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About randyc

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  1. According to these authors, Gibson farmed out their amplifiers in the early years of amplified music and did so again later in the company's history. But they did make their own amplifiers for some time starting 1947-ish and possibly continuing as late as the early 'seventies. This book seems well-written and informative and can be found (and read) on the internet. Amps!: The Other Half of Rock 'n' Roll by Fliegler and Eiche
  2. You are most welcome and you are a good fit to the audience for whom the book was intended. Incidentally, although I didn't mention this previously, there are a number of topics in the book for which I've prepared spread sheets. These are intended to reduce lengthy mathematical manipulation. It's possible to enter a few key items and the spread sheets will calculate many critical parameters necessary to design an amplifier. The spread sheets can be downloaded from the same site as the book. best wishes, randyc
  3. You are 100% correct in your diagnosis As a jazz guitarist, I've used heavy flat-wound strings for years. But as you surmised, the heavy sets were used on archtop guitars with very low actions compared to a typical acoustic instrument. I just concluded a brief comparison of different diameter strings on two similarly set-up guitars. The J-45 was strung with .013 - .056 and J-55 with .012 - .053. I didn't expect the relatively small difference in diameters (let's call it around 7%) would have a lot of effect. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could work much higher on the neck, nearly to the 12th fret, without all of the muffed notes I'd been experiencing. Thanks to the many of you who recommended this change. (I may go back to the heavy strings later if my agility and finger strength improve with practice !) Cheers, randyc
  4. Hey 335, 175 and L-5 owner (BTW nice axes) I'm a newbie on this forum but have been active (and posted photos) on many other forums for years. There are probably simpler ways but I started posting photos in the following manner years ago and can't think of a reason to change the process: Start a free "Photobucket.com" account then upload your photos to the "library" of your photobucket account. (I like to first move my photos to the "Desktop" on the home screen of my laptop; makes it simple to locate for the upload. Once your photos have been uploaded, you can delete them from the "Desktop".) After uploading, clicking on the uploaded photo in your library will display both the photo and a dialog box to the right of the photo labeled "Share This Photo". Click on the bottom option labeled "IMG" and the URL of your photo will be saved. Now return to the forum and paste the saved URL where you'd like the photo to appear in your post :) Done ! It sounds complicated but really it's not, give it a try. I'm sure everyone would love to see your L-5 (as a long time L-5 fan and owner, I'd sure like to see your guitar !
  5. As a longtime jazz guitarist, I couldn't agree more. A good procedure is to first carefully adjust the TOM bridge for correct intonation and then replicate the dimensions of the adjusted TOM in ebony (rosewood, as shown below, if you can't find ebony). Blank hardwood bridges are readily available from the usual suspects. Most of them are already generically compensated but can be modified with a bit of fiddly hand work. Some guitars (e.g. Heritage H575, probably their most popular jazz guitar) are set up with a hardwood bridge from the factory and are correctly intonated, or very close (intonation might vary slightly with different diameter strings). Flat-wound strings - the deader, the better IMO - are helpful in replicating the tone of the jazz greats of yesteryear, if that's what you're going for. Edited: Like L5Larry, I am also a happy owner of a L-5CES (mine is a WesMo). IMO it doesn't get any better :) Before the L-5, I played an ES-330, Guild SF III and a Heritage H575. All are nice instruments but not in the same league as an L-5.
  6. Sounds great, Frank ! Adding bends was interesting, never heard anyone playing RJ do that before.
  7. Almost forgot, another option that you might consider is two small amplifiers rather than one larger amp. This is a set-up that I used a few times back in the 'nineties. I ran the pre-amp line output from the little Fender Champ to the input of a small 40 watt solid state Peavey amplifier. Here is the setup in my practice room. (Note the Sunn Beta Lead amplifier on casters between the two little guys. I gave up moving that 90 pound monster and my Fender Twin DECADES ago although I still own them along with a few more old amplifiers that I can't part with ! The advantages of this rig are straightforward: Has the tone of the little vacuum tube Fender Champ Some “grunt” added by the higher-powered Peavey (tone controls adjusted for a neutral (flat) response) Each amplifier weighs around twenty pounds With one in each hand it’s easy carry both, even up a flight of stairs. The Peavey adds reverb to the sound if desired (the old Champ has no reverb) My back was very grateful when I started using this setup P.S. In this photo, the cabinet modification to accommodate the larger speaker is obvious. The Fender logo, normally slanted on the cabinet face, had to be relocated near the bottom of the amplifier. P.P.S. The normal second input jack of the Champ has been disconnected and re-wired and re-labeled as the line output from the pre-amp. P.P.P.S. After installing the ten inch speaker I measured the frequency response. After some experimenting, I found that closing the (normally open) back of the Champ - but leaving a small port - enhanced the tone.
  8. Fender Super Champ ? I've never played through one but it has all the right stuff going on, especially the tube lineup (12AX7's driving a pair of 6V6's - around 15 watts). This should sound similar to the old tweed Fender Princeton, which was one sweet amp ! [FWIW, because I tired of carrying around one of my big amplifiers, I replaced the tiny speaker in my early 'seventies Fender Champ with a ten inch Jensen (required a significant cabinet modification). I also added a line output following the pre-amplifier that could be routed through the PA system if the venue - or the drummer - was too noisy for a microphone in front of the speaker.]
  9. P.S. Early recordings of Wes were made with an ES-175. As we know, the ES-175 is dimensionally identical to the L-4CES but has a laminated top and back. There is an old rumor that, not long before he died, Wes wanted Gibson to make him a custom L-4 with a single neck pickup. Can't confirm that, it's just something that I read. My L-4 is about one inch greater in body depth than my L-5 although the lower bout is one inch less than the L-5 - the sound chamber volumes were about equal. Maybe Wes thought the tonal qualities of the two models could be similar if the L-4 lost the bridge pickup (and the L-4 could be more comfortable to play). That is IF the above is even true, LOL. Sheer speculation on my part !
  10. Gorgeous instrument - thank you for sharing ! I wanted one of these guitars since the late 'sixties. The term "L-5," spoken or written, gets my immediate respectful attention, LOL. Natural finish archtops, to me, suggest that the top has been carefully selected for uniform, flaw-free grain. Some might disagree, opining that a uniform grain structure is neither necessary nor desirable (perhaps using the example of Bob Taylor's "oak pallet" guitar) arguing that more complex and desirable harmonic overtones are produced from a non-uniformly-grained top. Perhaps that's true but my old ears can't detect subtleties like that. I believe that the longevity of any guitar is extended with a straight grain top because stresses are distributed evenly across the top as it moves with age, humidity and temperature. I also think that tonal qualities will likewise be more consistent as the instrument ages as opposed to the inconsistently changing dimensions of a non-uniform top due to unequal stresses. These are personal opinions, based only on intuition and NOT on measurements or audible comparison. I'm not fortunate enough to own a L-5CES with that flawless natural finished top, I have a WesMo with the traditional sunburst. But I DO have a natural finish L-4CES that I love. It doesn't possess the tonal qualities of the L-5 but it is a very versatile instrument ! (That second pickup at the bridge dampens top movement a bit, in my opinion.) Here is a posed photo of the two: (FWIW, at the lower right of the photo is a picture of Johnny Cash with his arm around my Grandmother. I grew up in northeast Tennessee and he was "almost" our neighbor.) Mostly from curiosity, because it was a new product from an American manufacturer, I purchased a chambered, thin Carvin guitar with natural finish a few years ago. It was a bit gaudy for my taste so I soon divested it although it was a satisfactory instrument in some ways (for blues, especially - sort of ES-335'ish). A guitar with a maple top isn't mellow enough - for me - to produce the tonal qualities that I prefer for jazz. Having said that, I am an admirer of Larry Carlton. I also own a very pretty Heritage Golden Eagle (#248 of 250) in natural finish. We all know that Heritage is a Gibson step-child, right ? Here is a photo of that instrument, posed beside my WesMo L-5: I have to admit that there is an inner conflict regarding the finish of the L-5CES (but not other guitar models). Maybe I was conditioned in the late sixties, after hearing and seeing Wes, to think that a sunburst finish is "correct" for the L-5. Weird, huh ? Still, any natural finish arch-top is a fine thing to see and admire
  11. I've had only two encounters with Customer Service (one for an amplifier, one for a guitar). Both issues received prompt attention. In each case, I received a call or an e-mail within 24 hours stating what corrective action would be taken (in one case, a completely new guitar was sent as a replacement for a relatively minor problem with an ES-135 !!!). There are many reasons that I've been buying and playing Gibsons for 55 years. Lifetime warranty and customer service are among them - randyc
  12. Sounds good to me (pun intended)
  13. Please feel free to reference the link to anyone with an interest in the topic. My only qualification, as stated on the second page of the book, is that it not be used for commercial purposes. I started writing the vacuum tube book for different motives but as it progressed, I realized that much of the knowledge required to design circuits with (and understand) these devices has been lost. There ARE a couple of commercially available books on this subject but I wanted to make at least some of the information available to anyone without having to pay for the learning experience. Many vacuum tube amplifiers produced today are simply copies of older designs, emulated without necessarily understanding. I hope that this doesn't sound patronizing and thank you for your kind words - randyc
  14. In the short time that I've been here, I've found most members to be as courteous as you, my friend. It's my pleasure to offer any topical resources that I'm able to provide.
  15. Hi, I'm a recent member whose present interest is acoustic guitars. My introduction (and photos of my current guitars) can be found here in the acoustic forum.. Briefly, I'm a retired E.E. who wrote the following book: This commenced as a brief means of occupying myself during the boredom of recovering from extensive surgery. But it gradually morphed into nearly 400 pages of schematics, explanation, photos, commentary and how-to-do-it. I had already posted much of my material on several jazz guitar forums (where I was previously active) so this effort wasn't quite as stupifyingly time-consumig as one might infer. The book is free but cannot be used for any commercial purpose, as is clearly stated on the second page. If interested, note that the download might take a minute because of the length. Be aware that there is NO "technical support" for this document, LOL, since the intent was that the reader learn from the reading experience by himself/herself ! Even if one has no desire to design and/or build a vacuum tube amplifier, there is still much to be found here. Perhaps one might come away from reading the document with some healthy skepticism for what passes for knowledge about tube amplification on the internet. There is also quite a bit of information about guitars with an entire chapter devoted to setting up a guitar for best performance. The book can be downloaded at this site. Cheers, randyc (Charles R. Couch)
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