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Raptor

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Raptor last won the day on October 18 2018

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About Raptor

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  1. There are cosmetic and tonal differences to consider. You get Mother of Pearl on the Custom, multi-layer binding and gold hardware and the 490/498 which are a good general purpose pair of pickups. The Standard has burstbuckers which give it a more vintage tone, some figuring on the top, single ply binding and a rosewood fretboard and both are now weight relieved. The Custom has an ebony fretboard which will add a bit of brightness to the tone, though not everyone can detect it. It is when you start looking at the reissues, Customs, LPs and Standards, that you start finding bigger differences in specs and some tone variation, especially when compared to the Gibson USA models or modern models. The best thing you could do is try both and see if you notice a difference that is worth the price. Sure, the Custom is at or near the top of the line and most people think that makes it the coolest or best, but the best guitar for you is the one that fits your playing style and tonal needs, that feels the best in your hands, sounds the best to you, and fits your budget and lifestyle. If you cannot try both before you buy, my suggestion would be to go for the lesser of the two evils then work up. If you end up stepping up to a Custom you are likely to take less of a financial hit when you sell the Standard. Hope that helps some. Let us know how you make out. Cheers
  2. Hey Joe, Sorry, but belated congrats. I finally have recieved clearance to go back to my normal work, typing and playing guitars and such after my accident this spring. Finally after 4 months of physion the numbness is gone from my fingers on my left hand. I hope to be back here in the forums again much more regularly as well. How are things going Joe? I am still waiting for my painted 25th Anniversary PRS Dragon. Augusut is the new ETA. Cheers,
  3. You can't really compare any of the LPs to the hollow or semi-hollow body Gibsons IMO. When they began to chamber the Gibson USA models for weight, they tried to be very careful not to alter the tone from that of a solid body. Some people will say they failed, some will say they got it close, others will say there is no difference. Tone after all is very subjective. With the Gibson LPs that were designed to be chambered right from the start like the Supreme and the Elegant, most people find the chambering adds brightness and a bit more clarity to the notes, and I own both and I agree. When they designed ES style guitars they did so to keep the tone as full bodied as possible, in other words not to favour either the bass or the treble tones. So the ES are designed to be versatile beautiful guitars all around, but they do sound different from solid bodies. Now I admit I am out of my depth here because I have yet to buy any of the ES models, so I really am not a good one to speak about their tones except to say that a chambered LP is not going to be a good substitute for an ES. I do want a 335 but every time I think about buying one, my wife says "Cool" until I play them, then she doesn't like the tone. I like them (tone wise), but I am not gigging currently and have enough guitars to cover my needs right now, so I never seem to buy one. There are others around who can give you some really good insight into the tone and build differences between the ES models, and a few who have both ES and LPs and can give some more detail on their differences. DM, don't ever feel like you are asking dumb questions, it is how we all learned about guitars ourselves so we have all been there and have the T-shirt. It is a tough situation when you cannot try the guitars you want to buy. Because tone is such an individual thing, even with the best intentions in the world we might not steer you towards the guitar you really want. Even sending you to listen to sound clips can be misleading because of all the variables in the tone chain such as amps and recording equipment, so what might sound beautiful in a clip, played through a boutique amp and recorded professionally may not sound nearly as nice in person through your amp. We will try to help you as best as we can though. I see you also asked in the Hollow/Semi-hollow forums too. Don't be too quick to dismiss the Epiphones or even (gasp) other brands, at least to start with. Remember you can always change out pickups and upgrade little bits to make it a bit closer to what you want. So how about it guys? Can you help fill in where I run out of gas? How close is a chambered LP to a 336? Or am I right in thinking that they won't really compare well at all? Cheers p.s. if we get no more help for you by next weekend, I will see if I can find a 336 localy and compare it to some of my LPs for you.
  4. Hi Doin Montary, Your question about the differences between high end and bottom end Les Pauls can be a complex one to answer. A lot depends on the era from which you are buying the guitar, in other words if you are buying a used one versus a new one. Through the early 1970's there were very few models to choose from in the Les Paul, and the differences a lot of the time were mainly cosmetic. A lower end LP would have no binding, then as prices went up you would get more and more layers of binding, or gold hardware, more finish choices and occasionally different pickups. Then towards the late 1970's and early 1980's they began to make a lot more models, but I believe most had the same pickups. Then Norlin sold the company and they went back to fewer models and the same pickups for a number of years. So late 1980's to early 1990's again it was mostly finish choices, hardware choices and binding. I remember when I bought my first Studio in the early 1990's. It was to replace the 2 LPs that I had stolen, a Pro Deluxe and a Custom. I wanted to get a new Custom, but the salesman told me that the $3000 Custom had the same pickups and electronics in it as the $1200 Studio, so I got a Studio. Then in the mid 1990's (1993 I think) they made the Custom Shop a seperate entity and again began making the differences more significant. I don't have any reference books handy right now, so some of my dates may be off some, but that is a down and dirty idea about that period. Now, from the start of the Custom Shop to present the differences become a bit more pronounced. I have to say that I am not all that familiar with the Gibson USA products, especially since the explosion of new models since about 2003 or so. But with the Gibson USA line the basic differences are different levels of finishes and different pickup sets. The 'faded' versions basically have a minimal finish which can look quite nice and I think most of them come with or still use the 490/498 pickup set which is a pretty good general rock and roll pickup set. Then as you move up to the Studio you begin to get a glossy finish with clear coat lacquer on it, some more hardware choices and occassionally ebony fretboard or other small bells and whistles. The Studio is also slightly thinner than the other LPs, the Gibson USA models pretty much use either the 60's slim taper or 50's rounded profiles on the necks, one exception to this used to be the Classic which had a very thin 60's tapered profile. As you go on to the Standard you get binding, burst finishes and more vintage sounding pickups. Then the top Gibson USA model is the Supreme which is thicker than other LPs and has a maple cap on the back as well. If you get a Supreme with a burst finish the front and back are figured maple and there are fancier inlays and a lot more binding. The pickups in the Supreme are the same as in the Studio (490/498). Pretty much all the neck radii on USA LPs is 12 inches. Originally the maple bodies were solid except for the Supreme which has always been chambered. Since high quality light mahogany is becoming harder to find, in order to keep the weight down Gibson USA began chambering the bodies to help keep them light. Considering that in the 70's and early 80's a 10-14lb Les Paul was not uncommon, keeping them light is a good idea. Now with the Custom Shop LPs, originally in the start the differences were mostly cosmetic, solid colour finishes i.e. the Gold Tops, neck profiles, and figured Maple and Bursts as you went to the 58, 59 and 60. Then they began to use Burstbuckers (BBs) in the 59 and occasionally runs of the 58, the standard Custom Shop pickup had been the 57 Classics. The 59 also used to come with two cases, one a replica of the original brown cases and the other the standard black case. In 2003 they began to use the BBs in all the reissues so the differences went back to being neck profiles and finishes. Now with difficulty in getting lightweight mahogany, they use the 'premium' woods in the Custom Shop guitars so they are still solid bodied. The Custom Shop guitars also have more hands on work done in the building process compared to the Gibson USA models (the LP Custom moved to the Custom Shop around 2000 I think). So the differences between a $3000 57 Gold Top reissue and a $7000 59 reissue are the neck profiles, the GT doesn't need a figured maple top while the 59 does and the 59 has a burst finish applied instead of a solid gold one. The 58 used to be available in a plain or figured top at a lower price than the 59, then since most original 58s were plain tops they went to just plain top 58s so they don't use an expensive piece of figured maple. So to summarize quickly within the Gibson USA line there are now a few different models that offer little extras but it is largely cosmetics. Between the Gibson USA and CS models, the CS guitars get higher quality wood, more hands on work, more vintage appeal and a wider variety of neck profile differences between models than most Gibson USA ones. Within the CS models, there are physical differences in the neck profiles and hardware arrangements in the reissues as well as some large cosmetic differences. I don't know if that helps you any. I am sure others will correct my errors (it's 3AM here) or add more info if you need. I know that Joe always has reference material close by to clarify things and others here are well versed in the differences. The big thing with the Custom Shop guitars especially the reissues is the vintage specs i.e. neck profiles (by the way they get smaller as you move from the 1952 reissue to the 1960 reissue) and that is an important thing to keep in mind. What I am trying to say is this, if you are looking for a Gibson USA model and you like the Standard with a 60's neck profile and BB pickups, but only have $1000 or so, you can get an LP Studio with a 60's profile neck, slap in a set of BBs and have a guitar that sounds and feels pretty close to the Standard that you can't afford. But if you fall in love with a 59 reissue but only have $3000 or so and say "Well I'll get a 57 Gold Top instead." You will get a guitar that sounds the same but the neck profile might be too big for you to play comfortably. So with the reissues, it is a bit more involved than just saving a few dollars. Of course it would take a lot more to cover every possible difference from every possible year so all I could do is give a very rough overview. If you have a couple of specific guitars in mind, then someone might be able to give you some more detailed comparisons. Cheers
  5. Beautiful guitar, one of the Music Machine Stingers I believe, thus the MM. I think they were a special run done for Music Machine with the stinger. Congrats on a fantastic guitar.
  6. Hi Kzin, Of course if you can get most of the things you want with the initial purchase, then that is great. For some folks modding their guitar is a passion, but you are right, it is extra money and work. As for the differences between the 57 Classics and the BBs, I own several Les Pauls with both pickups (not the + pickups though, just the normally wound ones). I love both of them, they are very good vintage sounding pickups. I find they both have a nice vintage quack to them. In my 50th Anniversary R8 the BBs are beautiful, clear ringing notes and a lot of articulation. In my Elegant the 57 Classics sound every bit as good, but the guitar is chambered and that adds some brightness to them. In my R7 Gold top the 57s sounded a bit darker than the BBs. So in my opinion the BBs have a touch more brightness and a dash more definition. So the 57+ and BB+, being just overwound versions, should have similar characteristics with some extra output.
  7. Hi Kzin, The 50's and 60's necks on Gibson USA guitars are fairly uniform, so if you can play and like an SG with a 50's style neck then a Gibson USA LP with one should not be a problem for you. You only get into big differences in neck profiles when you go into the Custom Shop reissues. Even the Gibson USA necks are hand shaped, but they are more consistent to each other. A coilsplit humbucker does not sound like a Tele or Strat single coil. A single coil pickup on a Fender can be in the 6.5 to 10 K Ohm range, a 57 Classic or Burstbucker humbucker is usually in the 7-8 K range so if you split that, you only get about half the output. It is a very unique tone, but cannot really be compared to a Strat or Tele's pickups. More Strat like than Tele can be a fair statement about the tone, but you will not get nearly the same output. On a non-tremolo guitar, locking tuners make string changes faster, which is great if you are gigging with the guitar and don't have a back up, but they do not offer more tuning security than a properly strung and stretched string on a non-locking tuner. If you like locking tuners, then great, that is fine, by all means if they are that important then get them. The 57+ and BB3 are both slightly hotter (higher output) versions of the normal pickups. Both 57s and BBs are great vintage sounding pickups and should be close in tone. Of course each guitar can sound significantly different due to the wood used, slightly different densities and grain orientation and such. So while one guitar might sound so-so to you, you might pickup the same model, next serial number in line and go "Wow!". So unless you can try both before you buy it is a bit of a shot in the dark. For you, I think playing comfort is going to be the biggest factor in your decision. If you like satin necks, then that might be the best way for you to go. Remember tuners and pickups can always be changed later if you desire, in fact a coil tap can also be added by a good tech later if you wish. You really sound undecided, on one hand you like some of the features on the ebony, but really prefer the appearance of the HCS. So you will have to decide on what is most important to you and choose. I wish you luck, let us know what you get.
  8. I can almost see a little gap all along the binding, which suggests to me that at some point the fretboard swelled up some and pushed the binding out a bit. If the fretboard had dried and shrunk, the frets would stay in the same position and push out at the nibs causing little cracks in the binding where the frets are. Thus if it had shrunk the binding would be tighter against the fret ends. However with a combination of swelling and shrinking over time it might have loosened the binding a bit over time. I don't buy the 'losing' the bottom binding line. Worst case, all he should have to do is cut off the nibs and leave the fret ends over the binding. If he removes the entire binding you will have a ridge where the binding used to be that you will feel and will hurt you if you go to sell the guitar in the future. I agree that you need a second opinion on it and I think you need to monitor the humidity of the guitar closely to make sure it doesn't get worse. If the binding has pulled away a bit, a good luthier should be able to re-glue it for you. In the meantime you can try a larger guage string and see how that works for you.
  9. It's very hard to suggest a setting because what sounds good to me, you might not like. As you lower the pickups you lose some volume. If you raise the pickups too high the magnetic field will take hold of the strings and you will lose sustain. Remember of course that the bass strings are thicker than the treble so what might sound good for the treble can rob sustain from the bass side. What sounds good on the bass side might not be good enough on the treble side. So do not forget that you can angle the pickup by raising the treble side more than the bass, and also do not forget about the pole piece screws too. With the pole piece screws you can fine tune to the tone you want hopefully. I would suggest that you lower both pickups a good deal to start with. Then, which ever pickup you use the most, slowly raise the bass side until you get close to the tone that you want on those strings. Then raise the treble side of the pickup until you get close to your desired tone on those. Then try the guitar playing all the strings to determine how close you are to what you want. Once you get the whole pickup close, you can go through the individual strings again and raise or lower the pole pieces until you find the sweet spot you are seeking. Then you can repeat the procedure for the other pickup leaving the first pickup set where it is. Now remember if you cannot get a string dialed in on the second pickup, you might have to readjust the polepiece on the other pickup. What I mean is, if you have the first pickup set the way you want on say the 6th string, but on the second pickup you feel you are losing sustain, then try lowering the 6th string polepiece on the other pickup to see if it improves. Of course you might lose some of what you like on the first pickup. It is always a trade off. Also remember that the pickups do not have to be set up the same way at all. It is not unsual to see the neck/rhythmn pickup set fairly neutral, or closer on the bass side, but the bridge/lead pickup raised closer on the treble side since that is primarily the side for solos. I also suggest that you have a piece of paper and a pen or pencil handy. That way you can keep track of how much you adjust each screw in case you need to backtrack. Hope that helps some without confusing you. Let us know how you make out with it. Cheers
  10. Joe, I think what you are talking about is often called the truss rod condom, or sheath. The original truss rods were a steel with a bend at one end that was set into the wood and threaded at the end where the nut goes. Then they came up with double acting truss rods which are two steel rods side by side. Anyways, in older guitars, if there is no tension on the truss rod, the steel rod would sometimes vibrate and give off a slight metallic rattle, especially with two piece truss rods. So at some point it was discovered that if you cover them with a thin plastic or rubber sheath, like heat shrink tubing, it would eliminate this metal rattle. Some of the very particular historic people claim that this rubber sheath robs the guitar of tone. So they will often complain about it and/or have it removed. Personally I do not see it, because it is not like the whole truss rod cavity is filled with rubber or plastic. Are they wrong? Who knows. It is a matter of personal opinion as far as I am concerned. A lot of folks will tell you that their guitar sounds much better without it, but who knows what difference the removal and replacement of the fretboard has had? Also it has been my opinion that very, very few people will tell that their guitar has either had no change, or is worse after spending a pile of money to 'upgrade' it. I am not condeming those who claim it to be so, I am just not convinced that it makes that much of a difference. Will Gibson ever go back to using a truss rod without a sheath? I doubt it I think they are harder to find than those with sheaths, and then if they did, within a couple of years they will have customer complaining about the rattle in the neck, wondering why Gibson can't make a better guitar. So I see it as a no win situation for Gibson. People complained about seeing the little bit of maple in the cutaway, so Gibson went to a wider binding, then people complained that it was not historically correct. Now and then you still see the odd person complaining about seeing the edge of the maple cap in the cutaway. To each his own.
  11. Well I wouldn't mind getting one if I could, but my major purchase for 2011 is already underway. I may have a look at one of the VOS models later on in the year, but it will depend on a lot of things.
  12. Hi glennc, I don't think putting different tuners or a heavier tailpiece will achieve what you want. Hanging a weight on the end of the strap might help but then how do you keep it from swinging around and bashing things up or getting in the way? The problems to consider if you add weight to the body are these, how will it affect the tone and resonance? How do you keep the weight from working loose inside the guitar? I assume that you have one of the chambered models and I forget exactly where the chambers are located. I believe there are x-rays of them around showing the locations of the chambers and I seem to remember most of the lightening being done in the mid to forward body area. Ideally it would be nice if you could do this without having to cut or drill through the top or back. If you can find an x-ray of one, and if there is chambering near the back of the body, you might be able to drill laterally (sideways) through either the bridge pickup cavity or control cavity. If so, you could drill the hole and insert the weight that way. Then I would not use molten metal but either pellets, beads, or small bars like wheel weights. Then rather than glue, use some of the expanding foam insulation that you can get at most home improvement stores. That will bond to the wood, fill up the chamber and should keep the weights from shifting around. If you cannot find a suitable chamber, then you could get a round switch cavity cover, rout out a hole in the back of the guitar, put the weight in there and then put the cover over it. Again I would use some of the expanding foam insulation to secure it. Mask off the guitar body well to keep from getting any of the foam on the guitar as it will probably ruin some of the finish. If you drill to a chamber you would be able to cut out and remove any excess foam. If you drill through the back, you can then trim the foam and sand it down until the cover fits. I haven't looked at the other site, so if I have duplicated his ideas forgive me, but that is all that comes to mind right now for me. Cheers
  13. Raptor

    xmas

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you to Gman. I hope your holidays are safe and full of joy. That wish goes to all the forum members too. I hope that everyone finds something musical under their tree too next Saturday. Cheers
  14. Well to all who have posted before me, I hope that 2011 brings you all good health, happiness, peace, and some new gear. 2010 was a rough year healthwise for my wife and I and I am hoping that 2011 gives us a break from that, 2010 is ending on a better note in that regard. On the material side, I hope to do another custom order Les Paul, and maybe a couple of others. I hope to finally get the R6 Gold Top to add to my collection. In the meantime I am waiting for my 2011 PRS Dragon to be built, so there will at least be some guitar joy coming into my life next year. I hope that you all get something great as well. Cheers
  15. The weight sounds right for an R9, and Customer Service says the number sounds right. The only thing I would question is the Seymour Duncans being a factory option. Gibson would never put aftermarket pickups in a reissue, not even a custom order. They would consider other Gibson pickups in a custom order, but not SDs or another maker (except for a few artist model runs that is). I would suggest that the Duncans were added after purchase by someone who just either forgot or made up the story. Why else would there be burstbuckers in the case as well? Either way looks like you got a nice guitar there. Enjoy it.
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