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Help me find the perfect guitar

#1 User is offline   danielwewo 

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 09:53 AM

Hey guys, I've kind of thrown together some specs that I'd really like to have on a guitar, but have been unable to find something close to it that's readily available. I'm wondering if you guys can help me find something that matches these requirements!

Wood in body & neck: No preference, something lighter would be preferable

Frets: 22

Cutaway: I don't care if it's 1 or 2 cutaways, but I NEED the super deep cutaway to be able to properly play the highest frets. On my les paul I have trouble getting a strong bend on my 22nd fret

Pickups: Nothing specific, just some medium-high output humbuckers. I'm open to ideas. I like the pickups in my 05 LP Studio

Bridge: nothing specific, anything of decent quality with a hard tail.

Body: I want something with a contoured body to fit my beer belly. I'm kinda tired of the hard edges on my LP. Something closer to a fender strat in contours maybe.

Other: Final demand, I have to be able to play it before I buy it.

And that's really it! The hardest part for me is finding something of quality that has both the super deep cutaway, and a hardtail bridge. The closest thing I've found is the Ibanez JS1600 (the Joe Satriani custom) but they're kind of hard to get a hold of. Some of the Ibanez Prestige S series stuff fits this description pretty well, but I'm not entirely sold on those because I'm not a huge fan of the neck and the sound of the pickups.


I play in a band that does mostly modern country and classic rock covers, so I need to be able to go completely clean and sound warm and rich, and also cut through some heavy gain for those Journey solos haha.
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#2 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 02:32 PM

Hello.. Theres a couple of things that would help...

First, you don't mention what sort of neck you want... That can help narrow things down a bit... With Gibson they have a few. Basically you have the 60s (slim taper) and 50s necks (thick rounded)... BUT over the last few years theres been some changes. In 2015 the necks had much wider fretboards than the usual Gibson neck which a lot of people don't like.. BUT if you like something like a Jackson you actually may like them, and cos the 2015s were so controversial one can be picked up for a good price.

Then in 2016 and 2017 they went with two lines, one line having a slightly wider neck (not as wide as the 2015s) and robot tuners (the HP line) and the other line (the T line) having more traditional shaped necks and manual tuners.

Then after that you have firebirds, Vs and explorers which tend to have a lightly wider and flatter neck than say on a Les Paul or SG..

And if you also mention the sort of price range you are looking at, that may help too.
"Im the one thats going to have to die when its time for me to die. So let me live my life, the way I WANT TOO" Jimi Hendrix
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#3 User is offline   danielwewo 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:02 AM

View PostRabs, on 20 December 2016 - 02:32 PM, said:

Hello.. Theres a couple of things that would help...

First, you don't mention what sort of neck you want... That can help narrow things down a bit... With Gibson they have a few. Basically you have the 60s (slim taper) and 50s necks (thick rounded)... BUT over the last few years theres been some changes. In 2015 the necks had much wider fretboards than the usual Gibson neck which a lot of people don't like.. BUT if you like something like a Jackson you actually may like them, and cos the 2015s were so controversial one can be picked up for a good price.

Then in 2016 and 2017 they went with two lines, one line having a slightly wider neck (not as wide as the 2015s) and robot tuners (the HP line) and the other line (the T line) having more traditional shaped necks and manual tuners.

Then after that you have firebirds, Vs and explorers which tend to have a lightly wider and flatter neck than say on a Les Paul or SG..

And if you also mention the sort of price range you are looking at, that may help too.


I haven't mentioned the neck because I'm not too picky about the neck. I actually really like the neck on my 05 LP Studio, but I don't require that.

My price range is probably up to $1500. I'd go over that if I REALLY like the guitar though.

Two things that I'd like to specify, the deep cutaway is paramount, and I don't know if Gibson makes a guitar with a cutaway as deep as I'd like, so I'm open to all brands here.
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#4 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 02:03 PM

Well the 2016 and 2017 HP line all have more sculpted neck heels which is something pretty new to their standard line up

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#5 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 02:36 PM

View Postdanielwewo, on 20 December 2016 - 09:53 AM, said:

... On my les paul I have trouble getting a strong bend on my 22nd fret...

May I ask what string(s) and using what finger(s) you want to bend firmly at the 22nd fret?
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#6 User is offline   danielwewo 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 02:58 PM

View PostRabs, on 21 December 2016 - 02:03 PM, said:

Well the 2016 and 2017 HP line all have more sculpted neck heels which is something pretty new to their standard line up



HP Line? That actually looks like it might be what I'm looking for, but I'm only seeing them for $3000+... At that price point I'd just get a guitar custom made.


View Postcapmaster, on 21 December 2016 - 02:36 PM, said:

May I ask what string(s) and using what finger(s) you want to bend firmly at the 22nd fret?


.12s and my ring finger. No, I don't want to use lighter strings, that's why I'm looking for a guitar that has the cutaway so I can use the heavy strings but still get a grip on the 22nd fret.
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#7 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 03:17 PM

View Postdanielwewo, on 21 December 2016 - 02:58 PM, said:

HP Line? That actually looks like it might be what I'm looking for, but I'm only seeing them for $3000+... At that price point I'd just get a guitar custom made.


Depends on what model you look at... The 2016s should be being sold off now cos the 2017s have been out since like October....

Check this page for the 2016 models.. You will see there is two lines.. HP (high performance) which have chrome hardware, robot tuners, shaped neck heel and various wiring option (and dip switches to change the function of the pickups.. The T line (Traditional) are the traditional spec'd guitars Gibson are known for.
http://www.gibson.co...s/2016/USA.aspx

Alternatively, if you can find one, see if you can find a 2015 Double Cut.. MUCH better upper fret access.. Or theres always the SG route.
http://www.gibson.co...le-Cutaway.aspx

Heres some info on the 2017s (cos Gibson haven't added them to their site yet (for some odd reason?)
http://www.reidys.co...7-hp-vs-t-1511/
"Im the one thats going to have to die when its time for me to die. So let me live my life, the way I WANT TOO" Jimi Hendrix
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#8 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 03:54 PM

View Postdanielwewo, on 21 December 2016 - 02:58 PM, said:

.12s and my ring finger. No, I don't want to use lighter strings, that's why I'm looking for a guitar that has the cutaway so I can use the heavy strings but still get a grip on the 22nd fret.

Honestly, you took me by surprise.

I just took my only guitar strung with .012"-.054" roundwounds since 2000 (I had .012"-.056" flatwounds on her from 1985 to 2000), a Weimann Blues Bird ES semi-solid with mahogany through-neck and two Venetian cutaways as common on thinline models. I easily bend one half-step with any finger including pinky between 9th and 17th fret, below and above that it is fairly hard with the pinky, and I seriously wouldn't want to do that often at the 22nd fret. The ring finger works well there though.

It's always easier when supporting a finger with one or two more, and two half-steps between circa 9th and 17th fret are no problem with any of the six strings (apart from tuning afterwards, that is...). Above the 19th fret two half-steps are quite hard to achieve even with middle and ring fingers in common, in particular with B2nd and E1st. The wound strings feel a bit easier there.

On my solid-body hardtails I use .011"-.050" roundwounds with plain G3rd, and on my vibrato solid-bodies .010"-.046" roundwounds, so I am not that accustomed to bending .012s. I just wanted to try out before I reply to you.

Bending is always easiest close to the 12th fret and gets harder down or up the neck from there, regardless of fret access.

Please allow me one more comment. I don't think there is a perfect guitar, and I don't think there are perfect strings or perfect string gauges. There will always be trade-offs.
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#9 User is offline   danielwewo 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 05:58 PM

View Postcapmaster, on 21 December 2016 - 03:54 PM, said:

Honestly, you took me by surprise.

I just took my only guitar strung with .012"-.054" roundwounds since 2000 (I had .012"-.056" flatwounds on her from 1985 to 2000), a Weimann Blues Bird ES semi-solid with mahogany through-neck and two Venetian cutaways as common on thinline models. I easily bend one half-step with any finger including pinky between 9th and 17th fret, below and above that it is fairly hard with the pinky, and I seriously wouldn't want to do that often at the 22nd fret. The ring finger works well there though.

It's always easier when supporting a finger with one or two more, and two half-steps between circa 9th and 17th fret are no problem with any of the six strings (apart from tuning afterwards, that is...). Above the 19th fret two half-steps are quite hard to achieve even with middle and ring fingers in common, in particular with B2nd and E1st. The wound strings feel a bit easier there.

On my solid-body hardtails I use .011"-.050" roundwounds with plain G3rd, and on my vibrato solid-bodies .010"-.046" roundwounds, so I am not that accustomed to bending .012s. I just wanted to try out before I reply to you.

Bending is always easiest close to the 12th fret and gets harder down or up the neck from there, regardless of fret access.

Please allow me one more comment. I don't think there is a perfect guitar, and I don't think there are perfect strings or perfect string gauges. There will always be trade-offs.



I totally agree with you. I just like how much more volume and tone I can get out of thicker strings, and I can play them much harder than lighter strings. I don't really have any problem bending strings anywhere on the neck except up where I can't position my hand properly to get a grip, it's not about the tension on the string, it's that the wood on the guitar makes me turn my hand to bend those notes.
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#10 User is offline   danielwewo 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 06:02 PM

View PostRabs, on 21 December 2016 - 03:17 PM, said:

Depends on what model you look at... The 2016s should be being sold off now cos the 2017s have been out since like October....

Check this page for the 2016 models.. You will see there is two lines.. HP (high performance) which have chrome hardware, robot tuners, shaped neck heel and various wiring option (and dip switches to change the function of the pickups.. The T line (Traditional) are the traditional spec'd guitars Gibson are known for.
http://www.gibson.co...s/2016/USA.aspx

Alternatively, if you can find one, see if you can find a 2015 Double Cut.. MUCH better upper fret access.. Or theres always the SG route.
http://www.gibson.co...le-Cutaway.aspx

Heres some info on the 2017s (cos Gibson haven't added them to their site yet (for some odd reason?)
http://www.reidys.co...7-hp-vs-t-1511/



I might be interested in the Studio HP... I'll go see if any of my local shops have any in stock.

The double cutaway doesn't seem like it's got even as much access as the HP models? It's got more space for your thumb which I guess might help..
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#11 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 06:22 PM

View Postdanielwewo, on 21 December 2016 - 06:02 PM, said:

I might be interested in the Studio HP... I'll go see if any of my local shops have any in stock.

The double cutaway doesn't seem like it's got even as much access as the HP models? It's got more space for your thumb which I guess might help..

Yeah Studios are great guitars.. Less blingy than a Standard but just as great to play and listen too....

And yes the latest Double Cuts they changed the design a bit so the neck is set a bit deeper.. But you can still get your hand more comfortably on the high end cos theres an extra horn so the wood isn't in your way and you get a better grip.. I have a DC Special from 2005 where the edge of the fretboard is right at the end of the body so it plays great..

Id advise if you see a Double Cut to try it... And if you happen to see an older one definitely try it :)

My one is like this http://www.chubbuckg...headstock-break

Also a couple of bits of advice... If you don't mind....

First is that when you try them out, try and do it through an amp that's very similar or the same as what you have at home..

And second.. Especially when it comes to Gibsons each guitar is hand finished... So the neck profile and setups are a bit different on every guitar even the same model and year... So if you find one which you like almost everything about but it doesn't quite sound right or play well, ask if they have another of the same model in the back you can try.. Its well worth it.

Well good luck on the hunt and come back and let us know what you end up with (even if its not a Gibson :))
"Im the one thats going to have to die when its time for me to die. So let me live my life, the way I WANT TOO" Jimi Hendrix
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#12 User is offline   danielwewo 

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 08:24 PM

View PostRabs, on 21 December 2016 - 06:22 PM, said:

Yeah Studios are great guitars.. Less blingy than a Standard but just as great to play and listen too....

And yes the latest Double Cuts they changed the design a bit so the neck is set a bit deeper.. But you can still get your hand more comfortably on the high end cos theres an extra horn so the wood isn't in your way and you get a better grip.. I have a DC Special from 2005 where the edge of the fretboard is right at the end of the body so it plays great..

Id advise if you see a Double Cut to try it... And if you happen to see an older one definitely try it :)

My one is like this http://www.chubbuckg...headstock-break

Also a couple of bits of advice... If you don't mind....

First is that when you try them out, try and do it through an amp that's very similar or the same as what you have at home..

And second.. Especially when it comes to Gibsons each guitar is hand finished... So the neck profile and setups are a bit different on every guitar even the same model and year... So if you find one which you like almost everything about but it doesn't quite sound right or play well, ask if they have another of the same model in the back you can try.. Its well worth it.

Well good luck on the hunt and come back and let us know what you end up with (even if its not a Gibson :))




Wow, I would be VERY interested in a double cut with the neck like that, with probably some different pickups; though they don't seem easy to come by. I'll have to check some out.

I'm still very open to suggestions.
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#13 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:28 AM

Gotta try

A Parker Fly.....[thumbup]

V

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#14 User is offline   Revolution Six 

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 11:34 AM

PER-FECT

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#15 User is offline   sparquelito 

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 04:29 AM

View PostVersatile, on 22 December 2016 - 10:28 AM, said:

Gotta try
A Parker Fly.....[thumbup]


I agree.
A Parker Fly fits all the requirements.

Problem is, in a band that plays mostly country music, it would stick out like a sore thumb.

Unless you go for one of these koa models.
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#16 User is offline   danielwewo 

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 09:34 AM

It doesn't look like the parker fly has a fixed bridge...

Also, I have no idea where to buy or try one of those.


Edit: I'm going to the local guitar shop to try some guitars out. I'm definitely gonna play some SGs...We'll see how it goes.
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#17 User is offline   MichaelT 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 09:12 AM

From your description, it sounds like the SG is your guitar. A Flying V offers even more high fret access and I've enjoyed mine for years. SG and Flying V are both fairly light, the V being a bit heavier. Both have easy access to high frets. I had an SG for 3 or 4 years and it was a great guitar but a friend of mine wanted it more than I did and gave me a good trade in return. The SG is probably more suited for your music as far as the look, although I played my V in a classic rock/country rock band.
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#18 User is offline   Mr. Gibson 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:31 AM

Buy a custom made Rabswood guitar made in UK.
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#19 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:53 AM

Your requirements are a lot easier to satisfy than mine were!
I had to give up in the end.



As for hardtails. I only want these too. However, Fender, PRS or Floyd-Rose type systems are easy to disable. The internal recess that allows the bridge free movement needs to be filled (or blocked up) with wood or other solid material.

I only mention this because if you did find the perfect guitar 'in every other respect' it would be sad to dismiss it just because of the floating bridge. That said, I hope you can find a great hardtail model that suits you.
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#20 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:25 PM

View PostMr. Gibson, on 17 March 2017 - 10:31 AM, said:

Buy a custom made Rabswood guitar made in UK.

[biggrin]
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