Suggestion for Boutique Archtops


Member 5343

Just looking for some opinions, builders and what sort of price range I'd be looking for to get one built, I'm especially fond of the Schroeder's that I've seen, GORGEOUS guitars. I need it to cover classical, blues and jazz... if that is possible:D I'm a sponge... let me soak up the all the collective knowledge this forum can offer:dude



Silver Supporting Member
Linda Manzer makes great archtops.


Member 5343

Thanks for all the suggestions fellas, I definately have some e-mailing, saving and looking around to do:D


Member 995

A lot of great luthiers have been mentioned. I would strongly suggest that you spend some time with a guitar similar to the one you are thinking about prior to ordering. You might be really turned off by some of the limitations of these instruments. The acoustic tone is typically midrange focused and they can be a real pain to amplify without fighting feedback.

Having said that, I absolutely love my Heritage archtop, but probably wouldn't spend much more than I did, as these guitars are so specialized.

Check Saul Koll's site - he makes a lovely guitar for far less than you would expect for a carved archtop.

Can't wait for mine to arrive!


Silver Supporting Member
Here's a good master list of archtop luthiers:


Some years ago, I played bunches of high end archtops looking for a great one. I bought one built by Brad Nickerson; subsequently ordered a second guitar from him. Alas, he is semi-retired and I don't think he's taking orders now.

Other great ones -- these are people who I wouldn't hesitate to order from (notwithstanding the price, some of them are stratospheric):

Steve Anderson
Steve Grimes
Ted Megas
John Monteleone
Linda Manzer
John Buscarino
Tom Ribbecke
Mark Campellone

While Bob Benedetto is retired, his guitars are now built under license by Guild. They're still very fine guitars, and very expensive. I've also played a couple of archtops by a guy named Palen recently. Also very fine instruments.


Although they're pretty rare around here, I love my Hancock Hobart by Australian luthier Kim Hancock ( It has European woods and it has a great wide open acoustic sound. Great customer service too!

Tom Gross

OG Forum Member
Gold Supporting Member
A coupla suggestions -

It would be best of course, if you could play a bunch and see what you liked and learn about it. I see you're up in the middle of nowhere (just kidding), but I would suggest the following:

- Find a Heritage dealer or other dealer that had some archtops, play a lot of them, and educate yourself as much as possible about the different design choices and your own preferences.

- If at all possible, get to a big guitar show. I don't know about the west coast, but Philly and especially the Long Island shows always have a bunch of the best builders. With the price of these things, it would be worth a plane ticket and a weekend to do research, especially if you can play examples of guitars by Manzer, Buscarino, Campallone, Ribbecke, Monteleone, Comins, etc. all in the same day. It's fun, too.

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