I got a chance to play my friends old Kay archtop guitar that his great grandpa owned, and I loved it, especially with jazz strings, so now I'm really wanting one for my next guitar purchase, it seems to fit my song writing style really well. I was just wanting some recommendations of some models, either vintage or new ones. Right now i'm just looking around on Ebay at vintage kays and silvertones, but I do love the Godin 5th Avenue. My aim is to put Jazz strings on whatever I get.
I want you to put on your pretty summer dress
You can wear your Easter bonnet and all the rest
And I wanna make love to you yes, yes, yes when the healing has begun
-Van the Fuckin' Man
Let us know how it goes. I play electric but I'm starting to get the acoustic bug after jamming on a friend's recently.
All archtops aren't alike. A good acoustic archtop is light weight and sounds good unplugged. A semi-acoustic, like the ES-335 Dot, or my ES-135, or even a big ES-175 have sustain blocks glued to the underside of the top, making them heavy, sound good plugged in, but sound bad unplugged. A good acoustic archtop is a blast to play jazz on. Short scale length, and a flat fretboard radius help with fingering.
So be sure you get the guitar you want, not what just looks good. I've always wanted an Epiphone Emperor "Joe Pass" type with gold hardware, but I don't know how it's built inside.
Play before you buy, or ask the seller how it sounds unplugged to get the right match for you if you want an acoustic archtop instead of one that requires an amp to sound good. Also, a simple wood compensated bridge gives a better jazz tone than a TOM bridge, which gives a brighter sound.
I use 11's on my archtops to bring out the sound. Flatwounds sound great as well.
I have a few vintage archtops, and play the acoustic ones unplugged the most.
Happy hunting.
Last edited by Guitbuilder at Nov 23, 2009,