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Everything posted by sbpark

  1. I think it had some high frets way up the fretboard. I know they PLEK these at the factory, but I swear the last few frets were a bit high. Plus, the PLEK is only as good as the person operating it, and it was a brand new guitar when it was PLEK'd, so maybe things changed a little since, the guitar settled, etc. Who knows. All I know is the problem is gone now. I had them PLEK the guitar, which is basically a fret level and crown, it's just done by a human operating a computer instead of someone just doing it the old-fashioned way by hand.
  2. Finally finished all the changes to my J45 Standard. It's been a bit of a wild ride for this one. I bought it brand new, and after several months decided to downsize and never fully bonded with and sold it locally. Told the guy if he ever decided to sell it to contact me first. Well, almost a year to the day he wrote me, and because I was sans J45 at the time I bought it back. Felt like I made a mistake and put it up for sale AGAIN! Well, this time all I got were ridiculously lowball offers and it sat for sale locally for months. I had been through several J45's, including a couple Standards, a couple of TV's and a V that left me pretty disappointed. As time passed and this current J45 didn't sell, I really began to appreciate the thunderous low end, and the magic that happened after I put on some 80/20's (same thing happened with the 80/20's for my AJ, btw!) I said to myself, what the heck, and decided to commit and turn this one into my own. No going back after this one because there's no way I'd ever recoup what I would end up putting into it. Here's what I ended up doing to it: - Kluson 3-on-a-plate tuners to replace the gaudy, heavy Rotomatics. I did this mod myself and previously started a thread explaining how I did it. (Funny, I don't mind them on my D-28 and D-35, but they just don't look right on the J45). - Black truss rod cover (purely cosmetic) - Bone nut (purely cosmetic, and prefer the look of the white bone over the black Tusq. I'm not one to hear crazy differences in "tone" with different nut materials, plus once you fret a note the point is moot. - Bone saddle - New pickguard to replace the rubber/flubber pickguard that just wouldn't stick. (I replaced it with an OEM Gibson guard used in the new Vintage models and installed it myself after I brought the guitar home from the shop earlier today). - Removed the stock LR Baggs UST and installed a K&K Pure Mini pickup - Set of bone bridge pins from Bob Colosi (I ONLY did this for cosmetic reasons and always hated the Tusq pins. I always thought the top of the pins looked way to flat and squashed.) - PLEK (Yes, I know Gibson PLEK's these from the factory, but for whatever reason there was something slightly off with the frets. I forgot to ask when I picked up the guitar about what they ended up determining, but I was always getting a buzz on all strings strings, even with slightly higher action despite messing with different amounts of relief in the neck, and it happened as you played up the neck and it wasn't a nut slot issue, action wasn't super low, etc. This was a tough pill to swallow because it wasn't cheap to have done, but it plays perfect now and all the previous issues are gone, so whatever they did worked and I'm very happy with it). I picked up the guitar from the shop this afternoon and loving it. Props to the guys at Gary Brawer's shop in San Francisco. They do amazing work, and every time I've ever brought them a guitar or bass it's always come back perfect. They're real professionals. Compared to the way the guitar sounded before, here's what I'm hearing...the guitar is a but more touch-sensitive, a deeper low end and an authoritative thump (the guitar already had this characteristic before, but there's just a little more of it now), it's clearer and even maybe a little louder. Plus I really do love the way it looks now. I feel like the changes I made were very tasteful and they actually do justice to the guitar and it isn't over the top at all. Here are a few pics:
  3. I've played two of them. One sounded AMAZING, the other was just alight. Basically just like most acoustics out there, you have to play them first.
  4. I was just at Gryphon in Palo Alto this morning and picked up one of her father's Bluegrass books.
  5. You guys are too kind. I listened to it again and cringed! Just got excited about posting an example of the first time using the VE8 and got a little ahead of myself, and went with a song that is a bit harder for me to sing. Should have went with something Im more familiar with! I promise my playing is better than that, but my singing needs a lot of work! And yes, the buzz is annoying as heck. Have a dimmer in the room that was off, but was also in from of a pretty big monitor.
  6. My D35 is tuned down a 1/2 step. I can barely sing that high even with the guitar tuned down. I think the original is in Standard tuning with the capo on the first fret.
  7. Got the Boss VE8 last night after going back and forth deciding between it and the TC Play Acoustic. I'm no singer, and apologize for the flubs in playing, but wanted to post a clip of a Band o fHorses song I butchered. Using an LR Baggs M! (the older, non-active version) through a Radial PZ Pre (VE8 couldn't pickup the M1 without a preamp) and going USB out of the VE8 into Garage Band. All effects are from the VE8.
  8. When I lived in Colorado it was hell on my guitars. I'm in Northern CA now, which is pretty much heaven for guitars. Dont really need to tweak and adjust much at all out here.
  9. Thanks for the replies everyone. I ended up ordering the VE8. I've been eyeballing these two boxes off and on since 2016 and briefly considered the the TC VL3X. I just plan to use the device as a very basic songwriting tool. Wanted something that sounded better than recording ideas into my iPhone, but something easier than going full bore and breaking out my entire recording setup. Honestly, I'e be using it pretty much the same way BluesKing777 seems to be using his; acoustic guitar and a vocal with some very basic harmonies that are far enough back in the mix so they don't sound so artificial (and I think his use of harmonies with the VE8 sounds fantastic, btw). I also liked the more flexible IN/OUT options of the VE8. At first I thought the TC Play acoustic was going to be the one I went with because of the lack of a screen with the Boss VE8, but in my opinion the VE8 seems (to me) easier to just "plug and play" so to speak. All the basic/rudimentary controls are right there on the device and tangible, while the PA requires going through screens for essentially everything. I think this is just a matter of personal preference and I just preferred the controls for the most basic functions to be right in front of me all the time. It does seem to get a little more complicated when you want to dive a little deeper into the VE8 controls, but I watched this video which really explained a lot about using the VE8 and how to use it: The other thing that muddied the waters and had me going back and forth between the PA and VE8 were that most thought the PA's vocals sounded better, while the VE8's guitars sounded better, and even though I'm primarily getting one of these for the vocal harmonies and for songwriting ideas/demos, I still went with the VE8 because of how nice BK's tunes have sounded using the VE8. If someone is looking for a device that does EVERYTHING, including automation of effects, editing, importing loops and whatnot, recording performances, etc., the VL3X seems to be the clear winner, but I use Logic to record and can do all that stuff in Logic. If I was a serious solo performer with a setlist of songs that required backing tracks and what not, the VL3X seems to be the perfect device.
  10. I've never been much a fan for boxes like this, and usually just prefer capturing ideas into my iPhone so I dont forget them, then later on going into Logic to record a better version. But lately I've been thinking about picking up a TC Helicon Play acoustic to use as a songwriting tool, especially to experiment with harmonies and just get a more polished sound for demos. I could also use the USB out and record directly into Logic and later add more textural sounds, overdubs, etc. SO what say you guys? Anyone use the Play Acoustic as a singer/songwriter tool?
  11. I own both Gibson and Martin acoustics, and don't feel that I have to justify to anyone why I like both or why one day I'll prefer one over the other because my tastes change daily, sometimes several times a day. I started out as only a Gibson acoustic guy, but have also grown to love the sound of Martins as well. I actually have more Martins these days than I do Gibsons. My current stable includes" Gibson Advanced Jumbo Gibson J45 Martin D-35 Martin D-28 Martin Custom Shop 00-18 VTS (12 fret, slot head) I have owned two J200's and one was total garbage in the sound department, but the other was magical and I say that that's one of the few guitars I regret ever selling.
  12. I don't know why the guy in the video is complaining. If there really are that many horrible new Gibsons out there should be backlogged with Gibsons that need tons of work and he should be a rich man by now. If that really was the case though he'd probably be way to busy to take the time to film and edit a video complaining about Gibsons. Obviously I am a Gibson fan. I also like Martins and I've had "issues" with both new models from each company, usually minor. With the Gibsons it's been the "flubber" pickguards they put in the J45 Standards. I've had two that have peeled off, but both times Gibson has come through and covered sending me new ones under warranty. Also bought an SG that had a cracked tenon cover and cracked pickup surround. Again, Gibson came through and send me replacement parts free of charge. I had a Martin that was less than three years old that Martin even admitted needed a neck reset, but they wouldn't cover it and instead only authorized that the bridge be shaved down by an authorized Martin repair shop. But with all that said, I do tend to agree that I've come across more new Gibsons in stores that have HORRIBLE factory set-ups compared to Martins, that seem more consistent. Of course the setups will be a tad on the high side because everyone has different specs that they prefer, and it's MUCH easier to lower action and nut slots than it is to raise them, but man, Gibson for the life of them just cannot seem to cut nut slots properly. They really do have horrible factory setups.
  13. I usually only make saddles for and work on my own guitars, with the once-in-a-while exception when I work on a friend's guitar. Saying I'm more "fussy" is an opinion/one way to look at it, but I'd call it doing the job right. If I did this for a living and was working on other people's guitars regularly you might call it being "fussy", but I'd say it's doing it the right way and going the extra mile to get it the way it should be and what the customer deserves. I know there are people that use radius gauges, etc. to match the fretboard radius, but if you actually adjust the action of each string correctly it will naturally follow the curve of the fretboard regardless of the radius and yield the most natural progression and consistent feel from string to string.
  14. I just can't imagine how you can get the action for each string correct by only sanding from the bottom. You can get close if it's a pre-made saddle, but would still need fine-tuning. If you're making it from a blank you absolutely will have to sand and shape the saddle from the top. These are all slotted saddles I've made and what I am referring to. Much different than a drop-in style saddle.
  15. Whatever works for you, but sanding and finish the sides has nothing to do with whether you prefer to adjust your slotted saddle from the top of bottom. I think you're in the minority here though by adjusting your slotted saddle from the bottom. If you just sand the bottom then finish the ends you sacrifice a consistent action across all strings and you're just stuck with whatever radius that saddle has.. I'll sand the bottom to ensure it's totally flat, then sand the top to PERFECTLY adjust each string to get the action exactly where I want it, then finish by sanding the sides to match the bridge profile, and finish with polishing the saddle. This yields a more playable guitar and you're not stuck with whatever radius the saddle is at, and dare I say this is how most would fit a slotted saddle. I've made several from blanks, but when I got lazy and went with a pre-made saddle, I still sanded from the top to dial in each individual string. It really does make a difference.
  16. With a slotted saddle you actually sand it from the top, not the bottom. Also, I wouldn't worry much about the radius. Most likely the saddle is going to be bigger then you need, including the height, and if it's a slotted saddle that means you'll be sanding it from the top. People get too hung up on the fretboard radius. Instead, actually adjust the string height/action on each individual string, and if you do this it will naturally fall into place and follow whatever the fretboard radius is. When I made a slotted saddle for my Advanced jumbo I set the action something like this going from the low E to high E measured at the 12th fret: 6/64", 5.5/64", 5/64" 5/64" 4.5/64" & 4/64".
  17. I'd just go with saddles from Bob Colosi. He's super fast to respond to emails and inquiries and has great customer service.
  18. That technique can work for a dent/indent, but for a ding where the finish is also damaged, that really won't help much.
  19. Gorgeous guitar, but wasn't too impressed with how it sounded, but that could be a combination of his playing style (seems to have a very heavy hand and isn't a very articulate player) and how it was recorded.
  20. We cant see the ding and how bad it is, but in all honesty the least expensive route would be to just let it go and live with it and just wear the scar as a badge of honor. You'll get over it eventually and then start worrying less about the dents and dings and put more energy into playing and enjoying the sound of the guitar. I know some just love a pristine guitar, and others like to keep their guitars in immaculate condition because they want to maximize resale value, are always flipping guitars for the next best thing or just like having a constant rotation, etc., but if you're the type to keep them and hold onto them, don't worry about the dents dings and bruises. I've broken a bunch of bones, busted my nose twice, have scars from burns, stitches, etc., and wouldn't change it for anything. Same goes for the guitars. But if you're still set on repairing it and don't really know what you're doing I'd highly recommend taking it to someone who knows what they're doing so the repair doesn't end up looking worse than the actual ding (kind of like what happens when someone tries to cover up a bad tattoo, and just ends up with a larger, uglier tattoo!). I'd go with the shop that does the best work, and not necessarily base who you take it to on who is the least expensive. Remember, in many cases you get what you pay for. You obviously like the guitar enough to be concerned about the ding. If you had a car you really enjoyed owning that needed a paint job, would you got the cheap route and take it to Maaco, or would you spend more and take it to a reputable body shop that does excellent work?
  21. I've tried Retros on my J45 and AJ and they sounded horrible. Sounded great on a 000-15M and decent on a D28 and D35. I prefer 80/20's on both my Gibosn acoustics.
  22. The stock Grover open back Sta-Tites backs on my 2012 AJ absolutely SUCKED! I replaced them with a set of the 18:1 Sta-Tites and can attest they are a direct fit. No need to swap the original bushings and it's a super simple swap. My g-string tuner was getting harder and harder to turn, and the others were starting to crappy. Dare I say though, the originals are also 18:1 as well (I never counted the gears on the old tuners), but I've had the 18:1 Sta-Tites on a few Martin 15 series I used to own and they never felt as bas as the OEM Sta-Tites that came on my 2012 AJ. The originals that came on my AJ just don't seem to last. I have a buddy who is a pretty well-known singer/songwriter who has a couple custom Stonebridge custom guitars and he also had the Standard-tites on his guitars and mid tour he had one of the tuners totally crap out on him. I still replaced mine with a new set of 18:1's. So far so good.
  23. Probably be able to get a great deal on one, given how many they have in stock!
  24. A K&K Mini is such a great pickup, sounds great, doesn't affect the acoustic sound of the guitar, weighs practically nothing, is unobtrusive and very little to go wrong with it. I agree 100% with having a professional install it for you. It's really a nominal fee to do so. I've done my fair share of work on my own guitars including making new pickguards, making new nuts and saddles from blanks, doing my own set-ups, etc., but was hesitant to install a K&K myself given it's super glue, and if you mess up, it's a huge hassle to correct, plus the shop I have doing mine is installing it for free because I bought the pickup directly from them. For $99 installed you really cannot complain. If you like the sound of the K&K going directly into the Loudbox, you may be pleasantly surprised if you first run it through a nice preamp. I used to have a J$%TV I had a K&K installed in, and would use a Radial PZ Pre and go into a Loudbox mini and it's sounded great. Eagerly awaiting to get the J45 Standard back from the shop, where I'm having a K&K installed into it as we speak.
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