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Everything posted by rar

  1. Standard AJs have gotten Gotohs. "Deluxe" AJs -- Luthier's Choice models, for example -- have typically come with Waverleys. -- Bob R
  2. I doubt there's much risk here. The edge of the registration hole is probably harder than the maple, thanks to the adhesive, so it seems unlikely that ball ends sitting in or near the hole will cause excessive wear. But I guess we'll find out. -- Bob R
  3. No, they said that excessive bridge plate wear would be repaired under warranty. But I think you missed the main point, which is that they believe there is no actual problem here, structural or tonal, and they're not going to spend any money changing the production line to "fix" a non-problem. (That the bridge plate looks kind of funky to the tiny number of goof balls like us who carefully examine the innards of their guitars does not count as a problem. :) ) They're backing that belief by a promise to do a "fix" (including who knows how many expensive warranty repairs ) if they're wrong -- which means they're pretty darn sure that they're not wrong -- Bob R
  4. Hate to pick on anything in your nice explanation, but there are actually two registration holes on the bottom-side of the fretboard and two matching holes in the neck. The dowels inserted in these ensure accurate location of the fretboard relative to the neck. Also, you neglected to mention that both Josh (the acting GM) and Don explicitly said that they do not believe that the current design will result in excessive bridge plate wear but, if they're wrong, "Gibson will take care of the problem for you [owners]". -- Bob R
  5. Just thought I'd mention the Autry replica wasn't the only one they've done. Two or three years ago, Don showed me a Jimmy Wakely SJ-200 reproduction at the factory. (Didn't take a picture, unfortunately.) It was less interesting than the Autry, since Jimmy's was a pretty stock prewar J-200 but with a pickguard that had his name engraved on it and a single horseshoe squeezed onto the fretboard between the soundhole and the last of the regular inlays. (Given what Monogram paid, he probably couldn't afford the extra $50 to have his name on the fretboard.) Still pretty cool -- especially since Jimmy played his in a bunch of his movies. Sadly, it was headed off to some museum for display rather than to someone who was going to play it. -- Bob R
  6. That one is full-size, not the mini. Gibson was interested in building some of these to sell in the Autry museum with some percentage of the proceeds going to one of Gene's charities -- same deal as with the Autry D-45 replicas Martin did (not to mention the bluebird boot replicas, and lots of other Autry museum stuff). Didn't happen. Just another sad Gibson story Hogeye can tell you if he decides to. -- Bob R
  7. Interestingly, there are few pictures of Gene playing this guitar -- most of them taken at home -- and I don't think it ever made a movie appearance. (Since he always played a character named "Gene Autry", the name on the fretboard wasn't an issue.). But his similarly-decorated "mini J-200" -- much like Ray Whitley's well-known "party guitar" -- did show up in movies. Story is that he got it specifically because he needed a smaller guitar to play when riding Champ in films. Ren got a chance to see and spec the mini at the Autry museum, where it's stored in a vault. I've talked with him about building a copy a few times, without Gene's name to avoid the legal issues associated with that, as It would be about the coolest guitar ever IMHO. -- Bob R P.S. Maybe Hogeye will chime in with the story of Dale Berry's J-200. I think I've got a photo of it somewhere.
  8. Sorry to have caused offense -- it was unintentional. I'll try to avoid assuming that you would like your questions answered in the future. :) -- Bob R
  9. When the J-160E was originally released in '54, it was X-braced and had a solid top. It was also incredibly feedback-prone, to the point where most people judged it to be unusable. Les Paul proposed changing to ladder bracing and a laminate top as a solution to the feedback problem, and Gibson gave it a try. This didn't exactly make the guitar wildly popular, but at least it was more or less functional and it stayed in the lineup long enough for John and George to order a pair in '62. Which resulted in sales to Peter Asher, Chad Stuart, Jeremy Clyde, and who knows how many others -- but I suspect the number is approximately equal to the number of J-160Es sold since 1962 :) -- right up to the present day. Think of the solid top as a reissue of the original '54 J-160E, if you like, but with the P-90 replaced by a P-100 to make it functional. The J-160E was a perfectly valid concept that Gibson didn't manage to realize back in the '50s. The Les Paul-ized version was the best they could do. The bottom line seems to be, Gibson offers reissues of both the original '54 version and an early-'60s version of the J-160E. You can buy whichever you like. What's the problem with that? If you don't want a "'54 reissue", you don't have to buy one. -- Bob R P.S. Just a reminder that Gibson used to make a very nice X-braced, solid-topped acoustic with both a P-100 and an undersaddle pickup: the J-190 Super Fusion. A three-way switch allows you play through either or both pickups. Having separate volume and tone controls for the pickups makes the switch as flexible as a variable pot.
  10. Great news! I figure Tiburon means Eric Schoenberg's shop -- always nice to have an excuse to visit there. (It's where I got the World's Greatest J-45.) Thanks for passing this along!

    -- Bob

  11. I fail to see what how country of residence of the person who went to the trouble and expense of collecting a sample of the wood in question, having the cellular structure analyzed by a world renown lab specializing in wood species identification, and making the lab report public is relevant to the credibility of the result. That opinions based on lab results are better founded than those based on visual identification (even visual identification by Americans) and a cartoon in an advertising brochure (even a cartoon drawn by an American in a brochure published in America) shouldn't really be in question. -- Bob R
  12. That discussion in FFT predates Willi's lab results. Technically speaking, what the lab established was that the nice, straight-grained, quartersawn, "mystery" rosewood seen on most rosewood Gibsons in the mid-thru-late-'30s-on-into-the-early-'40s that many thought was either Brazilian or Amazonian is Indian. But Gibson also used some flatsawn rosewood -- the '42 SJ-200 at Elderly is an example -- that looks quite different and some still think is Brazilian. It would be nice to get a sliver of that stuff into the lab for analysis, but I guess we'll have to wait until someone who owns one and wants to settle the issue needs a neck reset. Anyway, I think it's fair to say that a sizable majority of the pre-War production AJs (and SJ-200s) are Indian, but whether the number of Brazilian is 0 or somewhat larger is still TBD. -- Bob R
  13. Didn't read this at the time, but maybe it's not too late to respond. Nothing is being done at the Garrison plant. It was shut down in 2009 (IIRC) -- due to apparently-unsolvable production problems -- and everything anybody thought was worth saving was packed up and shipped back to the U.S. -- Bob R
  14. No problem. Lots of people can't tell the difference between Epis and Gibsons, or think Epis are better. That's who Epis are for! -- Bob R
  15. About one-third of guitars they build are custom in some respect. Well, the problem with this is that this would tend to undermine the dealer network. Gibson's model since about the '30s has been that you decide what you want, cut the best deal you can with your local dealer for it, and then the dealer either hands it over to you or orders it, depending on whether he has it in stock. Gibson's finally adjusted to the fact that some people can't buy from their local dealer (because they don't have a local dealer -- Gibson doesn't build enough guitars that everyone having a reasonably-stocked local dealer is even possible -- among other reasons), so they sort of grudgingly allow internet sales. But they don't really want to help you shop around for a lower price than your local dealer cares to offer (which is why MAPs are so high compared to dealer costs), or to buy a guitar from some dealer who has one in stock when your local dealer could order you one, or any other such new-fangled 21st Century consarned nonsense, dag nabbit! That said, it is possible to buy a guitar from a dealer and have it shipped directly to you from Gibson when it's finished. It's not exactly encouraged by either Gibson or any dealer I know of, but it's possible (at least in special circumstances). -- Bob R
  16. You've got it a bit backwards. There is no unspoken-for "ready to ship" stock. They're sold before they're built -- it's receipt of an order from a dealer that triggers building the guitar. -- Bob R
  17. Low blow, but I won't be getting up for awhile after than one! -- Bob R
  18. Well, the trouble is that this is true until a dealer calls up and says "Can you build us some short-scale AJs? In a variety of tonewoods for the rims and backs?" Because the answer is always "Sure!" no matter how goofy the request. (Of course, GC is the goofiest of the goofy when it comes to this stuff: "Can you build us some Songwriters and call them 'Hummingbirds'?" "Sure," says Gibson.) Random mixing and matching of features based on dealer requests is fine -- a lot of cool guitars have resulted from this flexibility, throughout Gibson history -- but I don't see the advantage of making the model names less and less informative. -- Bob
  19. It's the date the neck makes it to the end of the neck assembly line, prior to the neck being joined to a body. This is still quite early on, time-wise, in the build. -- Bob R
  20. Agreed (except for the 2008 date -- the first TVs were 2007s). The variation for year to year in 2007-2011 was negligible compared to the variation between individual guitars built in the same year. Knowing the date doesn't help won't when picking one. -- Bob R
  21. You might want to start a new thread to get more responses. The short answer to this is there is no true custom shop in Bozeman, and hasn't been since 2001. A Custom Shop decal usually indicates just that the guitar is not a standard production model, but the non-standardness could be something as trivial as spraying it with a different finish color. Most "Custom Shop limited editions" are built on the regular production line, in the same way, by the same people, as production models. That said, genuine custom work is done, too. Gibson wouldn't be Gibson if you couldn't get your name inlaid in MOP on the fretboard! The general approach is that as much work is done on the production line as possible, with the guitar diverted from the line to have the custom steps performed (typically in the little room that has had a variety of names, including Custom Shop and Art Shop, where this stuff gets done) and then re-inserted. You can also pay extra to have certain people oversee the build and/or do work on the guitar. For example, a lot of people have paid extra to have Ren select woods or build the top on their guitars. Those were the good old days! (It's not too early for Ren-era nostalgia! :)) The more work you have done by these folks, the higher the price. The best source for more info is a Gibson Acoustics 5-Star dealer who does a lot of custom orders for customers. -- Bob R
  22. John seems to be GM at Music Factory Direct now. Too bad they're not a Gibson dealer! -- Bob R
  23. I have an "official" letter from Ren stating that my SJ-200WC, which has a May 2011 serial number, is the last guitar that will come out of Bozeman with Madagascar back and rims. If this AJ Pro is indeed Madagascar and came out later, then it is something of a collectors item (and a classic case of "That's So Gibson!"). -- Bob R
  24. guitarsale.com was actually Woodwind and Brasswind in South Bend, Indiana. The company filed for bankruptcy in late 2006, and was acquired by Guitar Center in early 2007. Last August, Bain Capital (i.e., Mitt Romney) -- the current owners, as a result of their acquisition of Guitar Center -- announced the store was closing. There will still be some corporate shell maintaining an internet sales presence, but no physical location. I miss them. The guy who was in charge of high-end acoustics for WWBW was a lefty and a Gibson fan, so they stocked a lot of one-off lefty Gibsons. I think it's the only store we've even been in where my wife found a bunch of interesting guitars to play. She definitely hasn't had a lot of "So, which 12-string do you like better, the Hummingbird or the J-185?"-type experiences. -- Bob R
  25. Picking just five would be rough! In no particular order, the '58 J-50, the '42 J-45, the Kel, the '07 J-200 TV, and the '02 Luthier's Choice AJ. But ask me again in 15 minutes and the HG-22 or the Smeck or the '06 custom J-200 or the '11 Western Classic J-200 or ... might bump something off the list. They're all so *different* from one another, it's l...

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