Archtop Guitars And Other Things That Purr

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Why the guitar is the most popular instrument for anyone to want to learn

A Guitar is a beautiful example of what can be accomplished when    diverse human skills are integrated to create a higher level work of art.  A Guitar bears all of these qualities:  Impressive wood working and finishing on par with fine   furniture, Mechanical design and alignment comparable to precision mechanical machines, and an appreciation for the mathematics of Harmonic Vibrations ... which is where the Music comes in--which is, of course, the final objective.   As one who has dabbled in all of those fields of  study, I suppose it is no surprise that I think of the guitar as the pinnacle of human accomplishment.  .... welllll, ok, that may be a bit strong ... lets say that among those who call themselves "a jack of all trades," it's considered the most completely wonderful challenge to work on and play guitars.

For me, an appreciation for music first came at around 9 yrs old.   Later, I would develop a love for tinkering, fixing things mechanical,  then high school woodshop.  Also, around that same time my appreciation for music would advance with some formal training on guitar

My earliest memories of really loving music and making a choice to listen to specific songs is when I was about 9 yrs old.  I recall for a whole week, I would walk home from school and a certain song that I had been listening to quite often would come to mind.  I would "sing"--not aloud, only in my head--some of the lyrics of each verse but I would always get stuck at some point.  It was quite a lengthy song with lots of words but I was determined to learn the thing all the way through.  So for about a whole week I was sort of mouthing, sort of singing "Gentle On My Mind" as I walked the mile or so home from school.  The version of the song that I had on tape was by Dean Martin.  He was the darling of our family as we had a strong Italian background.  (My Mom would say we were Italian and only Italian but my Father was half Greek and no Italian and my Mom was actually half Italian and half "other" common California stuff.)  But I do now enjoy the Glenn Campbell version as well.  Anyway, the song has such great contrasting concepts:  the subject seems to be about the glorious memories of a love that once was.  But the background and setting for that is a stark scene of human desparation.  

"I dip my cup of soup back from the gurgling
Crackling caldron in some train Dm yard
My beard a roughning coal pile and
A dirty hat G7 pulled low across my C face

Through cupped hands 'round a tin can
I pretend I hold you to my breast and Dm find
That you're waving from the back-roads
By the rivers of my memory ever smiling
ever G7 gentle on my C mind" 

Curiously, for me, the song gave a certain romance in my young mind to both ideas of love as well as to lifes struggle.

                         Full Hollowbody Guitars (Count: 13)
Below are my Full Hollowbody guitars.  Scroll down to see additional individual guitars that didn't make the photo shoot as well as an explanation of the meaning of a "Full Hollowbody" guitar.  Not shown is a used Epiphone Broadway I picked up on ebay and an SX hollowbody. 
Full Hollowbodies
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Below is an Ibanez AFS85--same as an AFS75 but made with Cordia wood--a Mahogany like wood from Mexico.  Pretty, huh?  This is a pic from the web site.  The one I bought used was shipped poorly (insufficient packing) and so the Bigsby unit was broken (its just cast Aluminum).  You can see my repair at the "Projects Page" link at top of this page.
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Ibanez AF105 with P90 conversion
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Ibanez AF95 Transparent Black
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Wait a minute!!!  THATS IT!!  Did I throw in the towel on the guitar race.   NO NO!  I have a few more guitars now.  Another Ibanez AF105 with the dual pickups.  Another Ibanez AFS75 in Seafoam Green.  Another Ibanez AF75 in Green.  An Ibanez JetKing.  A Dean Palomino in blonde.  An Ibanez AG75. 

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A "Full Hollowbody" guitar is considered an electric guitar today, not an "acoustic electric."   While its body design follows the jazz guitars of the early 20th century that were not amplified, today it uses pickups similar to solid body electrics (electromagnetic pickups).  The body wood is about twice the thickness as an acoustic (western or folk type) which helps limit body boom (feedback from speakers).  Note that the early unamplified archtops were a thin wood similar to an acoustic because they needed to maximize the volume.  Now you need to look for a retro or vintage design to find that type guitar.  It may be argued that my Hagstrom guitar in the montage is not a Full Hollowbody because it has something like struts approximately centered in the body.  I actually considered cutting them out.  After being scorned by some guitar forum know it all I chose to try something else first that could be reversed.  An interesting solution ... I have no pics yet but I made a custom bridge that has a broad contact foot.  It is basically an arched piece of wood that extends a couple inches fore and aft of the regular bridge (which sits on it).  Therefore I'm picking up sound from the free, unsupported area of the top.  I also converted to a single coil pickup (marketed as a "Gretsch type").

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