Custom Archtop Guitars Archtop Guitar Luthiers


Finally!   A place devoted exclusively to the archtop jazz guitar. Here is where we bring together the archtop buyer with the archtop guitar luthiers who have devoted their lives to the creation of these magnificent custom instruments. At Fine Archtops, we celebrate the archtop as the pinnacle of this art. We will strive to make this experience rewarding for both buyer and builder.

You are here because you desire something very unique and special. This is where you will find the pathway to the guitar of your dreams. With the click of a button, you will gain access to our list of luthiers. We are proud to present to you the finest of these artisans.

Our desire is to provide you with instant access to many of today's highly skilled archtop guitar makers. Some have been building for decades while others are more recent to their craft. When you choose a guitar maker from the list, you will be taken to their personal introductory page. You will also find a direct link to their website.

Be prepared to be patient. In some cases, the luthier will have a waiting list. However, they are part of a very close community and are interested in the success of each other to ensure the furtherance of their art now and in the future. They will help guide you elsewhere if it's not possible for them to meet your requirements and timeline.

Also, be prepared to answer specific questions. The more you can articulate your preferences the more likely it is that you will get the archtop of your dreams.

I wish you much success in your journey. Please contact us today.


History of Archtop Guitars

Archtop guitars date back to the 19th Century, when Orville Gibson shaped the guitar's sides and tops from blocks of wood. Gibson believed unstressed wood had the superior vibration abilities, and in 1902, he formed the Gibson-Mandolin Guitar Company. Gibson's mandolin differed from traditional versions of the instrument in that it had an arched top and back, similar to the look of a violin, and didn't have many of the normal internal features, like blocks and bridges, because he believed they took a great bit away from the tone of the instrument. The method was expensive, but continues today in many arch top models.

The early arch tops were made with cello-like bridges and tailpieces, and the neck had to form a certain angle with the soundbox. The guitars had an oval sound hole instead of the famous "f" hole of later models, which became widespread in 1922, when Lloyd Loar was hired by the Gibson Company to redesign its instruments. The first redesign, the Gibson L5, was initially a flop, but has remained in production and is highly revered by archtop guitar fans.

By the end of World War I, banjos and mandolins were more in fashion than guitars. Thankfully, jazz musicians proved the guitar was still a viable instrument, and many chose archtops as their guitar of choice. Archtops boomed in popularity, as country, jazz and bluegrass acts adopted the guitar as their own. In the 1930s, body sizes grew from 15 to 18 inches, and the acoustic archtop guitar was finally loud enough to become a solo instrument.

Electric archtops became common in the late 1940s and early 1950s, thanks to amplifiers becoming louder and more powerful. These early electric archtop guitars became popular with country and jazz acts, and helped to lay the groundwork for what became rock 'n' roll. Interest declined in the 1970s and 1980s, as many guitarists switched to solid body guitars, but archtops became popular again in the 1990s, as luthiers made innovations to the design, while keeping them attractive to collectors.

Custom Archtop Guitar Makers

Guitar luthiers on Fine Archtops include:
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