Monday, September 22, 2008
It Was The Best Of Tone, It Was The Worst Of Tone
I go to Elderly Instruments on occasion, because I can't afford anything and I'm a masochist. And yes, I visit the Tele page and look through Other Electrics hoping to find a nice Tele-style guitar. I am that kind of predictable. But that's not all I do, because I'm also on the lookout for a nice archtop for the jazz playing I'm utterly unqualified to do.
I found this Gibson L-50 from the 1930s.
I found this Godin Fifth Avenue. Brand new.
The Gibson was made in the Golden Age of archtop guitars. I believe Mr. Loar still walked the shop floor in Kalamazoo back then. The Godin was growing in the great Canadian wilderness during my lifetime. The Gibson costs $1850. The Godin costs $600.
I've never played either. The Elderly store Michigan is far enough out of my way that if I was to drive there and try one, I'm gonna be bringing something back with me, and that's just not gonna happen anytime soon. But I'm curious here as I'm often curious: what am I buying when I take that price jump. I know that, if I get a Squier, I might (or might not) get a hunk of wood with frets that's as solid as a Fender, but the electronics will likely be bottom-barrel and well worthy of junking and replacing. No electronics on either of these guys. The Gibson has an 80-year-old spruce top, and the Godin has a cherry top. If (by some entirely unimaginable circumstance at this moment) I get myself one of these archtops, am I really getting a grand worth of tone increase with the Gibson?
source images from Elderly Instruments