Mapson 7-String Lusso Archtop Guitar - Pre-Owned  From Other

'97 Mapson Lusso 7-String Special 

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What We Think

In the words of my favorite local 7-string player and veteran Sound Pure guitar expert, Chris Boerner, "This thing is absolute perfection!" The grain, the custom inlay, the uniquely shaped soundholes. . .they all flow together like a masterpiece. The notes are rich and round and you can literally cover all the bases (no pun intended). Played properly, you'll have a whole trio at your disposal. 

robinson@soundpure.com 

Mapson 7-String Lusso Archtop Guitar Demo

The Mapson 7-String Lusso Archtop is absolute perfection. Every bit of this guitar from the grain to the uniquely shaped sound holes, flows together like a masterpiece. This guitar is available for SoundPure’s Try-Before-You-Buy program, so if you want to hear how this guitar sounds in your studio, shoot us an email at Archtops@SoundPure.com. If you like what you hear, check out the gear used in this video at SoundPure.com, or give us a call anytime at 919.682.5552. Thanks for watching!  

Manufacturer's Description from Other

By Trefor Owen

When on the band-stand, in the heat of battle so to speak, the demands on Working jazz guitarists are extreme, therefore we dream of acquiring the perfect instrument, which has playability, tone and no feedback!

After many years searching and experimenting I have found my dream guitar, and judging by the favourable reaction of other players who tried out the instrument at the LA NAMM Show January 1998, its a winner.

The guitar is built by Jim Mapson, based in Santa Ana, Southern California. To understand how Jim builds his guitars it is important to know more about the man. Jim has a degree in mechanical engineering and has built up a very successful engineering business. His experience in tool and die design and fabrication and computer aided design has provided the foundation of his approach to designing and building archtops. Metal work and metal working machinery deal with accuracy's of .001", roughly 1/3 the diameter of a human hair and the discipline and techniques required to work so precisely are Jim's basis in understanding and controlling the outcome of each instrument.

For instance, instead of a hand held router and lexiglas/wooden jigs to cut the dovetail joint in the body and neck, Jim utilizes a vertical 3 axis milling machine with digital readouts. This means he can precisely hold a 3.5 degree neck angle with a .003" slip fit for the glue gap.  Jim can build three necks for the same guitar without the need of shims in the neck to body joint and each neck is interchangeable. This kind of precise neck to body joint improves the tone of the instrument.

In 1997, I visited the NAMM Show at Anaheim, and whilst walking through what seemed to be endless corridors and a wall of sound came across the tiny booth of Guptill Music. Amongst the display of finger-picks were two beautiful archtop guitars. This is where I first met Jim Mapson, the new kid on the block in terms of archtop building. Jim had on display the first two archtop guitars he had ever made, and they were stunning. I spent most of my time at the NAMM Show playing Jim's guitars. I was so impressed with the acoustic tone, playability and finish of the instruments that I talked to Jim about building an electric archtop for me. Over the next few months we kept in touch and also met up at the Long Island Guitar Show where Jim had a booth, and discussed in detail what I wanted in a guitar. 

In my years as a performing Jazz guitarist I have  owned and played many archtops and have always experienced difficulty when the instrument has been an archtop acoustic guitar with a floating pickup.

The Guitar

It is a Lusso electric model with a 17" body which is 3 1/4" deep, and a 25 1/2"scale. The hand carved top is of Colorado Blue Spruce which tapers from 3/4" thick in the pickup area to 3/8" down the center. The parallel struts are carved out of the top and it has a built-in pickup. The volume and tone controls are also cut into the body. The back and sides are maple and the F-holes, neck and fingerboard are bound with grained ivoroid binding. The tailpiece, pick-guard, fingerboard, bridge, truss rod cover and pickup surround are made of ebony. The headstock has an ebony front plate and ebony/maple/ebony rear veneer, with a diamond solitaire inlay front and rear.

The neck is thicker on this guitar, similar to the necks on 50's Gibsons and Guilds, which is my personal preference. It is also graphite reinforced, with adjustable truss rod. The ebony fingerboard has mother of pearl block inlays and side dots.

Finding a luthier that would really listen to my thoughts, rather than having to settle with a modified pre-existing model, was the real key to success. It is a collaboration of ideas between Jim and myself that has produced this instrument which is extremely innovative, e.g. in having the thick top and the parallel struts carved out of the top. These ideas may not be so unusual, but Jim's idea with the back is something quite special. The back of the guitar is what takes the stress of the string tension and also plays an important part in generating the tone of the guitar. Therefore it is doing two jobs, but cannot do both efficiently. Jim, in his studies, came across the idea of adding a stabilizing strut between the heel and the tail block, situated close to the back. The strut then absorbs the string tension, allowing the back to vibrate freely and act as it should do in producing tone.

Jim was losing a lot of sleep worrying about this guitar, as it was not only different to those he had built before, but broke all the rules that a luthier sets out for himself. The big day came and the guitar was ready for stringing. To begin with, Jim strung the guitar up without the electrics, and to his amazement it was as loud as any of the acoustics he had built. The electrics were installed and the guitar was still loud acoustically. Another interesting point was that when tuning the guitar with a tuner, as each string came into pitch the needle stayed static, no wavering.

Electrically the guitar gives a very thick sound and is very balanced across the strings. In my opinion and everyone who has played the guitar, it has a very solid feel and fantastic sound. A truly great instrument!


Luthier's Sidenote: 07/Feb/98

It is very important to listen to what the customer has to say, or perhaps, does not say about instruments he has owned that worked well for him or had traits that presented problems. Many players have trouble communicating with the luthier and visa-versa, which is only natural given the different disciplines and backgrounds of each, so it is important at the planning stage to establish common ground and listen carefully.

In Trefor's case, he had come across several guitars in his past that had traits he admired, as well as problems he wished to avoid. His Koontz had many great traits including a rather thick top, but suffered from neck stability problems when on the road. He also liked the Knight archtop in his past, which had 'carved in place' rather than 'glued in' parallel bracing, and produced wonderful tone. His L5 from the early 50's had great balance and a neck profile that felt just right to his taste. Also, electric performance with minimal feedback was of paramount importance. Armed with Trefor's input, I could then proceed with the design phase.

The difficulty would be in creating an instrument that could stand up to the travels of a working artist, produce great electric tone, and look traditional on the outside. I additionally set the personal challenge of creating a pleasant acoustic tone which seemingly went against logic considering the extremes of a very thick parallel braced top and top cut-in pickup and controls.

I wanted to also produce a neck with long term stability as well as improve sustain. This pointed to carving the back plate very thick or adding braces along it's center to support the lower portion of the neck block. However, my only chance to improve the acoustics would be to free up the back, which is responsible for warming up the midrange and producing the bass tones.

I would have to find a way to displace the load carrying task of the back, in order to maximize it's tone producing function. I recalled that the Larson Brothers devised a somewhat complicated means using metal bars to position and stabilize the necks in their Prairie State flat-top instruments, and were awarded a patent in 1930 for their efforts. 1 felt a more simple approach could work with this instrument, and used a maple strut to anchor the bottom of the neck block to the tail block. Floating free just below the strut, the back would now be relieved from much of it's load bearing duty, and I was free to tap-response optimize (tap tune) the 20 year old domestic maple back.

To my delight, the guitar is both warm with good projection acoustically, and accepts any increase in attack without breaking up. The neck has proven to have great sustain and remained in tune thru a 3 set gig on its debut performance, Tuesday of LA NAMM Guitar week at Papashon, less than I week after it's initial stringing up.

My thanks to Mr. Trefor Owen, for sharing his design ideas with me, as well as taking a chance with a new luthier.

James L. Mapson

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About Manufacturer

Here at Sound Pure we hand-select used and vintage pieces of gear for our inventory. Our used selection always reflects the high standards of quality and craftsmanship that we expect from all of our manufacturers.   We are a small team of dedicated experts, located in Durham, NC.  We buy, trade, and consign instruments that we truly believe in.  Because of this, we have developed a reputation of quality and trust with our customers, located all over the world.   Our best customers are the ones that truly understand our personal touch and commitment to everything we sell, and range from hobbyists and enthusiasts to some of the biggest names in the business.  Our passion bridges the products we love with the real relationships we develop with our customer - whether they are a lifelong musician, or they are just getting started on their musical journey but care about value, quality, and being treated right.  

We vigorously test everything we take in to ensure authenticity, functionality, and reliability.  We are supported by one of the most well-respected luthiers in the Southeast, guaranteeing products that come in are thoroughly vetted, and that products that go out our in premium, performance- ready shape.   We are so confident in our ability to provide the highest quality music equipment in the industry, we even invented our “Try Before You Buy” program where we can ship out a product before collecting actual payment. 

Sound Pure's inventory is constantly changing, ever-evolving, with some items sold before reaching the website.    Looking for something specific? Have questions about this product's condition or history?  Want more photos, or to simply chat with an expert who's had his hands on this actual piece of gear?  It is truly our pleasure to talk with our customers, please do contact us now.  

Specifications

16" Body, 25" Scale

European 'AA' Tonewoods: Flamed Maple Back / Side, German Spruce Top

No Binding

Ebony Fittings: Tailpiece, Pickguard, Fingerboard, Bridge, Truss Rod Cover

Mother of Pearl Side Dots

Headstock Diamond Solitare Inlay, Front and Rear

Headstock Ebony Front Plate, Ebony/Maple/Ebony Rear Veneer

Neck Graphite Reinforced and Adjustable Truss Rod

Black Schaller Tuners with Ebony Buttons

Custom Fingerboard Inlay

Custom 7-string Configuration

Brown Gator Case, Green Lining

 

 

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