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want another Gibson small body

#21 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 08:15 AM

View PostOldCowboy, on 15 October 2017 - 06:32 AM, said:

I avoid the narrow nut whenever possible (big hands & fingers). As we've discussed from time to time here in the forum, Gibson didn't necessarily make changes in specs immediately and dating them as they show up on specific instruments has to allow for the occasional anomaly. A lot of that is simply a matter of exhausting existing parts and such before starting to employ the 'current spec' as cataloged. For example, my '61 LG-1 retains the earlier-dimensioned neck, my '65 H'bird has the wider nut, and my '58 Epi Cortez sports an 'original' Epi neck. I mention all this to say that if you're put off by certain changes in specs, but hanker for a specific year's model, they're sometimes out there - time and patience required, though☺


Every 1958 FT-79 and FT-45 I have ever seen had the Epiphone French Heel neck rather than the Gibson "Freedom" neck. These first Gibson-made Epis were produced in a rented facility separate from the Gibson plant with Gibson using up leftover Epiphone parts. I had a 1958 FT-79 in the house for a bit and it was pretty much an Epi neck grafted onto a J-50 body.

Gibson he "crossover" years like 1955 really throw everything the specs say up for grabs. I have played J-160Es which still had the solid tops the year they were supposed to be made with laminate and SJs with the new style bracing but the old style pickguard.

LG necks from at least 1946 on were what I would classify as medium Cs. That is at the low end of my tolerance scale. I would think the neck carve had to do with balance rather than being meant for young players. My question is given that the LGs had skimpier necks to begin with, would you notice that much of a difference with the new neck profiles that showed up in 1960, especially on a short scale guitar? You certainly would feel a difference when they started using the narrower nut but I am just not sure if it would have been that noticeable earlier on.
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#22 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 08:40 AM

View Postgruffydd3, on 13 October 2017 - 02:39 PM, said:

Well I made a decision.

I threw a Martin into the mix, a CEO7 small body. I played it for 10 minutes at my local GC. It actually only took me about 10 seconds to know it wasn't for me. I've heard Martins on recordings and YouTube videos that sounded real nice, but I've never played one or heard one played in person that did anything for me. It's left me wondering why they're so well thought of. The finish on it wasn't that great either.

Anyway, I considered the Nick Lucas but on the videos I listened to, it sounded a lot like my J-45 Custom. Also, the neck is thinner and narrower than I wanted.

So this morning I ordered a Gibson 1928 L-1 Blues Tribute. I can't wait to get it in my hands!

Again, thanks to everyone for all the advice.



My question is if you feel the sound of the Martins on videos is not representative of how they sound when you are up close and personal to them, why would you assume the sound of a Nick Lucas RI on a video is any more of an representative of what they sound like in your hands. A few weeks back I played two Martin Jeff Tweedys. One was very good and the other more than very good. In terms of feel and sound, I would taken that second Martin over a Gibson NL 14 fret reissue. But I was not the one looking to buy a guitar, my wife was and she wanted a 12 string.
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#23 User is offline   gruffydd3 

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 02:18 PM

That's a good point about the Nick Lucas, but it's all I have to go on. I've never seen or heard one in person.

As for Martins, I've played 8 or 9 and heard a few others in person. None of them did anything for me. The CEO-7 I played had a disappointing finish a high action to boot. There was a $550 Taylor there that sounded much better to me.
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#24 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 12:13 AM

 zombywoof, on 15 October 2017 - 08:15 AM, said:

Every 1958 FT-79 and FT-45 I have ever seen had the Epiphone French Heel neck rather than the Gibson "Freedom" neck. These first Gibson-made Epis were produced in a rented facility separate from the Gibson plant with Gibson using up leftover Epiphone parts. I had a 1958 FT-79 in the house for a bit and it was pretty much an Epi neck grafted onto a J-50 body.

Gibson he "crossover" years like 1955 really throw everything the specs say up for grabs. I have played J-160Es which still had the solid tops the year they were supposed to be made with laminate and SJs with the new style bracing but the old style pickguard.

LG necks from at least 1946 on were what I would classify as medium Cs. That is at the low end of my tolerance scale. I would think the neck carve had to do with balance rather than being meant for young players. My question is given that the LGs had skimpier necks to begin with, would you notice that much of a difference with the new neck profiles that showed up in 1960, especially on a short scale guitar? You certainly would feel a difference when they started using the narrower nut but I am just not sure if it would have been that noticeable earlier on.

I get what you mean about the feel of the LG necks, and it makes a lot of sense. I went through a fair number of various LG models at one time, looking for one that both felt and sounded like a keeper. The banner necks were all pretty comfortable, but I couldn't get the sound I wanted from any of the three that I owned. The most massive neck was on a '46 LG-2, but, again, not the right sound. Then the rest of 'em - a handful of LG-1s from the 50's and 60's until the '61 that I kept. Wish I had access to some that I could measure for the sake of comparison, but the '61 neck didn't impress me as different at the time😒 Love those '58 EPI necks, though.
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#25 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:53 AM

View PostOldCowboy, on 16 October 2017 - 12:13 AM, said:

I get what you mean about the feel of the LG necks, and it makes a lot of sense. I went through a fair number of various LG models at one time, looking for one that both felt and sounded like a keeper. The banner necks were all pretty comfortable, but I couldn't get the sound I wanted from any of the three that I owned. The most massive neck was on a '46 LG-2, but, again, not the right sound. Then the rest of 'em - a handful of LG-1s from the 50's and 60's until the '61 that I kept. Wish I had access to some that I could measure for the sake of comparison, but the '61 neck didn't impress me as different at the time�� Love those '58 EPI necks, though.


I do not really recall the neck on my '58 FT-79 other than it had the French Heel. My two 1950s Epis had different carves. But on both I replaced the nuts to the get it the widest I possibly could.

Of all the Gibson models out there, I have found the 1940s LG-2/3s to be the most inconsistent when it comes to sound. I think that is one of the reasons I went from LG-2s to a CF-100.

Of all the guitars I own, my favorite 1960s neck carve remains that on the Harmony Grand Concerts and the Sovereigns. It is a nice full roundback D with a 1 3/4" nut. Harmony changed virtually nothing over the decades other than to add a truss rod to some of their models in the late 1950s or early 1960s. They may be the most consistent sounding and feeling guitars on the planet.
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#26 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 07:59 AM

 zombywoof, on 16 October 2017 - 05:53 AM, said:

I do not really recall the neck on my '58 FT-79 other than it had the French Heel. My two 1950s Epis had different carves. But on both I replaced the nuts to the get it the widest I possibly could.

Of all the Gibson models out there, I have found the 1940s LG-2/3s to be the most inconsistent when it comes to sound. I think that is one of the reasons I went from LG-2s to a CF-100.

Of all the guitars I own, my favorite 1960s neck carve remains that on the Harmony Grand Concerts and the Sovereigns. It is a nice full roundback D with a 1 3/4" nut. Harmony changed virtually nothing over the decades other than to add a truss rod to some of their models in the late 1950s or early 1960s. They may be the most consistent sounding and feeling guitars on the planet.

15 or so years ago, I went on a Harmony binge for nostalgic reasons - finally got over it, but hung onto a pair of Sovereigns. One had been modified (rebraced, neck thinned👎, and such) and my wife claimed it. The other is pretty typical for the 1960's, sounds good, could use a neck set. They're neat guitars, the like of which we'll probably not see again.
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#27 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 01:28 PM

View PostOldCowboy, on 16 October 2017 - 07:59 AM, said:

15 or so years ago, I went on a Harmony binge for nostalgic reasons - finally got over it, but hung onto a pair of Sovereigns. One had been modified (rebraced, neck thinned��, and such) and my wife claimed it. The other is pretty typical for the 1960's, sounds good, could use a neck set. They're neat guitars, the like of which we'll probably not see again.


For me it is not nostalgia - I never stopped playing the things. Seems I have always kept Harmonys and Kays around. There is something about a long scale ladder braced guitar. Funny that your wife went for the Sovereign with the modified neck. My 1960 Gibson J-200 got a reprieve from the chopping block when my wife claimed it as her own. She loves that skinny neck carve.

I just finished fixing up my third Sovereign. The neck repair has held and all the cracks are cleated. Plays OK abut 1/2 way up the neck. I may do a kamikaze neck reset on it. Don't know yet. The only modification I have done to a Sovereign was to switch out the pinless bridge with an old Guild pinned bridge. I did not really hear any difference. I was more curious than anything.
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#28 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:39 PM

 zombywoof, on 16 October 2017 - 01:28 PM, said:

For me it is not nostalgia - I never stopped playing the things. Seems I have always kept Harmonys and Kays around. There is something about a long scale ladder braced guitar. Funny that your wife went for the Sovereign with the modified neck. My 1960 Gibson J-200 got a reprieve from the chopping block when my wife claimed it as her own. She loves that skinny neck carve.

I just finished fixing up my third Sovereign. The neck repair has held and all the cracks are cleated. Plays OK abut 1/2 way up the neck. I may do a kamikaze neck reset on it. Don't know yet. The only modification I have done to a Sovereign was to switch out the pinless bridge with an old Guild pinned bridge. I did not really hear any difference. I was more curious than anything.

I've wondered about the pinless to pinned bridge a time or two, and am glad to hear you say no noticeable difference. That inspires me to leave well enough alone. Hate to admit it, but my wife favors Taylor necks, which kind of explains the preference for the thinned Sovereign. Necks of that description are awkward, tiring, and painful for me after only a half hour, so I avoid them as best I can. Used to own a J-200 with what a friend called a 'rock n roll neck', and thought of that one when you mentioned yours. If memory serves, it dated to around 1960 as well. My '58 Epi has a moderate V contour, which treats me pretty well.
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#29 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:36 AM

View PostOldCowboy, on 16 October 2017 - 10:39 PM, said:

I've wondered about the pinless to pinned bridge a time or two, and am glad to hear you say no noticeable difference. That inspires me to leave well enough alone. Hate to admit it, but my wife favors Taylor necks, which kind of explains the preference for the thinned Sovereign. Necks of that description are awkward, tiring, and painful for me after only a half hour, so I avoid them as best I can. Used to own a J-200 with what a friend called a 'rock n roll neck', and thought of that one when you mentioned yours. If memory serves, it dated to around 1960 as well. My '58 Epi has a moderate V contour, which treats me pretty well.



Gibson called those necks they came up with in 1960 the low action, fast playing neck or something like that. But Rock & Roll neck is a good description as it was part of a trend to make acoustic guitars feel more like electrics. My mid-50s pre-Gibson Epi FT-79 seems to have the same neck as your '58 with the very soft V. With 1950s Epiphones I always change out the nut to get as wide a string spacing as I can eke out.

What I am thinking of doing with one of my Sovereigns is to go with a 1930s Gibson style X bracing - forward shifted tall, thin and un-scalloped. Who knows, maybe I would end up with the poor man's AJ.
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#30 User is offline   gruffydd3 

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 08:17 AM

The 1928 L-1 Blues Tribute came yesterday (Sorry, I don't know how to post pictures). It was well set up with fairly low action as I requested and sounds different enough from my L-00 vintage to make me happy.

Thanks again for the advice.
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