What is Archtop Guitar?

What is Archtop Guitar?

Archtop guitar can be defined as a vintage acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar with steel strings used a lot in jazz or blues music genre. This kind of guitar has retro look and got its popularity from the early 20th century. This guitar has a round hole, located on its resonating box. The overall look of this kind of guitar is also more like a violin, rather than a guitar. However, this kind of guitar is an exceptional guitar, especially for those playing music in jazz or blues genres. Below is more information about the guitar.

1. The History of Archtop Guitars

What is Archtop Guitar?
What is Archtop Guitar?

As stated before, the guitar with archtop type started to be very popular in the early 20th century. The early 20th century was the peak of the jazz development across the USA. Back then, jazz bands and players mostly used banjo instead of guitar to create the jazz instrument. Banjo was great enough to fill the purpose.  However most people find that banjo did not sound loud enough to balance the jazz instrument.

Since jazz music genre grew more and more popular day by day, guitar manufacturers started to develop a guitar that can be played for jazz music, just like banjo, however could produce louder sound than banjo.

At some points, they created the archtop guitar. The inspiration of the guitar creation was violin, instead of banjo. The archtop type of guitar was made by preparing a high-quality block of wood and then carved the arched top of that wood. To make the instrument to produce louder sounds, the archtop guitar has bigger resonator box. Instead of the round hole like in classic guitars, the hole on the resonator box was in “F” shape, just like in a violin. It was a great decision considering the F holes can produce louder sound. This kind of guitar soon replaced banjo and became very popular in jazz music, followed by the popularity in the blues music genre as well. It set the standard as the must-have guitar for jazz music players as well as blues music players.

2. The Way Archtop Guitar Works

What is Archtop Guitar?
What is Archtop Guitar?

In regular, classic-acoustic guitar, the sounds are produced by using the vibration of the strings. This archtop type of guitar is quite different. The way this type of guitar works is basically depending on the strings that are mounted in the tailpiece of the instrument. The sounds from the guitar are considered to have different vibration pattern compared to the acoustic guitar.  The sounds from this type of guitar, with distinguished vibration pattern, are called the X-bracing. It is believed that X-bracing is very suitable for many purposes, especially in the world of jazz and blues music genres. The X-bracing is suitable for many parts, including the chord-melody, solo guitar, and lead guitar as well.

Those are basically what you need to know about this type of guitar. If you really are into guitar, especially when you play guitar regularly in jazz and blues music genre, then the archtop guitar is the kind of guitar that you should have known better and you should have played, instead of regular, acoustic guitar.

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