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Archtop bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dlmarquez, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. There are about a million luthiers building custom basses now, but almost nobody is building true archtop basses with F-holes, BIG bodies, and a trapeze style tailpiece

    Anybody able to recommend a builder who does that?
  2. eban3

    eban3 Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    Palm Bay FL
    check out the post on the Rigel acoustic bass ,,,,,nothing else is really useable unless you amp ,in which case why bother .............
    gebass6 likes this.
  3. Some beautiful large factory arched hollows:

    Dean Stylist



    The Dean Stylist B1 you can only find used. Not anymore in catalogue.
  4. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
  5. The halfling and the citron swallow 4 are my two dream basses!
  6. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Mine too. I had an Azola Deco for a decade or so.
    I miss it sometimes but I kinda got tired of how much like an upright it sounded like. I'm leaning much more towards more guitaristic fretted instruments these days.
  7. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    Like Jeff mentioned, the Tak TB10 & Gretsch g5123b is somewhat arched. Epiphone Casady.
  8. Nowadays luthiers mostly dont know how to make archtop bass guitars (or they are just too lazy), because working with solid wood is easier and cheaper.

    I'm planning to buy myself an archtop bass guitar (yup, again from Defil), they are still present sometimes at low prices (down to 30$ if its in bad condition, like no hardware). Sometimes I keep buiyng destroyed guitars, to keep the single hardware. Got an archtop guitar from '72 (electric, not bass) in low price (approx 40$) that had no hardware at all, and now waiting for better time, when I can finally take care of my stuff.
    I would reccomend you the same - to buy the guitar body, and if you need something more special, order a custom neck and hardware at luthiers workshop.
  9. I would say that the Tak TB10 and the Ribbecke are the cream o the crop.... But the Ribbecke is scary expensive
    bholder and smperry like this.
  10. Acoustic archtops are usually very expensive and a niche instrument.

    Building archtops is a specialized set of tools and skills. Simply carving the top takes a lot of time and effort. Imports tend to have tops that were pressed into shape. Steep entry fee aside, they have a certain tone due to the thick top, which tends to be middy and trebly with fairly short sustain. You end up paying a lot of dough for something that almost sounds like a laminate acoustic with poor resonance. They usually need amplification and are prone to feedback, which is why the semi-hollow was invented.

    People who want a real archtop bass and have the dough is a very small market.
  11. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    User pnchaud has a gorgeous custom-made one, if I recall and spelled his user name correctly - it's in his avatar. The builder is about an hour up the road from me, hoping someday I might meet him and learn some things. Or at least get a really special bass. ;)
  12. If I had the disposable cash for a Ribbecke, I would just say "the hell with it" and start negotiating with Ken Parker to build a custom one-off Archtop bass
  13. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Some other examples: Harry Jansen (31.5" scale), Stefan Sonntag (30.7"), Ron Smith (34"), Vinnie Colletti (34").

    6298290Harry_Jansen. 2466748Sonntag. 1223508Ron_Smith. 2394307Vincent_Colletti.
    mikezimmerman, bholder and dlmarquez like this.
  14. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Hofner is making a few.
    hopsbb likes this.
  15. Those 4 are ALL gorgeous
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member


    Solid wood? Aren't true archtops carved from two bookmatched pieces of solid wood?

    Most of what is sold today as a contoured hollow or semihollow bodied instrument is made from molded plywood - not carved from solid wood.

    Carving a top and back from solid wood is definitely not easier - or cheaper.
  17. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I think perhaps he meant that solidbodies are easier. Carved archtops done traditionally are definitely more handwork than pressed / formed laminates.
  18. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Ah! Missed that. Thx.