Archtop Acoustic Guitars

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Archtop acoustic guitars evolved out of construction techniques employed on mandolins and other stringed instruments in the early 20th century.

Since then, the format has remained alive and well with many pioneering luthiers building high-end archtops such as John D’Angelico. Archtop acoustic guitars typically do not have a spruce top, and compared to dreadnoughts and other acoustic guitar types, tend to produce a mellow tone favored by jazz players.

What is an archtop acoustic guitar?

An archtop acoustic guitar is an acoustic guitar with a rounded (or, “arched”) top more akin to a violin, rather than a traditional flat top. Typically, the top or front of acoustic archtops are carved from a single piece of wood or two pieces that are bookmatched and joined together for a seamless look. Their backs are often arched as well, and they often have f-holes rather than traditional round sound holes in the middle of the body, also like a violin.

What are archtop guitars good for?

Archtop acoustic guitars are a versatile instrument, but are most popular in jazz and country music. They’re also good when you need a lot of volume—archtop acoustics are often louder than even a dreadnought acoustic guitar.

How does the sound of an acoustic archtop guitar differ from a standard such as a dreadnought or parlor guitar?

When compared to dreadnought guitars or parlor guitars, archtop acoustic guitars are often louder with a more significant low end.

Are there small-bodied archtop acoustic guitars?

The standard archtop acoustic guitar has a body width of about 16 inches, but there are several smaller options for players who don’t want such a large guitar. You might also look for an archtop acoustic that has less depth than a standard acoustic—but remember: but the thinner the body, the less volume you’ll be able to get from the instrument when it’s unplugged. This is fine if you plan on amplifying your archtop acoustic, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Archtop Acoustic Guitars Near Me

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