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Old Neil

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  1. Interested to know: What would forum members here choose between the SC SJ and the custom koa J-200? I am aware many of you will not have had the chance to play either of these great guitars but even as an opinion, which would you go for?
  2. That would be an excellent match I would guess. The Amulet system has the best chance of accurately transferring the Legend's moaning, woody bass through a PA to the audience. It constantly suprises me how often famous artists with presumably no budget restraints (cough, Paul McCartney, cough) use quacky sounding piezo pickups in their acoustic guitars for live work.
  3. I went and played them again, this time plugged in. Obviously the most natural sounding one (no FX or EQ, just dry signal to a Bose PA setup in the store) was the SC SJ with such a quality mic system and breakout box. Mind you, the Eclipse Aura system of the J-200 Koa Custom was no slouch either. Yes it was sharper and more to the treble side but it managed to avoid excessive nasal quality and no piezo 'quack' in evidence. Very clear. The Trance Audio Amulet System on the Sheryl Crow was impressive though, no doubt about it. Good bass definition without feedback boom. As natural as one could reasonably expect from a direct out on an acoustic guitar. Sonic observations of unmiced tone: SC SJ: Deeper, growlier with more mid punch. More rock 'n roll and country in a sense. J-200 Koa: Broader, wide sheet of 'stereo' sound with grand piano sustain and depth. Jangly pretty top end. More pop/rock and folk in a sense. Still need to go back to the other shop to listen to that 20th anniversary J-35 again.
  4. This has probably been covered elsewhere but the search engine here isn't exactly Google... I have many more photos but there is 500kb limit. I tried using the URL pic link via Photobucket but got a message saying this board doesn't allow the use of that URL - which I thought was strange. Anyone have a way around that? I would like to do these guitars justice on the thread.
  5. Yes, correct 69 son. I have changed the title in the original post now. It had the same bracing as an AJ though with an Adirondack red spruce top to boot. Here are a few observations: All the guitars at this price point are good. It is more a question of taste and what kind of thing you want to play. I am liking the qualities of Koa in the J-200 Custom model. It compresses everything in a good way (not 'tight' sounding just even like a choir) while maintaining a bit of top end sparkle sonically speaking. A little like how this one looks actually. That big *** blonde would be great for supplying a rich, jangly carpet of rhythm guitar under a vocal track. I would probably double track it with a touch of reverb/delay (just enough so you would only notice it if it wasn't there). Instant pop feel good lovelyness. The Sheryl Crow is like a brighter, more 'stereo' sounding version of mine (different top wood and bracing pattern for a different character of projection). My own J-45 is slightly darker, woodier and more moody - like an old tree. Does not get in the way of vocals as much - which is one of the reasons why I bought it. I played mine beside a used J-45 TV and a feather light Santa Cruz Vintage Southerner. The Santa Cruz had more bite but I didn't feel it was radically different enough to my particular J-45 standard. I have removed the electrics from mine and had it professionally set up with bone saddle. It would take a very good guitar to replace it. I am looking more to comlpement it with different woods/bracings that add something I don't already have. I also played a nice J-200 standard in a honeyburst. It was warm but seemed less defined and 'wooly' when I switched back to the Koa J-200. If this makes any sense to those of you reading this the Koa J-200 sounds to my ears like a what I imagine a very good Hummingbird would/should be like. I have played many Hummingbirds, including a TV but, outside of a '64 vintage one I played ages ago and, interestingly, a particular Koa custom Hummingbird they haven't really done it for me. Yesterday, at another store, I played a feather light and strongly projecting, crisp 20th Anniversay J-35 complete with case candy ceriticate signed by the Ren-meister himself. It was like an even better, barkier version of the Santa Cruz Vintage Southerner with AJ bracing and Adirondack top. Beautiful and suprising guitar. Like a more nuanced and refined version of the newish standard line of J-35's. A class act.
  6. Had some big fun today that is worth sharing with those that understand my affliction Did a shootout at my LGS between my standard J-45 (itself part of a shootout between a J-45 TV and John Hiat J-45, posted about here a year or two ago)a Sheryl Crow SJ, a standard Honeyburst J-200 and A Custom Koa J-200. Here are some pics (low lighting so had to use phone flash with all that that entails unfortunately) I will talk about my impressions in another post but must get out and about with my son. Later...
  7. Yep, that's what professional luthiers are for! I had all the electrics taken out of my J-45 a while back. I mic up my guitars and did not want the tone-deadening, weight-adding, cosmetic eyesore of electrics ruining the zen-like simplicity of a good J-45. While I/he was at it, I changed the saddle and bridge pins to bone. Lovely. Seeing this 'movie' reminds me how slap dash Gibson can be with some of their handy work. Comparing an internal inspection of, say, a Collings or Huss & Dalton is night and day. Cosmetics aint mojo however...
  8. Yes, I have noticed this effect on several dreadnought sized guitars. Unfortunately (to my knowledge at least) there is no offering of this gauge combination as standard among the major manufacturers. The opposite (Medium gauge low strings, light gauge high strings a.k.a. 'Bluegrass') is possible but not this one. That makes changing strings a doubly expensive proposition. with quite a bit of wastage - unless you have a friend that uses the bluegrass setup.
  9. I don't see anyone kicking him at all. On the contrary, I see a lot of his fans saying "Hey, we love him but this is not his best work." - Which, frankly, is true. Can you, hand on your heart, say that this a significantly great album that can stand comparison with his best work? If not then you are in agreement with the very same people you are saying are 'kicking' him.
  10. Part of that 'disturbing' atmosphere must also be due to his worn out vocal chords too. They have done more than honorable service over the years but when you start to make Tom Waits sound like a honey-tone crooner by comparison its time to hang up the voice box! Like a lot of music 'legends' though who is going to be the one to say "Do you really think this is good enough Bob? I'm guessing: no-one! Like many here I am a long time admirer of his work and of course Bob has earned the right to put out what he darn well pleases. To be honest though I cannot really say I have truly enjoyed much of the last decade of albums outside of the single 'Ain't Talkin' from 'Modern Times'. Still, lots to enjoy from his vast body of work.
  11. Slower response with an Adirondack top? That goes against nearly all professional and popular consensus - regardless of guitar brand - regarding Adirondack tops. They are in fact praised for, among other things, their fast attack transient. This makes adi-topped guitars a favorite with Bluegrass and lead players. Adjectives associated with this choice as a top wood are: 'snap', 'punch'and 'bite'. Having owned several Adirondack top guitar I can definitely agree with that description."Slow response"? Nope.
  12. As a side update for Solving: I was in Hellstones, Stockholm with some visiting musicians from Argentina giving them some local music shop 'culture' and got to play the J-200 VOS there. Mmmm, its getting better with time. The higher price over the similarly specified J-200 TV (with the exception of the Sitka tops on the first year run mentioned above - thanks for that Rar) is that they were a limited run release. As Rar mentioned, only 167 were made. Lovely Adirondack top and light as a feather for such a large guitar - a good sign usually. OK chaps, carry on.
  13. As long as it's him that makes them. A touch ironic if a signature Gibson named after its modern era's most iconic luthier was made by someone else at GIbson.
  14. Interesting hearing all this love for coated strings. Personally I have never liked a coated string as much as its uncoated cousin of the same brand and type. I prefer normal D'Addario over the coated version and normal Martin strings (PB and 80/20) over the coated (Lifespan) versions. I won't argue over other issues like resistance to some peoples chemisry or long lasting for live players or a good choice for a shop wall new guitar being played by many different people and so on. I am talking purely about tone. With that in mind I would ask the above posters who prefer Martin Lifespans: Purely based on tone, do you really prefer them to the Martin uncoated PB's or 80/20's?
  15. Historic Collection is just the old marketing name for what Gibson call the Standard series now. Same spec. The 'origin' of the True Vintage J-200 came out as the J-200 VOS ('Vintage Original Spec.') featuring the Adirondack top and vintage bracing etc. It was like a special release a few years back. Its current form is the J-200 TV so it can be aligned with the rest of the TV model line. So, you didn't get the TV you played a while back?
  16. Well, if you are happy to pay the shipping, fair enough. It sounds like the TV in Gothenberg was a comparably good deal too and you know you like that one. It might be good to have a local guitar shop on your side should you have problems or need other things. They will usually offer a free setup for example after your new guitar has settled in a bit. Your call on that of course.
  17. No, I am not saying that. I mean you cannot depend on spec sheets. You have to confirm all details for yourself. Unless the return policy is very good I would recommend buying from a shop you can visit. The ideal situation is where the guitar 'finds you' when you play it.
  18. Even the Thoman site gets the specs wrong! This is why it is so important to play the exact guitar you are paying for. Specifications give you a general guide but each guitar is organic and unique. There are pearls and duds with the same specifications. When you are spending this kind of money it is worth doing your homework.
  19. I agree with Rambler about the AJ. Of course, in skilled hands any guitar can be used for pretty much anything musical. However, the strengths of the AJ - note to note separation, clarity and projection - are less suited to a more unified sound for strumming and vocal accompaniment. IMO the AJ is more of a 'lead' guitar either for Bluegrass flatpicking or articulate fingerpicking styles. As the OP has other aims, the AJ would not be my first recommendation for that. Solving: I am not Swedish but live in Stockholm. If memory serves, the New J-200TV at Hellstones was around 39.000 but could probably for considerably lower for a serious buyer I suspect. But hey, don't ask me! Give them a call on Monday and see what they say. I understand why they don't have a 'proper' website. They have a LOT of guitars and other gear, both new and used, that they get from many sources. As one of the few independent guitar shops left in Sweden they are not tied into certain distributor networks. The downside is there is no standardization of info they can clip and paste into their own site, making maintaining a site a full time job for at least one person. I don't think the turnover/market is enough to justify it for a single shop. The others are usually part of larger shop chains so that the cost is evened out. PS: Regarding sunbursts. To me they are, like guitars with lots of pearl inlays, something you notice more in the store or in in photos than you do actually owning and playing one. Sure, it's nice every now and then to open up the case and admire for a few seconds but really, you stop seeing it after a while. This is coming from an owner of (amongst others) a custom amberburst Martin D-42 that had plenty of both.
  20. Good thoughts. Sounds like he has got his Takamine for plugged-in live gigs though. Smaller, 'unplugged' stuff where the audience can get a greater sense of the guitar's tone would be great with the Gibson though. Having said that Gillian Welch and her guitarist appear to just use Shure SM 57's to play live with. Great sound to me.
  21. Oops I meant Madagascar rosewood is often used by Gibson (it's their mahogany that is usually from Honduras). It often has that 'figured' look too. My J-45 standard has beautiful 'flamey' rosewood on the fretboard and bridge. It's not Brazilian though.
  22. Well, I'm not you so only you can answer that. However, since you ask, I would say that if you: a. Have played that guitar for yourself and love its sound and play-ability b. Can afford the budget to spend on a guitar c. Have verified that the guitar is indeed the model it advertises itself as... Then sure, why not? You would be getting a great guitar! As of last visit there is s J-200 TV natural hanging on the wall at Hellstone's in Stockholm. Give them a call: 08-642 6475. (No personal or financial interest. Just helping out a fellow forum member).
  23. Too hard to tell from that photo but does not Gibson often use Honduran rosewood?
  24. OK, I would not rely on the accuracy of Musikborsens website/brochure descriptions of guitars. They inevitably 'copy and paste' specs of similar (but not the same) models. I have verified this on several occasions for myself in the past. Here for example they give the same specs as for the standard J-200 (Sitka top etc) Compare that with what the Gibson website states: "The SJ-200 True Vintage captures the deep, well-balanced tone and powerful sound of these celebrated guitars, and are almost identical in makeup and structure as the most popular 1950’s versions including an Adirondack red spruce top, hot hide glue top bracing for better tonal response and VOS finish." I would highly recommend you verify for yourself that (apart from the sunburst finish) they are indeed the same spec. The 27.499 SEK price is what the standard usually goes for in Sweden (even if it often lists for 32.000SEK). The True Vintage model I have seen listed for as high as 39.000SEK so the 33.299 SEK price could be a discount of that. If however you can get a new True Vintage J-200 with an Adirondack top/hide glue bracing/rubbed down finish ('VOS') etc for 27.499 SEK then you have a bargain by Swedish standards.
  25. Fair enough. They are quite different build/materials in terms of their affect on tone. Now, there just may be Gibson J-200 True Vintage models that have the standard Sitka spruce top (after all, this is Gibson we are talking about) but the top and bracing (use of hide glue here too) should be different from the standard - along with a few cosmetic differences in the finish and the type of hard case/case candy etc. Is it possible that the dealer simply does not know much about these models? It has been known to happen. After all, to the casual glance they look like the same guitar. Yes there may also be an upcharge for a sunburst finish (extra work and skill) but not by that much.
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