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You never get nothing by being an angel child. You better change your ways and get real wild, 'Cause wild women don't worry. Wild women don't have the blues - Ida Cox, Wild Women Don't Have the Blues

Author Topic: Archtops  (Read 4922 times)

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Offline Rivers

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Archtops
« on: December 21, 2007, 06:44:16 PM »
This is mine. Pic was taken by the store but it's the actual instrument. Reckon I could get away with playing proto rockabilly on it? Probably needs a sticker or two to take off the jazz ax vibe. I love it, wish I could find the right people and get a band together. Eastmans rock IMO, and I don't have the financial luxury of caring where they're made. They vary a lot though, I played a few before putting my money down:
« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 06:58:39 PM by Rivers »

Offline Slack

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2007, 09:18:14 PM »
Quote
This is mine.

Gorgeous.  A delay pedal and a fender-like tube amp and rockabilly would be no problem, sound-wise that is - but the pompadour boys would think you are a poser no matter how well you played it.  :P  It seems to me you ought to be able to find people to play with in Austin.  Maybe we should do a personal ad for you.  :D

Just bought one myself this week on ebay... from a fellow who played a lot of them - I find it hard to believe it would will be a D-28 killer however.  The fellow had to cover the costs of 2 dental crowns and his flattop wouldn't cover them, talk about hard luck.

Maybe we can start a new trend at PT?  :D

Lousy pics:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=190183898230

But here is the model.



Ooop, better move this to Gitfiddle's.




« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 09:25:58 PM by Slack »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2007, 06:38:57 AM »
Coincidence there John. Looks like a beauty. I've heard good things about the non-cutaways, there were none available to try when I bought my 805CE. The finish is astounding, they use french polish I believe.

I play it through a Fender Deluxe Reverb RI with a Marshall Power Brake at home, no pedal.

The pompadour boys would think I was a poser? Har, that's rich!  >:D

The trick might be to position yourself for max. cred., pre- the generic rockabilly revival thing. I mean back before Elvis to Crudup, maybe some Chicago string bandy stuff (John Lee Granderson, Robert Nighthawk), early Sun records, Howlin' Wolf, revamped standards, Travis and co.

Austin is full of a) starving singer songwriters all wanting to be The Next Big Thing, b) "professionals" who won't pick up unless there are $$ in it and c) flailing amateurs, in all senses of the words. Everybody this town seems to think they have to be a songwriter and the results can be cringe-inducing. If you tell people you play guitar they assume you are a singer/songwriter. I tell 'em the last thing Austin needs is another bad songwriter. I blame Willie. For every Guy Clark there are several thousand people pouring out their life stories and poems to the beauty of nature.

The clubs here are notorious for paying chump change, and I theorize the singer songwriter fixation is a way to get around having to pay ASCAP/BMI. "Live Music Capital of The World"? Um, maybe.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2007, 07:03:19 AM by Rivers »

Offline Slack

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2007, 08:38:20 AM »
I'm anxious for it to arrive - the seller had some very good things to say about it.  I have a playing buddy that has an 810CE and I tried hard not to like it - but dang, it is a very nice guitar.  The only problem he has is that the low E string is much louder than the rest when plugged in (acoustically it is balanced). He bought a eq box that helps but not entirely satisfactory, so we are taking the picup off and sending it to to a custom winder to see if he can fix it.  Any balance problems with yours?

Quote
The trick might be to position yourself for max. cred., pre- the generic rockabilly revival thing. I mean back before Elvis to Crudup, maybe some Chicago string bandy stuff (John Lee Granderson, Robert Nighthawk), early Sun records, Howlin' Wolf, revamped standards, Travis and co.

Yea, I'm looking at Crudup (our drummer has a very fine blues voice) and have been playing some western swing as well... so I thoink you are right about fleshing the repertoire out with some earlier/related stuff.  We do have fun with the rockabilly stuff -- we've got a bunch of tunes no one is familiar with.  (We've started to record, so hopefully I'll have some sample tracks at some point).

You know I've got a long time buddy in Austin that likes to play standards and old rock n roll --- lemme see if he is still playing.


Offline Rivers

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2007, 10:02:44 AM »
Re balance probs across the strings, absolutely no problems, it was one of the things that struck me the first time I played it acoustically and plugged in, very even across all the strings, and such a relief from my ES-125 where that's a definite problem.

It has plenty of acoustic volume. The Kent Armstrong rebadged floating pickup is real nice, I see yours has a K&K. I've never played it in a loud band situation so can't really comment on how well it would do. It's pretty darn nice sitting around at home though both plugged and unplugged.

I think you might like it more than your friend's 810, which IIRC is the Super 400 17" size. The slightly smaller body of the 805 works better, for me anyway, for fingerpicking, and was much more comfortable to tuck under my arm.

I'd be delighted to meet your long time buddy in Austin that likes to play standards and old rock n roll. Collaborating with someone with both feet firmly stuck in the glorious past would be a blessing!

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2007, 12:24:12 PM »
Sorry I don't have the quote inclusion thing down.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Slack

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2007, 02:46:08 PM »
Sorry I don't have the quote inclusion thing down.

No problemo O'muck, I fixed it for you -- concentrate on the quote BBC quote tag, not the color tag (Lime green?  :P )

Quote
I appreciate that many of you long time Country Blues Workshop participants are moving on to other things, but, say, rather than dilute the Country Blues Workshop any further (I mean it's already pretty postwar-electric-Chicago, cajun, jazz diluted as it is) why don't you both go for the Jazz workshop as well?

Dilute the CB workshop further?  :P  Pretty funny Wax... you forgot the standards that certain faculty members love to play.   ;D 

Actually, I've always been interested in the Fiddle Tunes week at PT - swing progressions would be very popular I think with the Texas style fiddlers... not to mention being an absolute blast.


Offline Frosty Morn

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2007, 07:21:04 AM »
I had my hands on an Eastman archtop guitar last year and I thought it was a fabulous instrument.  Played well and sounded quite good.  I thought about buying it and dragging it around for a while to collect some mojo.  This old Gibson came with mojo pre-installed, so I opted for that. 

I try to think "Snooks Eaglin" when I pick it up.   ;)



Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2007, 08:46:52 AM »
Good choice! I have one a lot like it, though post script head, which is growing on me every year. (no dermatologist jokes please!)
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Slack

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2007, 09:39:35 AM »
Quote
Just adding my irrelevant 2 cents to a thread where it doesn't really belong, but I thought I'd support Waxy's friendly point that diluting the country blues content of Port Townsend is problematic,

That's interesting, I didn't realize the camp could be threatened by a type of acoustic guitar. I believe it was only Wax that made the 'archtop can only mean jazz' association and that was with Wax's trademarked "-G-".   I'll only play Fred McDowell on my archtop at camp.  :D  (I see Frosty Morn has chimed in with Snooks Eaglin)

Frosty, I also bought a 1930's Cromwell - which were made by gibson and comparable to your model (is that an L-50, L-48?) - it has great mojo, but needs a little work to make it more playable - the neck is huge and has no truss rod, unfortunately. Still, a great sound. Here is a pic.


Offline Slack

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2007, 09:44:32 AM »
Quote
I'd be delighted to meet your long time buddy in Austin that likes to play standards and old rock n roll. Collaborating with someone with both feet firmly stuck in the glorious past would be a blessing!

Mark, I've emailed him - let's see how much he has been playing lately.  I think he keeps it up as he has a 17 yr old son who plays guitar and keyboards as well.

Offline Coyote Slim

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2007, 03:16:58 PM »
I have a 1960s Kay Archtop.  The tune "Drop down mama" on my myspace page was recorded on it, through a 1960s "Skylark" amplifier.
Puttin' on my Carrhartts, I gotta work out in the field.

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Offline Frosty Morn

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2007, 03:57:09 PM »
Frosty, I also bought a 1930's Cromwell - which were made by gibson and comparable to your model (is that an L-50, L-48?) - it has great mojo, but needs a little work to make it more playable - the neck is huge and has no truss rod, unfortunately. Still, a great sound. Here is a pic.

Nice, Slack!  Old "Gibson" of any label is instant mojo, IMO.  ;)  My L-50 is 1942, best guess.  Big neck too, but playable for me.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2007, 07:07:31 PM »
Omigod Santa just brought me a Gretsch 6122-1959 flame maple cherry red, gold plated bigsby, painted-on f holes, half moon dot markers, TV Jones and Filtertron pickups, Chet Atkins Country Gentleman single cutaway!!!!!!

Not only gorgeous, but plays like a dream and has the ultimate Gretsch sound. Now I really will have to start a band. I will post a pic when I get one that does it justice.

Offline Slack

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2007, 08:49:22 PM »
Wow!  Santa must really like you - you really will have to start a band!

Offline Rivers

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2007, 07:25:17 PM »
Re. the Gretsch I guess I must have dropped enough hints that Cheryl knew exactly what I wanted and Heart of Texas Music had one in stock. I like the 6120 a lot but the 6122 is I reckon more practical. In fact I like all their archtops, including the Tennessee Rose. But the '59 single cutaway 6122 is the ultimate for me. Since the F-holes are painted on it's not very loud until you plug it in but really why would you not plug-in a Gretsch?

In-fucking-credible guitar. I've been picking Chet's arrangement of San Antonio Rose in A on it tonight, just figured it out after many failed previous attempts. One of those guitars that just leads you into all kinds of new areas. I'm over the moon it's safe to say.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2007, 08:42:24 PM »
 This old Gibson came with mojo pre-installed, so I opted for that. 

I played a 1935 L50 with mop script Gibson on the headstock today. What a beauty! It was going for 2gs.
I asked the store owner about it and he told me it was his personal guitar, whereupon with my usual tact I told him he was nuts to sell it. So after some discussion he decided to keep it. We both had the same observations about L50's; that they have a better balance than a lot of the bigger archtops L5's & L7's for example, which tend to favor treble and bass over the midrange. The L50s seem to have a pretty even balance, maybe even a preference for the midrange. We also agreed that this guitar has a particularly successful shape.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Rivers

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2008, 01:01:18 PM »
Cheryl's gone blog crazy. So now there's a vid of me playing the Gretsch '59 Chet here: http://78704pickinparty.wordpress.com/

It's just a quick test of guitar, camera and the Linux workflow needed to get it on the web. We can do better I'm sure.

Song is Guitar Rag, key of E. I believe Travis 'borrowed' it from Mose Rager, added lyrics and recorded it with one of his cowboy swing units. I have an early radio show recording of Travis playing a prototype of it, he introduces it as Mose's Rag and credits Mose with inventing the style.

I'll try embedding it:

Offline Slack

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2008, 01:20:41 PM »
Cool! Nice pickin' -- you are a little blurry however and we cannot steal your licks.  :D

Offline Frosty Morn

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2008, 01:24:51 PM »
Sweet pickin' on that Gretch!

Offline Rivers

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Re: Archtops
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2008, 02:34:16 PM »
Thanks fellas. That was a one off tester. I'll do it again properly soon and and you're welcome to steal all my pre-stolen licks!

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