600. Plugged straight into the recorder, no amp. One take. I'm a simple, faker player.
Well it came today
Came preloaded with D'addario strings, so tuned it up. Nice medium jazzer action, but the high E buzzes, stay tuned
Looks like you've got a case of Grote.
Awesome, I think you're gonna like it.
I find it very captivating to play.
I had a chance today to strum a recent D'Angelico with the suspended p'up and the difference between the tone it creates and the tone of my 'standard' flattops is jarring. I just strummed a few chords, tried both the cowboy chords and some 'jazzy' grips I could recall and it is a VERY different beast...no sustain, all mid-rangey punch. It punched pretty hard, and I'd bet it would be pretty loud if I really leaned into it, but it is a very different noise to a guy who mostly plays a 12-string jumbo for acoustic. I'm starting to gather that this is fairly standard for these guitars, which may require a rethink.
Another vote for for the Masterbilt line from epiphone. I've owned a couple of the Olympic model. Really nice guitars. If you are going for jazz box sound, maybe not the model for you. For a good reference sound listen to Dave Rawlins Machine or Gillian Welch. Dave uses an original 30's version. And the newer ones sound really close. My buddy has a '37 I believe, and we compared,and I couldn't hear a difference. Probably because the original Olympics used laminate tops and backs as well.
Wow, that is some beautiful playing!
If you can get your hands on one, a Washburn HB-15 might be exactly what you are looking for. It's basically a poor man's ES125. I've been playing mine for over ten years, and it sounds great acoustic (and plugged in). I'm not sure if they still make them, but used ones pop up every now and then.
Eastman AR371CE is very resonant. They only make a 2 pup AR372 now. They are handcrafted and under a $1000. A used 371 would probably be in $550-750 range, with hard case. Nitro finish.
YES, I love it