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View Full Version : The Loar LH-300 / 309 vs Godin 5th Avenue / Kingpin


skylab001
10-31-2011, 10:40 AM
I've got an aging and severely beat up Gibson 1959 L1 flat top. It's a family hand me down that was not well taken care of. It's got this great warm sound ( almost a little dirty) that I love but it is falling apart and difficult to play. I haven't found a replacement guitar with a simliar sound that is sub $1000 in 20 years. I've looked, but everything new is just so bright and tinny to my ears, I guess Im just not a fan of super clean acoustic sounds. I'm not a huge fan of acoustics either, I'll usually use mine for rhythm to fill out some dirty electrics.

I need to find something that can be miced up in the studio and give me a warm tone, as well as something that can be plugged in on stage when I need to. I was told I should look into archtops and I stumbled on the Loar line and the Godin line. Beautiful guitars, I like the versions with the P90's but I can't find one local and I'm leary of buying without playing one. How do these sound acoustically? And do the pickups mounted on the body affect the acoustic sound ie. does the lh-300 sound better thn the LH-309 because of the pickup? Basically are these guitars mainly used plugged in or are they true acoustic guitars? They look like a hollowbody electrics which I'd never use as an acoustic so I had to ask.

musicofanatic5
10-31-2011, 11:45 AM
I've got an aging and severely beat up Gibson 1959 L1 flat top. It's a family hand me down that was not well taken care of. It's got this great warm sound ( almost a little dirty) that I love but it is falling apart and difficult to play. I haven't found a replacement guitar with a simliar sound that is sub $1000 in 20 years. I've looked, but everything new is just so bright and tinny to my ears, I guess Im just not a fan of super clean acoustic sounds. I'm not a huge fan of acoustics either, I'll usually use mine for rhythm to fill out some dirty electrics.

I need to find something that can be miced up in the studio and give me a warm tone, as well as something that can be plugged in on stage when I need to. I was told I should look into archtops and I stumbled on the Loar line and the Godin line. Beautiful guitars, I like the versions with the P90's but I can't find one local and I'm leary of buying without playing one. How do these sound acoustically? And do the pickups mounted on the body affect the acoustic sound ie. does the lh-300 sound better thn the LH-309 because of the pickup? Basically are these guitars mainly used plugged in or are they true acoustic guitars? They look like a hollowbody electrics which I'd never use as an acoustic so I had to ask.
I tried some Loar arch tops when they first appeared at NAMM a few years back and was impressed, but have no familiarity with model numbers (I think I was looking at high-end models). I have made myself try every Godin archtop I run into, again and again, with as open a mind as I can muster and still think they are an abomination in terms of aesthetics (mostly) and playability. As to their "acousticity", they are built with a cherry (???!) top. No acoustic arch top gtr is built with a cherry top. I will say one thing potentially positive about them: They are probably consistent; probably no worries ordering on line.

I'd spend the money on restoring the '59 (I presume you mean) LG-1

skylab001
10-31-2011, 11:59 AM
One day I may restore the Gibson, but it needs a whole new top as its splitting in different places :-( but it was like that when I got it and hasn't failed yet, but I can't tour with it, it has too much sentimental value, and there is no way I'm putting a PU on it.

For now I just need something new and not too expensive that I'll like.

What do you find wrong with them aesthetically? I tend to find if I like a guitars sound, I don't care much for the rest of details(where or how it's made, etc.) as long as it doesn't fall apart. I actually love my mid 90's Jazzmaster MIJ over my late 60's MIA Jaguar. Maybe it's because I upgraded the PU's and would never do tht to the Jag.

musicofanatic5
11-01-2011, 09:53 AM
"What do you find wrong with them aesthetically?"

Have you seen these gtrs? Hideous! But you say "if I like a guitars sound, I don't care much for the rest of details" so no matter. Try one out and see if your reaction is different than mine. The Loars have a historically proven tonewood top (spruce). The Godin, "wild cherry"(?!). I see that folks like 'em, but...

skylab001
11-01-2011, 01:32 PM
Well I was surprised to find a little shop near me had a Godin kingpin. I went and tried it out yesterday. So it looked kind of nice, the black one with the P90, but it was nothing like I was expecting soundwise. I was told that archtops were warm and had a "fat" jazzy tone, I guess the person that told me this has no idea what "fat" sounds like. To me "fat" means nice round bottom(maybe slightly boosted), tame mids, and a slight roll off in the brittle high end. This guitar was, shall I say, all mid, and no volume. The bottom end was missing and the top end was harsh. It did have flat wounds on it and that may have been a part of the issue, but still it didn't seem to have a full frequency when played acoustic, nor did it have the volume of an acoustic. I switched between a Martin flat top for comparison and the volume was much lower. I was disappointed to say the least. The shop owner suggested I plug it in, he actually said he would never play one as an acoustic. I did plug it in and while it had a different tone that I liked better, the fact that it was quite poor acoustically made me pass it up.

So would a The Loar LH300, or even a higher end one like the 600 or 700, be the same acoustically or does it have a better full frequency sound? Are archtop acoustics just not good for any type of rock rhythm work?

billyguitar
11-01-2011, 02:48 PM
Few real archtops fall anywhere near the 'fat' ballpark. The closest I ever heard was a pre-advanced 1920s L5. Most have very thin low end with a thin, midrangey, stringy tone. To me they project to the front with a sound that reminds me of the snares on a snare drum, only with pitch. To thicken the tone you have to use really heavy strings. Listen to old Count Basie recordings for Freddie Green's rhythm work. He gave up being able to solo with instead very high action and thick strings so he could be heard while using 18" archtops.
I strongly suggest you spend the money on having someone good fix up the L1. The top cracks can be glued and stabilized. They'll still show but they'll be stable. I had my Dad's WWII era LG2 reglued and refretted some years ago, new bridge too, for about $450. I'm sure your L1 will give you closer to the sound you're looking for.