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dhanners623 last won the day on May 12

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  1. I'm admittedly no expert, but in my experience, I would posit that it has to do with the top becoming more flexible over time, i.e., the more it is played. I also want to recall some discussion among violinists that the aging of the varnish has a beneficial impact on sound. No idea if the same is true with guitars.
  2. In watching the video again, it looks like a J-45 to my eye....
  3. Cool song, and good to see Springsteen breaking out one of his Gibsons....
  4. If only I had $9,955, I'd take that L-00 home. But I'd still have to have the saddle slot filled and re-routed for a righty bridge -- and have a new nut cut -- but at least the pickguard would be on the correct side for me. Alas, their website says the L-00 is on hold, though....
  5. I've used Retros on my J-35 for a couple of years, and really like them. They work for me and the style I play. I find they're good for both strumming and fingerstyle. I also find they take a day or so to settle in. I will say, though (and I know reasonable minds can differ on this) I just do not understand why people put light-gauge strings on a Gibson slope -- particularly a recent one with no structural issues. In my experience as a guy who has owned two J-45s and now plays a J-35, the guitars need mediums to really drive the top. I wouldn't expect "snarl" out of lights of any brand.
  6. Awhile back I had a Bob Colosi saddle installed in my 2016 J-35 and the guy who did the work (Kevin Schwab at St. Paul Guitar Repair) said the original saddle was too thin so it was leaning in the saddle slot and not making good contact with the bridge. Since I always change the strings one at a time, I never noticed how loose it was. The Colosi saddle was a marked improvement and Kevin fit it to the slot perfectly. It's turned out very well.
  7. In the decal world, the hazy look is called "silvering." It happens when light travels through the decal, hits tiny air bubbles trapped between the decal and the instrument's surface and bounces back. The look is exacerbated when the sheen of the decal film differs from the sheen of the surface it is being applied to. At least in the modeling world, the keys to avoiding silvering are to trim away as much decal film as possible, make sure you're working with a very glossy surface for the decal to adhere to, use a setting solution and, lastly, overspray the finished product. Most modelers use a decal-setting solution; a product called "Microset" is a fairly popular one and you can find it at most hobby shops. A solvent is also often used to help the decal snuggle down properly, but I wouldn't think a solvent would be necessary on a flat surface like a guitar top. It couldn't hurt, though, but be forewarned that it can make the decal wrinkle a bit as it settles down. Any remaining bubbles can be pricked with a needle and a drop of solvent will help it snuggle down. Once dry, though, the decal will be flat. Again, in the modeling world, once the decal is dry, the model is sprayed with a matte, semi-gloss or gloss overcoat, depending on the subject; i.e., a plane in camouflage is going to have a matte finish, while a race car will be very glossy. That makes the decal look painted on; it's sheen looks the same as the paint around it. This is what I think your biggest issue will be. Unless your decal film has the same sheen as the guitar's finish, you're always going to have a "hazy" look. This can be mitigated, somewhat, by trimming the decal film very closely to the design, but you've already discovered this makes the decal harder to handle, especially when it is this size. It isn't unusual for modelers to cut large decals into smaller sections. The sheen issue can be dealt with by overspraying the top once the decal is on, but that's quite an undertaking. I don't want to be pessimistic, but this will be a lot of work....
  8. If you're removing a properly applied nitro finish in an attempt to improve tone, then I'd say, yeah, you're on a fool's errand. If you're sanding down (or removing) a poly finish, it can be a different story. Over the years, I've had that done on two guitars (a plywood topped Takamine and an Epiphone IB'64 Texan) and both definitely sounded better after the procedure. The top moved more freely. It wasn't just placebo. Others who played both guitars said the "after" sounded better than the "before." The problem, though, is that a polyurethane finish is very hard to sand down and even harder to remove. It's a job for a pro. Saying the ToneRite is "snake oil" is a bit much. Folks like Eric Schoenberg and Bob Benedetto use it, and I dare say they know more about tone than I do. Or most of us do. It is a matter of managing your expectations, though. A ToneRite is not going to make a new Blueridge sound like Tony Rice's D-28. And if you stuck one on Rice's D-28, it probably wouldn't do much. But it might make the Blueridge sound a bit better than it did.
  9. All this made me think of an interview I read years ago; I want to think it was with Jerry Douglas in the long-defunct "Frets" magazine. He discussed taking some new wood-bodied resophonic, stripping all the metal and sticking it in an industrial-sized microwave oven (can't recall for how long) to dry out the wood. As I recall, he claimed it aged the instrument 15 years or so. On edit: I Googled it and apparently they were Dobros built by Rudy Jones, and he dried out his wood in microwaves: https://www.vintageandrare.com/showroom/product/rudy-q.-jones-squareneck-dobro-1977-276 Similarly, I recall an interview long ago (with Jackson Browne?) talking about strapping a new guitar onto some industrial vibrator device (no, not that kind...) to "open up" the wood.
  10. I would fear that sticking some heat source inside a guitar to "dry out" the wood would present humidification issues -- as in the wood would get too dry too quickly and crack. I lived in Kuwait for five years and had my J-35 for three of those. I do wonder how different my guitar (built in April 2016) sounds from a J-35 from the same period that has spent its life in a wetter environment. Then again, I now live in Manchester, UK, and rain is almost a daily occurance. I think my J-35 now sounds better than ever. Gibsons seem to be idiosyncratic guitars anyway. If someone were to ask me, I'd say it really is just a matter of playing the instrument regularly.
  11. What a legacy to have handed down to you. It goes without saying that getting a top-notch restoration is no place to scrimp. It'll be worth it.
  12. When I lived in the Rio Grande Valley years ago, we knew Freddy Fender by his real name, Baldemar Huerta. I didn't know him personally, but I worked with guys who did. The Gilley's tale is one heck of a story. I've done the guitar-in-front-of-a-speaker thing. As I recall, I turned the stereo to an FM classical station and pumped up the bass. Did it while I was at work; I figured that was 8 hours a day I couldn't play the guitar myself. As I recall, it helped some (the guitar was a Bourgeois dread) but I don't know that the improvement was Earth-shattering. In 2009 or thereabouts, I bought an Epiphone IB'64 Texan and also bought a ToneRite. The ToneRite device is one of those guitar toys people either love or hate. My verdict was it helped open up the guitar. There was an improvement, but I had a luthier/repairman friend sand down the poly finish on the top, and that opened it up even more. I stuck the ToneRite on a '98 J-45 I had (bought new in '99) and I couldn't notice any difference.
  13. Consider it a learning experience. We have ALL had them. Some lessons are more expensive than others. One big takeaway for you, though, is that nitro finishes are nothing to screw around with. There is a wide range of items and chemicals — from guitar stands to straps to capos and tuners to insect repellent to even some guitar cases — that will react with it, especially if it hasn’t fully cured. And by “react” I mean turn it soft, ripple it, etc. Maybe take the guitar to a respected repair shop near you and get their opinion on what, if anything, can or should be done. Keep in mind, though, that many fixes involving nitrocellulose finishes can be costly and time-consuming. Your time is probably best spent just playing the guitar — and saving up for the next one. Also keep in mind some of the old blues and folk guys made great music with beat-up plywood guitars. They would’ve killed for a J-15, warts and all. The music is in YOU, not the guitar.
  14. Few people can list more complaints about Gibson than the folks on this forum. We have lived through some really disappointing guitars out of that company and we've been pretty vocal about it. We've also found some truly inspiring instruments that are among the best production-line guitars ever made by anyone. I'm sorry you had issues, but here's the deal: When you buy a guitar in a store, you play and inspect THE ACTUAL GUITAR YOU ARE BUYING before leaving the store with it. It takes all of 10 minutes. That applies whether you're a beginner or experienced player. That applies to any guitar, no matter the price. If you're buying online, deal with a retailer who has a return policy. You wouldn't buy a car without first sitting in it or taking it for a test drive. It is really that simple.
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