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Leonard McCoy

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Everything posted by Leonard McCoy

  1. As to why Gibson decided to once more replace and streamline their entire string line-up is anyone's guess. For what it's worth, their previous lineup, while not inexpensive for uncoated strings, had some of the finest, most diverse strings on the entire market for both (Gibson) acoustic and electric guitars. I'll be comparing the new Acoustic Guitar Strings (light, .012) to their previous J-200 Phosphor Bronze Wound strings (light, .012) which is what I've been using on my J-180. Coated v. uncoated so to speak. First impressions Price: Not cheap if you buy it for the MSRP of USD 12.99, which should be in line with the price of other coated strings on the market, though. I actually got them for 10 bucks which is about as expensive as my usual Gibson J-200 phosphor bronze strings, which themselves ain't cheap for uncoated strings. Packaging: You get a half-open paper satchel that, though it feels nice to the touch due to some print coating, simply holds a transparent plastic bag containing the strings paired in twos, as opposed to, previously, a vacuum-sealed foil bag with each string also wrapped inside a paper cover. Perhaps coated strings need not be vacuum-sealed quite as much as uncoated strings but I don't like it since the treble strings are uncoated and thus may require some additional protection from oxidation. Appointments & material: You get ball ends alternating between brass and nickel ends so as to avoid confusion as to which string goes where. No silked-wrapped or color-coded ball ends. I don't like it. Same diameter as their previous strings (12, 16, 24, 32, 42, 53). They don't feel overly coated (rubbery) to the touch when fingerpicking which is a plus in my books but when sliding, for instance in solos, you will notice the rubbery resistance. Sound & feel: As with coated strings in general, they break in faster than uncoated phosphor bronze strings and, once stretched, hardly detune. As to the long-term use, we will see. They sound loud, balanced, overall fine. Final verdict: Would I restring them? Perhaps not. I don't get the barebones appointments and packaging given the price tag. Also, their previous strings were so good and long lasting for uncoated strings. I hope they introduce more diversity into their lineup also because coated strings aren't always the desired choice for acoustic players. TL;DR I want my J-200 strings back. In other news, Gibson's new celluloid premium guitar picks are excellent.
  2. The StewMac nut files finally arrived. I also made sure to get a really good X-Acto knife for these kinds of issues and more.
  3. Jogging around the block twice a week on the weekends.
  4. The AJ's finish at hand looks like Fullerplast to me due to the orange-peel effect. It also seems to be peeling off, literally, at the binding. Wherever the finish is broken, the catalystic nature of the Fullerplast finish fully shines through otherwise entombing the guitar with its hardened plastic. I'd stay away from any non-nitro Gibsons—not so much because of the sound but because of the finish and feel. It's also impossible to do any invisible repair on these kinds of crystallized finishes, be it Fullerplast or poly.
  5. It's done basically in the same way as with a dovetail neck joint. Heat the fret tongue until the glue releases, then loosen the neck joint by injecting steam. Don't forget to loosen the bolt, too, inside the guitar that secures the neck. There should be plenty of resources out there describing the process in great detail.
  6. I now also ordered the files from StewMac. I can't be bothered to queue up for these kinds of issues with my luthier which is a real hassle.
  7. If Gibson's Plekking process has but one major flaw among the many advantages it brings to fretboard and playability, then it must be that the cutting of the nut slots is also done by the Plek machines, and not by hand, irrespective of whether you're ordering a guitar from the standard lineup or Gibson's Custom Shop. The reason I mention this is because in my experience Gibson guitars more often than not display a common nut problem. While the string height at the nut is usually about perfect for playing anywhere on the fretboard, the string slots themselves are cut too straight, and too precisely to the string's exact diameter resulting in too tight a fit for the string to sit in the slot. The string slots also don't widen slightly as the approach the back edge of the nut. They should be filed in the shape of slightly rounded "V" but since that isn't the case, the string, if it doesn't already get pinched by the tight fit of the string slot, can't neither move nor be angled towards its tuner post resulting in binding issues at the nut. The notorious "plink" sound the string makes is caused by the string actually bumping against the edge of the end of the string slot and/or by too narrow a string slot. And because the tuner posts are at an angle for all Gibson guitars from string slot to tuner post, ie., they don't run in a straight line as with a Strat, the binding issues can be rather severe with Gibson guitars. While it's no big deal for a luthier to fix this, the customer can't do it himself without costly special nut files and some know-how which is rather annoying.
  8. My newest acquisition is an all-in-one, no-fuzz tape recorder from Sony.
  9. Or really high action and pressing hard, who knows.
  10. Any decent coated strings will serve your purpose.
  11. Fantastic condition, fantastic sounding.
  12. Unfortunately, the post that I reserved for Japanese serian numbers can no longer be edited which is why I never could finish the work. I refer you to the unofficial Epiphone wiki for further reference: http://www.epiphonewiki.org/index/Epiphone_Serial_Number_Decoding.php
  13. I don't think a fretboard would be considered a spare part. Gibson only provide hardware parts. Your only option might be to turn to third parties (in which case it's doubtful the replacement will be a fit in any way, shape, or form "out of the box") or have a luthier make one for you (a costly enterprise). But who knows, perhaps there's someone out there offering Epiphone-ready fretboards? I would reconsider buying a guitar without a fretboard...
  14. Don't use steelwool for God's sake! If you're not well versed in wet-sanding, stay away from it. It's also unclear how many layers of nitro are really left, so sanding away layers might be counterproductive since the scratches could be too deep in. I would turn the guitar over to a luthier to see what can be done in terms of the sides. I wouldn't do any further DIY experimenting on it (as done by the previous owner), since it would likely devalue the guitar even more. At a certain point it's nonrepairable and would require refinishing which is a tedious, fickle high-dollar job not many can do right. Micromesh (from StewMac for instance) might be your best option but I would best leave it to a professional well versed with Gibson nitrocellulose lacquer and equipped with, and being able to operate, a good buffing wheel as well.
  15. The first photo barely show a hairline reflecting back. Inspecting the guitar under blacklight will fully reveal its history including any hard-to-spot repairs and defects.
  16. It's the old Gibson bar stool that's always been available anywhere else.
  17. Lemon oil eats into nitro finishes like wolves into herds of lambs. Don't be reckless with a high-dollar guitar. Instead, take a clean, dry soft rag and rub one of the smaller affected spots lightly in either a straight or circular pattern. Ever so slighty dampen the rag next with warm water or saliva and repeat the process. Finally, if that didn't help, take a new dry rag and use a Gibson guitar polish or cleaner (specifically made for nitrocellulose finishes containing a light abrasive also) and massage the spot in the same manner. If the above didn't yield the desired results, I recommend handing the guitar over to a luthier or Gibson themselves asking for advice on how to proceed from here on out. Using very fine micromeshes (from Stewmac for instance) to polish-rub the stains out, which likely only sit atop the surface, would probably do the trick if all else fails, but I'd consult with a professional first. From looking at the photos, I'm not clear where the affected spots are actually located at.
  18. If the solvent got in touch with the nitrocellulose lacquer of the guitar, then permanent damage has been dealt, since the solvent reacted with the lacquer permanently. An expert luthier on Gibson nitrocellulose finishes (or Gibson themselves) may know how touch up the affected spot in the finish, but it's not looking good. If bad comes to worse, the whole guitar would require refinishing. Pictures of the affected spots would help evaluate how bad the problem is. We would also need to know what chemicals the contact cleaner is made out of.
  19. Well, if the heel is slanted, which is not normal of course, it begs the question whether the neck has been set at an angle as well resulting in a twist, hence my stressing that point. There could be various other reasons as to why the heel is as slanted as it is. If it doesn't impede playability or bother you in terms of cosmetics, it's all good and well, I guess.
  20. In the first photo, not so much in the second one, it looks like the heel is slightly at an angle to the body. I trust it's no optical illusion? Does the fretboard perfectly meet the body at the bass side? Any irregularities there? The second photo is inconclusive as to whether or not the neck is twisted and, if so, by how much. While looking down the neck, see if it's twisted toward either the bass or treble side. You can take the two sharp points where the headstock goes over into the neck as reference points. Further, I refer you to Dan Erlewine's "How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great" for proper instructions and how-tos. A slight twist is usually nothing to worry about, but too much twist can affect playability and is something I would definetely shy away from when buying a guitar. A luthier or professional guitar technician might provide you with a proper hands-on evaluation.
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