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craigkim

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About craigkim

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  1. So, I pulled the trigger on an SJ200 a few weeks back. I waffled around a lot about it, new, used, warranty, vintage, standard, etc. I finally decided to get a used Sj200 standard and save money both in taxes and price tag. I found one listed as mint on reverb. Hopefully it is okay to link to ended auctions on these forums. https://reverb.com/item/10520659-as-new-gibson-j-200-acoustic-electric-guitar-natural-flame-maple-j200-sj-200-lr-baggs-anthem-pickup Its a 2017 SJ200 standard. It was listed, correctly as "mint" condition. The serial number shows it as a 16, so my assumption is that this guitar had better than 18 months to mature and settle. I had initially intended to make a trip to sweetwater, but then I came to the conclusion that even if I got a great deal on an sj, I would still have the tax to consider as well. I settled on a standard because I really like the natural finish better than the vintage sunburst. I also feel like a guitar which has had a little time to break in, might reveal its true nature more readily versus one that is fresh from the factory. This makes my 4th acoustic. I now have a 2016 Hummingbird Vintage, 2018 Martin HD-28, Gibson 2017 Sj200 Standard, and a cheaper mahogany bodied Martin Custom D. I really like this SJ200. I can't say if it is a stellar example of an Sj200, or not, but it is relatively close to what I expected. It basically has a similar neck to my bird wit a totally different sound. I expected sparkly highs, subdued mids, and good low end presence. I don't fell like it is quite as sparkly as the Pete Townsend model I tried, but it's nice. I think maybe strings could remedy that. I put Ernie Ball PB Lights on it after I got it and changed the bridge pins to bone. Curiously, I am not sure about what material they used for bridge pins at the factory, but the stock ones seemed harder and higher pitched when jingled together than the bone ones. The stock bridge pins in my bird seemed softer and more dead than the bone in comparison. I am going to experiment more with strings and swapping back to the factory pins soon. I have a few observations about the guitar. No real negatives, more like neutral observations. I can ever so slightly feel the walnut stripe in the neck with my fingers. I can also ever so slightly feel the seem in the back with my fingers. Neither look structurally amiss and the lacquer is intact over them. Can't really see it just feel it. Not sure I care about it. Can probably be polished out if I did. I was surprised to find that the pick guard is a sortof rubbery translucent vinyl.... which interestingly doesn't seem to be scratchable and has the design molded into it. The tuners are curious to me, because it seems like they would add weight vs the vintage style tuners. Have considered a swap. The top looks nice, not near the silking present in my HD-28, but nice enough. The back neck and sides are pretty flamey, which is cool I guess. I don't care for the way the fret ends were dressed, if I had to complain. On my bird the binding covers the end of the frets and on the SJ the ends of the frets are sortof squared off exposed, but the necks feel very similar. I will probably have the frets dressed/polished. It is definitely heavier than my other guitars, but it is also my only electric pickup equipped acoustic. I confirmed the pickup works, but almost took the battery out just to save weight. I will likely not use it often. I don't find the weight to bother me though, it's just different. To compare with adjectives to my other acoustics: SJ-200 - (light pb strings)Harp like in the highs and almost muted horn like in the lows, sweet, mellow, somewhat subdued. Mids are noticably reduced. Highs are a nice clean silver sparkle like ringing high. There is just a nice constant complementary and not overpowering bass presence with any style. Stable and clear with a light touch or really digging into it... more force equals more volume. More volume and tone to the audience than the player it seems. Hummingbird - (lt pb strings)Woody, almost raspy, reminds of more of a western feel to the sound. Great note separation. Probably more powerful in the mids, bassy, but the bass lacks impact.... it just sounds deep. Only 4lbs. Requires a light touch. moderate approach but lights up well even with the light touch. Quietest of the 4, but not meek, sound seems to transmit evenly between the player and listener. HD-28 - (med pb strings)Loud bright and bold like a piano. Notes seem to sortof all ring out together and into one another. Loudest of my guitars across the dynamic range, maybe even as bassy as the SJ... maybe moreso, but with a more forceful and less balanced sound. Highs are very jangly like brass rattled together vs silver coins. Sounds great fingerstyle and with lighter strumming, gets unpleasant to me otherwise. it puts a lot of volume back to the player. Custom D - (light pb strings)It sits pretty well between the HD and the Bird in qualities, but I think it is brighter than either. It is really a pretty nice guitar for the money. Trying to decide what strings to try out next. Want to see if I can get more sparkly highs but retain the low end. Maybe even use a light 80/20 set for strings 1-4 and pb for 5th and 6th strings.
  2. My story/spiel is this.... When I was a kid I wanted to be an artist. My dad said, get a job that makes good money and you can do all the art you want as a hobby. It was certainly his somewhat crushing but well meaning attempt at interjecting some reality into a kids world, but it did stick with me. Assuming I wouldn't be the next Michelangelo, better to have a stable income. So, FF to today and it is funny, because I started taking guitar lessons and my instructor looks at his guitars like tools. I think my Hummingbird cost more than all the acoustics he has in his guitar rack. He thinks I am foolish for spending money on fancy guitars. He thinks of playing a gig as work and his guitars like a broom or a "meat gun" as he once referred to it. "Its how I eat", he says. Am I good enough to justify the guitars I have or an SJ 200? No. Will I ever be? Almost certainly not. Are they my tools? No. I will also never be paid a dime to play for other people and I don't have to worry about it for a second. I can tell you the first guitar which I played was a very mediocre Washburn and when I got my Hummingbird it was like !?!?!?!?!?!?!? This is awesome! My analogy for it is that you don't need to be a professional race car driver to enjoy driving a sports car, so why would you need to be Keith Richards to enjoy playing a Hummingbird? You don't. I am sure this case has been made many times over. I have already lost a good chunk buying and trading, but that's just part of it in my thinking. I would probably have given up playing if I was still using that old Washburn. I really just want an SJ because I want another Gibson and I think the SJ is a larger departure from my square shoulder dreads than a J45.
  3. I really want to believe that all the new ones are pretty similar. That would make my search much easier. The problem for me with sweetwater would be paying taxes and I am not sure they will make the deal I can get elsewhere on new when ordering on the phone. I am drawn to the natural finish standards so that lowers my cost a bit I guess. Yes, my Hummingbird has a very distinct "growl" or something to it that is totally different from my Martin HD-28 or the Martin Custom D I have. I really like it. I didn't like it as well until I had it professionally setup, but it's awesome now. I doubt I have 40 years left to find my J200, so I need to accelerate things a bit. lol. I don't play finger style, yet, just flat picking. My instructor was trying to show me "Travis Picking" on my Martin, (he calls it a blue grass guitar) but that's too advanced for my level right now.
  4. Super helpful thanks. Your advice has somewhat shifted me away from used again. I had forgotten all about Sweetwater, in fact, I am right by their place several times per year. It is about 90 minutes away from my house. Hmmmmm....
  5. I wanted to see if you guys can give me any advice regarding finding a nice Gibson SJ-200. I have been learning to play the guitar, bouncing between electric and acoustic, for a little over a year and I have been buying and trading guitars through most of that time. My goal is to find those guitars that I like well enough to hang onto and never want to trade. I have tried and traded 2 Strats (both elites) and 1 Telecaster Select. I have a 2016 Gibson Hummingbird Vintage, a 2014 Les Paul RO in darkburst, and a 2017 Gibson Les Paul Standard HP in Blueberry burst. I am fairly certain I will never part with any of those three guitars. I also have a 2017 Fender Stratocaster Elite in 3 color and I don’t love love it, but like it enough that I haven’t traded it. Anyhow, I wanted another nice acoustic, something different than my Hummingbird. My Hummingbird is very bassy and woody, very nice sound, but again I want something different, so I got a 2018 Martin HD-28. I like it, but I find that transitioning from the neck of the Martin back to any of my Gibsons just doesn’t feel natural. The necks on the Gibsons all feel relatively similar and I like that, so I decided to try another Gibson and became fascinated with the SJ-200. Several weeks ago I started trying to find a new one and was shocked at not only how expensive they were, but also how rare they are. There are only 2 here in my area. One is a 2018 Standard at Guitar Center and the other is a used 1989. I don’t want to find a guitar I like and then have to pay Guitar Centers prices, so I haven’t looked at that one. The 1989 is at a local shop, but from the shop owners description it is a really bassy and deep one, plus it is one of those produced from “European Sycamore”. I somewhat gave up on finding one new, so I hit the internet and in looking at pricing, realized I was going to be forking over a good deal of cash regardless, so I ended up buying a used Pete Townsend signed model. It was really about the same price as I would pay for the new standard at Guitar Center locally. It arrived a week or so back and although I liked the tone and the Pete Townsend signature was cool, it had more checking in the finish than I thought it would for being listed as mint. The worst checking had all been avoided in the listing photos. The tone was really nice. It wasn’t super bassy and loud. I would describe it more as bright and sweet with good range. Really easy to play. Balanced I guess without being overly strong in any area. I was also impressed with how manageable it felt as far as size and the way it felt to play seated. I loved the way way the neck felt. Very similar to my Humingbird and my R0. I really liked it, but it was a lump of cash, a little buzzy, and the checking , which I had not expected, made me decide to return it under the stores return policy. I think that I want a maple back and sides to produce that tone characteristic which I like. Sounds like Sitka Spruce rather than Adirondack too. I don’t mind used, would prefer to save some money that way, and I don’t mind some checking or small blemishes, but I want to see the price reflect the condition. It also seems like I am hearing varied descriptions of SJ-200s. Some are described as relatively bassy and boomy, some as chimey and balanced (which I prefer), and some just as quiet with no real merit to their tone and no real point in their size at all. So, what is the best way to find that guitar without spending several hundred in return shipping sending back guitars I don’t like? Any other advice is also appreciated. Thanks
  6. Okay, that gives me some ideas of what to look at. I trust my instructor to not send me to someone completely clueless, but he is a VERY old school guy who seems to think that the cost of a setup is the most important factor in determining value of the work. This guy charged me $55 per guitar. I feel like I want it done correctly with less regard for cost. I dropped off my R0 and the Luthier didn't really say anything about it,other than hand me a ticket, but when I picked it up he says, "You know this is a custom shop guitar with that funny serial number?" Hard to determine how to respond to that, but yes I was aware. He had previously set up my 17 HP and when comparing them I noticed the difference. I didn't explain it well,but neither setup resulted in the strings touching the bridge, just both VERY close. Probably .25-.5mm away. I also dropped off my Hummingbird Vintage and he made a comment like, "Now I set it up just like a Taylor comes from the factory." Have no idea what that meant, but maybe gleaned that he is not a Gibson guy. LOL? To his credit the bird improved dramatically after his work. The whole interaction left me a little less than confident that he was familiar with Les Pauls, so I wanted to see if I could double check his work and try to understand it. I will check out the Gibson site for their specs. Thanks guys.
  7. Hi guys, I have researched this and think I understand it, but want to clarify. I have two Les Pauls, both of which were setup by the Luthier whom my guitar instructor recommended. One is a 2017 Standard HP and the other is an R0. What I noticed is that on the R0 he dropped the tail piece as low as it would go and on the 2017 it seems about factory height. My instructor didn't seem to know, but his only Gibson is an old, (I think) ES-5. Neither guitar is "top wrapped". DO I understand that the goal is to lower the tail piece as much as possible without the strings contacting the bridge housing? So, you set the action height at the bridge and then just lower the tail piece in relation to that, so that there is still clearance? In both cases it looks like the 1st string is touching the bridge, but they both admit a business card with no resistance, so they are free. The difference comes from the difference in the bridges between pseudo-vintage and "modern" right?
  8. Hey guys, I have looked at my LPs a little bit more and done some reading. It is unfair to say that my '17 HP has NO 3D or holographic effect to it. It would be more accurate to say that only the area below the tail piece has a 3D effect... there is asome there. The rest of it pretty much just looks like stripes painted on the surface of the top. As I mentioned, as you change 180 degrees in your viewing angle a stripe that appears light will change to dark and vice versa. Hardly what I woudl call "flame". So, I decided to look in my copy of Beauty of the Burst and see if there were any references to the difference between figuring with 3 dimensionality or the more flat 2D looking figuring. I found a spot on a featured collector in the back, can't remember the name,but he was asked what he would call figuring that doesn't have the 3D effect. He indicated that he would refer to that as "curl" and not "flame", indicating that the term flame would be reserved for the 3D variety. I realize there is no standardized grading of tops, just wondered why some guitars are highly figured but don't seem very "flamey". Or is there a process that can turn figure into flame that is reserved for the custom shop and isn't used even on the more highly figured Gibson USA tops?
  9. I was wondering if anyone else has noticed this... I have had 2 figured top LPs. I had a plain top and returned it for a figured top model. Anyhow, one is a 2017 Standard HP in Blueberry Burst. When I first got it, I was impressed with the amount of flame it had. It has a ton of figuring on it, but I was surprised to find that the flame appears very 2 dimensional. It looks almost like a flame decal stuck on the surface of the guitars top. As you rotate it in the light, it doesn't appear that the flame has depth or 3 dimensionality to it at all. The only thing I note is that when you look at the guitar from opposite ends the light and dark appearing areas reverse, if that makes sense. That was a little disappointing given that it is supposed to be a AAAA top. I expected more. Recently I acquired a 60 reissue in dark burst (Its one of the pg 129 versions from 2014) and although it is what I would call moderately figured, the flame has a much nicer characteristic to it. The flame appears to have a depth of several millimeters and is almost holographic in appearance. It looks really great. I wish it were little more figured, but otherwise I love it. Granted one is a custom shop guitar and one is not, but I wanted to know if there is a reason for the difference? The sawing method? Different maples? Or is it the finish? It sure seems like the more yellow LPs I have seen tend to have a more 3D figuring vs the blue. I forget what the 2018 blue is called but the one at GC didn't look any more 3D than mine, whereas some of the other colors did. Anyone make that observation?
  10. I think you are right. I attempted to find examples for sale online and found several which were listed as 2010 models which had similar serial numbers. I was thrown initially by one that was listed as a 2010 which had a G0 1xxx instead of 0xxx, but that must be a mistake on the sellers part. I had also read that the G0 models "after 2008 or 2009ish should have the push pull pots. Mine doesn't. I don't really care, because my HP has them and I don't get anything out of it, but again, it added to my uncertainty. Thanks
  11. Sorry to post what may seem like a stupid serial number question but I have spent a lot of time and can't figure out my question. I acquired a used Les Paul today at Guitar Center. I know its a G0 plain top in sortof a honey burst finish, VOS i think its called, sorta dulled, BUT the serial is G0 0042. That means year 2000 right? I dont find any info that these were made that year and wondered if someone knew specs or other details. Ive read somewhere that they started making these for GC in 2002, but not earlier. The cavity is stamped R0 and it came with a little card with a bumblebee on it.., and the electronics in the cavity look like bees. (Yes, my knowledge is very limited). Its in great shape, like its barely been played but looks old. The employee at GC said the guy who owned it was a "vendor" and probably never really played it. It sounds great. A little warmer, more woody sounding, and less "synthetic" than my 2017 standard HP. Its a nice weight and balance too. I actually prefer the plain top over the flame. Thanks for the help in advance.
  12. craigkim

    Oh man!?

    Ugh, I hope that is NOT the case. My manual says not to let all of the tension off all of the strings at once anyway. SO, when you change strings you do them one at a time. I thought it over yesterday and I ended up calling Gibson and they are sending me a new knob. I gave them the serial number and he confirmed that the guitar was brand new. Easy breezy. Then I went in to GC with the hopes that I could resolve the case issue easily too. My experience at GC was pretty painless. It might even be described as abnormally smooth compared to returning an item at ANY store. I showed the guy working the counter my case, explained that it had been dented in shipping, and then asked him what he thought. He seemed eager to avoid an exchange, which I understand from a hassle aspect on his part, but he also agreed with me that the top was so nice that it might be difficult to get another one that looks as good. He may have been blowing smoke, but he siad he didn't think they normally looked as good as this one. My iphone probably didn't do it justice, but it looks almost as good as the online model from the Gibson site. He then says, "hey, I have another case like that with a few scratches on it in back!" So, he brings out a used case with a few minor scratches on it, but it looked a lot better than a dent... and I swapped the guitar over and walked out the door. I bet I was there for 5 minutes total. No paperwork exchanged, no fuss. I was pretty happy all in all. Sure, they replaced my new case with a used/blem one, but the scratches on it aren't bad and I will likely add some to match them within a week or two in and out of my car.
  13. I am a beginning player and only have 2 acoustics, a 2016 Hummingbird Vintage and a Martin Custom D. I think my bird is pretty similar to yours. I played around with strings a LOT on them and found that the HB changed dramatically with different strings compared to the Martin. The Martin didn't really seem to be "string sensitive", but the bird changed much moreso for whatever reason. I tried the Gibson Lights (came with the guitar), TI spectrum series in light 12-54, Elixir nanoweb PB in 12-53 and 11-52, martins PB lifespan coated in light, and D'addario PB in 12-53 and 11-52, plus a few others. I ended up settling on the D'Addario in 11-52 as sounding the best to me. I didn't take notes, but I was looking for increased playability, while not sacrificing sound too much. The 80/20 custom light offerings I tried were too chimey and bright, but the other light options were not as good as the Gibson lights. I threw on the PB lights and they were warmer and sounded good, so I tried the custom light in PB and they brightened it up nicely. I think of it like the reduced gauge is balanced by the warmth of the PB material. I change them more often, but they are pretty cheap.
  14. craigkim

    Oh man!?

    I will finally be able to take the guitar back to GC this afternoon.... been too busy the last week. Having looked at the box and the case more thoroughly, it looks like it got thrown onto one of those rolling racks pretty aggressively in shipping. It had to be a fairly substantial blow to dent this case, but I will add that the case is very well made and engineered. I would say it is pretty well overengineered. The foam insulation inside it is super dense and firmly compresses the guitar in place when closed. I am pretty confident that the guitar wasn't damaged. That being said, I really don't like the case. It's too damn heavy, with the guitar its about 35 pounds. My guitar instructor said, "well, that is an airline case! We never used those for gigs unless we were flying, we hated them, they were too heavy!" I can't agree more. I also had my instructor inspect the guitar pretty well and run it through its paces. We both agreed that it plays well and sounds good. He seemed pretty impressed with it and he has been playing Gibsons since the 60s. The only issue with the guitar is that loose knob. After having googled it more, it seems like that is not an uncommon issue at all and may just be poor QC. I am hesitant to want to exchange it which to me would be another roll of the dice. Unfortunately, those knobs look to be pretty pricey. So, I am going to head into guitar center and suggest these options: (I would prefer to keep the guitar and resolve the knob/case issue separately and that shouldn't be too hard.) -Can GC get me another knob from Gibson and ship it to my house? The knob seems like a Gibson issue to me. I can buy the vintage style ones for cheap but not the chrome unless someone has a source on those. - Can they discount my purchase by enough to buy another, cheaper and lighter weight case in the store? Or just comp me a lighter case? Should be about $100-150, on a guitar that cost $3200+tax. If I absolutely can't keep the guitar (worst case): -Can they just refund and give me in store credit to use on an in stock LP? One that is a "known quality" versus another roll of the dice from the factory and UPS! I doubt they have a BB color though. -or just exchange the whole damn thing and have it shipped to the store as initially suggested.
  15. Keith Richards, then Pete Townshend, then Jimmy Page.
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