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Everything posted by devellis

  1. I can see why you're disappointed. Obviously I don't know what you paid or who did the work but that's not what I'd expect from a professional luthier. Sorry this went the way it did for you.
  2. Hmmm. Need to give the Sunbeams a try. I've bounced back and forth between lights and mediums and am now using Martin light-mediums as a compromise. I like the easier string bends of lighter strings but the thump of heavier ones. Sounds like the DR's may come close to the best of both.
  3. Excellent point. As another non-singer, that's something I look for, as well.
  4. Yup, that's the one. It was a great event.
  5. Yeah, I'm another fan of RGD. I had the good fortune to attend a seminar and concert a couple of months ago that focused on the Reverend's music and featured Elijah Wald, Stefan Grossman, Ernie Hawkins, and Jorma Kaukanen. It was a great evening. Ernie, as it turns out, has a Ph.D. in philosophy. Elijah talked about the background of Davis's music and played a bit. The others talked a bit and played a whole bunch. I also took part in a workshop a few months ago that Roy Book Binder -- another Gary Davis deciple -- offered. Roy taught us a lot of Davis's "bag of tricks" for playing in his style. I still have tons more to learn but Roy gave us all a lot of great stuff to work on. The kind of rag-oriented blues that Gary Davis played is definitely my favorite style of guitar and it's where I put most of my effort. So much to learn and so little time.
  6. Thanks for the compliment, jchabalk. If EuroAussie or anyone else wants to use it for a poster, they have my blessing.
  7. Interesting discussion. As an owner of several brands of guitar, I have a slightly different take. I agree that the Gibson tone isn't for everyone and that some people just hear a different sound in their heads and unless a guitar produces that sound exactly, it's considered a dud. I also agree that some dealerships don't represent Gibson guitars at their best for a variety of reasons that have been mentioned here, including old strings and hoards of passers-through pawing instruments that they have no intention of buying. I love my SJ-200. It took me a while to get one I liked but I do very much like it. It has a vibe all its own. It was an expensive guitar, costing more than my Bourgeois and approaching the price of my Goodall. It fills a niche that those other guitars don't, which is why I bought it. But objectively, it has minor flaws that the others don't. The others don't sound like a Gibson, but they sound absolutely fantastic. I won't say they sound better; they sound different. But they're certainly as good sounding in their respective ways as the Gibson is in its way. So, what we have is three guitars (I could bring in other examples but let's just talk about these three) that are all wonderful instruments, each in its own way. The difference is that the QC on the Goodall and Bourgeois far exceeds the QC on the Gibson. I don't mind that. The little imperfections on the Gibson don't influence tone or playability and may even give it a certain charm. But there's no denying that they're there, and I don't think they're there by design but because the guitar was considered good enough with those little flaws present. I agree with that, actually, and still love the guitar. But view this from the perspective of someone who owns a Bourgeois, Huss & Dalton, Goodall, Santa Cruz, or some other small-shop guitar that costs about the same as my SJ-200 TV. From their perspective, it's not unreasonable for them to wonder why those other companies can supply a great sounding guitar without little flaws when Gibson does not. I think asking those questions is legitimate and doesn't constitute bashing. It may mean they don't get the Gibson vibe, but that's a different matter. From the perspective of those other guitars, getting great sound doesn't entail a willingness to overlook little glitches like tool chatter marks on a fingerboard or visible glue lines around a pickguard (which are pretty small potatoes in the grand scheme of things). I can't really fault them for raising the question. From the perspective of a lifelong Gibson enthusiast, this seems petty. If you get a great sounding guitar, what difference does it make if there are some minor glitches that you need a spotlight and magnifying glass to spot? Your getting a legendary tone and an iconic look. Shouldn't that satisfy anyone? I don't think either of these viewpoints is wrong, they're just different. I don't think the former is Gibson bashing or that the latter is blind fan-boy loyalty. They're just different world views when it comes to guitars. Some of the responses in this thread could be loosely interpreted as saying, "okay, Gibsons aren't all the same but that's something I like about them." (I concur with that, by the way.) But that amounts to acknowledging that there's some inconsistency there. It may be inconsistency that we like and that reminds us that guitars are made by human hands from organic materials, but it's inconsistency. Likewise, when I or others say, "who cares about some imperfection you can only see if the light glances across the surface of the guitar at a precise angle during a particular phase of the moon? The thing plays great and sound s great." That's an acknowledgment that there are QC differences between Gibson and other builders in their price range. Now, those QC issues are well below our threshold for caring about them in the least. but they're there. And the inconsistencies may not bother us and may even be viewed positively, but they're there. So, I guess my point is that I don't see people raising issues of QC or inconsistency as really having any bearing on my feelings toward my Gibson guitar. I don't think the people raising those issues are evil, biased, stupid, or otherwise undesirable. Of course, some of them are talking through their butts, but what internet forum doesn't have that problem? I hope these comments don't tick people off. Like Guth, I've caught some heat for these views in the past, which has always puzzled me. I put my money where my mouth is and bought a very high-end Gibson. I like what's coming out of Montana a lot. But disagreeing with that viewpoint doesn't make other folks jerks or idiots, in my judgment. Okay, I said my piece.
  8. Outstanding playing! I really enjoyed listening to it.
  9. Very well said and I agree. The one thing I would add is that a tortoise shell pick is very easy to hold and control. Some picks have a tendency to rotate ot shift position in your hand. Tortoise isn't sticky or anything, but it has a way of sort of adhering to your fingers that no other material quite matches. I think they're definitely better than synthetic picks but not enough better to offset the down-sides of their use. I still have one around somewhere but I have other picks that are synthetic and nearly as good -- good enough not to worry about rummaging around to find the tortoise version.
  10. Fuller's in Houston and Dave's in LaCrosse, WI are great dealers with large inventories who are willing to offer good, competitive prices. There are fewer Gibson than Martin dealers, so I suspect there may be more room for haggling with Martins but the two I mentioned will sell Gibsons for fair prices appreciably below MAP and in the neighborhood of 60% of MSRP.
  11. So the real question is, will some rocket scientist look at the picture, not read the article, and end up putting 5 strap buttons on a guitar? If you think no one could do something that dumb, here's a story. My niece is a physician and one of the nurses she works with was planning a trip and asked my niece if there was anything she should do to stay healthy and comfortable during the long flight involved. My niece has often bought Ocean, which is a brand of saline nose spray and used it on long flights to keep the inside of her nose from getting all dried out and she passed on the suggestion, which the nurse welcomed receiving. One of the other nurses had a flash of insight and said, "Oh-oh, I need to check something," and went and talked to the first nurse. As she had feared, the first nurse was planning on spritzing her nose with Ocean Spray cranberry juice for the flight rather than the saline solution. Wonder how that would have worked out. Oh, and no offense intended toward anyone with five strap buttons on their guitar.
  12. I did this on a 1945 Martin 0-17T. Nice guitar and the button position works well on it. No relevance to your situation, unfortunately.
  13. The current New Hartford Guilds are also outstanding. Instead of a double, side-by-side truss rod configuration, they have a single truss rod flanked by a pair of graphite rods -- a very stable construction method. The neck can also be made less Louisville Slugger-like now that there aren't 2 rods in there. The new ones are pricier than the old Guilds but still less expensive than the equivalent Gibsons. They're nice guitars. Just as nothing sounds like a Gibson, nothing else really sounds like a Guild 12-string. Great guitars.
  14. It's worth remembering that the early blues weren't played in concert halls or in modern, sophisticated studios. Much of what we love about the tone of a fine guitar would have been lost playing on a street corner with traffic going by or into the horn of an acoustic recording machine. There really wasn't much need for a "fine" guitar. Plus, as others have said, some of those old boxes were really pretty darn nice guitars. Harmony had a reason for paying good money for the rights to the "Stella" name -- it was a good and fairly widely recognized name.
  15. I keep tellin' you guys, keep an eye on that humidity!
  16. Of course, back in the 1890s, this would've been par for the course for a presentation-quality instrument. Banjos and mandolins were top dogs then and this level of ornamentation wouldn't be that outrageous by those standards. As a comparison, consider this 1902 Martin mandolin -- a standard production model and not even the top-of-the line. Of course, that was the Victorian era and tastes change. I think a lot of folks still admire the lavish instruments of that era, though.
  17. Well, back in this thread's first life, I was contemplating my options for an SJ-200. I ended up with a 2010 SJ-200TV from Dave's and I haven't regretted getting it for a moment. Great guitar. Colosi bone pins were in it within a matter of days, of course.
  18. Yeah, I use that shape for a D from time to time. A nice added benefit is that you can slide the ring finger from the B string to the E string and get an A7, which is the dominant in the key of D. It's a useful shape.
  19. Genz Benz acoustic amps garner a lot of praise.
  20. Short term, any guitar bought new loses value. Long term, the opposite tends to be true if you wait long enough and keep the guitar in good enough condition. Stella guitars that cost less than $50 in the mid sixties are now seen to sell for about three times that. In the '70s and even '80s, those guitars were considered firewood. Ren's guitars do have a certain magic. But remember, the last "Gibson magic touch" was arguably the Loar era, and it took 40 years or more for those to begin their ascent in value. These days, of course, a Loar mandolin is worth a king's ransom. So, I guess the whole discussion really needs to be framed in terms of the time frame you're considering. Short term, my SJ-200 will lose value. I may not live long enough to see its inflation-adjusted value exceed what I paid for it but I didn't buy it as an investment. I'll pay off the mortgage and car loans the old fashioned way.
  21. Folks -- Sorry about my earlier post in this thread. It was intended for another thread and had nothing whatsoever to do with this topic. I've removed it. Apologies.
  22. Mine (a 2010 model) came with the gloss rather than the VOS. I don't think the VOS has any advantage unless you happen to like its look (I don't). Seems like a lot of people who get the VOS buff it out and it's often said that the semi-gloss look that results looks more like an actual vintage finish than the original VOS does. If you're buying face-to-face, take a look and see if you like whatever finish is on the guitar. If you're buying long distance, I'd call around, see what dealers have in stock, and which finish their inventory has. You might also ask about any SJ-200s they expect in the near future. I'm personally not a fan of artificial aging but that's just my personal point of view. If you like the look of the VOS, I don't think having or not having it would make any appreciable tonal difference. Buffing it out (by hand) would remove so little material as to make virtually no difference that would influence tone, I'm fairly confident. Just go with what you like. The SJ-200 True Vintage is a wonderful choice, by the way. I really love mine.
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