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Everything posted by robatsu

  1. Firmly left handed in everything except guitar playing (and the trumpet years ago). The friend who was teaching me the basics on guitar (it was my teen years) recommended that I learn to play right-handed. I didn't give it much thought, as I had played a "right handed" trumpet (I never heard of a left-handed one), and just ran with that. IMO, both hands are doing unnatural motions, so while left-handed guitars are ok, I think that maybe it doesn't make a big difference which way one starts to learn to play. Lots of instruments only come one way (pianos, etc) and actually guitars are pro
  2. I've had 3 AJ's. The first two were standard issue ones. First one I bought in the 90's, second one in 2003, kept both of them for about eight years, played the tar out of them, gigs, jams, busking, bluegrass, old time, celtic/irish, swing, etc. Loved both of them, but sold both, just super, all rounder guitars. IMO, the only reason they aren't more popular w/conventional flatpickers is residual animus against Gibson, even though all the boutiques copy the design. About 3 years ago, shortly after selling (and regretting selling) the 2d one, I picked up my 3rd, a 2006 Luthier's Choice mo
  3. Having had a 1994 J-200 for 18 years, here is my opinion. FIrst, all the other stuff looks legit, although I'm wondering about the J-200 Special on the interior label. What is so special about it other than the weird bridge. Second, the hot pink case is a little earlier in the 90's. More like 92/93 or earlier. By 94 the case interior is more purple, has a logo on the dust cover, and the dust cover is not terrycloth, but smooth satiny material. So that is a little curious. Something is a little fishy overall, again, the hot pink case w/94 serial number, the 4 bar bridge unlike an
  4. I'll agree with the J200 recommendation. I've had a couple of 17" archtops, the J200 has sort of the same shape, the narrow waist etc, so a lot of similarities there. As for neck playability, I don't really see much difference between the flattop and the archtop when same strings, same/similar setup. You might get some perception of playability differences because of the sonic differences - the quick decay/strong fundamentals of an archtop might leave a dedicated flattopper sort of flailing around if he is trying to coax out the warm resonance of a typical flattop. Similarly, the pun
  5. I had a 1994 J-200 I bought new in 1994. My main axe for many, many years. Just lovely. I did sell it in 2012, but as soon as I let it go, I realized that I liked having a J200. So I did a lot of homework, looked around. I ended up with a 2008 SJ-200 VOS True Vintage, from a limited edition run of 167. Apparently, these were the first production SJ-200s to get Adirondack tops, at least from Bozeman years. It is a better guitar than my 1994, and I think most players would agree with me. It has more power/volume on tap than the 1994, especially on the treble strings, while still
  6. I always thought the J200 17" jumbo flattop was a first for Gibson.
  7. Well, it kinda looks like all the other AJ's: The only real visible difference is the fade on the back of the neck:
  8. I think the price is in the zone. I'd try to get them down to 4-4.5k. I've never played one the Brazilian ones, but I do have a Madagascar Rosewood Luthier's Choice AJ from 2006 after they Gibson quit using Brazilian. It is like the description of the Brazilian one, "commanding", that is the perfect word for it. Now Gibson doesn't use Madagascar, so I'm wondering what they are using now for Luthier's Choice AJs?
  9. That is what is so cool about the AJ's. For $1500 or so, you get a killer axe made by a legendary company using traditional materials and techniques. And it looks great. But it didn't cost so much that you let it become a hangar queen. I've taken mine everywhere, sidewalk busking, etc. I don't abuse them, but I don't baby them either. About the only other model I think is comparable is HD-28, although new Martin D-18 seems like a winner. But the Gibsons have much more panache, Martins are so well-scrubbedly earnest. AJ's rock and your grandkids will really appreciate you passing dow
  10. What I don't understand is why Advanced Jumbos aren't more popular - Gibson keeps bringing them in and out of production as a regular model every few years, it seems like, so they must not sell enough to keep it as a regular standard model. But in the meantime, all the boutique guys like Collings, Bourgeois, H&D, Santa Cruz and all sorts of other luthiers all make AJ clones as a regular item. People obviously love the design. And they are such killer all purpose guitars, the Gibson equivalent of a D18 or D28. I'm on my third one. The first two were standard models, just really grea
  11. Easy question. I'd go boutique guitar and have Todd Stock, aka "The Most Amazing Luthier Ever", make me one of his Greenridge Guitars, probably a (late) J-35 interpretation in Carpathian Spruce and figured Anegre back and sides. Any more questions?
  12. Easy question. In 1994, I walked into a music shop in Birmingham, Alabama, and saw a brand new J-200 on the wall for $800. When I started on guitar in the 70's as a teenager, I had the typical opinion that Gibson acoustics were bad. FWIW, at that time I knew nothing about Gibson going independent again, Bozeman, etc, this was the dawning of the internet/web era, so you would have to be a lot more interested than I was to go through the drill of following this sort of info. Anyhow, I liked the looks of this one, I'm a sucker for what I call "tacky Americana" and played it for a bit. S
  13. I just bought a 2008 SJ-200, one of the limited edition run of True Vintage that were the first Adi topped J-200s. I did a big writeup of it here with some pictures. Very cool axe. I recently sold my 1994 J-200 which I had owned since new and almost immediately regretted it. However, now I don't, the new one is pretty much a new and improved J-200, not that the old one was bad, just this one is better. IMO, we live in a golden era of luthiery skills, these things are just getting better and better.
  14. I've owned a number of Gibsons since rediscovering the brand in 1994. Up until that time, I had the opinion of Gibson acoustics that had been formed in my teens in the 1970's - that they were lacking. Since then, I've owned a J200, a Star Studio, and am on my third AJ. I've had no issues at all with any of them. I think these days, there are a lot more issues w/Martins, if the people on UMGF are to be believed. IMO, Ren Ferguson got the Bozeman operation up and running right from the beginning. In their early years, they underwent a lot of nitpicking/naysaying by Gibson haters
  15. I agree w/the puritanical description of Martin's abhorrence of ostentation. Me, I love ostentation, certain types of it that Gibson and Gretsch (another favorite brand of mine) excel in and I, with tongue in cheek, call "tacky americana". While that tongue is still in my cheek, I tend to refer to (typical blond top, dot fretboard inlay, etc) Martins as "Amish guitars". And, while I suppose that it reveals some shallowness on my part, that is something that leaves me a little cold about Martins. Nothing like a guitar with stage presence. Here is a Gretsch I own, although perhaps for
  16. +1. Signature Guitar means to me that it is a guitar I will never buy. But it is ok if others like this thing.
  17. The most bluegrassy guitar Gibson makes is the AJ. Long scale, has the bite/power for flatpicking. But it is better balanced across the strings than a (H)D28. Usually, this is a good thing. But bluegrassers talk reverentially about that "Martin growl" (bass heaviness, mostly), so this is a real good thing for them. As others have noted, D-18/mahogany guitar are often the choice of flatpicking heroes due to their stronger fundamentals, less overtones. But really, I've seen all sorts of high end boutique guitars in bg bands - Collings, H&D, Santa Cruz, Bourgeois, etc. A lot
  18. I've owned a 1994 J200 since new and 3 AJ's,the third of which I still own. All have been great guitars. The AJ's have the edge on flatpicking - I do flatpicking on the J200 as well and it is ok, but the AJ's just have had a few more pony's under the hood for that sort of usage. This is especially true of my current AJ, a 2006 Luthier's Choice in Madagascar/Adirondack, it is a truly phenomenal guitar. That being said, I do like the J200 better for some flatpicking stuff - it has stronger fundamentals, so it is a little clearer, just not quite as loud as the AJ's for unamplified situa
  19. Mr. Taylor insultingly talks to his audience like they are children. This guy is totally disgenuous, typical guy trying to wrap his motives for making a buck in "saving the world, esp. African world, sincerity". What a tool. Just another grain of sand on the beach of reasons not to buy a Taylor.
  20. Gibson AJ's are one of the all time greats. I'm on my 3rd one. The first two were standards, both, but especially the second, I played the dog mess out of for about five years each. Seriously played, like woodshedding for hours each day, busking, gigging, as in refrets every year. They are the anti-D28. Big, all purpose dreadnought. Better balanced than the *D28, but you can even fake the bass heavy d28 stuff. And nobody in traditional music, even bluegrass, will give Gibson headstock the fisheye. My current beauty is a 2006 Custom Shop in Madagascar Rosewood/Adirondack Spruce. I
  21. I used some of the red bear stuff early on when if first came out. Very convincing substitute for genuine tortoiseshell (I've got a lot of experience w/the genuine article). However, back then anyhow, they were prone to breaking, especially if you let them jangle around in your pocket and get some surface scratches. I had a couple of them break.
  22. Those look an awful lot like the Pickboy "Hon Bekko" (authentic tortoiseshell) picks sold here in Japan. Matter of fact, they have the exact same shape - rounded triangle with somehwhat pointy corners. These are about $18 USD now that the exchange rate is so bad. Pretty gutsy guy putting something like that up on the web.
  23. Dolphin, at least the Osaka branch, is pretty high end in both the vintage/new categories. They don't have Epis at their store in Osaka, I'd be a little surprised if the Tokyo branch does. What you may want to look for is a Jeugia chain store - these are all purpose music shops, selling both recordings and instruments. Some of them focus on one category - I've been in some that have nothing but CD's, another one in Osaka w/3 floors of guitars and others that have been in between. If you can find a Jeugia (and that is how the sign is spelled, in english characters) and they don't have
  24. That may be the case, and I'm not prone to argue, but my impression is that currently the companies really pushing the ball up the field in optimizing acoustic guitar performance are the small North American luthiers and custom shop guys in the bigger operations like Gibson/Martin/Taylor. This is just simply one guy's impression. Again, that is not to take anything away from the Japanese luthiers, and I'm not a cultural chauvinist, my wife is Japanese & our son is currently in Japanese schools. That all being said, it is well worth seeing the output of boutique Japanese luthiers. Ce
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