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Archtop for jazz

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by AaeCee, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    Been bitten big time by the archtop bug. Looking for a 2 pickup model, smaller (16" lower bout or less) and shallower a plus, but really want that Montgomery, Burrell, etc. jazz box tone. Looking at L-4s, ES-175s, Gibson Howard Roberts, Byrdlands, Triggs, Melo, whatever. Open to all suggestions, but I'd like to keep the $$ < $4M, so while I greatly admire Bennedettos, they're a bit rich for me. Thanks! AC
     
  2. Brien

    Brien Member

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    Get yourself an early 70's 175D. Been playing one for 15 years now-easily the best guitar I've ever owned. Good Luck, Brien
     
  3. arriba

    arriba Member

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    ES 175 is the way to go.If you take your time you can find a nice one under 4K from the early 60's with PAT.# Pickups.
     
  4. The Eristic

    The Eristic Member

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  5. HEY!YOU!

    HEY!YOU! Senior Member

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    Yeah....right.
    Good luck with that.
     
  6. HEY!YOU!

    HEY!YOU! Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Something like this?
    Might want to let it go.
    1964 ES175, last yr. for nickel.
     
  7. jsmith45

    jsmith45 Member

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    Jeff Hale specializes in jazz guitars, and he is a good guy to work with.

    http://www.jhalemusic.com/pages/whatsHot.html

    He has a luthier set them up before shipping, so they arrive pretty much ready to go.

    Jeffery
     
  8. corgiears

    corgiears Member

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    Gotta say - I had a Heritage H575 for a while and it was a great guitar. Resale on the Heritage guitars is going up - just in case you get one and aren't wild about it. I had to sell it in a pinch and was really surprised at what I got for it. Just a thought......
     
  9. BigDoug1053

    BigDoug1053 Supporting Member

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    AaeCee - if you want a stay at home, collectible guitar, stick with more expensive instruments - I think the Heritage archtops are good bang for the buck. But if you want a player guitar you can gig with that is made well and inexpensive - check out the Ibanez Artcore guitars.

    ;)


     
  10. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Contrary to popular opinion, you can get a great sounding 175 made in modern times. You don't have to have a '60s 175 to get a great jazz tone. The tone is more in your hands and fingers than the equipement anyway. Some of the best jazz guitarists I've known (randy johnston and paul bollenback) spent much of their professional life playing korean epiphone guitars.
     
  11. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    Thanks for all replies...keep 'em coming. Update...played 3 today. An ES-175, an L-4, and an Ibanez George Benson. Unfortunately for me, I liked the L-4 best, but the 175 was a very close 2nd. I can see why so many are fans of the 175. A very nice sounding and versatile guitar. The Ibanez was a beautiful guitar, but overall prefer the sound of full HBs, as opposed to the minis in the Ibanez. What about feedback? Been told that the laminated top of the 175 is more resistant to it than the solid spruce top on the L-4. Thoughts? One more technical question. Can anyone explain the purpose/tonal differences resulting from the placement of the neck pup on the L-4 vs. 175? On the L-4, it butts up to the bottom of the fretboard. On the 175, there's a bit of space there. Thanks as always. AC
     
  12. Bluedawg

    Bluedawg Member

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    I have an '88 L4-CES and an '85 ES-175D and love them both, but I prefer the L4. I think the solid spruce top makes it worlds better than the 175.

    I also have an early 90s Heritage Sweet 16 with a floating pickup. This is an awesome guitar with the added benefit of it being a great acoustic as well as a great electric.

    The L4 has that mellow Wes Montgomery tone IMHO, which is why I prefer it. Some players like them better than L5s. That said plenty of top players have made magic with laminated tops so a good 175 with the right amp can take you anywhere you want to go.

    If you can live without a blonde Gibson archtop you should be able to meet your price range with a new L4. If you must have blonde you'll have to go used to stay within $4K.

    Heritage does a good job of nailing the classic vintage sound of the old archtops while the new Gibsons have a more mellow sound to me than their vintage archtops. I would never say no to a vintage Gibson archtop, but I do like the mellow sound of the newer ones.

    All IMHO

    :BOUNCE
     
  13. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    Among others, I would also look at a used Guild. Excellent materials and build quality for lower dollars than an equivalent Gibson. If you'd like a somewhat smaller, thinner model there are a lot of excellent X-170 Manhattans out there for about $1500 or so. If you want a "full-sized" box I really like the X-150 or X-150D, which can be had used for about a grand. If you want to spend more (for a solid spruce top for instance) there are some beautiful guitars to be had for way under $4000. Used Guild electrics are some of the most underrated, best buys out there. Especially the archtops.
     
  14. bobgoblin

    bobgoblin Supporting Member

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    i 2nd the guild suggestion, i got my x-150d early last year & it is really a joy to play (& look at). great american made guitars for killer prices...
     
  15. mccreadyisgod

    mccreadyisgod Member

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    I've always really loved the tone of the Epiphone Joe Pass. It's not particularly shallow, but it has a really open, woody tone. And it's cheap enough that you could upgrade the pickups and still stay on the inexpensive side.
     
  16. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    $4k gives you huge choice especially if you will accept a laminated top. Heritage guitars has some beauties with solid tops for that price.
     
  17. Jose Luis Garci

    Jose Luis Garci Member

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    Melo would be my option, but now he is giving three years to build a new model for you.

    I would also take a look to Manzer guitars, quite nice work. http://www.manzer.com/
     
  18. nek

    nek Member

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    If you feel like you can tell a good guitar from a bad guitar, money can really be saved on an archtop. About five years ago a Norlin ES-175D could be had for peanuts. There were a lot of them hanging on the racks in the stores; plenty to compare and to choose from; plenty from bad to dismal. However, I took my time and found one that was very easy to like, volute and all. Never looked back.
     
  19. somecafone

    somecafone Member

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    I would say you have to decide what it is you want.
    Do you want floating pickups a la the George Benson or do you want the tone of a humbucker mounted in the top?
    Yeah, solid or laminate is a decision. The Sadowsky Jim Hall model is entirely laminated, as an example.
    Try and find a dealer in your area, or loosely even in your area, that specializes in or has some good knowledge of archtops. Here in the SF Bay Area, Blue Note has an amazing selection of Gibson, Heritage, and some hand builders that are absolutely amazing.
    I had the chance to play a "real" Benedetto there (not a Fender CS Benedetto) that was just stunning. Of course, it was 10k.
    Find a dealer, go there and spend a couple of hours playing whatever strikes your fancy.
    Used Heritage guitars are an incredible value, but I don't get along with their neck carves. That is just my experience. Everybody else loves em. If I were spending 4K, I would want to lay hands and ears on it first.

    Anybody ever played a Hamer Improv?
     
  20. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    Lots of good suggestions. A Guild X-160 is a great standard depth 17" archtop, or the X-170 for a 16" that's slightly slimmer (not thinline) with soundposts. Lots of good Heritages, too, all for a LOT less than $4k.

    For that price, you can have your pick of a wide range of ES-175D's, short of blonde vintage models. A P90 mid-50s could be done for that, or if you're a careful shopper you could have a patent # '60s box. Late '50s PAF models will be higher.
     

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