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 Post subject: Archtop acoustic kits?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:42 pm
Posts: 24
First name: Mitch
Last Name: Berry
City: Austin
State: TX
Zip/Postal Code: 78727
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Does anyone know of an archtop acoustic kit?

My dad found a 1930's or 40's Kalamazoo archtop when I was a kid /teenager (1990s). I loved that guitar. It was a delta blues machine. Muddy waters would have given his left eyeball to have that guitar.

I want one, But would prefer to build it. I would prefer a real wood guitar vs laminated, but pressed top would be OK vs hand cutting a flat piece of wood into an arch at my current XP level.

It seems like these guitars went out of fashion (and have been largely forgotten) decades ago but in my opinion a GOOD one is very very very underrated.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:19 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1968
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Mitch, I have seen a few PacRim kits but don't know that much about them, they pop up on Reverb from time to time. My son bought one a few years ago and decided the neck joint was so bad that he never put it together. Its hard to call them a "kit", basically it was an unfinished body and fretted neck, you did the assembly and finish. The ones that I saw were laminated tops, back and sides in the style of a Gibson ES175. These are not designed to be "acoustic" guitars, they do have an acoustic sound but it is not the wonderful sound of a carved top instrument. In my humble opinion you would probably not be happy with one.

Ken McKay, who posts on this forum does sell arched laminated tops and back, but as far as I know these are not kits. Ken's stuff is top quality and he is a pleasure to work with. Might be worth while contacting him

I have built a few guitars along these lines but again, they were scratch built, so not much help.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 1039
City: Escondido
State: CA
Zip/Postal Code: 92029
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
I agree. A GOOD acoustic archtop is a dream machine.

Bob Benedetto's book is about the only reference out there right now for building archtops. They are certainly more acoustic than many archtops built on Gibson post-war specs, but they aren't really that 1934 Epiphone Masterbuilt DeLuxe thing you are talking about. Your best chance of that may be to get the Benedetto book and some non-cutaway L5 plans. I think Georgia Luthier Supply has some good L5 plans in both cutaway and non-cutaway. Use the book as a construction guide, but the plans for the actual build.

Carving plates is a pain. No doubt. Laminates are not a terrible solution. At least as a first attempt. It will cut weeks from your build, and makes Benedetto's book into very similar steps as building any acoustic guitar. I've been surprised how good some laminates sound. Of course I build acoustic archtops with laminates, but my laminates are entirely my own design and don't feature any wood so not really an option for anyone else. Still, there are a couple of sources of quality laminates builders can buy. Not sure who still does exactly, but I'm sure Google will find them.

Good luck!

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