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About Staxman

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  1. Mine has no finish cracks on the sides, yet (KOW) but it has developed some hairline cracks in the white paint just below the binding on the fretboard. After closer inspection what I discovered is that the paint line overlaps the binding just a bit and the crack is developing along the line where the binding meets the wood of the neck under the paint. It appears it is a finite issue, limited to the few spots where they masked the paint line above the binding just a hair. It's not noticeable unless you look very close at the sides of the neck and it doesn't effect playability at all but an annoying finish flaw for such a new high-end guitar. Still love the guitar. It just plays and sounds like a dream and it's amazingly stable on tuning even though I have made no mods or used anything like nut-sauce or graphite. Even after it sits for a while I can pick it up and it's in near-perfect tune. Weird for a Gibson, but not complaining!
  2. Nice looking bridge Garth, glad you got it to finally stay in tune. I am impressed at how reasonably priced those bridges are for as well put-together as they look. Just my lucky stars I guess but AL-124 is very stable on tuning in her stock form, so knock-on-wood I won't need to replace my bridge. Actually, she stays in tune better than most Gibsons I've owned except the Axcess. On a related note, Rush has a new compilation CD/DVD set available, "Retrospective III" out. I don't have it yet but there is a one-hour piece called "Box Set" highlighting the new release that is playing on VH1 Classics lately, and in the program is a segment with clips from the video of "Show Don't Tell", in which Alex is playing the original white 355 with the Kahler tremolo he had installed on it. I had never seen him actually playing the guitar with the Kahler on it before, so a nice little tidbit, even though he's not really playing it, he's just "air-guitaring" for the video shoot!
  3. I just love how my gunmetal gray Axcess plays and sounds, but as much as I like the dark gray color I just couldn't warm up to the overall cosmetic look of this guitar. I think Gibson chose poorly on the look of this guitar, which would explain why the gray ones don't appear to be selling very fast like the ice-teas. So I put nickel PUP covers on, and swapped out the pickup rings and toggle switch ring for black ones and exchanged the gold top-hat knobs for black speed knobs. I also replaced the white plastic jack plate with a chrome metal one. BIG improvement IMO. It's sort of a Custom/Standard hybrid theme and now I just love how this guitar looks, and although I'm sure it's probably just in my head, I swear it plays and sounds better now. The PUP covers do smooth out the tone of the Burkbusters a bit, it is a little less bright than before which I like. Next I'm considering installing the new Graph-Tech Floyd Rose bridge that has the acoustic/piezo saddles built in. If you choose to do this take note: 1. The neck pickup ring is the standard ring that is readily available, but the bridge ring is smaller than other Gibson bridge rings, a non-standard size and I couldn't find one anywhere, so I just took a standard black bridge ring and using the white one from the Axcess as a template, I sanded down the bottom of the new ring to the proper height. 2. The Axcess has neck pole spacing on BOTH PUPS, so you need two neck position covers for the PUPS (only use real Gibson's, others don't fit). Here are some before/after pics. Hey Gibson, how bout my own signature model that looks like this!
  4. I dunno, It's such a personal thing when picking a Gibson and deciding how much money it's worth to bring it home. They're all too expensive if you ask me, just my luck I like them so much. They are so inconsistent that you need to play many of them to see if they've really got the mojo you like. Then if it does, deal with whether it's a $2,500 model or $5,000 + job. I've only ever owned one R9, an 06 model, and I loved it dearly but I was afraid to mess with it because of how much it cost. The guitar was just sweet. It felt incredible to hold, perfectly balanced and vibrant. It just sang when you played it, even unplugged. But Gibson's aren't the kind of guitars you can play a lot without having to keep adjusting the setup, they live and breathe quite a bit so when you make one a "player" instead of a collectors piece, you end up messing with it a lot. As much as I loved that R9, I wanted to play it all the time but couldn't get myself to feel comfortable putting any fret-wear or scratches on it. So when I did play it I really babied it and din't play agressively. I ended up selling it on E-Bay to fund the purchase of my Alex Lifeson 355 and a Les Paul Axcess. One could argue the Lifeson should be a collector's piece, but to me these are both real players, and I don't hold back on them at all like I did on the R9. I think the 50th R9s are just gorgeous, would love to have another R9 someday when I can feel ok with playing the darn thing a lot instead of just trying to preserve it's mint-condition value. You only live on this planet once, Garth, and they may not have Les Pauls wherever your going next. Follow your heart on this one my friend, but my 2 cents is don't spend a ton on an R9 just to set it on a stand and admire it, if you get one then justify up front spending big bucks on a guitar you really intend to play and get enjoyment out of. Otherwise, get something you will play a lot and enjoy without worrying about putting a little play wear on it.
  5. I don't think the stop-tails will be limited. Local GC has several in stock already.
  6. FYI I was at local GC today and they had just received a few Axcess stop-tails, iced-teas. Still no sight of the Customs other than the one-off I briefly saw months ago.
  7. FYI I ran across some clips on Youtube of an excellent Rush tribute doing some classic tunes at rehearsal, sadly it seems they are losing their "Geddy" to a job move. The guitar player is playing what appears to be the AL-355, but a little fuzzy so can't be sure if it is an AL or a similar look-alike. Search "deadbeatdad rush" and you'll find the clips. Anyone here in that band or know who the guitar player is? They are one of the best Rush tributes I've seen on the net, very authentic sounding.
  8. Sorry my "post" button triggered pre-maturely. Meant to finish by saying that would be an enlightening experience.
  9. Thanks for posting this Crappy, Obviously the AL didn't get quite the same attention to design detail as the Clapton but this is a very cool video that I've never seen before. Watching this, it makes it even more puzzling how the volute on the AL was made the way it was, it seems almost impossible that such a major difference from the original could be missed when so many people are checking the feel and profile of the neck during the manufacturing process. The video is from 2006, but surely some or all of those folks must still work at Gibson Custom Shop and I'll bet at least several of them could tell us what happened with the AL volute. I still love playing AL124 as much as any guitar I own and have no issues with the volute other than the fact it is not historically accurate, and hope we can all refrain from more flame-throwing at Gibson over this beat-to-death subject. But seeing the video does clear up how Gibson approaches these artist inspired models, and certainly adds more puzzlement to the AL issues. If only we could corner the cast of this video in a sealed room for an hour! That would be
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