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Archtop Construction

Archtop guitars are favored by jazz players.  The instrument I make is fairly big (17″ lower bout width) and is designed to make a big sound that does not need to be amplified although most players will add a pick-up.  The construction of this guitar is very different from “flat top” acoustic guitars.  Its top and back are carved to the arch shape very much in the same way that a violin, viola or cello would be.

Because of the arching, the top has only minimal bracing (either an x-brace or a pair of fan braces) and the back has no bracing at all.  The archtop guitar is also different from other acoustic guitars in that the fingerboard extension of the neck floats above the top, it has a finger rest,  and the strings, rather than attaching to the bridge, pass over a floating bridge and attach to a tailpiece (once again like a violin).   Although some have round or oval sound holes, most have violin style f-holes.

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Sample Music

Here are two songs played by Peter Swenson on my archtop guitar shown below, the second song has vocals by Suzan McQueen:

A Nightingale Sang

Lullaby of Birdland, Vocals: Suzan McQueen

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Archtop Guitar Gallery

The instrument shown below has a spruce top, figured maple back and sides, figured koa body bindings, mahogany neck, and ebony head stock veneer, fingerboard, finger rest, bridge, and tailpiece inlaid with simple paua abalone shapes.  The tuners are Schaller M-6 with ebony buttons.

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