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NJ Tom

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About NJ Tom

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  1. I've got GAS, hardly an earth shattering revelation on a guitar forum. Presently I have a Martin D-18 that's not going anywhere. I'm considering a rosewood companion after this exile is over when I can go on the prowl. No mail order, the hunt is half the fun. Not sure exactly what I'd like yet, but another dread is on the radar. Or not. GAS makes me indecisive, but for now let's assume dread. I'm basically a cowboy chord strummer/poser/hacker and don't get too far beyond the fifth fret unless a capo is involved, so there's that. Aside from body shape and cosmetics, what are the major differences between a J-29 and Songwriter? Are all Songwriters rosewood, or just the Deluxe? I'd prefer pre-owned. What are reasonable used prices for examples of either, assuming at least good condition with no structural issues? Any particular years I should avoid? Thanks in advance. Tom
  2. Q: What's the difference between a violinist and a fiddle player? A: The fiddle player is smiling.
  3. I didn't have that issue.....pickups were glued inside the guitar under the bridge. I really can't tell though if the compensated saddle is original or bone, but it does have a thin shim glued to it. Perhaps down the road I'll have a luthier determine that, and if it's Tusq (I think that's the original material) maybe have a new one made, perhaps a bone nut too.
  4. Took a shot at uninstalling the Trance Amulet electronics from the J-15....much easier than I anticipated. I also installed the Stew Mac end-pin and plug for the jack hole. I had to modify the shaft of the plastic end pin with a coarse file (no other tools were required for the job)) so it'd fit flush against the body once the grommet plug was inserted, and didn't need to use the screw on the inside of the plug. It fits very snugly, no worries about it pulling out when a strap is attached, but the metal jack left a bit of a raccoon eye in the finish. I can live with it. Modifying the end pin and continual test fitting actually took longer than removing the electronic guts. Quite a noticeable difference in weight, no longer bottom heavy and almost as light now as my D-18. No doubt a difference in sound too, or at least I think so. Seems brighter, not as warm as it was before taking out the electronics. But it could be my imagination . Thanks for the reference links....it was a huge help.
  5. If this J-15 still had the factory set-up I'd probably have left it alone. But the Trace Amulet system has a lot of stuff and it's a distraction, especially the little bit of weight that makes the guitar seem bottom heavy. My D-18 is as light as a feather, the J-15 not so much. Walnut might account for some of that though. But I'm really liking this Gibson enough to go through all this trouble. It's a nice guitar.
  6. Thanks Sal. I much appreciate the offer. However I got an end pin plug from Stew Mac like the one described in this post. Just got to find a long enough hex wrench that'll fit the inside screw.
  7. Didn't mean to suggest that I'd let a young kid do the whole job....just to help remove the inside jack nut way down deep in body. It looks like I can reach everything else. The pre-amp, for instance, is Velcro'd.
  8. Yes it does. Thank you. I'll have to get a deep 9/16" socket to remove the jack nut on the inside maybe a long hex wrench to install a replacement end pin and plug but it'll be less expensive than outsourcing the job. Might have to hire one of the neighborhood kids to get their tiny hands through the sound hole, but I'll try it first. Hope I can hear and feel the difference afterwards.
  9. I recently acquired a used J-15. The factory electronics were removed and replaced with a Trance Amulet stereo pick-up system. I don't play plugged, never will. From what I can see there's a tangle of wires and a pre-amp, no doubt adding unnecessary weight and possibly affecting sound, not to mention the annoying rattling of loose cables inside. I can't locate installation instructions on-line. Does anyone have instructions so I can reverse engineer the electronics? Thanks in advance.
  10. I played one very briefly last week but I was more focused on the used J-15 which I was eventually able to swap even for a D-16RGT. Tone-wise I didn't hear much of a difference between the Studio 45 and the 15, but the 15 won in the bass department....it had just a bit more oomph.. Besides I was swapping used for used and didn't want to fork out any $$$. I did like the 45 though...it was responsive and lighter that the J-15, but I attribute that to the Trace Amulet stereo electronics in the 15. There's a pre-amp inside and a spaghetti tangle of wires which I'm sure has an effect on weight and tone. Since I don't play plugged in, it'll eventually be removed and stuck in a drawer. Why did you choose the J-45 Studio over the J-15?
  11. Haven't had a Gibson in a while, so there's been nothing to contribute...until now I guess. I own a killer Martin D-18 custom, figured I'd need rosewood too, and got a great deal on a NOS 2015 Martin D-16RGT last year. Nice guitar but rosewood wasn't floating my boat. Put it up for sale, decided one guitar was fine for my purposes (blasphemy, I know). Got no bites though...disappointing since it just wan't getting played. Heard about a used J-15 at a big box store, figured I'd check it out. Heck, if I liked it at least it'd get played. A little research told me what i figured to be true...that the Martin and Gibson were pretty much neck and neck in comparable used values. Well, I liked it. A lot. Great neck, really like the tone of walnut., and no problem with the shorter scale. I offered the dealer a straight swap, even Steven....I didn't want to lay out any extra $$$. At first the salesman declined my offer. But the manager got involved and when he saw the condition of my Martin he said "do it". Both guitars were fairly even in condition, the J-15 has a tiny ding on the lower bout, but other than that it's as perfect as the Martin....not so much as a scratch on the pick guard. Had it a few days now, and it's really grown on me. A very nice companion to my D-18. I understand now why I've never seen a negative review of the J-15.
  12. 2013 J-35 w/OHSC asking $1275 Prefer a direct hand off...the guitar is located in Morris County NJ. Agreeable to meeting halfway within a 50 mile radius give or take, and that could include the Pocono/Lehigh Valley areas of Pennsy and other locales. No trades please. Excellent condition overall, just two small barely noticeable dings on the top. The Fire Stripe pick guard has been replaced with a beveled one that’s a little more subdued (similar to tortoise), and the tuners have been swapped out with Golden Age open backs with cream knobs. Original tuners included as is the factory pick guard. I don’t know if it came this way from the factory but there’s a heel strap button installed. That’s the way I got it. For some reason I'm unable to post pictures...an error message says my file is too large despite resizing attempts. Pictures can be found here: https://umgf.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=191753&p=2287765#p2287765 or you can write to me at trc114@aol.com Thanks for looking Tom
  13. In the short time I've owned my used J-35 it's been through several sets of strings. The unknown originals were replaced by Martin Retros light and the treble only strings were immediately trashed and replaced with Ernie Balls which were less offensive sounding. Last week when I replaced the tuners I tried a set of John Pearse PB lights (12-53). I like them so far...best way my uneducated ears can describe them are crisp and tight if that makes any sense, but I'm sure they're still breaking in so time will tell if they hold up. They'll stay for a while, and next change I have a set of Martin Eric Claptons (12-54) on deck.
  14. I missed out on the Waverlys and impulsively bought a set of Golden Age open back tuners with off-white knobs. They were a drop in, didn't even have to change the bushings...no mods required at all. Well, almost no mods.... As I was got closer to pitch the new tuners became harder and harder to turn. It felt like something was binding. So off they came and I noticed a little play between the shaft and the stock bushing. Even the replacement bushings had the same amount of play so the stock ones were left in. White lithium grease was applied to all the moving parts including under the removable tightening screw, petroleum jelly was dabbed on the tuner shaft and inside the bushing and I crossed my fingers. Bingo!!! Major improvement, not quite smooth as silk but they operate pretty well....look a lot better too.
  15. I think it's kinda cool just the way it is. Instead of restoring I'd just put the $$$ into making it playable if it's structurally sound.
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