6 Best Archtop Guitar Reviews 2019 – Best Archtop Guitar Brands

Best Archtop Guitar & Best Archtop Guitar Brands

Best Archtop Guitar & Best Archtop Guitar Brands

Archtop guitar is a retro-looking guitar originally from the 20th century. It can be often seen in music genres such as jazz or blues. With its construction and elements of a violin, such as F holes on its resonating box, it stands for the unusual looking type of guitar.

Development of archtop guitars

With accelerated development of jazz in early 20th century, evolving bands that were massively using banjo for their needs wanted to replace it with a guitar. Primary, they tried with, as we call them today “parlor guitars”, but the problem was that they were not very loud.

Certain guitar manufacturers believed that the guitar could be louder by making an archtop just as the violin. They literary just carved the arched top of a block of wood and increase the size of resonator box for a volume. As the round hole on the front was causing too much boominess, it was replaced with “F-holes” that eventually set the standard for jazz guitars.

Primary, guitars were considered for mostly rhythm instruments that were not much capable of melodic or a harmonic line. Then, cutaways were added to the archtops allowing easier access to the higher notes. The first guitars to be amplified when the guitar pickup was invented were archtop guitars. They had a reputation for more resistant to feedbacks than flat-tops.

What are the Best Archtop Guitars to Buy?

2) The Loar LH-350-VS Hand-Carved Archtop Guitar, Vintage Sunburst

  • Hand-Carved Spruce Top
  • Easy to Play
  • Treble Side Florentine Cutaway

1) Eastman AR371CE Arch Top Cutaway Electric Guitar with Sunburst Finish

  • High Quality
  • Wider Neck
  • Beautiful Sound
  • Effortless Neck Playability

3) Godin 5th Avenue Archtop Jazz-Style Acoustic Guitar (Cognac Burst)

  • High Quality Material
  • Popular Choice
  • Great for All
  • Economical Choice

How does the archtop guitar work?

Rather than using the vibration of strings anchored within a bridge mounted to the top itself, as it’s a case with flat-top guitars, archtops receive their acoustic energy from the strings mounted in a trapeze tailpiece, that are exerting pressure on a “floating” bridge of the guitar.

The result is quite clearly different vibration pattern with different structural requirements. So-called X-bracing is the most popular bracing technique in a guitar world, and not only for flat-tops but for archtops as well. X- bracing is believed to be better suited for solo, lead, and chord- melody parts, rather than parallel bracing.

Therefore, when speaking of X-bracing archtops, the braces have to be carved to fit the profile of the underside of the curved top.

What should you look for In an archtop guitar?

First of all, it depends only on your preferences which one will suit your needs. There are countless archtop guitar models and each one of them has its pros and cons. It’s all about finding a balance between these two.

When buying one archtop, you should look for those that are made from fine materials which will, slangy said: “prevent aging”. Materials such as mahogany can drastically increase the durability of one archtop.

Secondly, you should look after archtop that can provide a diversity of sounds and it’s easy to use. The diversity of sounds will help you continuously practice new techniques whenever you get bored or tired of one type of the sound.

6 Best Archtop Guitar Reviews and the Best Archtop Guitar Brands

We’ve made a list of 6 archtop guitars in order to help you out choosing the most suitable one for yourself.

1) Eastman AR371CE Arch Top Cutaway Electric Guitar with Sunburst Finish

Eastman company formed 25 years ago and now they practically became global music supplier. Particularly this model is a great example of Eastman company, and why did they go global.

Eastman AR371CE is a perfect example of a guitar that illustrates a coordinated relationship between the premium materials and dedicated work of a hand craftsmanship that results in beautiful sound, range, and finish.

Furthermore, the guitar has clear and articulate resonance. It comes with the most common D’Adarrio strings, but if that doesn’t suit, you may replace it with 12s- those are making a great combination with this archtop guitar.

Pros:

  • Effortless neck playability- The neck of this guitar is made out of the most suitable material to be made of- rosewood. That directly affects your efforts while playing, making it effortless to play. You can easily do music scales throughout all 20 frets.
  • The neck is wider- This might seem strange, but the neck is wider. Namely, that drastically helps in playing some of the complex jazz chords.
  • Beautiful sound- The best way of testing one guitar is without an amplifier. Anyway, in most of the scenarios, amplifier changes natural sound of one guitar. Try this one without an amplifier and you will understand what we are talking about- guitar by itself produces beautiful natural sound.

Cons:

  • The neck is not bound- This may be the only downside of this guitar and yet not even worth mentioning if we take into the consideration all the pros of this guitar overall.

2) The Loar LH-350-VS Hand-Carved Archtop Cutaway Guitar, Vintage Sunburst

Now, if you are a traditional jazz guitarist whose idea is to make the classic archtop sound being heard clearly in one ensemble, you might be interested in The Loar LH-350-VS.

Simply speaking, there are 2 differences when it comes to this archtop guitar: the first one is Kent Armstrong floating pickup that amplifies sweet, natural sound of the hand-carved spruce top. Secondly, there is so-called Florentine cutaway that will ease your access to the upper frets.

Therefore, we can see the manufacturer intention of making an archtop that will be capable of soloing as well as accompaniment, instead of only rhythmic roles.

When it comes to the appearance, we can notice the paradoxical combination of modern and old-fashioned elements that are put together in a pretty decent way. Also, there is a pickguard that adds not only to the appearance but also to the safety of your resonating box by preventing any scratching while playing.

Pros:

  • Easy to play- The manufacturer of this archtop did an excellent job in simplifying the complexity of a playing one guitar. Namely, there is a Florentine cutaway that will ease your access to the upper frets (for soloing).
  • Durability- This archtop guitar is made from the finest materials that will guarantee the durability of the product. There is also a pickguard that will prevent any scratches in the moments of strumming.

Cons:

  • The fretwork might get uneven- This problem is a general problem of any guitar. Try keeping your guitar in a normal position that can lower the chances of deviating your frets and neck of the guitar.

3) Godin 5th Avenue Archtop Jazz-Style Acoustic Guitar (Cognac Burst)

This guitar obtains the unique structure. There are a couple of features that are worth mentioning, such as silver leaf neck with rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays for better orientation throughout frets. Rosewood fingerboard will give you the feeling of soft touch, and with dot inlays (for orientation) it will make your playing experience much enjoyable.

Furthermore, when it comes to the top, back and sides of the guitar, they are made out of the Canadian wild cherry.

Godin 5th Avenue is a perfect example of jazz-style acoustic guitar, with classic looks: it has a floating pickguard and cream binding as well as F-holes. On the other hand, there is a touch of modern which manifests in a height-adjustable bridge. Therefore, it will keep you one foot in the past, and on the other side in the present.

Pros:

  • Appearance- Guitar is made out of the finest materials, and that results in one good looking piece of instrument. Needless to say that there are some of the features such as F-holes or a pickguard that even more improve that appearance.
  • Easy to use- There are certain features that can improve your guitar skills and ease your playing. For example, there are dot inlays to help your orientation on the guitar neck.

Cons:

  • Flat and boring- On the first hearing guitar might sound flat and boring, but there is a diversity of sounds and tunes to be checked before concluding that. In the end, it all depends on your music taste.

4) Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic Archtop Cutaway Acoustic Electric Guitar, Natural

When it comes to Gretsch, this archtop guitar delivers a rich and mellow sound. The reason behind that is mainly materials that this guitar is made of.

Simply speaking, there are 2 dominant wood materials that are being used for this guitar- maple and rosewood. First one is used for top, sides, back, and neck of the guitar while another one (rosewood) is used for a fingerboard as well as an adjustable bridge.

Furthermore, Gretsch has so-called Venetian cutaways (rounded and smooth) that are supposed to ease access to the higher notes and frets.

Pros:

  • Quality of materials- Guitar is made out of the most reliable materials such as maple and rosewood. In other words, the guitar is aging proof and will serve you for many years.
  • Easy to play- Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to play the guitar. By “easy to play” we mean that there are certain features that can maximally ease your performance and practice. One of the things that may be important for the guitarist is a fatness of a neck, and Gretsch has done its best when it comes to that.

Cons:

  • Annoying buzzing noise- This model might have this annoying buzz, but it’s nothing to be worried about. You can easily fix it by adjusting the “floating bridge”. For further information, consult with the manufacturer.

5) Eastman AR503CE Single Cutaway Archtop Classic Finish Guitar w/ Case

The best way of describing this guitar is through its features. It has carved spruce top, laminated back, and sides that will ensure the durability of this guitar. Also, ebony bridge, tailpiece, pickguard, and fretboard are something unusual to be seen on a guitar. All in all, this guitar looks more alike cello than any other guitar.

Furthermore, the fingerboard is made out of the 3 piece maple that will lower the effort needed to improvise through the neck. You will have a feeling of your fingers flying through the scales you couldn’t do on any other guitar.

Pros:

  • Design- To be honest, this is the unique design of one guitar. It looks more like a cello with an ebony bridge, tailpiece, pickguard, and a fretboard than any other guitar. Some may not like cellos appearance and take this as a con, but all in all, its creative, and doesn’t take from the amazing sound this guitar produces.
  • Venetian cutaway that eases improvisation- Some may think that cutaways are there for appearance, but they are totally wrong. Cutaways are supposed to ease your improvisation and solo parts that require higher note frequencies. Cutaways enable your hand to reach for higher frets on the guitar.

Cons:

  • Appearance- As we said earlier, the appearance of this guitar is a double-edged sword. Some may like the design, others don’t. Mainly, that’s because of the guitar kind of looks like a cello- a cello that instead of 4 strings has 5. Anyhow, that only depends on your personal taste in shapes and designs.

6) Loar LH-300 BKM Archtop Thinbody Matte Black

With its classic archtop tone, Loar LH-300 is one of the most decent replicas of 1920’s guitars on the market. This guitar has carved body and vintage design that is the most popular among the jazz musicians and archtop enthusiasts. It features vintage “V” mahogany neck as well as Grover tuners and adaptable ebony bridge.

The diversity of sounds you can get with this archtop guitar is amazing. On the other hand, the guitar is punchy and loud- which was the idea in an early 20th century.

Pros:

  • Durable- Guitar is made from the finest materials such as mahogany. It has carved body and vintage design that will provide you with many years of beautiful experience.
  • The diversity of sounds- With its diversity of sounds, you could easily fall in love with archtop guitars in general. Therefore, you won’t be stick to the one similar sound on and on, but opposite - you will be able to try out new things and techniques based on a sound type.

Cons:

  • String buzz- If you notice some string buzz, there is no reason to be worried because it’s easily fixable. You only need to raise the adjustable bridge until the buzz is gone. For more information, you can check the manual or search on the internet for a solution.

Choosing the Best Archtop Guitar from the Best Archtop Guitar Brands

In the light of everything we said above, we can only add that the value of these given archtop guitars is pretty much satisfying for lots of people. Namely, they all belong to the reasonable price point category which means that their value is massive.

Now, since we discussed all the bad and the good parts of these guitars it is up to you to choose the one that will suit you the most.

2) The Loar LH-350-VS Hand-Carved Archtop Guitar, Vintage Sunburst

  • Hand-Carved Spruce Top
  • Easy to Play
  • Treble Side Florentine Cutaway

1) Eastman AR371CE Arch Top Cutaway Electric Guitar with Sunburst Finish

  • High Quality
  • Wider Neck
  • Beautiful Sound
  • Effortless Neck Playability

3) Godin 5th Avenue Archtop Jazz-Style Acoustic Guitar (Cognac Burst)

  • High Quality Material
  • Popular Choice
  • Great for All
  • Economical Choice