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Caring for archtop acoustic


glider

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Hey all i just purchased my first vintage instrument. It's a Gibson L-50 from the mid fifties. It came with a floating d'armand pick-up. What do I have to do to keep her in good shape... Humidifier for the case? Also what gauge strings are best for older instruments.. Should I stay light in gauge?

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Congrats on the L-50, I'm sure your going to get may years of playing enjoyment from this instrument.

 

I could go into one of my long explanations here, but I'll get right to the point. The guitar is already something like 60 years old, short of dropping it out a second story window (or running over it with your car), there's nothing you can do to hurt this instrument under normal playing and care conditions.

 

Play it, love it, clean it, maintain it. The best thing you can do for this guitar is play it, play it, play it, and play it some more. Playing a guitar keeps it clean, warm and flexible. My oldest archtop was made in 1947 (Gibson L-7), I bought it from the original owner on a promise that it would continue to be played and enjoyed (not locked in a vault by a "collector"). When not out on gigs, the guitar sits out on a stand in my studio, ready to grab at any time.

 

As for strings, these guitars love heavy gauge strings. On my archtops, including the '47 L-7 and a 50's Sears Silvertone, I use 14-67 flats. If a $36 dollar poplar and plywood Silvertone can handle 14-67 strings, a 50's L-50 can too. The heavier the strings, the more the guitar will sing. I would recommend working your way up as you feel comfortable (you will not hurt the guitar, just your fingers). The other eternal question is FLATS or ROUNDS, only you can decide that.

 

There is becoming more and more archtop enthusiasts around here, please feel free to post any questions (or comments) you have.

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dub- fun playing last night. i am so blown away by the tone that comes out of this guitar. way better than i would have imagined especially with the '54 DeArmand Rhythm King "string microphone".. such warmth, depth and clarity... so stoked.....

 

Congrats on the L-50, I'm sure your going to get may years of playing enjoyment from this instrument.

 

I could go into one of my long explanations here, but I'll get right to the point. The guitar is already something like 60 years old, short of dropping it out a second story window (or running over it with your car), there's nothing you can do to hurt this instrument under normal playing and care conditions.

 

Play it, love it, clean it, maintain it. The best thing you can do for this guitar is play it, play it, play it, and play it some more. Playing a guitar keeps it clean, warm and flexible. My oldest archtop was made in 1947 (Gibson L-7), I bought it from the original owner on a promise that it would continue to be played and enjoyed (not locked in a vault by a "collector"). When not out on gigs, the guitar sits out on a stand in my studio, ready to grab at any time.

 

As for strings, these guitars love heavy gauge strings. On my archtops, including the '47 L-7 and a 50's Sears Silvertone, I use 14-67 flats. If a $36 dollar poplar and plywood Silvertone can handle 14-67 strings, a 50's L-50 can too. The heavier the strings, the more the guitar will sing. I would recommend working your way up as you feel comfortable (you will not hurt the guitar, just your fingers). The other eternal question is FLATS or ROUNDS, only you can decide that.

 

There is becoming more and more archtop enthusiasts around here, please feel free to post any questions (or comments) you have.

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