This traditional thinline archtop excels at old-school jazz and blues styles and realms beyond.
Thinline archtops like the Loar LH-301T are odd birds. They don’t invite lightning-quick blues-rock ripping like say, a Tune-O-Matic-equipped ES-335 or have the high-volume, feedback resistant potential of a solidbody. But they have an idiosyncratic playability and sound that makes them a perfect vehicle for jump blues, country swing, jazz, and dirty, high-octane slide work.
In creative hands, they’re capable of less dogmatically constrained applications too. And their resonant bodies, fast decay, and compact snappy attack can be an incredible blank slate for looping guitarists, drone-loving experimentalists, and African and Indian music-inspired sonic adventurers. At just under 500 bucks, the Loar LH-310T is priced to be a very appealing to players who even just dabble in the aforementioned styles.
Hats Off to Kalamazoo
The LH-301T is a very respectful homage to the Gibson ES-125T, an understated stalwart of the Gibson line in the ’50s and ’60s that, until recently, was a relative bargain on the vintage market. The uptick in ES-125T prices may well have motivated The Loar to build a version of their own. But the company’s copious experience with Gibson ES-150- and L5-inspired archtops certainly explains the faithfulness of execution here.
The Loar is pretty thing to look at. The glossy sunburst polyester finish gave the laminated maple top an almost liquid look that shifts beautifully under the light—enhancing the understated but uptown-luxurious lines. The laminated maple back is a little less attractive, and a slightly darker stain might have called less attention to an odd grain pattern that looks just a touch less classically authentic. That said, The Loar nailed it where it counts. This guitar is gorgeous from the front.
The Loar paid plenty of attention to vintage-authentic touches elsewhere on the guitar. The ebony bridge and beautifully carved compensated saddle are held in place by string tension in classic archtop style. Tuners are three-on-a-side TonePros Klusons, which feel just a touch stubborn at times but do an excellent job of holding strings in pitch. The neck feels a little more contemporary—like a cross between a deep “C” and a “D” profile. But the dog ear Loar P-90 looks cool, and just a bit menacing too—like the brass knuckles in the side pocket of well-tailored suit.
Folk, Blues, and Beyond
It’s almost impossible to pick up the Loar and not launch into a barrage of minor 9 chords and bop melodies. And why not? They sound great coming out of this guitar—especially through a blackface Fender amp and the tone rolled way back. The Loar is very dynamically responsive to shifts between choppy muted chords and stabbing lead runs and smokier lingering chords and sustained octaves.
The same husky airiness is killer for greasy blues slide moves. And if you’re interested in pursuing Jack White or R.L. Burnside’s wild-and-hairy take on the style—complete with a fuzz or dirty boost out front—the Loar and the P-90 will happily occupy the zone that teeters between an explosion of overtones and feedback.
It’s in less traditional applications of the thin archtop voice that the Loar proves its true versatility, however. The fast decay and snappy, bell like quality of the output when you take off a touch of tone and volume is perfect for Ethio-jazz and Ghanese high life melodies. Playing these styles with a delay revealed another secret power of the Loar: its cool symbiotic relationship with echo. The Loar’s fast decay and warm, dry tones mean you can use medium-to-long delay times and expansive repeat patterns without creating a dissonant harmonic jumble (especially with a clean delay). In looping and layering applications, this is invaluable. Creating my own personal dub reggae guitar symphony with the Loar, a Boss delay, and a DigiTech JamMan was an absolute joy.
Yanking a LH-301T off the wall and playing a few blues licks won’t reveal much in the way of hidden magic. And with a less-than-bend-friendly feel and a classic design that sounds best with a wound G string, it doesn’t readily reward a standard blues-rock approach. But with an open mind and an intrepid playing approach you can extract a trove of tone possibilities from this handsome archtop. If you’re a traditionalist, the LH-301T will crank out authentic bop, jump blues, and swing for days. But this well-built archtop will do much, much more. And for just $499 bucks, exploring so much uncharted six-string territory has rarely been less of a fiscal risk.
Watch our Review Demo:
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.
Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
Belltone P-90 Foil-Tron Pickup
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.