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What wood produces a mellow jazz box sound?

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While the top of an acoustic's (and archtops are originally designed to be plain acoustics) got to be flexible to resonate, the sides and back are act like the 'mirror' of the sound. Therefore you should use stiff and hard woods (or - alternatively - other materials), the tradition is maple for archtops, but rosewood would be even better, if I think about a comparsion of maple and rosewood sided flattops; the maple sounds a bit lifeless to me, but it's just a matter of taste. If you go for mahogany: it's one notch softer, thus it's gonna damp the sound more, giving a characteristic woody resonance, which I personally don't like that much, 'cause it's kinda rugged sounding on flattops and dobros to me.

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The standard back and side woods for archtops are maple, and less commonly, mahogany.  The back and sides are usually the same wood, and I have never seen any which use rosewood except for fingerboards or trim.

Well, take a look at this then: rosewood back & sides archtop

Indeed it's rare, but I think it just shouldn't sound bad.

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yes i am making an archtop. I liike that rosewood guitar. Except i dont think a 2 piece flamed maple neck will go without warping. I like the idea of a rosewood archtop. DO you think bubinga would work for the top and back. (its my first guitar im not going to even try to bend bubinga into a cutaway.) Do you guys have any suggestions for sides?

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A two piece flame maple neck will hold fine. Archtop necks are shorter than most electric necks, so can get away with less stable woods. Figured maple is very common, so can be considered tried and tested.

Carving the top and back out of Bubinga or any other rosewood will be infinitely harder than bending the sides. None of these will be achievable using the tools you have described in you other posting. Indeed, an archtop is about the most complex stringed instrument you can attempt, maybe you should acrue some tools and experience on simpler projects first? It would be a shame to invest time and money in an archtop before you have the chops to do it justice.

Roli - the archtop you posted has a flat back like a steelstring flattop guitar, not the normal carved back of a 'traditional' archtop guitar. This maybe a route for Snork to consider if he is hell bent of using bubinga or rosewood for his guitar.

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Snork, do yourself a favor my bud-bud-man.

Spend your archtop 'seed' money on the 'Benedetto Archtop' video series first.

Watch it over and over and over for at least 6 months to a year so then you have a pretty good 'feel' for what's -Really- involved. Hopefully you'll already be building a more 'normal' guitar first.

Then see where you stand on building a real archtop.

If you're ready, then you'll be ready to drop about 2 grand on wood and tools and materials...

...and about 2 years of your time.

...and a LOT, I mean a LOT (did I mention a LOT?)... of patience.

...and learning...and questions...and more learning...

I have the Benedetto video series, I have the woods already here (thick quartered Sitka, quartered Myrtle, quartered Walnut), I am pretty 'tight' on tooling already, building various versions of the 'solidbody electric guitar' for about 8 years now...

...and I am STILL not 'psyched' enough to go ahead and build the damned thing, because I know full well what's involved in doing it, and I am still just not 'mentally prepared' enough to do it. I can build a solidbody in a few short months that will really 'fire my engines' and freak me out so much as to short circuit that whole archtop event...for now...

There is a truckload of information out there on building archtops, so the 'how' is not the matter, it's the 'do I want to spend a year or TWO just building FORMS and MOLDS before I even begin to TOUCH MY (archtop) WOOD. :D

By the way dude...do you play jazz? B)

After honestly asking myself that question over and over, my answer was that I'd rather build a ...DOBRO!!!!!!.......'cause I *LUUUUUVE* slide guitar playin' more than I like playing jazz.

I had to ask myself (after already buying all the wood) would I REALLY use the damned thing that much to warrant TWO YEARS of my efforts?

My answer was...


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dude. im a jazz freak yeah i love blues. but mcglaughlin montgomery. all those dudes fusion and straight up float my boat. its the most complex form of guitar in my opinion and it just kicks ass. yes i have the benedetto vid. collection. yes i've watched them. yes i've spent the past 5 months researching it and studying ****. and WhyTF did you drop 2 grand on wood and tools? thats way too much. im just buying stuff offa ebay. like the koa, mad cheap. And im probably just going to wind up getting tons of sandpaper a spokeshave and a jigsaw to do the work. I do have a pretty good feel for what it is. the only part that concerns me is the bending of the cutaway. other than that. i gots no worries. previous experiance in metal working/ wiring. www.omegamp.com my site

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Good answer Drak. Snork, I agree that you will be happier, both short and long term if you start on something like a solidbody or three first.

Here is a cool site that a friend of mine's brother uses to sell his archtops. Click on the shop tour nav bar and follow him through the process. W/o ordering the video, you'll get a idea of what's invovled.


Good luck whatever you do.

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now way this isyour brothers friends nice. As i've said i have the set. I have read multiple guides i know what it takes. I'm just touching up the edges. Yes i am building an electric beforehand. Then most likely an acoustic then an archtop. Im not a moron. i've done 5 prior months of dedicated research to this topic. and i've watched those damned films 3 times over.

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:D Bwa-haa-haa-haa! :D

Me no worries dude, me no worries. Be gone crazee, man, be gone, no full moon in 'dis saloon, you speak mad troot! I be wayy gone on crazy train man.

You get mad deals on 'bay, you boss-man!

Sandpaper, Me-Shaves, and Big-Jig-Saw, all you need and me need, you mad-fusion geenyus you!

You only need cutaway advice? Torch, metal, fire, ice. Mad mad easy way. Elements of Jah! burn and bend wood to shape easy.

Me got no big-easy-way way to see fusion axe-you-make.

You post big-mad-pic of mad hand-made Koa Rosewood Archtop eh???


PS, me fusion-mad-widness too...DiMeola-DeLuca-McLaughlin rock mee sailin' ships man too, ... '79, 82, '02. Songs of DiMeola Redemption me seek in mad mad way.

Return To Forever rock me boat in '79, Jah! widness I say!

Me and Jah! love to widness econo-line-archtop, satis-fy my soul man!

Post pic when jah-box you build wid mad sandpaper rule world! B)

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I started an archtop two years ago!It was my first guitar too.I spent a ton of time just making the molds to hold the sides for a 17" guitar and an 18" :D .

I also made a bender out of 4" stainless pipe.I egg shaped it,welded a top on it and put a 300 watt light bulb in it.I carved the maple backplate by hand,and that`s where I stopped! LOL I still got a hotbox loaded with AAA flame bookmatched and killer solid spruce.Enough for three guitars.

I need to get back to that.I`ll try to post some pics of that fiasco.It`s all good,it just took sooooo long tooling up and making stuff for it,I went on to painting pictures B) .

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