Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


January 9, 2010

Nicolai Foss (the main link doesn’t seem to work at the moment) has plenty of yummy stuff. Here is their page with catalogue scans of, for example, the Epiphone 1961 catalogue and various Gibson catalogues from 1958 and up through the 1980s. They also got Gretsch and Guild catalogues scanned. Great stuff for the archtop lover.


Bar Pickup Guitars on Ebay

September 5, 2009

Nicolai Foss

The Charlie Christian bar pickup quickly attracted imitators.
Here is a 1940s Orpheum, and here is a–much nicer–1939 Cromwell. And here is the real deal.

100 Greatest Jazz Guitarists (and Ranked)

May 10, 2009

Nicolai Foss

I am not sure who created this silly list. Check it out to see such great revelations as Tiny Grimes ranking higher than Howard Alden, or Al di Meola beating Barney Kessel big time.

Billy Bean on MySpace

May 10, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Billy Bean was one of the greatest late-1950s beboppers (which is saying a lot!). Various rumours have circulated about his life over the last 4+ decades and the reasons why he seems to have languished in obscurity. I actually wasn’t sure whether Bean was still alive. However, it turns out that he has a MySpace profile, apparently maintained by a friend. He is shown on a few, clearly recent, pics with an early ES-175.

Archtops and the Recession

April 29, 2009

Nicolai Foss

As I have indicated in a number of posts I think the recession is visible in the archtop market: The supply is above-normal, and prices are clearly going down. Richard Autenzio offers the following interesting reflections on this theme:

In response to “Is the Recession hitting the Archtop market” I personally don’t know yet in relation to my business as it is too new. However, it might be intresting to know that in Australia the Archtop market is not big and it is getting harder and harder to find them in the shops. I feel that the new Archtop guitar market is not going well and the shops knowing this are not renewing their stock after a sale. One problem with the new archtop market is that there is an enormous choice for such a small but definate market. This makes it difficult for many shops selling new guitars to stock a big range of new Archtops as they are not a fast turn over product, like a Strat or Les paul. If the recession is affecting the new market sales I can see many of these newer guitars soon being discontinued. I think brands like the Eastman’s must be affecting the Gibson and others new sales, even though I am not that impressed by these cheaper carved tops but I know many are. The interesting thing about the rush on the latest carved Chinese Arch top guitars, is that it really should not matter if a guitar has a carved top or a laminated top, or even a pressed solid top as long as it sound right to you acoustically. On the other hand those that care more about the electrified sound of their new Archtop guitar could find that a carved top may be detrimental to what hey were trying to achieve with their electrified sound. Anyway, realistically I feel what ever the effect the recession makes on the guitar industry the Archtop market will feel the same. It would not be the first time the archtop guitar market has declined but it has always come back bigger and better because it has a much longer history behind it than the electrified slab.

Smooth …

April 14, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Here is an amazing YouTube clip with a late edition of the All American Rhytm Section, i.e., Basie, Freddie Green, Norman Keenan and Sonny Payne. Freddie’s Gretsch Eldorado is more audible than usual, at times more so than the ever so discreetly brushed drums. Here is the Freddie Green website.

More Crisis Indications

April 10, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Type “archtop” into the search field at ebay and you get more than double as many hits as you would get a year ago. And notice the high number of absolute top-end guitars that have begun to appear on ebay (unusual not very long ago…). Here is a 1933 Selmer D’Angelico offered at a buy it now price of 30k USD. Here is a very pretty, and much more affordable, 1938 D’Angelico Style B. Here is something highly unusual: a D’Angelico tiple uke, offered at the price of 29,9k USD. The D’Angelico Excel is here. And we end with a Clifford Essex, offered at the price of 9,5k USD.

Jazz Guitar Books on Google Books

March 25, 2009

Nicolai Foss

The Google book scanning project is a massive project to register and present online excerpts from the World’s stock of books. This means that also jazz guitar books are or will be part of Here is, for example, Tommy Tedesco’s For Guitar Player’s Only, with numerous nifty little nuggets for those who want to make it in studios. Most of the book seems available. And here is Joe Diorio’s Jazz Blues Styles. Finally, one I look forward to studying: Mitch Holder’s The Jazz Guitar Stylings of Howard Roberts.

More on Acoustics versus Electrics

March 22, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Richard Autenzio sent me the thought-provoking mail below on an issue that has often been debated on this blog.

I keep coming back to the basics and that is Acoustics versus electrification. As we all know the 175 was really built as an electric archtop where as the forerunners like the L-5 were built as acoustic archtop guitars.
The 175 was a laminated top and the L-5 was a carved top and so in many way I would have to agree with Nicolai that they are completely different guitars. As I have said many time as soon as they started putting pickups on guitars, that changed the guitar for ever. If you want to debate this then please do because I believe that the true archtop acoustic sound has slowly taken second place to the plugged in sound, which in many cases has no resemblence to the acoustic sound of the archtop guitar unplugged. As Nicolai knows D’Aquisto in his latter years tried to retain that archtop acoustic sound by making The Centura, The solo, The Avant Garde etc which all came without pickups. I have played many of the popular famous name archtop guitars including the 175 and I am not impressed by the acoustic sound they struggle to produce. Just getting a little bit more technical now, but apart from many changes to the achtop guitar that has taken place the short scale concept has not helped with the acoustic sound. Whilst the short scale guitar makes the fret board easier for many to use it has shotened the string length and I have noticed that the nicer sounding acoustic archtop guitars are a full 25 1/2″ scale allowing the strings to fully resonate. On the subject of strings the flats have not done much for the full acoustic sound of many archtop guitars as most like the L-5’s were designed for round wounds. I still use L-5 on most of my archtops for that reason.

“Archtop Guitars and Books”

February 24, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Aussie readers of J&A (in particular), take notice: Richard Autenzio has just launched a new site that offers “Australia’s Best Collection of Archtop Guitars and Books” –for sale, that is. Among the nice archtops offered for sale is a Gibson Herb Ellis, which is a lovely guitar. Remember also to check out the gallery part (Richard’s own collection?), in which I thought the Ibanez Salvador was a particularly interesting archtop. Richard: If you read this, could you add details on the Salvador?