Archive for the 'Building archtops' Category

Dominant Archtop Designs

November 26, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Scholars who study technological development have coined the notion of a “dominant design,” that is, a specific construction that sets the standard for innovative activities within an industry. For example, the dominant design in automobiles has pretty much been with us since before the First World War (i.,e., gasoline driven, four-wheeled vehicles with steering wheel, etc.).

There is surely also a dominant archtop design, which on the very overall level, is the original Gibson L5 (f-holes, archted top etc.). However, technological development takes place within a dominant design, and while the L5 design itselt may have been dominant until just after the Second World War, the ES-175 pretty much took over until around the mid-1980s, when the D’Aquisto design began to become the dominant standard. To see this, look at the what the copyists are copying. The early Asian copyist producers, like Ibanez, Aria, Hondo, Yamaha, etc., were all within the ES-175 mode (with lots of variations, of course). More recent copyist producers, like Peerless, D’Aspiranta, etc., have directly copied the D’Aquisto (New York) design, however, and countless other builders have accepted this design as the basis for further innovation.