Archtop as a concept for acoustic bass guitar?

Please put your pickup/wiring discussions in the Electronics section; and put discussions about repair issues, including fixing errors in new instruments, in the Repairs section.
User avatar
Beate Ritzert
Posts: 585
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:20 am
Location: Germany

Re: Archtop as a concept for acoustic bass guitar?

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Mark Wybierala wrote: There is no reason why a 25" scale archtop wouldn't work as long as you could find a way to employ a piezo pickup effectively.
You can even go with magnetic pickups if ou use thick shortscale strings like the GHS Brite Flats. These can be tuned down easily by three semitones which compensates for the difference in string length. Or ou try to get hands on one of the rare 5 string sets for shortscale basses and use the B-D strings as E-G on a guitar scale. Tensionwise that should roughly give the load of long scale strings. An (old, to be restored) archtop should be ideal for such instruments since suitable hardware is easily available as well.

BTW: one of my guitars is currently tuned in fifths. I am using Daddario Chromes with a maximum thickness of 0.08" tuned to the low F, just one semitone above the bass. On a 62.8 cm scale, ie, Gibson alike. Not nice but playable.

But that is not the scope of my project. I want to design an unconventional bass playing acustically better than my small SX (silent, but nice sound), but also electrically functional and build that from scratch. For the contest, for the fun of it and in order to learn a lot.

Today i learned about Tom Ribbecke's Diana bass and found that encouraging to try my idea. Very unconventional bracing - a bass bar combined with X bracing.

Mark Wybierala
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:14 am
Location: Central New Jersey

Re: Archtop as a concept for acoustig bass guitar?

Post by Mark Wybierala »

I'm just patiently waiting for a Gibson ES of any sort to drop in my lap with a fractured neck that I'm able to pick up for cheap. I know I'll be committing a sin because if there's enough of the guitar intact to make a bass, its probably worth repairing to its original purpose. You certainly do not see many archtop basses. I'd even settle for a good Epiphone Casino. I want one just because...

User avatar
Beate Ritzert
Posts: 585
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:20 am
Location: Germany

Re: Archtop as a concept for acoustig bass guitar?

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Modding something like that would be not an option: https://www.thomann.de/intl/harley_bent ... _stock.htm ?

BTW: i would expect this would simply sound like an ultra short scale solid body, as it mostly does as a guitar.

Another idea - i don't know if this guy is shipping to the states - scroll down a bit to see the white 70s Framus achtop body - i must admit i was tempted, but i did decide against doing the idea:
http://www.musikkeller.com/mk/index.php ... als/korpus

User avatar
Beate Ritzert
Posts: 585
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:20 am
Location: Germany

Re: Archtop as a concept for acoustig bass guitar?

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Please let me add a remark: to *me*, luthery is something different from attachin some pre finished neck to a pre finished body (although i am well aware that there are business situation that imply such strategies, and although i have mostly been using pre finished necks in my project as well).
I also wonder how much we could learn from something like that or from a conversion of a guitar - there are actually successful examples demonstrating that.

And we do know from various examples what to expect - the Höfner 500/1 bass, Bill Wyman's Framus Star bass, the Epiphone Rumblecat are all (Sheraton like-) electric archtops. Especially in the 60s there were many interesting examples, e.g. those: http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/gallery/ ... /bass.html
Including a thick archtop. Some of those have also ben reissued.

So we just have to study what has already been there. And what advantages or disadvantages these instruments have (had) in order to learn how to do better.

And please go back in this thread and chekck for the great comments to my questions - next spring i am actually going to start the build.

And i would encourage all others also to start full builds. Conversions fo cheap guitars serve well as as case studies, if successful actually as possibly really nice instruments (my bass VI, and i still notice its compromises) - but that's onla half of the fun.

So a real build would be a lot more interesting.

Post Reply