Thoughts on an Arch Top Guitar

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Fluddman, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    26,515
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    upload_2019-9-12_7-0-9.jpeg
    There's actually a few missing from this pic

    Ask me anything
     
    Hiker, Telekarster, Fluddman and 6 others like this.
  2. Donny Osmond fan

    Donny Osmond fan Tele-Holic

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    827
    Joined:
    May 6, 2018
    Location:
    Uknown.
    I own a Jay Turser.
     
    Fluddman likes this.
  3. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    213
    Joined:
    May 9, 2019
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I found a used but mint 2015 Epiphone ES-339 for cheap at my local shop. What a beautiful, versatile guitar! Changed my mind completely on what "Made in China" means.
     
    Hiker, Fluddman and magicfingers99 like this.
  4. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    755
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Location:
    Sonorous Desert
    I'd been keeping an eye out for an Epiphone Joe Pass but one day the local GC had an Ibanez AF75 hanging there for $150 so I grabbed it. It's the older version, without the overdone tailpiece. Almost cherry but looking inside I can see a wire splice to the neck pickup so I don't know what I've got there. Sounds nice but pretty mellow. There's a Duncan 59 in my desk drawer screaming for attention, so maybe someday...

     
    Mike SS, Fluddman and drlucky like this.
  5. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,582
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Location:
    The Land of 10,000 Lakes
    Yes, I play archtops all the time.

    Mines a 1955 Super 400. I play country, jazz, rockabilly, roots rock on it. I do play the few gigs I have with it.

    Nothing like feeling the body and spruce top vibrate when ya get goin' on one.

    photo 1.JPG

    Here's one with the amp I use with it.

    super 400 and friend.JPG
     
  6. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    26,515
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    Now that's a hoss, right there
     
    moosie and drlucky like this.
  7. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    421
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle
    0DF07C1C-976B-42FB-858A-E6C95CD55AAA.jpeg

    This Collings Archtop is what I would get if I was considering an archtop. Not that I could afford it. But even this work of art would be second string after my Tele.

    So... I’m not getting one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    Fluddman, Flakey and rolandson like this.
  8. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    207
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Location:
    Cascadia
    I was working very hard to justify the expense of an L5 when I stumbled upon a 175.

    The bond was instantaneous and I've never looked back. That was nearly three decades ago. I find the 175 to be an exceptionally versatile and playable* instrument. It's accompanied me on a journey that has crossed nearly every genre and venue and I've been very happy to have it.

    There was a bit of a stage volume learning curve insofar as these things are capable of a howl, particularly when the genre/venue calls for increased volume levels.

    I tried the Eastman archtop not long ago, but found the longer (25") scale length difficult to adjust to.

    *It was my first exposure to the shorter scale length.
    366_kindlephoto-359908374.jpg
     
    Fluddman and NewKid like this.
  9. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    3,152
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2017
    Location:
    GCDB
    I have a old Harmony Monterey that is actually pretty nice for low $ but unless you are able to do the work these often need ( or have a friend who will trade /barter such work) they can rapidly get into the same price range as a current import. I use it with a FRAP type pick up from Dean Markley but there is a article on line showing how to install a fixed pick up.

    One of the advantages of working at a guitar shop is the ability to borrow things I have played many of the newer arches and was very impressed with the Loar, it has a nice unplugged sound, and the KA PU is smooth w/o being syrpy I found the entry level Eastman a bit heavy & dark sounding, and the Godin, to be a bit bright and percussive IMHO better suited to rockabilly type tunes, YMMV.

    Guild has a few nice things in the Newark St. line, I haven't tried one but probably worth a look.
     
    Fluddman and drlucky like this.
  10. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,161
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Location:
    Montclair, NJ
    I have several archtop hollowbodies:

    '61 Guild X50
    recent ibanez ajkv95
    '78 (I think) Greco n60 (Very ES-175 like, but with laminated spruce top)
    2004 (I think) Peerless made Epiphone Casino

    I've owned several others, including a Peerless Wizard and Gretsch Country Club. I do practice jazz. A dedicated newbie. The top three get played daily.

    There is only one full-depth (usually meaning ES-175 depth, 3.3" or more) guitar on my list. Also, none are longer than 24 7/8 scale. None have floating p/us. This is by design. Trying out any number of hollowbodies (and owning several) helped me hone in on my preferences. The shorter scale works better for me. 25" does too. The typical long scale 25.5" is not as comfortable. As far as depth, I tend to prefer hollowbodies which are 1/2" shy of ES-175 depth. For comforts sake, mostly.

    Nix on floaters for me for two reasons. One, I like the way set in p/us change the deal with top sound, resonance, and how that helps reduce feedback. Two, I don't care for the extra "acousticness" of the floater sound, in what is to me primarily an electric instrument.

    More than suggesting specific guitars, I'd urge you to experiment by functional category. Much better to get a sense of what you like best and could use most before you shop.
     
    Flakey and Fluddman like this.
  11. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,066
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Location:
    Big D
    I also felt an itch coming to try to play some Jazz stuff (I said "try" and I meant "try"). So I happened upon this one on CL one day.

    Offered a couple of decent guitars for trade, a MIM P Bass, a really nice Epi LP, and a MIM Powerhouse strat. Guy doesn't want any of those but he asks what was the TV Yellow guitar behind the strat? I had a Squier '51 with a custom tortoise pick guard, three way switch and a tone mod that happened to get in the picture. He wants to know if I want to part with it?

    I take the '51 and he plays it a little and then hands me the hollow body. The hollow body played well also and we had a little impromptu jam session in the parking lot.

    He looks at me and says, "deal?". I was trying not to crack a smile and said, "straight across?". He nods, I nod and we each left with a new guitar. I can't help but to think I got the better end of that deal since the '51 cost me less than $100 brand new.

    Ventura Archtop in Brugandy Red.

    Ventura.jpg
     
  12. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,260
    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Location:
    atlanta
    Yamaha aes1500

    upload_2019-9-12_12-10-23.jpeg

    thinner than a typical jazzbox guitar, pickups are a little bland, but tweak the amp and its got a nice sound

    or the ae500

    upload_2019-9-12_12-15-56.jpeg


    he does a nice job with it here:



    i've got the AE500, but haven't learned to play it quite like this,
    nice job on the song by this chap
     
  13. Bulldoggio

    Bulldoggio Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    105
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Mid South
    I have an embarrasing amount of archtops and I play them all the time. My favorites for electric archtops are 50's and 60's Gibsons.
     
    Fluddman likes this.
  14. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,645
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    White Mountains
    If You're gonna go 17" (L5 style), the Epiphone Emperor Regent is "The One" especially for under the 1K marker. Another (16" w/2 P90's) is The Epiphone ES-295 Premium which in Brown Matte is essentially a first generation ES-175 with an eye poppin' Bigsby - these are getting harder to find mainly because people in the know...well they know.
    Of all the Gretsch 6120's the Japanese Terada Made Nashville is the GOAT (Gretsch of all time) this is the guitar that was my epiphany that Asian Pacific Instruments are the Bang For The Buck Kings. No American made Gretsch or ES-175 for that matter is even remotely in the vicinity of Terada Quality.

    Other Contenders in Bang For The Buck in no order.
    Epiphone Joe Pass - any generation.
    Epiphone ES-175 - I love the matte black ones.
    Washburn J9 Isaac Washington - going up in price. An L5 Thinline with a Bigsby and a Venetian.
    D'Angelico Excel EXL-1SH rare as hen's teeth with a body mounted Kent Armstrong HB (Wes style.)

    ...and there's a bunch more - the D'Angelico seem to have at least 2 levels of Korean, the upper level is sweet. Sadly I could never afford the Japanese Vestex Excels which keep rising in price now that they've been phased out as too expensive for bums like me.:D
     
    El Tele Lobo, Flakey and Fluddman like this.
  15. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    752
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Location:
    UK and EU
    Fluddman likes this.
  16. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    510
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lebanon, NH
    My thin body Gretsch 6120N. It's thin like an ES-335 but Gretschy like...a Gretsch. :D

    IMG_3480.JPG
     
  17. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,260
    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Location:
    atlanta
    i have one as well and like it quite a bit..

    was just listening to a recording I made when I 1st got it and noticed the p90's can sound a good bit like a tele but a little fuller.

    beautiful little guitar, easier for me to be agile on the fretboard, than some of the larger jazzboxes.

    I've also got an Ibanez artcore, and that one I find more difficult to get around the upper frets, the cutout is not as friendly as the Epiphone, though its a lovely guitar to the eye.
    very Gretsch like in the design.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    Fluddman and Telecaster88 like this.
  18. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    I mainly play ES330s and ES335 types, but I do have a couple of full on archtops - a lovely '69 Gibson Byrdland and a '58 ES225.

    The Byrdland is actually a pretty versatile guitar - I have it set up like a 335 (with beefier strings to cancel out the shorter scale) and it can play rock and indie if you're brave enough to handle the feedback. I always feel like I'm not good enough for that guitar, not being much of a jazz player, but when I do get it out it always blows me away.

    The 225 is completely different - it's useless for the style of music and playing style I usually prefer and I've had to learn where it excels and how to temper my approach to suit it. It likes wound thirds, for one thing, and that pickup's right in the wrong place if you dig in with a pick so I ditch the pick now when I play that guitar. And that's a cool thing - there's probably not much point having dozens of guitars and trying to crowbar them all into making the same sounds.

    Here are my two:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Flaneur, Flakey, Fluddman and 5 others like this.
  19. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    15,398
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    I have owned an Eastman AR810ce. Build quality, playability and tone were excellent.


    +1 on the quality of the Terada pro line Gretsches.
     
    Flakey and Fluddman like this.
  20. drlucky

    drlucky Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    652
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Location:
    Fresno, Ca
    '65 Gibson ES330
    '54 Guild X175
    30's Kay archtop
    '42 Kay K25
    '97 Guild X170

    Out of these the 330 gets the most play, probably because it's the best guitar I've ever owned. It works for dang near everything: blues, jazz (what little I can play), rockabilly, country, roots rock, Neil Young and Crazy Horse psychedelia. P-90's are incredible. The X175 is next, would probably be in a dead heat with the 330 if I lost 60 pounds. Just got the X170 a couple of months ago, needs a setup but nice. The Kay's are both acoustic, fun to play blues on, and were cheap (the K25 was given to me).

    IMHO Guild is about the best bang for your buck, both the Westerly made ones from the 90's and the Korean Newark Street models. Even 50's Guilds are half the price of a comparable Gibson. Old ones tend to have binding issues, but those Franz pickups are sweet!
     
    Fluddman likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.