Miscellaneous Rumbles

Why Aren’t Inexpensive Acoustic Archtops Made Anymore???

1

I understand that we don't know why so this will just be your opinions but I was wondering why inexpensive acoustic archtops aren't made anymore?

I see all these student type of model Harmony/Silvertone/Kay and so forth on eBay. These are so old and many have been misused so they are beat up and also there are no truss rods in most those models so if the neck changed for the worse it will be hard to fix but regardless of these being student models I am pretty sure when these were new they were pretty nice and usable guitars.

I bought an SS Stewart acoustic archtop, circa 1936-38, off eBay about 2002. Open chords fine but up the neck it's messed up and will take a lot to get it playable there unless you want to do slide that is. But I am sure when this was new it was a heck of a nice guitar.

In 2002 I also bought a new acoustic archtop for $200. Sam Ash house brand Brownsville had a model of acoustic archtop and for a cheapy modern model it is darn nice. Sounds great and feels great. Makes me wonder why more low priced decent acoustic archtops aren't made anymore. Epiphone has the Masterbilt line but they are at least about $800 and look great but I played a couple models but acoustically I think they weren't so great. Even my Brownsville sounds better although a lot less money and not as pretty.

2

Maybe not a nice vintage Epiphone or Gibson but new I bet this was nice. At least good enough to play old standards like "Donna" by Ritchie Valens , "Tequila" by The Champs, or acoustic versions of Elvis songs.

Plenty of low cost acoustic flattops but how about some acoustic archtops of reasonable price. Doesn't have to be as good as a Gibson of course but something lower priced but updated with a truss rod. Then again Loar has a $599 model so that's great but why not more and maybe some for about $300 or less like my Brownsville. Godin has something too but other than that not much out there. Everytime I want to sell a few guitars to thin out the heard so to speak I really can't bring myself to sell it because I love the Brownsville.

3

I`ve played one or two of these in the store. Yes, they've appropriated the name, but in the end, they ain't bad for the money.. A decent setup and quality strings and you're on your way for under $1000Cdn, if I recall.

http://www.theloar.com/prod...

5

Everyone I know thinks I’m a weirdo for owning an arch top acoustic.

– Junior Q Man (Ryan M)

I like flattops but acoustic archtops are something special.

About 1988 I went to an escrow office with a friend who did real estate and there was some old guy, about 57 who was also a country boy living in So Cal, who was from the south and he had an acoustic archtop and I was in awe of the guitar. Didn't know what brand but I was already kind of getting interested because of LaBamba the movie which just came out a year before and the scene where Ritchie is playing "Donna" on the white acoustic archtop just got me hooked on that kind of guitar. Then to see one in person there was no turning back. Since then I loved acoustic archtops. I was into hollow body electrics already though because I was a big Bow Wow Wow fan since 1982 so I got hooked on the Gretsch White Falcon.

6

I`ve played one or two of these in the store. Yes, they've appropriated the name, but in the end, they ain't bad for the money.. A decent setup and quality strings and you're on your way for under $1000Cdn, if I recall.

http://www.theloar.com/prod...

– Kevin Frye

Those are really nice guitars. I went to NAMM one year and saw all the Loars out there and tried one and was impressed.

I forgot that Gretsch has the New Yorker for about $599. Of course the G400 Synchro with Cat's Eyes is the Cat's Meow but that's about $900 used or probably $1,700 new.

7

I actually bought a Silvertone off eBay last week and it's being shipped to me. It needs work and I went against my better judgement than to buy a guitar without a truss rod but I hope it's good. I will post a NGD after I get it with pictures. Actually I have to do a repair to it and I'll pot after that.

8

You can't churn 'em out as easily as, say, a cheap Tele or Strat. And there's also the little matter of economies of production -- for every budget archtop, you could sell a hundred or more Strats, Teles etc.

Nevertheless I think Gretsch has done a great job at a remarkable price with its budget Streamliner jazzer, and there are other archtops out there for not a lot of money.

9

Cheap? Any good acoustic that's under two grand is cheap. Think about how expensive the parts cost, and then labor. I will leave out the sweat shop argument. Do you think a well made instrument was ever cheap? Having been a person who has made things his whole life,and who's father made things his whole life, I easily become insulted by people who don't understand the value of craftsmanship or the genius of designers/inventors who make something wonderful and have the Gaul to bitch when they cant get something awesome on the cheap. Take a tour of Martin,see the hard working craftsman,see how much effort and time it takes to build even the most simple instrument. YouTube also is a great way to see the effort. We should all thank our lucky stars that so much is available to us......Gibson is in big trouble,might not stay,gretsch makes most overseas and has a handful working in U.S. support a small scale craftsman like curt or any other luthier you can find. At the philly show, there was a guy who was painstakingly making arch tops that in my obersvation were reasonably priced and in two days only saw about ten people play them. Arch tops are rare birds to the market. An old timers axe. Harder to build than a flat top. Be happy anyone is hand making anything you can so easily afford.

10

mun, calm down mate I am talking on the level of old Kay/Harmony/Silvertone. I am not talking hand carved Gibson L5 here. I'm also not questioning your craftsmanship. I didn't even have you in mind when I posted the question. See my original post.

I spent $2,100 on a 1965 Mosrite Mark V. I can picture some secretary at work fainting when I tell her my guitar was over 2K. Some people can't appreciate things for what they are. I can. Built by craftsmen in Bakersfield, CA, just 2 or 3 hours just north of me, 2 years before I was born. I appreciate their skill in making my guitar. My $2,100 vintage Mosrite probably will hold it value better than some secretary's 2018 Toyota Corolla. Not to pick on secretaries or Corollas but that's just an example.

I was just wondering why the market is flooded with $300 flat tops but why not archtops in that price range. I'm not asking about Martin quality. I really don't think you answered my question.

I think you are taking my original post way out of context, way too personally and way too seriously.

11

Not the prettiest guitar. Not a Gibson L5 or Gretsch G400. Inexpensive but really good. Not my Brownsville but the exact same model. Lifted this picture off the internet. $200 new in 2002. This is what I'm talking about. Not Martin craftsmanship but a good inexpensive guitar.

12

I'm sorry. Been a rough few days battling frozen pipes and no sleep. Maybe the answer.....calmly and no malice.....the market isn't interested enough to produce cost effective archtops. I only see the retro bands playing archtops here in pa. I see more millennials playing ukes than guitars. Interesting to see what the "kids" are doing. Gretsch noted this a few years ago and had a zillion of them made in china. I even bought a gretsch Irish tenor banjo. So I'm guilty of buying sweat shop crap too.

13

No problem mun.

Yeah in today's day and age I think most people would feel a flattop fits their music more. Maybe us who really love hollow body electrics like Gretsch for example really like and appreciate acoustic archtops a lot but most other people rather have a flat top.

14

Yup, did you read the country club thread? They only make what they think will sell. When gretsch made the retro instruments, I thought....hmmmm they must see a market, then I looked at artists on YouTube under 25 years old, and they were playing parkour guitars and ukes. A 1930's throwback. History repeats itself. Look at fashion. Every generation rebels by doing something "different". Archtops will be popular about 100 years from now if guitars exist then. I see a dj on stage using snipets of music and noises and they are "musical artists". Not grandpa shaking a string on a reverberating wooden box with his fingers!

15

You can often find the Godin 5th Ave. used for under $600. Cheap enough? These are great playing, nice sounding guitars.

16

You can often find the Godin 5th Ave. used for under $600. Cheap enough? These are great playing, nice sounding guitars.

– Bob Howard

Those are nice and enough.

18

There are some nice old Harmonys out there for short sheckels. My Montclair is minty and was $200.

19

I picked this one up from a friend of mine that had a repair shop. Born as acoustic but someone put holes in it so I found the oldest pickup I could and put it in the only place with space enough. It's a 1935 Orpheum Imperator C, no truss rod, multiple ply neck and sounds great either way! Flame that is unbelievable! Sent it to a nephew in Alaska who has a band.

21

mun, calm down mate I am talking on the level of old Kay/Harmony/Silvertone. I am not talking hand carved Gibson L5 here. I'm also not questioning your craftsmanship. I didn't even have you in mind when I posted the question. See my original post.

I spent $2,100 on a 1965 Mosrite Mark V. I can picture some secretary at work fainting when I tell her my guitar was over 2K. Some people can't appreciate things for what they are. I can. Built by craftsmen in Bakersfield, CA, just 2 or 3 hours just north of me, 2 years before I was born. I appreciate their skill in making my guitar. My $2,100 vintage Mosrite probably will hold it value better than some secretary's 2018 Toyota Corolla. Not to pick on secretaries or Corollas but that's just an example.

I was just wondering why the market is flooded with $300 flat tops but why not archtops in that price range. I'm not asking about Martin quality. I really don't think you answered my question.

I think you are taking my original post way out of context, way too personally and way too seriously.

– ThePolecats

Flat top acoustics are in enough demand that they can be made inexpensively, because of how many they can sell. Acoustic archtops are not in high demand --- I'm sure sales figures are a fraction of flat tops --- so can only be made in small quantities, which means higher cost.

22

As noted above, it's a market demand thing. Bob Benedetto apparently owns and enjoys a modern Gretsch Synchro 100C; that's high praise for a $500-sh guitar. Between those, the New Yorkers and Godin's 5 Ave. the market is pretty well covered.

Except for one thing.

A small travel sized archtop would be perfect. Something like an ES-125 3/4 and an ES140. Granted it's a limited market, but the amount of sound that a small archtop produces is amazing. You could use Gretsch's traditional 24.6" scale with a smaller sized body -- say 14" -- of various depths and cutaway options. I wouldn't use a scale any smaller than 24". And you could call it the Rambler.


Register Sign in to join the conversation