Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 57special, Sep 3, 2006.
Where do you play your full bodied archtop (at least 16" W x 2 3/4" D)?
What is your intent with regards to this poll?
To figure out what relevance the archtop guitar has for today's players. I love them, and have just finished building my first one, but wonder how much demand there is for one in a working situation. I know of one GREAT jazz/funk player on this board who owns at least one archtop, but seldom, if ever uses it on gigs because of feedback and fragility issues. He just brings a strat instead, and is all set (as long as he doesn't break a string).
course, now that i think of it, another friend who has been playing and gigging since the 60's and has just about every solidbody under the sun has switched to either a Switchmaster, an L5CES, an old Gretsch Country Club or a Dupont (for his Django gigs). Only the L5 is fully carved, but they are all 17" wide, 3' deep archtops.
I use mine at low volume gigs, mostly. I have, in the past used the jazz box at very loud blues/jazz gigs, but now that I've got the LP, its back to being the go-to quiet jazz gig guitar.
I play old jump blues and swing (Louie Jordan type material). One of my archtops would be the right look and sound but i just get tired of the bulk and having to crane my neck to check my finger positions. I use Tele shaped guitars to gig. Mostly a Tom Anderson Drop Top T but I've got a Lentz DL90 coming pretty quick. Woo Hoo!
I did use two quite a bit, a 1976 L5CES and a 1951 Epi Triumph with a big DeArmond on a stick. I put a lot of miles on the L5, one of those ugly ones with the horrid black to yellow sunburst but plays and sounds great. The Epi with the DeArmond sounds great also, just different. Somebody should copy the sounds of those DeArmonds!
Home and gigs. I have a Heritage H575 that I have gigged with alot. I play jazz, blues, rockabilly, and even old school country on it.
I have a pretty rare 1935 Stella that is actually an archtop. I have never seen another one like it. That guitar only gets played at home or my closest friends' houses.
I have a Dean Stylist Standard. It makes a pretty good boat paddle. All things considered it doesn't suck. I have played gigs with it.
I have an Ibanez GB model, the one with sprice top and small body. It gets me an archtop like sound at higher volumes. Really like it.
I have two a 335 clone with PRS McCarty pups that I use when I need a FAT tone and I'm doing more older style stuff with my keyboard player.
I also have a Gretch looking Ibanez full hollow that I use for lower volume jams but the neck is a bit too narrow for me as I'm used to big fat necks so it's up for sale..great guitar though.
I've got my grandpa's old archtop that I really love, but it is in kinda bad shape at the moment, needs a new bridge, the binding is gone in a couple of places etc., so I fall into the "not much anywhere"- category...
I'd have to get out a tape measure to see if either of my HB's qualify. I have a '57 ES225 that I used to use for low volume, coffee house type gigs/jams. I started getting nervious about taking that guitar out of the house, it's just such a cool guitar I would be really upset with myself if anything happened, so I got a PRS spruce HB a few years ago, it now fills in at those type gigs and the 225 gets played at home.
Sorry, neither the 225 (cool guitar) nor the PRS qualify. A fullbodied archtop is a different animal. It's best to think of it as an acoustic guitar that might happen to have pups in it.
My '53 175 is my main gigging guitar. It goes with me to all gigs, except outdoor gigs when it's very hot and/or humid...
After having had feedback problems with my L-5C with a floating pick-up, I had a L-5 sized archtop with a set pick-up a la Montgomery built by a local luthier. This guitar was built with the intention of getting a great acoustic sound (though softer in volume) for recordings as well as being easier to amplify. Therefore it has very good tone-woods and a special bracing pattern. It works better than any L-5CES I have heard and both sounds (acoustic and electric) are great.
However, for very loud Jazz gigs, I prefer to use a solidbody, because I think there are limitations to the extent you can amplify any Archtop before it loses its unique voice.
I'm mainly a "bedroom" guitarist, but this is one area where I have actually been gigging lately.
I play my Heritage Sweet 16 in a band called Tucson Swings. After playing an archtop in the band, I just could not bring myself to switch to a solid body for this type of music. I tried a Gibson L4-CES for a while, but the band leader likes the sound of the Heritage better. The band leader plays clarinet and is a Benny Goodman fan so we do lots of Goodman tunes.
I picked up my Heritage Sweet 16 in 1992 at Chucks Levins. It is configured with a stock floating pickup. Over the years its acoustic qualities have improved greatly and it is now supperb acoustic archtop as well IMHO. For the band I run it through a Carr Rambler with a Fulltone Fat Boost to up the volume for solos. Feedback is an issue at times, but at the levels we play at I can control it by muting my strings when it starts up.