New Luthiers on Fine Archtops

We are pleased to announce the addition of some new luthiers to the Fine Archtops website. We want to introduce them and welcome them to the Fine Archtops family.

 
First, we have a couple from Switzerland who are world-renowned for building intricate instruments that are both exciting to look at as well as play. Claudio and Claudia Pagelli work together to create custom guitars. The couple is at the pinnacle of their craft, and in many ways, in a class by themselves.

 
Claudio began his guitar building as a teenager. He started primarily building electric guitars and also repaired and restored basses and flattops. Then he discovered the wonder of the archtop guitar. Eventually, Claudia came along and began working alongside him.

 
Claudio is happy to have Claudia by his side building guitars. He said without her natural gift to create beauty, his guitars would look like they came from the stone-age. The team has indeed influenced a generation of luthiers, and they are proud to see their ideas being used by others who build guitars.

 
Claudio and Claudia build electric, flattop and bass guitars in addition to their archtops. They feel privileged to have a good reputation for building all types of guitars, and they are thankful for people putting their trust in their work.

 
Another Swiss luthier recently added to Fine Archtops is Nunzio Verdinero. Nunzio spent more than 20 years as a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer. He always had a great respect for the jazz guitar and players like Wes Montgomery. After finding a broken guitar at a flea market one day, he began the task of restoring it with no known skills to do so. This began his passionate journey of becoming a luthier.

 
Nunzio desired to learn about the guitar market from a luthier, so he sought out help from other guitar builders in Europe. However, he was not able to find someone willing to teach him. Finally tiring of the search, he went to a carpenter nearby and asked if he could build his first guitar in the man’s shop. Nunzio soon discovered he possessed an untapped creative talent and natural ability to work with his hands.

 
Nunzio now creates unique instruments in his small shop in Zurich. Using only the finest tone wood from Europe, his guitars combine cutting-edge design with beautiful engineering. He now takes pride in the fact of being self-taught, so he has not been over-influenced by any one luthier or cultural heritage. Instead, he lets his ideas flow freely to express what his view and his customer’s view of the instrument should be.

 
We are happy to welcome Claudio, Claudia and Nunzio to the Fine Archtops website. Please take a look at these luthiers’ archtop creations and learn more about them. Click Here to see the full list of Fine Archtops luthiers.

Introducing the “For Sale” Page on Fine Archtops Website

We are pleased to announce that we recently added a “for sale” page to the Fine Archtops website. This will be a great addition to the site, allowing luthiers and other guitar enthusiasts to post their archtop guitars that are for sale. It will also be a great place to find quality archtops to buy.

Many of the Fine Archtop luthiers have their own websites and places where they sell guitars; however, this will be another platform where they can showcase their beautiful instruments. In addition, other individuals who have an archtop they would like to pass on can use the service.

In order to post an instrument for sale on the Fine Archtops site, the seller just needs to pay a fee of $12 per month per instrument. This will be automatically renewed until the instrument sells or the seller decides to take it down. This fee offsets the cost of creating and maintaining the page plus payment processing. Fine Archtops does not take a commission from the sale. Instead, the seller keeps all funds and controls the entire transaction. The site is simply a catalyst for buyers to connect with sellers.

Any arched stringed instrument will be accepted to post for sale. This can include guitars and instruments in the mandolin or violin families. Gypsy jazz guitars are allowed as well. Since Fine Archtops brings so many musical enthusiasts together, we feel this will be a great way for luthiers and individuals to share their amazing instruments.

We know many people change guitars as they move up in skill level or decide to have a custom instrument built to their specifications. By having the option of using the Fine Archtops site to sell their instrument, they will be reaching other guitar enthusiasts who may just be starting or looking for a vintage guitar. In addition, by selling their current archtop, musicians are then able to finance a custom archtop from one of our many talented luthiers.

As an added bonus, the Fine Archtop luthiers are able to showcase some of their instruments to a wider audience of archtop enthusiasts.

Please take a look at the For Sale page on our site and check back regularly for new additions. We hope it will help you find the archtop guitar you’ve always wanted, or be able to Sell a Guitar in order to make room for a new custom archtop.

If you would like more information on how to post a guitar for sale on the new web page, call Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120, or you can Contact Us.

Evolution of Archtop Guitars Part Three: Tomorrow

archtop guitars fine archtopsThis is part three of a three-part series about archtop guitars: their past, present and future.

The future of archtop guitars and professional luthiers looks bright. Music is more popular than ever, especially with the advent of the Internet. More and more musicians are able to reach a wider and broader audience thanks to how easy the Internet makes it to sell music and advertise upcoming albums and concerts.

Archtop guitars are as much in demand now as they were decades ago, and professional luthiers continue to push the envelope when it comes to the design of these instruments as well as the type of materials used to make them. Thanks to advances in technology, it is also easier than ever for musicians to share their ideas and inspiration with professional luthiers. There are many different websites that someone can go to in order to see their archtop guitar design come to life before it is actually made. You can point and click and customize every aspect of your new guitar to see what it will look like if you have it made.

Also, thanks to more and more musicians who are experimenting with the type of music they write and produce, we are now seeing archtop guitars used in new genres of music. Thanks to bands like Infected Mushroom and Papadosio, we are hearing bands that merge acoustic guitars and electronic dance music, coming up with a sound that is both traditional and experimental all at once. Their music is easy to dance to, but it still includes more conventional harmonies and melodies.

Professional luthiers are challenging one another to think outside of the box. Musicians want interesting looking archtop and electric guitars in order to have more of a visual appeal to their audience as well. Hybrid instruments are also gaining popularity: think ukuleles merged with guitars, banjos merged with guitars or even guitars that are both acoustic and electric.

This is the third part in a three-part series about archtop guitars. You can read Part One here and Part Two here.

We hope you enjoyed this three-part series about archtop guitars, their history, how they came about and what the future holds for them.

Are you interested in getting more information about how to get a customized jazz archtop guitar for yourself or a loved one? Call us at Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120, or you can Contact Us.

Evolution of Archtop Guitars Part Two: Today

custom archtop guitar fine archtops

This is part two of a three-part series about archtop guitars: their past, present and future.

Archtop guitars have been a staple of the American music scene for more than a century. Known for their versatility and beautiful sound, they can be played in a wide variety of genres. Many famous musicians have played these classic instruments, such as Wes Montgomery (jazz), Ted Nugent (rock), Joe Pass (jazz, worked with Ella Fitzgerald) and Pete Townshend (rock, guitarist for The Who).

Luthiers and guitar manufacturers have expanded on Orville Gibson’s work and made refinements of their own. While there are still strides being made in guitar craftsmanship and technology, there are also many luthiers out there who make hand-carved archtop guitars. More and more musicians are having customized archtop guitars made, and the sky is the limit in terms of what can be customized. From the type of wood used for the body to the bridge, frets, pick guard and more, luthiers are able to make archtop guitars that meet the precise specifications of the musician they are making it for.

There are also plenty of luthiers out there who push the envelope when it comes to archtop guitar making. They experiment with a variety of modifications and designs, and there are even some out there working to combine the flat-top guitar with the archtop.

Customized archtop guitars are a great choice for those who are serious about their guitar playing. Even if a musician only plays for fun, customizing an archtop guitar gives them control over what their new guitar will sound like and look like after the luthier is done.

This is the second part in a three-part series about archtop guitars. You can read Part One here. Stay tuned for part three!

Are you interested in learning more about how to get a customized jazz archtop guitar for yourself or a loved one? Call Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120 or you can Contact Us.

Evolution of Archtop Guitars Part One: History

fine archtops archtop guitarsArchtop guitars have a long and interesting history. They’ve been a popular instrument for more than 100 years, and they are incredibly versatile. While most people think of them as a jazz instrument, archtop guitars can be used for just about any style of music. We thought we would give our readers a brief overview of this lovely instrument: from its humble beginnings all the way through today.

 

  • 1856: Orville Gibson is born. Gibson is credited with revolutionizing the art of making a guitar. He adapted violin-making techniques that were popular in Europe at the time and made them compatible with the construction of guitars and mandolins. He used arched tops, rims and backs carved from solid pieces of unstressed tone woods rather than the flat sheets and bent strips of tone wood that were popular at the time. He is best known for the Style O archtop.
  • 1894: Orville Gibson opens his shop: O.H. Gibson, Manufacturer, Musical Instruments in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He not only made archtop guitars; he also experimented with other instruments like the mandolin. He was known for combining instruments to make lyre-mandolins, harp-zithers and more.
  • 1898: Gibson patents an archtop mandolin.
  • 1902: Gibson, along with five local businessmen, established the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company, Limited. The new company was allowed to use Gibson’s name (for a price), and he transferred his original 1894 patent for the archtop mandolin to the new business. He also undertook a two-year tutor program. The company expanded on Gibson’s guitar making inventions and skills.
  • 1919: The Style O continues to be the best type of archtop guitar that Gibson makes. Lloyd Loar, a composer, acoustical engineer and string player is hired to head the Gibson design team. He did very well at this job and his work led to the development of the well-known Mastertone instruments that included the Mastertone banjo series, the F-5 mandolin, the H-5 mandola and the K-5 mando-cello.
  • 1924: The L-5 was created, which was America’s first f-hole archtop guitar. This guitar combined all of Loar’s fretted-string instrument breakthroughs into one guitar. It had an elevated fingerboard, floating tailpiece, elevated pick guard and height-adjustable bridge.

This is only the first part in a three-part series about archtop guitars. Stay tuned for parts two and three!

Would you like more information about getting a customized jazz archtop guitar? Call Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120 or you can Contact Us.

Common Guitar Repairs

guitar luthier fine archtopsSometimes, no matter how well you take care of your guitar, sometimes it needs to be fixed for one reason or another. While you might need to take your guitar to a professional guitar luthier for repairs if they are extensive, there are some things you can try to fix on your own.

Strings are difficult to play or lack luster

This is a common problem with a simple solution: get new guitar strings and restring your guitar. To lengthen the life of your new guitar strings, make sure you wipe them down every time after you play.

Guitar makes a buzzing noise every time you play it

This buzzing noise is usually caused by a loose hardware connection. Simply tighten this with a screwdriver or wrench. But if you are unsure of how to do this, take it to a guitar luthier or to a professional repair shop.

The guitar body wood is dull or dirty looking

Thankfully, this problem is one of the most easily remedied. Simply take a soft and dry cloth and wipe down the body of your guitar. There are commercial guitar polishes you can buy, but we recommend talking to your guitar luthier first to make sure the polish is safe to use on your specific guitar.

You are having difficulty fretting or your guitar vibrates when you play

Generally, if you are experiencing an odd vibration when playing your guitar or you are having trouble fretting, you should check to see how high or low your strings are sitting. Chances are, if you are having trouble fretting, it is because your strings are sitting too high off the neck of the guitar. If that doesn’t help, there is a good chance that the truss rod may need adjustment. If you are inexperienced in repairing this kind of problem, take it to a luthier that does guitar repair work or take it to a guitar repair shop.

These are just a few of the most common problems you could experience with your guitar. If you are unsure of how to fix these issues yourself, we highly recommend asking a professional guitar luthier for assistance.

If you want more information on how to connect with a professional guitar luthier, call us at Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120, or you can Contact Us.

Buying Guide for Electric Archtops

Electric archtops offer some of the best sound when it comes to making music. This is a classic guitar that is quite versatile. It works well in a variety of music genres, and professional and amateur musicians alike enjoy playing it. If you are looking into electric archtops, you might have a few questions on what to look for when making your decision on which one to buy. Here is a brief overview of what to think about.

Who are you buying the guitar for?

If you are looking into electric archtops as a gift for a loved one, like your son or daughter, think about their skill level. Are they a beginner trying to figure out if the guitar is the right instrument for them? Are they a professional musician and you want to buy them something special? While custom electric archtops are quite popular, you might not want to buy one for someone who is just learning how to play.

How much can you spend?

Custom electric archtops can get expensive, depending on the features and other bells and whistles you have installed. Keep in mind you might want to or need to purchase accessories for the new guitar too, like a tuner, amplifier, a case, extra strings, etc. Those can all definitely factor into the final cost. But if money is no object or you have a higher budget, then looking into customized electric archtops might be your best bet.

What do you want it to sound like?

Electric archtops have a distinct sound, so keep that in mind as you are browsing and making your decision. These guitars have a hollow body and are usually associated with jazz. They have a very rich and full tone and deep bass resonance. However, more and more people are using these guitars in other styles of music.

There are two other types of electric guitar body styles: solid body and semi-hollow body. But no matter what guitar you end up buying, you should be able to use it for years to come to make beautiful music!

These are just a few suggested guidelines on what to consider when buying a new guitar. If you need more guidance, let us know and we can help.

Would you like even more information on electric archtops and how to get one custom-made by a professional luthier? Call Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120, or you can Contact Us.

Working with a Custom Guitar Maker

If you are in the market for a custom guitar, you might be looking into working with a luthier. A luthier is a professional custom guitar maker. Most luthiers will work with you to create the customized, one of a kind guitar you have always wanted. But what are some good rules of thumb when working with a custom guitar maker? Here are a few suggestions.

Have an idea of what you want

A custom guitar maker can customize every part of your new guitar. From larger parts like the body and neck to smaller parts like the tuning keys and nut, your custom guitar maker will take your ideas, wants and needs, use as many of them as possible and create the guitar you want. So make sure you have a good idea of what you want out of your new guitar. Do you have a specific body style in mind? A specific type of wood? Think of what you want before you reach out to a custom guitar maker.

Be patient

A custom guitar takes awhile to design and build, especially if you are communicating with your custom guitar maker through email or over the phone. You cannot expect to contact a luthier and then have your new guitar in hand within a few days. Luthiers take a great deal of pride in their art, and a good custom guitar maker will take some time building you the custom guitar you want. If you are in a hurry for a new guitar, then you should probably consider buying one that is already made.

Be clear about your expectations and needs

If you are looking for an acoustic archtop, make sure your custom guitar maker knows that. If you have always wanted a purple and blue guitar, your custom guitar maker should know that as well. Be very clear about what you want and need, and make sure you keep the lines of communication open.

Expect a unique guitar

The whole reason you contacted a custom guitar maker is to get a custom guitar! The end result should be a guitar that is unique and totally you. This is why knowing what you want, being clear about your wants and making sure you keep the lines of communication open are all so important. You want to be happy with the final product, and your luthier wants you to be happy with it too.

Would you like more information on a custom guitar maker? Call Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120 or you can Contact Us.

Six Ways to Improve Your Guitar Playing

Most musicians continually strive to become better at playing their favorite instrument. Many will spend hours a day practicing, and there are plenty of fellow musicians to be found in real life and in online forums to discuss technique, music and more. The archtop guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world, and there are plenty of musicians who love playing it. So here are a few tips on how to improve your guitar playing.

  • Visualize yourself playing your archtop guitar. Even if you don’t have it in front of you, think about playing it when you have some down time. Picture yourself playing that song you’ve been working on in front of an audience. Or visualize sitting at home and writing a song on your archtop guitar. This is a great way to hone the skills required to be a great archtop guitar player.
  • Try to learn something new every day. This is a great life motto, and it especially applies to your archtop guitar. Find something that is guitar related and learn it. Learning something new every day keeps your mind fresh and helps with your guitar playing instincts.
  • Set aside some time every day to play. You don’t even have to stick to a set piece of music. Just pull out your archtop guitar and jam. Have some fun with it. Invite some friends over to play too.
  • Focus your practice time too. While jamming is important, make sure your practice time also includes some warming up, exercises and some other, more focused practicing and exercises.
  • If you can, record yourself playing. Play it back and try to listen to it as objectively as possible. Keep an ear out for any mistakes you made, and try to practice those parts to improve your playing. See if a friend will listen to your recording and give you some notes on what they want.
  • Learning how to read and write music is also an important part of playing your archtop guitar well. If you don’t already know how, find tutorials online or find a music shop in your area that gives lessons. Reading and writing music is a great skill to have when you are a musician.

Would you like to learn about ordering a custom archtop guitar? Call Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120 or you can Contact Us.

Interesting Facts about Jazz Archtop Guitars

Jazz archtop guitars are one of the best and most versatile instruments out there. It can be used in a variety of genres and it is quite recognizable. The instrument has plenty of aficionados throughout the world. We thought we would take the time to share some of our favorite facts about this beautiful musical instrument.

  • Jazz archtop guitars with oval sound holes were invented by Orville Gibson in Michigan at the end of the 1800s.
  • Wes Montgomery, widely regarded as one of the best jazz musicians of all time, is a self-taught musician. He started booking gigs within a year after he taught himself how to play guitar.
  • Originally, jazz archtop guitars were made out of thicker wood than they are today, plus they had an oval hole.
  • In 1923, Gibson came out with the first F-hole archtop guitar. It was originally designed by Lloyd Loar.
  • Generally speaking, high quality jazz archtop guitars will have solid wood sides and backs.
  • There are a few different kinds of jazz guitars besides jazz archtop guitars, such as Russian and Portuguese guitars and flattop guitars.
  • Jazz archtop guitars aren’t just for jazz anymore! They can be played in a wide variety of musical genres, like rock, folk and more.
  • Jazz archtop guitars with a floating pick up became popular again in the 1990s.
  • A cithara is the earliest form of the modern acoustic guitar. It was popular in Rome and was further developed by the Moors to have four strings instead of the original six strings. Six string lutes were quite popular in Europe during the same era as well.
  • Jazz music itself draws its influences from a variety of other types of music, including African rhythms, European chamber music and more.
  • Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” is one of the most famous jazz albums of all time. And he is one of the most famous jazz musicians of all time.
  • C. Handy is known as the “Father of the Blues” and he helped to create both jazz and blues styles of music.
  • Did you know The Charleston and The Shimmy both originated from jazz music?

Are you interested in learning more about custom jazz archtop guitars? Call Fine Archtops at 612-366-7120 or you can Contact Us! We can help you find the perfect professional luthier to make you the jazz archtop guitar you have always wanted!