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Everything posted by tpbiii

  1. Some would say way too familiar. ๐Ÿ™ƒ Meeting there might well work. Even though I am not buying or selling personally, it is always fun to hang there with Gary for a bit. All the best, -Tom
  2. Hi Cat, That would be interesting. I did get to play a 1995 BRW AJ that belongs to Mike Fuller -- he just handed it to me for maybe 10 minutes before he started his bluegrass set. It had a 1 3/4 neck -- which the originals did not -- but it was a strong guitar. That was in Texas and my AJ was in Georgia, so no A-B comparison. The original AJs were not BRW. Tony Watt (with the AJ above) and his wife Laura Orshaw are there right now. Tony plays with Alan Bibey and Grasstown -- they are up for song of the year and gospel song of the year. His wife plays fiddle with Po' Rambin' Boys -- they are up for entertainer of the year. My late wife and I went the first year and put the event on the "more trouble than it is worth" list. The shows were great, but if we could not do more jamming than sitting, we were not happy. She played bass -- that was also an issue. I think we played in a couple of pick up open stage sessions on the outdoor stage near the hotel -- just a small hand full of songs -- but dealing with the instruments was more of an issue than even usual. Besides my wife's bass I don't remember what I brought, but it wasn't the AJ -- too many $$. I am sure it was one of these -- 39 D-28 (discussed above), 38 D-18, 35 JUMBO, or maybe the 43 SJ RW. The last hangs in there with the AJ. We were in the main hotel but worst of all, on Saturday night they thew (all of) us out of the jamming area just after we had made some good connections. So for us, that made it not a bluegrass festival but something else. Do you ever come to GA or western NC festivals. That might be a great place to meet sometime. All the best, -Tom
  3. Since Gibson seemed to have jumped on the sound port bandwagon, I thought I might share my ongoing experiment and adventure with sound ports. I now have some age related hearing loss, but I have always been able to flatpick fiddle tunes and lead breaks in bluegrass alone better than in a band. That is because I play instinctively and not by rote, so if I can't hear, I can't play -- at least not as well. I have never been around sound ports much, and I don't know how I would like them. I have a good friend -- Tony Watt -- a pretty well known flat picker -- who has a Martin Authentic (1937 D-18 copy) that he use professionally that has a sound port. Seems to work well for him. So as a major guy in the Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU), Tony has his own indoor jamming festival (JamVember) and he is also very involved with the Joe Val bluegrass festival. Before the pandemic, I traveled pretty often to Boston to go to those festivals (both are indoor winter events), and Tony has lent me a guitar a guitar each time. Of course those are not functioning now because of the pandemic. The last time -- 2019 -- he lent me his D-18 Authentic -- he was too busy to play himself. He also let me put on uncoated 80/20s -- he is a very nice man. As many of you know, I own some of the best bluegrass guitars in the world including several Gibsons -- 36 AJ, 35 Jumbo ... In fact I am sort of the Johnny Appleseed of vintage power Gibsons for bluegrass -- I have adjusted the world view of a lot of vintage Martin die hards. In fact I have a video of Tony's first old AJ exposure demo its rhythm tone in my basement some years ago. But I digress. That weekend I spent with the D-18 Authentic was wonderful and the guitar was a GREAT jamming tool. I would have adapted to whatever he loaned me, but this happened so quickly I was almost never aware on a minute-to-minute that this was not my 35 or 38 D-18. It is not that I could not tell the difference, but I did not really miss them. How much of this had to do with the sound port? I don't really know -- it was certainly part of the mix, and I had a great time. So here comes the pandemic and I am trapped at home. I needed a project. Well my most powerful old D-28 is a 1939. Another dear friend and luthier -- Mark Bramlett -- is an anal perfectionist who builds a few forensic copies of prewar Martins. He has an extensive tool set that allows him to map every feature of the guitar, including the wood thickness of every element. He built a guitar for a customer which used 1948 BRW back and sides from a topless neckless -D-28 and he used my 1939 D-28 as the forensic model. Here is a comparison of the new guitar (right off the beach) and the old D-28 for rhythm tone. So I decided to get my own custom copy of the 1939 D-28 but with a sound hole. Another great friend of mine and luthier extraordinaire is Nova Scotia south shore builder, Russell Crosby. my old Canadian family home that I am caretaking for my generation is right across the Jordan River where he lives in isolation in the woods. You could not make this stuff up! Russell has populated the Nova Scotia South Shore with acoustic guitars -- I think he has built around 100. Russell is an extraordinarily fine craftsman who general builds to a plan -- he has built lots of different style guitars. So I ask him to build the guitar. He knows Mark Bramlett who came with me to Canada in 2019, and Mark supplied the detailed plan and offered himself as a consultant. The guitar has a red spruce top -- lots of that in Nova Scotia -- and east Indian rosewood back and sides. BRW is just too problematic in this day and age. I told him to decorate it however he wanted -- I am not into decorations. So it is complete now, and waiting for me. The port can be covered and the two friends I have sent to test the guitar say it is louder out front with the hole covered. They have now open the border just enough for me to get in for a couple of week -- so I will soon get to meet. Soon I will see for myself. I'll let you know. Best, -Tom
  4. Many more Martins and also Gibson acoustics than any electrics, but I have some. I have not used electrics to perform or even jam out that I remember since the 60s.
  5. I was in Fuller's about a month ago. I know Mike, but I did not see him on this trip. My late wife added Mike's 39 Kay S-51 to her "collection" of 5-string standup basses -- she brought it back to Georgia and left her other 39 Kay S-51 in Texas -- it is in this room right now. As many of you know, I am pretty much only interested in vintage and perhaps trying vintage copies now and then to see what those are like. I guess I am not buying -- but I like to keep track of what is happening in the market and never say never. I only do acoustic instruments. What I found at Fuller's was similar to what I saw a Gruhn's a month earlier -- lots of high end vintage copies and almost no actual vintage. I talked to the sales guy (blues guy) quite awhile and he said internet sales were pretty brisk. The actual store was pretty empty of people. Let's pick, -Tom
  6. Well getting a basic green screen for chromakey is pretty easy. Amazon offers "screens" -- mostly green fabric -- in many sizes, many with stands of different sizes for different spaces. Then any video recorded with that as a background can be used with chromakey apps. An easy -- and fun -- thing if you can do if you use ZOOM, regardless of what kind camera you use, is have ZOOM itself do the chromakey. Lighting is important -- you need to minimize shadows on the screen. Once you have the ability to film in front of a green screen, the videos can be saved and backgrounds can be inserted at any time. For sound quality, video quality, and post processing, there are many options -- modern technology does that better all the time. Best, -Tom
  7. So.... I have been locked up for more than a year in my home near Atlanta. Basically by myself. There I have an acoustic recording environment I assembled more than a dozen years ago. I spent my profession life as an acoustics signal processing researcher (at Georgia Tech). The one in my basement -- which uses two 4033a large diaphragm mics about 5 feet from the player and uses a signal processor to create a recording which -- if the listener has the right system -- is (by the numbers) indistinguishable from being there. The system has no moving parts -- you just sit down and play. It was designed to demo the sound of vintage guitars, at which it is extraordinary. Because the mics are back a bit, it is not really sensitive to instrument placement. It does pick up the room effects, which is no great issue for single instruments, but room effects can become overwhelming if for example you put a whole bluegrass band in the room. Since the system is always there and accessible, we used it for all kinds of stuff: lots of mixes of instruments, vocals, materials, and harmony stacks. Some years ago, I started using a green screen and put in studio lights -- the whole system kind of became a big toy. I used it a lot with ZOOM and JAMULUS during the pandemic. So finally earlier this month I went to stay a few weeks with my daughter in Houston -- I live in the "guest house." I keep instruments out there and my daughter plays in the Appalachian style duo -- DEAD GIRL SONGS. Music for me (and my late wife) was never something you perfected to be arranged and played one way. Rather it a collection of melodies, lyrics, harmonies, instruments and styles that can be mixed and jammed with others. Lots of stuff, seldom played the same way. I keep instruments in Texas -- including some Gibsons: 1943 SJ, 1913 A-1, 1934 TB-00 Flathead converted banjo as well as some others. This time a sent my 1953 J-45 to live there -- I intended for the SJ to come back to Georgia. (I had it in Texas to play rhythm for Texas Fiddle music, but I never really did that. IDA trapped it in Texas for awhile.) My daughter wants to do some of her late mothers music in the keys her mother used -- not her normal range and parts in DEAD GIRL SONGS. So I decided to put together a Texas version of my recording environment. It uses the same geometry, microphones, and camera but no signal processor to guarantee faithful reproduction -- just a good flat system. I also just uses available light, and that causes some artifacts -- I may set up better lighting when I get back to Texas. My daughter's normal style is sort of raw and in your face, but pitched lower than her mom. She often plays a rhythm mandolin. It seemed that might be a good match to the sparse projective tone of the 53 J-45. You can think of these as field recordings -- unrehearsed single take with flaws included. That is actually what we love to do. Here is an old version from a Dead Girl Song Atlanta recording. Her how her mother did it. (That is a 43 RW SJ BTW) Here are a couple more using the Texas setup Let's pick, -Tom
  8. I have 1917 L-1 and a 1934 KG-1 -- they might be similar to yours. Both have larger, deeper necks than modern but more of a V. I do like that. Neither (or my 34 Carson Robison) have a non adjustable metal bar in their necks as some of the late 30s off brands did, but none had anything like the BASEBALL BAT shape of those c. early 1942s. Just my 2 cents. Best, -Tom
  9. My42 LG-1 -- with an adjustable neck -- doesn't have a small neck, but it is noticeably smaller than my early c 43 SJ and J-45 without truss rods. I am pretty sure those necks without metal truss rods are the largest Gibsons ever. At least the largest IME.
  10. tpbiii


    I have three -- 1942 LG-1, 1946 LG-2, and 1959 LG-1. They are quite different instruments. http://vintageacousticinsruments.blogspot.com/ http://www.vimeo.com/tpbiii Let's pick, -Tom
  11. I play harp quite a lot-- embarrassing but true. I bonded to Hohner Special 20s long ago -- the Lee Oscars are a little to soft for strong acoustic string band music. Because I play a lot of bluegrass where any key is legal, I get them in sets of 12. Hohners have gotten pretty pricey, so I have searched for years for reasonable performing alternative. I have found two : Easttop and SX Blues. The first cost about 1/2 the cost of Special 20s and the other is quite cheap. I have auditions literally 100s of these over 40+ years, and these are all I have found that do it for me. Here is an example of how I play. http://vintageacousticinsruments.blogspot.com/ http://www.vimeo.com/tpbiii Let's pick, -Tom
  12. I have a 53 J-45 and a 54 SJ. There is a major change in the bracing in 1955 -- no longer scalloped. IME, the earlier ones are better. The 40s are better yet. Best, -Tom
  13. c. 1923 TB4 I'll check the serial numbers -- they are documented pretty well. Here is my 5-string RB-4 and GB-4 from the same period. They redesigned the whole line in 1925 -- the mastertone. Yours is not too valuable -- the matertones from the 1930s can be very valuable fot bluegrass. From Gruhn and Carter The only serial number data I have ust says 1922-frb 1925 Best, -Tom
  14. I can't see the attachment. If I can see a picture, chances are I can tell you a lot. Best, -Tom
  15. Thanks so much -- I was afraid that might be true. I will add a cut and paste now. All the best, -Tom
  16. I wrote this story on the vintage Gibson FB page. I am trying to share it here because it is largely about old Gibsons. This is a test -- it may well not work. https://www.facebook.com/groups/348092885373223/?multi_permalinks=1797113067137857&notif_id=1624893754628708&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&ref=notif IT CLEARLY DID NOT WORK -- HERE IS A COPY OF THE POST.
  17. I have a 39. Here is a video demo and a comparison the four other 12-fret 1930s guitars -- Martins 34 00-40H and 30 00-18H AND Gibson 31 L-2, 34 HG-C and 39 HG-00. Best, -Tom
  18. Well this is an area I have thought about a lot -- and as arguably a 50 year acoustic string band musician (mostly bluegrass now, but historically folk revival, old time and traditional mountain styles) and vintage guitar collector, I currently own quite a few iconic power flat tops. As a matter of personal choice, my late wife and I avoid all forms of electrified instruments except when forced by circumstance. I own several banner, late 40s and early 50s J-45s and SJs, and as much as I love them for folk, gospel, blues and ragtime, none of them IME have the kick to adequately perform in a strong traditional string band. I actually love a few old Gibsons for this role, but they are rare -- mostly I historically used old herringbones (D-28) ad for lighter sessions old D-18s for this role. The four Gibsons I have are a 36 AJ, 35 RSRG, 43 SI RW (rare) and my latest 40 J-55 RW (super rare). I talk about this on my blog -- https://vintageacousticinsruments.blogspot.com/2015/12/1934-1943-rosewood-gibson-j-guitars-for.html?fbclid=IwAR3SFYnvToVEolsw47OvLbLrsW1Ctnyio6PbSeOK7nkPWGlN86-MNvYuE70 Best, -Tom
  19. Late L-00s had some odd features -- many very similar to Kalamazoo models. The banjo world refers to that period as the floor sweep period -- a lot of stuff created oddly from parts that were lying around. Best, -Tom
  20. 1939 1936 So probably white went to gold sometime between these two guitars. Best, -Tom
  21. I thought this might interest some of you. During the pandemic, I have sometimes visited ZOOM song circles. As many of you know, I have jamulus working for bluegrass and other jamming, but ZOOM circles are basically different. First because of delay issues, you basically have to do solo pieces -- not generally my thing, But hey -- it is a pandemic. You can use any acoustic front end you want, but in this case I just used the same "faithful reproduction" system I have used for more than a decade to demo my vintage guitars. That only tells you the quality of the input but -- ZOOM can (and does) change the audio using their on rules, which vary according to the internet situation in which it finds itself. When it is just me, my voice, and a strummed backup, I actually prefer my later less powerful guitars. The two I used last night were my 1954 SJ and 1962 HB. http://vintageacousticinsruments.blogspot.com/ http://www.vimeo.com/tpbiii This is just one example -- any other time, it might sound different. Best, -Tom
  22. I guess this was the historical turning point. This is a c. 1920 Gibson F-4 -- a "Lloyd Loar" F4. Lloyd Loar famously introduced the adjustable truss rod when he arrived in 1921. At that time, there were a number of inlaid double pot F4 necks already on the bench. Lloyd had them routed and a truss rod installed. Opinions vary whether on balance this was a good idea for those instruments. ๐Ÿ˜ต Let's pick, -Tom
  23. I have a lot of old Gibsons which I use for other stuff. In a general way, I think of participating in historically different acoustic genres -- a major deciding line for me was sort of the historic traditional genres and the folk revival genre. Many of the former are power genres -- particularly traditional bluegrass but also other traditional string band genres as well. In comparison, the folk revival stuff is usually much milder. Now my late wife and I loved both genres, but for us they were not the same and required different instruments. The 30s Gibsons (and Martins) often had amazing power -- both started to lose strength about 1940. Gibson power arguably dropped of quicker, but both dropped off. I can easily notice a difference between 1940-1945, 1945-1950 and 1950-1954. After that, none of them work for me for the traditional side of the line. However they did work well for the folk revival. Here are (most of) my Js. I have four J-45s (43, 44, 45, 53) and two mahogany SJs (43, 54) -- which are basically the same series of guitars if you ignore decoration. For those guitars, I basically lost interest in guitars that had the bat wing pickguards J-45/SJ -- not because of the pickguard but because 1954 was the last year with scalloped braces -- It is easy to hear the difference. I own later Gibsons, but I consider them to be different guitars and we used then for different stuff. I hope this helps. Best, -Tom
  24. OK then. Here is a good demo. First two J-45s -- 44 and 45 -- and a bare finger 67 Martin D-35 to keep it grounded. Here is a 59 LG-1 (also followed by a 46 LG-2 and 42 LG-1) doing the same song. You should be able to hear it. Best, -Tom
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