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Everything posted by Jesse_Dylan

  1. If you've been through two (several?) SJ-200s, and not been pleased, do you think this one will meet your criteria?
  2. I had wanted one about since I started playing in 1999 (although it went back and forth--wanted a Guild jumbo for ages, but the SJ-200 was where the heart was) and finally got one back in May to celebrate a year at my first master's degree job (which pays like I don't even have a bachelor's degree, but oh well). Nevermind the "one year" date is actually now, not May. Anyway, I love it like crazy. I go back and forth over which guitar is my favorite, but I think this might be the one. Photobucket is not my favorite though. When did that site get so ad-laden and bogged down? I think they tried again pretty well with the SJ-100 at trying to lower the price point some. There is a lot of fiddly work that goes into an SJ-200--has always been that way. I think they rely on the J-15 and J-45 and such to induct people into the herd, and some of them go on to buy an SJ-200 as well. There's a huge overseas market. I don't mind. I like thinking I got something kinda rare.
  3. Yeah, I'm all for boobies, but marketing drives me nuts (and not in the same way that boobies drive me nuts) I only have my personal experience with a (dead-stringed) 2014 Quilt Hummingbird to draw upon, but it was so tasty warm. Maybe it was just my player's perspective (i.e. sounds different from in front), and the dead strings. It blew me away though. At that point, I didn't think I'd ever want a maple guitar (which, admittedly, was my own psychologically strategy to talk myself out of my SJ-200 love, but now I have an SJ-200, and it might be my favorite of favorites). It was then I realized that Gibson are the wizards of maple. Of course, as 62Burst says, the body shape has an awful lot to do with it, but I think Gibson's bracing also has a lot to do with it, even on the small maple Gibsons (full disclosure: I have yet to play any Gibson maples except: J-185, J-200, Hummingbird quilt--but I have listened to lots of maple Nick Lucases, and they don't seem to lack in the warmth). I didn't know one could get a mahogany Bird in a true cherry sunburst. (The maple one, or at least that maple one, is actually a "bright cherry sunburst," where as the standard comes in "Heritage cherry sunburst," and my vintage is "Vintage Cherry Sunburst"....... and for instance the Donovan J-45 is just a plain cherry sunburst, which they don't seem to use much anymore and really should.) I would still like something in a true cherry sunburst. I might even settle for a honeyburst. You need a degree in guitar finishes to even keep up with all the variations when, deep down, all you want is a dang cherry sunburst. I play the blues (but not on purpose) on just about any electric guitar... When I used to use medium strings on everything, it was even worse. When I first started trying out Hummingbirds (light strings, 24.75" scale) I would bend all over. I've been told I have a grip that is far too hard, but if I don't grip hard, I get buzzes. Hard to tell I guess. It is all very subtle, or at least to me it is. I wish we could get everyone and all these guitars in the same place and really do some comparing.
  4. Yes, it is. I prefer this video, as he doesn't have half his boobie out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-tT-B0qOys One can also find videos of him playing the standard Hummingbird to compare, and maybe even the Vintage. I'm not sure any of the videos quite capture how the maple sounds to the player. It sounded much warmer to me, but it did have dead strings when I played it. I don't feel like it loses any of the warmth but at the same time gets some oomph. The Vintage goes a different direction to get the same effect of more oomph and even more warmth. Are the 2016s lighter? I know each particular guitar varies, and yes, the 2016s are very nice, but I don't think they made any significant internal changes. The 2016 Vintage is light as a feather, but a 2016 standard vs a previous standard shouldn't have much difference. The quilted maple does weigh quite a bit more than mahogany. Quilted mahogany is also a bit warmer than flamed mahogany. No, you're right. It is fairly subtle for me, too--Neither is better, but having both is a lot of fun. I love that the neck is just a tiny bit shorter, frets a little closer together (for better or worse). If you use lowered tunings, you'll be able to tell that the tension is lower compared, but a decent setup makes 25.5" perfectly playable. But I just meant that the quality of tone changes based on the difference between scales, nevermind the differences in how they play. I think that is part of the secret to the Hummingbird's warmth and certainly to the J-45's warmth.
  5. All true except that a maple Hummingbird is definitely NOT a Dove in different trim. The different scale lengths really seem to make a difference. 24.75" or 25.5" scale length, is almost as big a difference as mahogany vs maple.
  6. Yes! I think that cathedral is my favorite building in the world. St Albans is an interesting place, a Roman town turned, medieval town turned sort of suburb (kind of) of London (although it arguably always had been) turned commuter town turned.......
  7. What's this? First you say you played in a pub in St. Alban's, where my lady happens to live. Next you write a song about Williston, a town just west of me (and as you point out, it sure isn't the same place it used to be). The whole state has really changed, more so than with the boom/bust of the '80s. I've lived here 30 years (Minot, not Williston) and hope the bust sticks this time, but that's just me. :) Got nothing against the folks coming here because they have to, nothing even against the criminals. I do have something against the oil companies and the state politics that enable such a situation. Nice song that encapsulates it pretty darn well. How are you going to surprise me next?? I don't think there could possibly be any more strange coincidences, but I guess we'll see!
  8. Maybe you should offer to buy it! If you can't convince him, maybe you can convince her and she can convince him and you could get a nice deal.
  9. I wonder if the brand of string will matter more than the composition of said strings' alloy. I think it'll sound good no matter what you put on it. With other long-scale, maple guitars, I would worry about being too bright and garish, but I don't think that will be a problem with a Dove.
  10. I do think a good, thick, big, stiff neck (including with a strong, non-adjustable truss rod) contributes to tone, which unfortunately guitars have moved away from. Headstock weight, I'm not sure about that. Some people actually think a lighter headstock is helpful. Might depend upon what kind of tone you prefer. I sure haven't noticed any difference in tone from switching tuners at all.
  11. I don't know. I mean, I think Waverlies are fantastic, and Schallers and others, but you got to go with what you like! It's your guitar. Some people think more mass is better; some people think less is better. (You could always test your preference by adding a bunch of weight to the headstock to see what you think.) But in the end, you got to have tuners that you love. I've replaced the tuners on 5/7 of my guitars and will eventually replace the other two as well. I know what I like when it comes to tuners. (None of the ones I replaced were Waverlies, but like I said, we all like different things!)
  12. Well, never mind. Apparently the Martin D is 15-5/8" across and 4-7/8" deep, so that is not much difference at all from the Gibson slopes or the Gibson squares in those particular dimensions. The Gibsons still might be a tiny bit wider/deeper, but not much... Sorry. 17" is still bigger than 16" though--at least I can't be wrong about that. :)
  13. You attempt to be historically accurate and say things that are inaccurate yourself. The Jumbo is bigger than the dreadnought. Martin's dreadnought is 15"; the Jumbo is 16" across at the lower bout. That's a pretty big increase. And the SJ is 17". It's not just about the waist, although of course that has a tremendous impact as well on the tone. And, as we see comparing a Hummingbird (or Dove) to a Martin dreadnought, the sound is completely different, whether the short-scale or long-scale version. And, if you reference the book you cited, you'll see the Martin dreadnought and the Gibson square-shoulder do differ in their measurements. Just do some Googling for the various accounts of the history of the Ray Whitley model, which became the SJ-200 we know and love, and you'll see the record is anything but clear and that even historical record is based upon whatever speculation in the end seems the most likely to be accurate. I don't know where I read that "Jumbo" was meant to be a knock against the dreadnought, but at that time, bigger was considered better, and it is, in fact, bigger than a dreadnought. And an entirely different guitar, to be sure, as you pointed out.
  14. I've always been curious about those 12-fret SJ-200s! I think there's another video of Stan playing that one, or a different one. I believe the non-moustache-bridge is a Ray Whitley prototype and is in fact 12-fret (but probably not short-scale--but maybe!!). Eventually they moved toward 14-fret, and at one point they wanted a scale of 27" or 26" inches. At that time, it was all about outdoing Gene Autry and his Martin D-45. And when the Gibson Jumbo body came out (which was the first? I can't remember... the J-45 wasn't the first, but that's the iconic example now), it was all about outdoing the Martin dreadnought. The Jumbo was bigger than the dreadnought... and the Super Jumbo was WAY bigger. And then in the '60s they said, okay, we don't need to outdo the Martin dreadnought, and they made one themselves and called it a Hummingbird. (It's not the same shape, though--I think it's actually bigger than a Martin dreadnought, too, and of course shorter scale.) Hard to go wrong with Martin and Gibson.
  15. I bought a set of these on a whim in a guitar store in San Antonio in order to appease my guilt for having played nearly every Gibson they had. I had no idea what to expect. Still haven't tried them, but from what people say, they sound right up my alley. How is the tension? Similar to other PB, or are they a bit looser like DR?
  16. Are you sure you're not just comparing a Gibson to a Martin? They are going to be extremely different guitars, as is a dreadnought vs a super-jumbo, especially when it's a Martin dreadnought vs. a Gibson super-jumbo. SJs were made for years and years with the four bands and that particular break angle. I can't imagine it makes a tremendous amount of difference. An ebony fingerboard and bridge will make more difference but still not a ton. To be fair, the bridge material makes a fair amount of difference, but in the grand system of a guitar, I think if you want your Gibson to sound like a Martin, you had better get a Martin... On the other hand, variety is the spice of life. If you really like your HD-28 that much, maybe you will only be satisfied with another HD-28... or maybe only with your particular HD-28! :) I do not think of my SJ-200 as being even necessarily a loud guitar. I think "lazy," in a good way, is a pretty good descriptor. It's got a great big swelling thumpy dry Gibson sound. The Martin tone is so very different. And even the vast difference of makers aside, just comparing body shapes changes so much.
  17. I guess you'll have to choose whether you want to stick with your strings or stick with your supplier. One thing about the DRs is that they have less tension. I wouldn't mind that normally, but lately I have been really enjoying using alternate tunings, and tuning a step or two down sometimes. It's still barely okay with PB lights, so I think less-tension lights would be a bit too floppy. However, if you stick with standard tuning, it is not really an issue at all and might be a bonus.
  18. Wanted to report that I gave the Nickel Bronze lights a try on my J-15. I was disappointed, because they did not sound broken-in out of the box like I'd hoped. They remind me a lot of the Martin Retros, which many people swear by, but to me, they are rather garish, bright, and just never seem to tame down. Sadly, I have been doing a lot of alternate tuning back and forth on my J-15, and I think I have a g-string nut snag (whoa! tmi!), so my g-string snapped before I ever found out if the Nickel Bronze would break in or not. I do plan to try them on some other guitars (I bought more packs than I should have), but for someone like me who likes warm and tame strings, and was hoping they would be that, they are not. I bought some Dunlop PB lights (I didn't even know they made strings) to try, so I might try them next, and bought some Gibson Masterbuilt PB. Right now I have replaced the Nickel Bronze with D'Addario 80/20 Mediums on the J-15. I think I like PB on the J-15 best, though (and 80/20 best on the Hummingbird--go figure--that is what each came with for me, so maybe I'm biased). Edit: PS I did want to agree that I think these "non-traditional" traditional strings (Nickel Bronze, Retros, and the only ones I truly like, the JP Pure Nickels) really last a lot longer than PB and 80/20. I think they handle humidity and corrosion a lot better. Seems like I have to change uncoated 80/20 and PB fairly regularly, even if I don't play them a whole lot, but I can leave these "silver" strings on forever.
  19. Yeah, it's hard because depending upon where one looks, prices vary so much. I think the prices for used ones are a little high on the internet. (Tman's is a steal of a deal, but it's natural.) The new ones can be had for about $3000, though, believe it or not, at E.M. Shorts at least (they're a shop out of Wichita), and used usually seems to be only a few hundred less than that. They both sound pretty great... Nothing's ever quite easy, huh? Would love to A/B them. I do think I like thick and mellow, but who could say no to a grand piano? Wow! I will check it out on the trading post! Didn't know we even had a trading post. That would be a good thing for me to keep an eye on. I think that's good advice... I think it'll be E.M. Shorts for me, a forum buddy, or a (hopefully) reputable place on Gbase or Reverb.
  20. I know how apparently sycamore was used in the 1989, 1990 and perhaps some 1991 Gibson Montana maples. Other than that... What kinds of differences can one expect from an earlier Montana J-200 compared to a newer? My current line of thinking... If I can ever find a good used sunburst from 1989-2001 or so, possibly a little later (2006 and 2005 were cool years for me, for instance), I would consider it. However, the prices I see them for usually approach the price of a new 2016, which I could get for a little over $3000. If I'd end up paying $2500 or more anyway, I might just go new instead. But there doesn't seem to be a lot on the market anyway. There are lots of good deals on natural finish ones, but I gotta have sunburst! My other possibility is that I might grab both an SJ-100 walnut and SJ-200 from E.M. Shorts, A/B them, and send back the one I don't want to keep. Looking to do this around Christmas time and would probably not buy before mid-December, even if a really great used one popped up. Just curious what the thoughts are on these "older" newer J-200s versus the new, new ones.
  21. Oh! For some reason I thought the Canadian dollar was up on the USD. Don't know why I thought that. Do you get a lifetime warranty in Canada? Maybe that's how it's technically cheaper. Maybe I should drive up to Canada to buy my SJ. On second thought, I don't think I want to drive up to Canada in December.
  22. Yep, any person who starts playing now, or last year, and ends up with a J-15 for their first good guitar and keeps playing, will have a fine lifetime instrument indeed. I really wish I'd done more homework when I started out and got something like a J-15, but frankly, I don't think there was anything this good in such a price bracket at that time. (A WM-45 would have been nice, though! Not sure what they went for back then, but whatever it was, with inflation, is likely more than the $1100 I got this J-15 for.)
  23. Yeah, I wonder about Henry. It's possible it's sold at a break-even price in order to lure folks into the Gibson flock. Or maybe we're drinking the kool-aid and they are actually making money on it. I've had quite a few Martins, and I found it stands side by side with them, including a pre-2012 D-18 and a D-28 standard. After getting my Hummingbird and J-15, I sold my D-18 and D-28. Great guitars. I still have my Martin M-36 and 7-28, though, and will not part with them. Just different guitars, not better or worse. In a bluegrass jam, I'd want the D-18 or D-28, not the J-15, but I think the J-15 could hack it, too. Singing in my living room, I want the J-15 or Hummingbird. I do sometimes miss being able to throw in a well-timed, extremely aggressive strum and knock people over across the parking lot, but on the other hand, I sing a bit more quietly with a Gibson because I'm not drowned out otherwise. Not only that, but Gibson always names things a year ahead, so my Hummingbird 2016 is actually from the future, and my "last year" 2014 is actually a 2015! No, but seriously, I got a New Old Stock price on it. The new ones were a few hundred more, and the J-15 is one of the few that were spared the Gibson price increase, oh I mean value added tax. I totally agree. It is like a J-45, just different. (I suppose one could say that about the J-35, too, but you know what I mean.) Considering the price difference between it and my Bird, you'd think I wouldn't even play the J-15, but that's not the case, and one can't always tell a lot by price difference. I also think I just prefer the "modern" J-45 bracing, which is what the J-15 has. Even on the J-45 Vintage, I think that wider bracing makes it a little too strident. It is a heavy guitar overall. I think walnut is a heavier wood, like rosewood. I haven't weighed my Hummingbird or my J-15, but the J-15 is significantly heavier. I don't think it would have any worse nose-dive issues than anything else, though. The neck feels really solid, but I don't know if it feels heavy. Yikes. Is this a Gibson thing, or is it just currency fluctuation?
  24. I was actually just about to post a very late NGD thread for my J-15. :) It was "born" April, 2014, but I've had it a couple months now, new old stock! It sounds fantastic, and I agree--even dead strings sound great on it!
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