|Body And Neck:|
Archtops are the perfect tool for jazz guitar or any other style of music where a smooth vintage-inspired look and tone is required. This archtop from the respected Chinese brand The Loar is a little different, offering a very comfortable thin body and a performance-enhancing cutaway. It’s not an expensive guitar either – things are already looking good for the 1960s-inspired LH-302T! Let’s take a closer look…
As we’ve mentioned, in a category dominated by bulkier instruments, the LH-302T breaks from the norm a little with a thin body. It’s still a fully hollow archtop featuring a traditional 16” lower bout width, but with a reduced 1.5” body depth. This makes it very light and comfortable to hold, and therefore much more accessible for smaller players (although bigger players will get plenty of enjoyment from it too!).
It’s an all-laminate-maple body – top, back and sides – with either a beautiful all-gloss Vintage Sunburst or Cherryburst finish, with cream binding and f-holes on the lower body bout. There’s a sixties-inspired Florentine single cutaway, offering superb access to all 19 frets of the padauk fretboard. This all sits on top of a mahogany neck with a slender thin C shape. Despite being made in China, the fit and finish is very commendable and feels like a guitar worth showing off on stage.
The look may be vintage, but the hardware is very contemporary in its feel, which is great news for players planning to perform with this beauty. It’s fitted with two dogear P-90s (made by The Loar) at the bridge and neck positions. These each feature their own individual volume and tone controls, as well as a pickup selector toggle. At the top of the guitar you’ll find a bone nut and a very good set of TonePros Kluson tuners, while the bottom features a floating tune-o-matic bridge with a trapeze tailpiece. A good selection of components for this mid-range price.
Tonally the LH-302T is very dynamic and versatile for everything from folk and country to jazz and jump blues. It’s fundamentally very mellow and warm, but still vibrant thanks to the maple construction. Due to the thinner body, it’s acoustically a tad muted, but still very audible. Through the P-90s though is where it really impresses, with a decent output, natural replication and good emotion. Even dialing up the gain it sounds great, and – for a hollow body – it doesn’t suffer badly from feedback.
This is a big winner from The Loar, who always impress when it comes to their vintage-inspired instruments. Smooth and emotive, it’s perfect for jazz or blues enthusiasts, as well as beginners to this genre. Ultimately, The Loar have revived a classic period beautifully with the LH-302T.