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Everything posted by YerDugliness

  1. I have mod'd almost every guitar I've owned for almost all of my life...here is what I think: If you feel your guitar's tone is lacking, the first thing to change from plastic to bone is the saddle...just be aware that your bridge must be firmly attached to the soundboard...and you will notice a greater difference if your soundboard is solid wood than if it is a laminate product. There will also be a difference in tonal inprovement depending on whether your guitar is rather new and the cells are still full of cytoplasm, or if the guitar has some age on it and the wood has had a chance to "age in", which results from the cytoplasm inside the cells drying up and therefore creating more "resonant space" inside the cells. Imagine the difference in tone you will percieve if you tap a wine glass with thin walls compared to tapping an equivalent wine glass with thick walls...the one with thin walls will ring much more loudly as well as longer...try it! As for the nut, I always change that out at the same time I change out the saddle and with the same product...I like the appearance when both match! Changing out the nut has little, if any, impact on the guitar's tone...but I usually detect better sustain. That is not the reason to change out the nut, though. The real reason I change out the nut is longevity. The wound strings can have much the same effect as a nut-file (which is actually just a very small, precisely sized rat-tailed file), and over time the wound strings will cause the plastic nut to wear the nut slots deeper...and then you need a new nut, anyway, so get both done at the same time, you'll save $$ and the aggravation of having to replace the nut later (...and at a time when it is usually decidedly inconvenient...Murphy's Law is ALWAYS in effect)!!! As for the bridge pins, I agree that there is no impact on tone, volume or sustain...but sometimes bone pins can be problematic because variations in temperature and humidity can cause the wood from which the bridge is made to swell and shrink. If you replace the plastic pins with bone (or ivory, fossilized walrus tusk,etc.) at a time when the wood is at low humidity and the holes for the bridge pins are enlarged (and most of us make sure the bridge pins are pressed into the bridge's holes quite firmly) when the wood from which the bridge is made swells with increased humidity there is a good chance that the bridge can develop splits/cracks from the increased "grip". If you really need to change out your bridge pins, get wooden pins and splitting will not be a problem. As for going to larger size strings, I always notice the increase in volume...but if I need greater volume I just switch to a heavier gauge flatpick and I get greater volume without having to suffer from the increased tension on the neck and the increased wear/tear on the fingertips on my left hand caused by the heavier strings (yes, I am right handed). I haven't even started on the differences these changes/improvements make on guitars equipped with spruce soundboards as compared to cedar soundboards (or even redwood soundboards, with which both my concert grade Hippner classical guitar and my custom shop Breedlove 000 Revival instruments are constructed)...another time?? Gotta admit, though... my favorite guitar, by far, and the one that gets the most play time, is my beloved Epuphone AJ500RC!!! It is still box-stock and I use .011-.053 light gauge strings....changed the strings out just today. Man, I loves me the sound of some new strings!!! Cheers!! "Dugly"
  2. I noticed that Epi makes an "Elitist" version of the Texan. This was surprising to me b/c I thought all of the Elitist offerings by Epi were electric guitars, didn't know they made any acoustic Elitist guitars. ...you'd better have deep pockets, though...I looked at the price....OUCH!!! It's kind of like trying to by a McLaren...if you have to ask about the price, it's too much. Still...I'd like to hear one. I already own one $4,000 acoustic guitar, not sure I need a second. Cheers! Dugly B)
  3. Just remembered something interesting about the guy I mentioned. His name was ******* Joplin...he said Janis Joplin was his 3rd cousin. Not surprisingly, he had a zillion stories about her...sounded like she might have been a bit rowdy (says he with tongue squarely pressed against cheek). Cheers! Enjoy that axe! Dugly
  4. A participant in the monthly Pearl, TX bluegrass jams played a 6-string guitar marked "Epiphone by Gibson". It was an incredibly well made guitar, played easily and sounded great! You are a lucky individual, indeed, to have acquired one! Cheers!! Dugly
  5. Great choice!!! Dings? I don't see no steenkin' dings!!! I like it more than I wanted to. At first all I bought were dreads and then I started moving to less sizable interests and forgot all about GASing for large ones. Sure do like that slope-shouldered look, though. NS=Natural Satin? Not a fan of pickguards, either...but it can be quite easily removed. Did I mention how much i sure do like that slope shouldered shape? Hmmmmmm.... Cheers!! Dugly
  6. Sounds like you may have run across an AJ500RC and/or an AJ500RCE. They sound like similar guitars...maybe one with a cutaway/pickup combo, the other strictly acoustic...but they aren't. Diffences arise in tonewoods, with the AJ500RC having a cedar soundboard and the newer AJ500RCE having spruce, IIRC. Both use Indian Rosewood for sides & backs. Large differences arise between them regarding the neck...the AJ500RC neck joins the body at the 12th fret and the AJ500RCE joins at the 14th fret...and the heads are quite different, with the AJ500RC having a "slot-head" and the AJ500RCE having the more common "peg head". The neck on the AJ500RC is a thicker "V-neck" design, whereas the AJ500RCE will likely be a thinner/faster neck. The body shape is different between the two models, too, with the AJ500RC having a "Southern Jumbo/slope shouldered" shape and the AJ500RCE having the more square-shouldered upper bout characteristic of dreadnought models. If the shop owner is right about the history I believe it's likely that at least one of them is an AJ500RC. I own one and frequently mention that it is my favorite steel string guitar, so of course it gets my highest recommendation. Having said that, though, the Masterbilt line of Epiphone's are very well made and highly regarded acoustic instruments, so you would not go wrong with either model...and that $400/$300 deal is one I would jump all over before someone else realizes what a steal/deal that is!! Please let us know how you resolve this dilema...wish I could run across deals like this! Cheers! Dugly
  7. Have you tried a heavier pick yet? Cheers!! Dugly
  8. While I like my Planet Waves humidifier, I have found it much easier to just set the butt of my guitar on the toilet lid, with the guitar leaning back against the tank (sometimes I use a floor stand on the toilet's lid to make it more stable), while I take a steamy shower. I close the door to the bathroom and when I'm done showering I leave the guitar in the bathroom to absorb as much of the humidity in the air as it will. Whenever possible I leave the guitar in the bathroom for an extended period of time...over-night if possible, or at least 8 hours, just to allow it to humidify. I've never had a problem with any of my solid wood guitar pieces splitting. My Planet Waves sound-hole humidifier is used when I travel with my guitars. Cheers! Dugly B)
  9. If I had to guess I'd say Sitka Spruce...it's not only plentiful, there's a ready supply growing right here in the U.S.A....in our upper northwestern states. Here is what AGF had to say (hard to tell if there was a consistent consensus): http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=154613 Cheers! Dugly
  10. For the most part, manufacturers put model and/or serial numbers on the guitar in places other than a paper label...the paper labels are known to get "lost" now and then. The most common place to find the model and/or serial number is on the neck-block, a block of wood inside the body at the place where the neck joins the body of the guitar. Try shining a flashlight into the body of the guitar and look up towards the neck joint...there should be something there. If not, we're going to need photographs. Most of us use an online photo-hosting website to store our photos...post the "IMG" code into a post on this thread and we'll be able to see the guitar; post other "codes" such as an HTML code or some other code and the chances aren't too good. Cheers! Dugly
  11. I own a Breedlove 000 Revival...custom shop order with master grade redwood ssoundboard, ziricote sides and back, koa bindings, and a full "grupo" (to use a bicycling term) of West African Hard Ivory for nut/saddle/bridge/endpin and strap button. It is a true piece of visual art. Yes, it was as expensive as many, if not most, Gibsons, but it was a retirement present to myself when I retired after 32 years in public education. It's hard to play, but I think I can remedy that by going to lighter gauge strings. I think the factory setup needs some fine tuning, too. It has an incredible voice! Cheers!! Dugly
  12. Google JLD bridge doctor, they have a screw attach model and a brass pin model. They are a device designed to keep the soundboard from "lifting" at the bridge from string tension. Does it look familiar to what you found inside the body of your guitar? Cheers!! Dugly
  13. I'm a bit confused, folks...but maybe not? Is it possible there is NO AJ-54me? I searched, but found no info on that model...but, then, Epiphone does discontinue models rather regularly (when I joined this forum Elitist electrics and my AJ500RC models were available...now most, if not all, are discontinued). Was the AJ54me a previously available model, or did somehow the label misprint with "45" digits transposed? Just curious... Thanks! Dugly
  14. DAMN, those look HOT!!! My first guitar was an f-holed archtop. It was given to me, and for good reason...the neck needed to be reset so badly it would not stay in tune beyond the 5th fret. I must have given it away because I no longer own it, but for the life of me I can't remember where it went. I looked on Sweetwater...they are mid-priced, verging on affordable...and they gave me GAS with their cool vintage look and great sound (being juiced up at the factory is an added plus). Cheers to Epiphone for this series!!! Dugly
  15. I am fortunate to have one of the Masterbilt AJ500RC's. This guitar puts my expensive, custom made Breedlove and all my other steel-string guitars to shame, it's not only the best (IMHO, of course) tonewood combination (cedar soundboard/rosewood sides and back) and is of all solid wood construction, but the width of the fretboard and the scale are absolutely perfect for me. The sound is very well defined and it plays much louder than would be expected; the only problem it has (and all cedar topped guitars have this problem) is that when driven hard the sound tends to get a bit "muddy"...thank goodness it is such a cannon, it doesn't need to have the dogshirt played out of it just to get volume. It's an out-of-production model, so I don't expect it to win any popularity contests, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone who owned one have anything but praise for this model. If you find one at a reasonable price (my "new" price from Sweetwater was under $600) by all means take the chance and get it...if you don't like it and it's intact, I'll certainly buy it from you...they are THAT good! If I can manage to bring Photobucket to it's knees, perhaps I can post some photos of this oldie-but-goodie! Cheers! Dugly B)
  16. From what I read combining the UST/piezo pickup with a microphone will result in the most realistic sound production. I'll certainly take a look at the DTAR option. Thanks! Dugly B)
  17. I owned an Ovation "Troubador" acoustic-only model (it was 1972...that is what my memory says, but we all know about memories from that long ago, so the model might be wrong!) and it was the most absolutely horrid guitar I've ever played. I had to have the neck adjusted almost every time the sun came up in the east. The neck was absolutely TOO narrow for hands that had learned on a classical guitar. The only reason I even kept the guitar was that it did have a very "pure" tone. I hated the way that plastic bowl they used for a back slid down while I was playing it. It was my very first steel-string guitar, I paid $75 for it and it was practically new with Ovation HSC. It was stolen from my home while I was away on vacation...I didn't even mind, but I REALLY wanted the classical guitar back that was stolen with it. My juiced guitars were all "juiced" at the factory...Washburn and Takamini models. They sound fine to my old (68 years soon) ears, but I think this AJ500RC will out-do them if I can get the right pickup. I read the Reverb article and it sounds like I was right to pick the K&K Mini, as it seems to offer the best amplification for the acoustic guitar. I think I'll give it a try and see how I like it. If I still had the golden ears I had as a younger audiophile I could probably tell whether it was the best choice, but that boat sailed LOOOONG ago...so, thank you for posting that link, it was quite helpful in making my decision! There WAS an ovation A/E model that I thought was attractive...was it the "Adonis" model? It had a group of smaller holes up at the margin of the upper bout rather than a centrally located sound-hole. As I looked at that guitar I almost wanted one, because the neck looked wide enough...but there was still that "bowl" shaped back, so "almost" was as close as I could get. One of my favorite guitarists...Jerry Wood (the other half of the Finnigan and Wood duo of "Crazed Hipsters" fame) once traded a beautiful flamed maple Gibson Les Paul in on an Ovation Electric...I was not a fan of the Ovation solid body electric just because it looked so....what....awful? Jerry's no longer with us....drugs, I've heard...all Mike will say is something to the effect of "It's a shame how things ended for Jerry". I have my own history with Ovations...SO glad your experience with them has been better than mine . Cheers! Dugly B)
  18. I took a look at the K&K website...it's changed considerably since the last time I looked (probably two years ago), but they now refer to their pickups as "transducers"...piezos, I'd guess. I looked at Amazon, too...found LOTS of highly complimentary reviews and Amazon sells the system at a very decent price. I do remember that one could also order a volume control (a knurled knob type that gets attached to the underside of the soundboard at the "top" of the soundhole) as well as what I recall as a "phase control"...perhaps some sort of device to control feedback? I REALLY like the idea of a microphone based system, would you mind providing me with the names of the companies who offer those, Cougar? Having said that, though...a lot of the reviews on Amazon (and there were some 280+ of them) said that the K&K Mini Pure Western did a better job of reproducing the individual voice of their acoustic guitar than any other system they had tried. The number of reviews that said that was VERY impressive. It is also surprising that their steel string system uses three transducers while their system for classical guitars uses four...wonder why? While the installation MAY be simple, I'd leave all that up to the shop I use in Houston. It's a Gibson authorized repair center and they said they have had great success installing the K&K products. Cheers!!! Dugly
  19. Thanks...yes, it's the slot-headed 12-fret free model. I'll check out the K&K system...I'd prefer a microphone based system just because my AJ has the sweetest tone I've ever heard and that is what I think a mic would reproduce better than a piezo or UST. Thanks, again! Cheers! Dugly B)
  20. Despite the fact that my collection of guitars includes a few multi-thousand dollar specimens, my Masterbilt AJ500RC is my very favorite play. It was a cosmic coalescence of the right tone-woods, the right size body, the right scale, and a "baseball bat" neck that is VERY comfortable for me to play. I'd like to juice it up to use onstage (I currently use a Tak 2005 LTD edition). I'm hoping that I can get some advice from our forum members. I don't like a UST pickup...just don't think they would do a good job of reproducing the incredible tonal characteristics of this Masterbilt. I think I prefer the K&K products, which include 3 (for a steel string acoustic) or 4 (for a classical) microphones glued to the underside of the bridge-plate inside the body of the guitar. So...has anyone tried this option? If I did this, I'd have the shop (which is an authorized Gibson repair shop) relocate the strap button on the butt of the guitar to the heel of the neck and replace it with a matching end-pin jack. I know I'd need to wear some sort of pre-amp, that doesn't bother me as I'm mostly standing (or sitting, as in my photo/avatar) in front of a mic and don't move around much when performing. What say you, folks? Cheers from Dugly
  21. Correct you are, JJ...no right or wrong, personal preference rules! Protecting the appearance of a guitar is a perfectly good reason to want a pickguard! Life is all about choices...I was just posing a question regarding which issue was most important to the OP. My first guitar was a classical guitar (and they are STILL my favorite type of guitar). My handmade Hippner concert grade classical guitar is the one I play when I perform onstage or in competitions. In fact, I didn't own a steel-string guitar until I had been playing a classical for 35 years...I tried, but the Ovation I bought second hand had the narrowest fretboard I've ever played, so it was useless, and the Yamaha I bought hurt my fingers...I didn't even mind when the Ovation was stolen in a burglary, but I sure do miss the classical that was stolen at the same time. I own multiple classicals...NEVER will a pick touch those strings or that soundboard, they are only played fingerstyle. My acoustics and electric guitars all get played with a pick and fingerstyle, both...but no pickguard, I don't mind a few scratches, although playing even my steel-string guitars in a "classical guitar" posture seems to allow me to hold my forearm away from the body of the guitar, so none of my acoustic steel-string guitars seem to be scratched, either. My Epi Dot doesn't get much play time, but my Epi LP "copy" does...it's solid body and was only $100, so I enjoy wailing on that one...it'll get scratched and I don't care! Willie Nelson's "Trigger" is a perfect example of what can happen with a pick and no pickguard, but it doesn't seem to hamper Willie much... Like I say...life's all about choices...it's ALL good! Cheers! YerDugliness
  22. Just a quick question...what is your purpose for the pickguard? That may sound like a rather "obtuse" question, but I'll explain why I asked. I have 14 guitars and the only one with a pickguard is my Epiphone Dot jazzbox, and that one is removed, but just because I don't like how it hides the fine appearance of the soundboard on my Dot. The reason I do not like a pickguard (and when I ordered my Breedlove custom shop Revival 000 I specified "pickguard delete") is that the majority of the sound emanating from a guitar is produced by the soundboard. IMHO, adding a pickguard to the soundboard tends to diminish the tone of the guitar. It's like a guitar with a laminate top to add a pick-guard, IMHO, because the function of the soundboard is to vibrate and excite the air inside the body of the guitar into vibrations...which we perceive as sound...and when you adhere an object with dissimilar vibratory characteristics you interfere with the sounboard's ability to vibrate, which can only diminish not only the volume of the guitar, but also the tone and sustain. Keep in mind this is only MY opinion, but it's one I developed over the past 50 years with this box in my hands. I fully understand the desire to maintain an instrument's appearance...many of my guitars were purchased specifically because of their appearance, particularly my handmade concert grade Hippner classical guitar and my custom shop Breedlove...but as a lifelong instrumentalist I have focused my efforts on developing and maintaining the tonal characteristics of each of my guitars. I guess I don't mind a scratch or two on the soundboard...would rather have that than a guitar whose sound character was even in the least bit "muted" by anything...as I play I am very careful not to rest my forearm on the guitar, which would also "dampen" the vibrations of the soundboard. I can hear a huge difference in the tone of my high-end guitars if I keep my forearm free of contact with the body of the guitar. Life's all about choices...I am not criticizing yours, just explaining mine. I hope your project turns out to be more than you expected Cheers from Dugly B)
  23. IIRC his name was Gary (that could be wrong), but he went by "TREEROOT" on the Washburn forum. I tried to surf into his eBay link, but didn't get any website, just a notice that his store doesn't exist any more. Here's the address: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/TREE-ROOT-products_MUSIC-GUITAR-ACCESSORIES I will try to send him a PM through the Washburn website. Is your email address in your profile? If so, I'll include it in the PM to him. He may be out of the business. If he responds I'll return to this thread and edit to include his contact information. [edit: If your email address is in your profile, it does not show when I click on the link to email to you. I found TREEROOT on the member list at Washburn's forum, but there was no contact information. In fact, his last activity on the forum was about 5 years ago on November 20, 2012, 02:58:29 AM. I did send him an email asking if he is still producing saddles and fretboard nuts...will let you know if he responds.] I hope this helps! Cheers! Dugly B)
  24. I wonder the same thing regarding the laminate rosewood...I own quite a few Washburn guitars and most of them are solid wood soundboard and laminate sides and backs...so Washburn does do as you are suggesting Epiphone should and seems to be successful at it. Brazilian Rosewood is a "protected" species now and it's been reported that even Gibson has had to justify its supply of Brazilian Rosewood. Indian rosewood is not so rare, and that is the variety of rosewood I see on my Washburns and also on my Epiphone AJ500RC (which is an all-solid wood guitar...and in my opinion it is a Southern Jumbo style. The "A" in AJ500RC stands for "Advanced", a reference to the location of the braces on the underside of the soundboard). My AJ500RC fits my dreadnought size guitar cases perfectly and has slope-shoulders rather than the usual square-shouldered design we see on dreads...that's a Southern Jumbo to me ! It takes us all a while to determine the tonewood combination we prefer...it seems to be one of those latter "epiphanies" for most of us. Mine happens to be cedar/rosewood, although I do have a few spruce/mahogany and Ovangkol instruments. Those instruments were purchased early in the development of my "collection". Cheers! Dugly
  25. There are a lot of nut/saddle options out there...take a look at Bob Colosi's website at www.guitarsaddles.com He offers nuts/saddles "prefitted" for your guitars if you can send some rather specific measurements, or more effectively just send him the nut and/or saddle off your guitar (he's fast with his turnarounds, so you won't be without your favorite for long!) He does supply the replacement parts ever-so-slightly oversized so that you can sand them down to get a tight fit in the slot on the bridge (the saddle). What amazes me is the variety of materials he carries...up to and including a variety of ivory that is legal to import into the U.S. (but, I must add, carries an admonition from Bob that any guitar with his "West African Hard Ivory" should not be taken outside of the U.S. because some countries may impound the guitar, or...far worse, just destroy it because it has prohibited materials built into it). I have become convinced that the more "dense" a material is, the better it suffices as a saddle and/or nut. Some older guitars were produced with brass nuts and saddles. My vision is to start cutting down a few pieces of petrified wood I own to see if I can figure out a way to make replacement saddles for some of my older guitars, which would still have plastic saddles in the bridges. When I commissioned Breedlove to make me a custom shop 000 I had Bob provide West African Hard Ivory for the nut, the saddle, the bridge pins, the strap button and the endpin. That was expensive and added about $300 to the already huge price for the custom guitar, but had I not done that I would have definitely wondered for the rest of my life how it would have sounded...this way I know for sure! So...give Bob's website a look-see and you'll find more about pins/nuts/buttons/saddles, etc than you ever thought existed. BTW...Bob is stateside, I see you're in Europe. I can't recall his name, but there is another source for replacement saddles, etc in Great Britain...once I recall the name of the person who produces those products (hoping the memory works) I'll return to this thread and update the information with an edit. Cheers! Dugly B)
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