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NGD - The Loar LH-300 Acoustic Archtop

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by rdwhitti, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Actually it arrived a few days ago and I have been adjusting and playing on it. I have always wanted an acoustic archtop (I have never liked flat tops although I have tried many times) and I was specifically looking for something that I could knock around with in the living room when the mood struck without having to go to the bother of going to the music room, getting my nice guitars out of the case, and plugging in. I think this will work quite nicely for the task. It reminds me a lot of the old Harmony and Silvertone archtops in many ways. It does have a carved top which makes it quite loud but it has definite finish problems and is covered in thick poly. And with the 15% MF discount and Backstage Pass rewards it came to just $460 brand new!

    First impressions are that it is a decent guitar for what I wanted, not outstanding in any way, but preferable (to me) to a vintage Harmony type that would probably require expensive repairs. Fit and finish is certainly not top notch (but I was expecting this from reviews). I had ordered one into GC earlier but refused it because of a poor neck angle that is apparently common on these guitars, but in playing it at the store I decided I wanted to try one more time. I ordered this one from MF and it does have a better neck angle so I will probably keep it. Common to both was some poorly finished areas (under the neck overhang, f-holes, etc.) but I guess these are to be expected from a solid carved top guitar at this price point, and don't detract from the playability or the sound.

    Speaking of sound it is LOUD! I had an Ibanez AFJ95 that sounded great plugged in but was extremely quiet and "dead" acoustically. My Eastman is louder but nowhere close to the Loar (as to be expected with a laminate top and set-in pickup). It has some buzz that I think is more related to my fingering and the extremely flat fingerboard, but otherwise sounds quite good with the right pick (a thicker jazz pick is mandatory); I'm sure I will get used to the flat fb with time. As to the main complaint about this guitar, the V neck, I must say that I don't really notice it much at all, and it feels quite comfortable to me. I have never liked thin necks (I sold an Epiphone ES339 mostly because of the neck).

    I will continue to give it a good tryout but at the moment I would say it is all that I was wanting and perfect for my intended purpose. If anyone here has any questions that I can answer, feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer.

    IMG_0440.JPG IMG_0443.JPG IMG_0444.JPG IMG_0445.JPG
     
    MuddyDitch, LocoTex, gwjensen and 3 others like this.
  2. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    nice guitar. i'm looking at archtops myself, ostensibly for open G or slide playing. what's the action like on the loar?
     
  3. haggardfan1

    haggardfan1 Friend of Leo's

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    Wow. That reminds me of my dad's old Harmony that I learned on and carried around all through elementary and junior high. Enjoy!
     
  4. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Surprisingly the action as delivered is very low for an acoustic, almost like an electric, one of the reasons that I like it. I'm sure with filling in the nut slots it could easily be raised. The bridge has a good bit of adjustment to raise the action, not very much to lower it.
     
  5. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    HNGD
    I appreciated your comparisons an ref to price point as well as what matters less (f-hole detail)

    I am suprised to learn there's variance in neck angle between the guitars you ordered/returned/re-ordered. Would have expected more uniformity, as w/ a factory-made item.
    Congrats - Deeve
     
  6. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    It is supposedly modeled after the Lloyd Loar designed Gibson L5 of the 1920's, and it definitely has that old school look to it. It is certainly no L5 but it is also only a very small fraction of the price ($500 vs. >$10000).
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
    haggardfan1 likes this.
  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Congratulations!
     
  8. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    That would have been my thought as well but many reviewers have said that the neck angle can vary a good deal on these guitars, and that you may need to try several before ending up with a "good" one. Definitely a poor QC process.
     
  9. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cool man. Acoustic archtops can be very fun guitars. What strings will you run on it?

    I have a old Epiphone Zenith, but since I use a DeArmond guitar mic I don't use PB or 80/20 strings. I would imagine it would be louder acoustically with those types of strings. I've settled on Martin Retro's. Very cool old school tone on an archtop. Even unamplified.
     
  10. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    This is my first acoustic of any kind so I really have no idea about strings. I am used to flats on my Eastman and Strat but don't know how they would sound on this. I also do not know what is "normal" for acoustics. I assume the strings that came on it are PB (phosphor bronze?). What is 80/20?
     
  11. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Holic

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    We have two of these at the little shop I work at. Pretty cool guitars. Although the ones we have are solid black. I like the burst. Hope you enjoy it.
     
  12. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Yeah I could have gotten the black for maybe $100 less but I just don't like black guitars. How is the QC on the ones in your shop?
     
  13. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Holic

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    They seem alright. The finish wasn't flawless, but they've been at the shop longer than I have. They seemed decently set up and play nice. One of them has a cutaway and a neck pickup. I like the burst much better than the solid black too.
     
  14. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    I'm sure I will get the hang of it eventually but for now the tiny narrow vintage style frets and the very flat (16") fingerboard are making it very difficult to get a clear chord. For barre chords I am having to move my barring finger much farther up so that tip of my finger is well past the edge of the fingerboard, and even then the treble strings tend to not sound clean. Any suggestions from those who play vintage style frets?
     
  15. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    I just got it back from my luthier and it plays great. He had to redo 3 frets (we thought it was only 1 but he found 2 more) and did a full setup with some TI Swing 12 flats that I had. I also ordered a Musician's Gear Deluxe Dreadnought Case in tweed that fits like a (very tight) glove; the very thick padding is tight on the lower bout but hopefully it will compress with time.

    It also has 3 fingerboard dots that look quite dull unlike the other shiny pearlescent dots. I guess QC is really not Loar's thing, but what really matters is how it plays. Perhaps I will ask MF to give me a refund of some sort for the fret and dot issues.
     
  16. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    This guitar is just amazing. I like it more every time I play it, which is most of the time these days. I had no idea that any acoustic could play this easily and sound so warm and full.
     
  17. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    Generally these archtops are not loud so if yours is congrats.
    Even less loud with flats.
    I started on a ES 125.
    I have been interested in the loar brand but I just don't know...
    How well their 00 compairs to say a S&P or a Alvarez?
     
  18. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Actually I have always heard just the opposite that the Loar archtops are quite loud, more so as you go up the model chain from LH-300 to -600 then -700. All are carved tops, the -300 has laminate sides and the others are solid. Of course flats are not quite as loud but still quite respectable. The downfall on these guitars is the QC (or lack thereof). The playability and sound are far more important to me. I got the -300 because of the laminate sides and poly finish; I don’t have to baby it as much that way. My other archtop is an Eastman AR403 laminate which is loud for a laminate (much louder than an Ibanez AFJ95 that I had) but nowhere nearly as loud as the Loar.

    Sorry I have no idea about the flat tops.
     
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