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TomLeoni

Thinking of buying a Style 0

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Does anyone have experience with this guitar? I'm talking about the one with the mandolin-style upper bout.

 

If anyone has ever played / heard / owned one, I'd appreciate some feedback about its sound, as compared to other archtops or even to Maccaferri-style guitars.

 

BTW, I play mostly accompaniment for fiddlers, plus old-time flatpicking and Western swing.

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I’ve only come across one, and I loved it. Massive baseball bat of a neck, very dry and little sustain but beautiful and utterly unique. They’re a very rare bird now as you will know, so well worth buying and keeping in good shape if you can find one.

 

It’s a guitar I would absolutely love to own. Too rich for my pocketbook alas but a stunning thing. They tend to get a bad rap from people expecting them to sound like a standard archtop, but if you accept that it’s a Style O and will only ever sound like a Style O, they’re glorious.

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Oddly, I was considering one a few weeks back. Looks like a big mandolin.

 

The above post nailed it though. To me the Style O is a guitar I like the idea of more than the guitar itself. They are sexy as all get out. Beautiful piece of work with a nice big neck although it still pales compared to that on my pre-War Regal 12 string. And I do like round hole archtops better than the F-hole versions. Really nice punchy mids. But keep in mind that the thick top and lack of real estate really quiets them down. But in the end, once I got past the cool factor, even though the guitar had a reasonable price tag, in the end there are quite a few guitars I would rather own.

Edited by zombywoof

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A bit of a hazy memory now, but I'll echo Jinder and others above. I was in Nashville on business 25 years ago and of course wandered into Gruhn to drool. They had a player grade Style O that was gorgeous and yet well-loved - I was smitten and almost bought it on the spot (for about a third of what they seem to go for now). But... the huge neck and tight sound gave me pause. I played it for about an hour over a couple of days and just never felt it was holding it's own or adding much to the sounds I had available from my other more humble acoustics. They're beautiful, but as others have said don't project like you'd expect, and they're more unwieldy than you imagine too - the unusual upper bouts seemed to make it awkward to play in the higher registers and they're a bit of an "armful", if that makes any sense. Guess I'm just no Bill Broonzy in the end.

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Well, it was still too hard to resist... I found one for a super price with a very reputable dealer/player, and I pounced on it.

 

It's a 1918. 100% original save for the bridge and tailpiece, which are factory 1920's Gibson replacements. I'll pick it up later this week and post my impressions.

 

28276821_10215872665037940_250752207259217503_n.jpg?oh=ca1cfd3d16f1691a45fb29bce0703f96&oe=5AFFE9B2

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Well, it was still too hard to resist... I found one for a super price with a very reputable dealer/player, and I pounced on it.

 

It's a 1918. 100% original save for the bridge and tailpiece, which are factory 1920's Gibson replacements. I'll pick it up later this week and post my impressions.

 

28276821_10215872665037940_250752207259217503_n.jpg?oh=ca1cfd3d16f1691a45fb29bce0703f96&oe=5AFFE9B2

Zowie! Very cool. Yeah, post again when it arrives.

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Well, it was still too hard to resist... I found one for a super price with a very reputable dealer/player, and I pounced on it.

 

It's a 1918. 100% original save for the bridge and tailpiece, which are factory 1920's Gibson replacements. I'll pick it up later this week and post my impressions.

 

28276821_10215872665037940_250752207259217503_n.jpg?oh=ca1cfd3d16f1691a45fb29bce0703f96&oe=5AFFE9B2

 

What a beauty!! Yes please share your thoughts!

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Well, it was still too hard to resist... I found one for a super price with a very reputable dealer/player, and I pounced on it.

 

It's a 1918. 100% original save for the bridge and tailpiece, which are factory 1920's Gibson replacements. I'll pick it up later this week and post my impressions.

 

28276821_10215872665037940_250752207259217503_n.jpg?oh=ca1cfd3d16f1691a45fb29bce0703f96&oe=5AFFE9B2

 

A beaut! Keep us posted!

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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So, I finally took it home (after a nightmare 8-hr drive through a WV winter storm). First impressions:

 

The V-neck is only slightly deeper than that of my 1935 L-4. As soon as I feel a bit more rested, I'll measure it for comparison. But although I don't have big hands, it feels perfectly comfortable to play. Since it's pre-1921, it doesn't have a truss rod, so it's somewhat reassuring to have a beefier neck (less likely to warp?).

 

I had it strung with 13's. I was expecting it to be somewhat quieter than my other archtops, but this one has amazing volume, punch (very mid-rang-y) and its sustain is about comparable to that of my L-4. I'm sure it will stand up more than nicely to a roomful of fiddles. I wish I had my 1947 L-5 to compare it to, but that guitar is in the shop undergoing a repair. I play all my guitars with Wegen 2.5mm picks--I wonder if this is what makes a difference between my experience and other people's, as far as the volume and sustain of the guitar (I'm not super-technical, but I've read somewhere that thicker picks help the strings impart more vibration to the soundboard, especially if this is on the thick side).

 

One thing that impressed me was the radius of the fingerboard--it is distinctly convex. I don't know if that is what compensates for the deeper neck, but I find bar chords ring quite easily thanks to this feature.

 

One small problem of this particular guitar is that the bridge is already set at its lowest setting. I predict that in the warm and humid VA summers the action will get higher. But I've spoken to the luthier and having another ebony bridge made specifically lower for this guitar should be an easy and inexpensive fix--that way I can save the 1920's Gibson factory-replacement bridge as-is.

 

The weight is less than my L-4 and definitely L-5. I'm thinking of rigging up a parachord strap to the upper bout (rather than the neck) to avoid placing stress on the heel, which has the (from what I hear fairly typical) repaired crack.

 

Anyway--when I feel a bit more rested and "with it" I'll post a few more measurements, impressions and perhaps a sound sample.

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Beautiful guitar, and interesting to hear your impressions of the sound & playability. I've not yet had the chance to play one, but they look great.

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Congrats! That is a pretty one. The last two that folks wanted to see if I was interested in were both black. Both still had their original tailpieces and bridges but were missing their scratchplates. The last guy wanted to trade me straight out for my old Regal 12 string. Tempting but in the back of my mind lurked the knowledge that some of the worst mistakes I have ever made were selling or trading off guitars.

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