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Everything posted by j45nick

  1. Neck twist can in some cases be mitigated by a talented luthier, but I would simply avoid a guitar with an obvious twist or other distortion in the neck. Small humps can often be planed out. Twists are more complicated.
  2. I can see the appeal of the old banner, but it is overpriced, given the re-finish. It actually looks like a fairly decent re-finish, but it still compromises the value. It looks to have had numerous fairly sloppy repairs, such as re-glued top braces. There is a lot of excess glue on the inside, which often indicates non-professional "repairs."The fretboard is pretty rutted, and may need a bit of work if the guitar is re-fretted at some point. A properly-done neck re-set has no negative impact on value, and is considered normal maintenance. It looks like a one-piece back, which you see a fair amount in that period. That cardboard case is inadequate protection, and is probably not original. The wear on the case is not consistent with the wear on the guitar. Add at least $150 for a half-decent standard modern J-45 case, or up to twice that for a better one. Unless you have experience with vintage guitars, it can be difficult to evaluate both condition and playability. Things like fret and board wear, neck angle, neck twist, bridge and bridgeplate condition, etc, have to be considered. Without a re-finish, but in its apparent condition, the guitar might be worth a bit less than that asking price. The re-finish probably knocks at least 30% off the value, just because there are more original versions available, in better condition. Play them both, and make the call. The Legend is likely to be a really good guitar that will only get better with time. The banner has emotional appeal, but is compromised in collector value and may not be as good as a musical instrument. You're the only one who can weigh all these things.
  3. Probably the Legend, unless the tone of the banner is exceptional. You haven't talked money, but the refinish knocks a big chunk of the value of the banner unless it's an exceptional guitar in both condition and tone. The Legend series guitars are superb in general. Since it's new, I assume it has a torrefied adi top, which will take you a good distance towards vintage tone. The right vintage J-45 is magic. I have several, including one I've owned for more than 50 years. I also have a great modern slope-J as well, and it is a great guitar. The Legend is as close as you can get to the real thing, without vintage problems. Unless you have a lot of experience with vintage Gibsons and know exactly what you're getting into, stick with the Legend.
  4. I generally agree with everything you said. However, there were problems associated with the bridge and bridgeplate well beyond simply re-gluing the bridge. Both the top and bridgeplate appeared to be fractured across the pin holes, which was why there was a hard crease in the top. I've pondered the proper fix for that one, and every solution I came up with suggested at least a slightly larger bridgeplate, but not necessarily the chunk of tree he put in. At the end of the day, the transverse top fracture probably required a somewhat larger bridgeplate, plus probably trying to glue that fracture shut properly after the bridgeplate was replaced. Then maybe completely filling the oversize pin holes in the top with either glued-in spruce (similar to Erlewine's plate repair tool gizmo), or a reinforced epoxy, which might actually produce a better repair. Then maybe filling the saddle slot and chewed-up pin holes in the bridge before re-installing it, then re-drilling the pinholes through completely solid new material. Then lay out and rout a new saddle slot. Any way you look at it, the guitar had significant issues just to stabilize it enough to turn it into a player. Other than that, everything you said was spot-on. Ross Teigen, who works on my guitars, said that most of his repair time is spent un-doing poorly-made previous repairs. That's why he had such an easy time working on my "new" 195 J-45. No one had ever touched it to "fix" anything. I suspect the guy who worked on this J-200 might do a decent job on the new instruments he builds, but that says nothing about his repair abilities. That's a different skill set.
  5. Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't be using a gig bag to transport my L-5 or 1937 Super 400 to a gig. I'd want them in their hard cases until I took them out to put them on their stands. I looked real hard at a beautiful one-owner 1937 Super 400 a few years ago, being sold by the son or grandson of the original owner at the Orando guitar show. It was a lot of money, but was fairly priced. There's not a lot of those around.
  6. Exactly! In fairness, the guy turned something unplayable into a usable guitar. But a 1953 J-200 probably deserved better.
  7. That is what it's called. Tongue in cheek, because it is somewhat similar in appearance to mother of pearl, but is actually a "pearloid" plastic material used from the 1930's to the 1950's (or so) for speaker boxes, toilet seat covers, hair brushes, and other decorative items. As well, of course, for over-the-top inlays on instruments, including guitars, banjos, and accordions. I had a student accordion with MOTS inlays when I was a kid. I would play anything with a keyboard, much to the dismay of my mother, who wanted me to stick to piano. Google it. There are lots of good pictures online.
  8. As I said, I'll stick with my guy. I would not let Jerry touch one of my guitars. Having said that, not everyone is as picky as I am.
  9. Great news about Gibson, JT! Now, if you can just convince them to make the remaining old shipping ledgers public, we will know that they really care about the Gibson legacy and Gibson's history.
  10. You're just in a rut, Sal. Play for yourself, what you want, when you want. Learn a new style of playing. Challenge yourself with new material. Go listen to new music somewhere. Maybe take the time to go to a guitar camp, or some music festivals. You're a talented guy. You will find something that makes it all fresh again.
  11. Well, he brought it back to life, but I'll stick with my guy. Don't care much for that pickguard, particularly since it looks like the original went all the way to the soundhole, and this one leaves a big smile of bare wood showing around the soundhole. The painted-on flowers won't last very long in any case. He might benefit from watching Mamie Minch's (Brooklyn Lutherie) video on using lacquer reducer (not lacquer thinner, not acetone) to reduce the appearance of scratches and dings in old finish. I've done it, and it works. Won't help on bare wood, however. Having said that, he turned a pretty sad guitar into a nice player, which was the goal in the first place. The bridgeplate process and repair was worth the time it took to watch both videos.
  12. Completely different tonally compared to a mahogany L-OO. Of course, we don't know what strings are on it, or what pick he is using, but it is tonally striking. Sounds very "old" and trebly. I like it.
  13. It is probably just a dark piece of mahogany. I have old pieces of Cuban and Honduran mahogany that are darker than most rosewoods. The mahogany we see today has to be stained to give it any color. Old-growth mahogany of the type used 75 years ago could be extremely dark. It may well have been an old piece that Gibson had not used before because they thought it was too dark. During the banner era, they used almost anything.
  14. I agree with this. You can't assume everyone here understands the difference between a joke and legitimate advice, particularly if they are new to the forum and don't appreciate the quirks that sometimes emerge.
  15. Walnut is significantly softer than either rosewood or ebony. How it will hold up over time as a fretboard material remains to be seen. As has been mentioned, it is important to rub off excess oil, which is just a magnet for dirt. Most conditioners are non-drying oil. I generally rub them on with a rag, then clean/polish with fine bronze wool (NOT steel wool) wiping across the grain to remove gunk and polish frets, wipe off, wipe on another coat, then wipe that off thoroughly with another clean rag. This can help keep a fretboard like new.
  16. Probably any fretboard conditioner will do. All you are doing is rubbing oil on the surface, then wiping it off. None of it penetrates to any significant degree. It does seem to reduce fretboard dryness, which can be a concern in your environment, since the AC is probably running eight months a year. (I used to live in Scottsdale.)
  17. What amazes me is that equally-skilled luthiers can have significantly different approaches to problem-solving and still come out with workable solutions. That guitar had a lot of problems, most of which seemed to come as by-products of the notorious moustache bridge and its lack of functional structural gluing surface. It was also a real lesson in the potential weakness associated with a lot of holes in a row going through thin pieces of wood. Once any part of the glued-together "sandwich" of bridge, top, and bridgeplate fails, there's big potential trouble ahead.
  18. I suspect it goes a bit thin, and a lot more quiet. But I've never used anything lighter than "lights" on a full-sized guitar. I've got three slope-J's, a 000, and an L-00. All get lights, and it seems to work for all of them. A long-scale dread might be another issue, although Martin is spec'ing lights on all the D-series guitars, as far as I can tell. EL's would seem to be a non-starter on one of those if you care at all about tone and volume. I used to put mediums on my "old" 1950 J-45, just to try to hold my own with Martin D's. I wouldn't even think of that today. Why would you even bother with EL's? What are you trying to gain? (not saying you would, other than as an experiment to satisfy your curiosity.) I'm betting few here have used EL's.
  19. Sounds really good, Sal. What you using for strings and pick?
  20. There's nothing wrong with that, but I just wear a long-sleeve cotton T-shirt.
  21. Just scroll down the page of threads in this acoustic forum until you see one titled "1 3/4 nut Gibsons?" It's about the 15th topic on page 1.
  22. Many. See the recent thread on this very topic. And welcome to the forum.
  23. What '51 J-45? Are you hiding something from us?
  24. It's a Composite Acoustics Cargo, a compact guitar with a built-in L.R. Baggs pickup system, which I never use. It's my main travel guitar. With a 1 3/4" nut width and a thick neck profile, it's surprisingly comfortable to play, even with the short 22.75" scale. It is surprisingly loud for a small guitar, and sounds pretty good. You can throw it in the overhead bin of an airplane in its gig bag, and not worry about it getting crunched. The action height doesn't change and it doesn't go out of tune with changes in humidity. It's a near-perfect guitar for a boat, even if it isn't a conventional thing of beauty, with its unusual body shape and matte-black carbon fiber body.
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