A high-end archtop from a one-man custom shop
|Download Example 1|
DI - recorded straight from guitar using an Asterope cable
|Download Example 2|
Acoustic - recorded with a Rode NT1-A mic about a foot from the f-holes
|Download Example 3|
Amplified - recorded with a Vox AGA70 through the Tube-Pre channel (all amp tone stack settings at noon) with a Shure SM57. An Asterope cable was used from the guitar to the amp.
Since opening his shop in 2006, Paul Hartmann has been creating both traditional archtops and solidbody electrics. Because he is a one-man shop, Hartmann doesn’t churn out many axes, which allows him to customize each one specifically for each customer. If you’re in the market for a one-of-a-kind instrument and aren’t worried too much about cost, the Dutchess might be right up your alley.
New York State of Mind
At first glance, the Dutchess—named after the county in New York where it is crafted— isn’t breaking any new ground when it comes to overall design, but really shows its unique side when you begin to look at the details. It sports American red flame maple back and sides, along with a bear claw American red spruce top, so you already know the guitar smells great. The lower bout measures a comfortable 17 ½”, and the top is braced using a single X method originally developed by Martin.
The three-piece maple neck has a mahogany center, for added support, along with a double-acting truss rod and Gretsch inspired fingernail-style fret markers. At 25”, the scale length feels just right, while the 12” fretboard radius makes the neck fast and smooth. Sliding up and down the neck, I noticed some of the edges of the fretwire were noticeably rough. To my hands, the fretboard feels a little wider than standard, which is great for fingerstylists, but might take some getting used to for flatpickers.
For electronics, there’s a floating Bartolini 5J pickup in the neck position and a very discreet volume control mounted on the pickguard. Hartmann took some inspiration from Gibson with the guitar’s adjustable 6-finger tailpiece, which looks similar to some late-model Howard Roberts Fusion III models. According to Hartmann, the individual fingers let you adjust each string’s intonation between the bridge and tailpiece.
Overall, the craftsmanship and design of the guitar was pretty solid. There weren’t any major flaws in the finish—which Hartmann outsources—and the guitar played well straight out of the box. For an instrument in this price range, I would expect nothing less.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the case—after the amazing flamed top—was that the guitar was set up with acoustic strings. Normally, even on acoustic/electric archtops, I tend to use electric strings, but when I began to strum the guitar, the acoustic strings really brought out the midrange frequencies and gave the tone some real projection, similar to a standard dreadnought. As I strummed full chords, the body vibrated with authority and provided good resonance and sustain.
When building this guitar, Hartmann’s benchmark for acoustic tone was his Brazilian rosewood Taylor 814ce. I didn’t have an 814ce handy, but I did compare it to a high-end Martin and the Dutchess made a respectable showing. Though the tone was a bit tighter than a dreadnought, the sound that leapt out of the f-holes was loud enough to cut through at a jam session.
As I started to dig in with some Freddie Green-approved chords, the guitar seemed to really find its voice, and I could hear some intriguing overtones depending on how I held it. In photos of many old-school jazz players, you can see they held the guitar at an angle, with the back being free and able to vibrate. By tilting the Dutchess just slightly, the sound opened up and seemed to breathe a lot more, perfect for holding down the rhythm chair in a big band. The tone became more focused with some added presence when I held the guitar more upright.
I wanted to test the different possibilities with an archtop guitar, so I followed the luthier’s request by testing out some altered tunings on the Dutchess. Starting with open D tuning, the guitar was very responsive and bright. Although the action wasn’t set up for it, even some bottleneck slide guitar sounded pretty good. When I dug in, I could get close to some Delta-inspired mojo, but it didn’t quite make me want to replace my acoustic guitar.
As I explored the Dutchess acoustically, it seemed to shine with short chord stabs and single-note lines. The single notes had a real bite to them and sustained for days. In a solo or duo situation, such enhanced sustain can really help carry things along and make playing ballads a lot more fun.
I tested the Dutchess with two amps, a Vox AGA70 and a Goodsell Valpreaux 21. The Vox amp took the existing acoustic tone of the guitar and gave it a little more presence. The treble really came to life, and I discovered I needed to handle single-note lines and chord stabs a little more delicately when plugged in.
When I plugged into the all-tube Valpreaux, the guitar still held firmly onto its acoustic tendencies across all six strings. The Bartolini pickup was really clear and precise— something I look for in any kind of acoustic or archtop pickup—and was a nice compliment to the natural sound coming from the guitar. Considering the different types of room and amp combinations players encounter, I think an added tone control would give this guitar some versatility. The tone was close to a Jim Hall-esque sound—much like his trio recordings from the mid ’60s—but didn’t quite get there. More of the acoustic sound came through than I usually prefer, but that could be adjusted depending on the situation.
The Dutchess is a great sounding, well made archtop that would excel at either your solo coffeehouse gig or in a small combo setting. The rock-solid construction and interesting twists on the traditional archtop design makes the Dutchess a strong contender for players who aren’t concerned about price and want to invest in a pro-level axe.
you want a custom high-end archtop that has a strong acoustic side.
you need to cover a lot of musical bases during a gig and can only bring one axe.
Street $6500 - Paul Hartmann Guitars - 845-229-9581
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
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About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.