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Everything posted by TomLeoni

  1. Thanks, Jeff--you make some excellent points. I'll definitely bear them in mind and take your advice--I am in Virginia, and will be in Nashville for work later on this Spring. I've heard of Gruhn and a visit may be a must!
  2. It's been now almost a week, and no changes at all. Even string height did not change. I'm really liking the sound.
  3. I've looked inside, and both sides of the bridge are supported by parallel bracing. So far the F holes are 100% stable. Fingers crossed--it's been almost 24 hours, and no signs of structural alteration yet.
  4. Update. I've thrown caution to the wind and restrung my 1937 Super 400 with a set of D'Addario Phosphor Bronze EJ18 Heavy gauge--.014-.059. According to the package, tension with a 25" scale (mine is actually 14 7/8") is 212.82Lbs, as opposed to the 188Lbs (if I remember correctly) of the EJ17's I was using before. First impressions: the sound is considerably louder and the notes more distinct, both played with single notes and with chords. Playing quicker runs is easier because the strings move less (suddenly, Eddie Lang's cadenzas can be kicked up a few metronome notches). Tuning is surprisingly stable compared to any other set I've ever used--practically never budged after I first restrung it. I've never experienced that before. After 6 hours, no noticeable alterations to the top, neck, tailpiece, or other parts of the guitar. I'm hoping that the convex top acts like a dam does against water-pressure--rather than bearing the brunt of it in the middle, redirecting it laterally towards the edges of the lower bout. Will keep it closely monitored, ready to abort the mission at the slightest sign of structural change. So far, though, I'm mighty pleased with the result--especially the sound. That guitar--already a fabulous piece--literally came alive. Wow.
  5. I have a number of prewar archtops, some of which have a rather thick top--e.g., my 1937 Super 400. Naturally, they sound great with medium gauge phosphor bronze strings (what I use on all of them), but I was thinking of experimenting with a .014-.059 gauge set. I've done a lot of reading around, and there seems to be a school of thought by which a heavier set will help the top vibrate and therefore get the most sound-wise out of the structure of the guitar. I've also read that up to the 1960's, heavy strings (probably .014 gauge) were pretty much the norm for acoustic guitars, which means that their acoustics were designed to work in conjunction with them. Has anyone else experimented with these? Thanks
  6. So, it's that time of year again. This year we went from the days of 70% humidity to the days of 20% in a matter of a week. I have 13 guitars that I keep in their cases in my living-room. On the second floor, I have other delicate instruments that can't be moved. My house's plan is a bit awkward, since it's an open-floorplan town house and the only rooms with doors (besides the bathrooms, of course) are the bedrooms located on the top floor, where it's even colder and drier. Replacing and refilling Damp-its in 13 different cases every couple days for 4 months is also a bit awkward. I buy the big ones (for double bass, I believe), since they hold more moisture and they don't fall into the F-holes of my archtops (they are a pain to pull out when that happens). On one of my guitars, a turn of the century Bavarian shield-guitar, there is not even an open hole to put a Damp-it in. Then there are the necks to humidify too... and the other instruments upstairs... So I have decided to get a humidifier--preferably an ultrasonic-type humidifier so I don't have to mess with moldy and expensive filters. I have tried one built into my heating unit, but, again given the layout of my house, it was only making a dent in the basement, where it gets too hot in the winter and where I would never keep guitars. For those of you who have experience with humidifiers, what should I look for--and do you recommend specific models? Each of my floors is about 500 square feet--could there be one model that humidifies at least two floors? PS: this will be my last-ever town house! Thanks in advance for the help!
  7. Yes, it does. Here it is: I can't think of a better-balanced, more beautiful and easy-to-play guitar than this timeless masterpiece. Best of all? It's mine 🤪
  8. Scriv, Dotneck - thanks for the heads-up. I think the Blue Heron is exactly what I was looking for. Cheers! Tom
  9. Hi, Drathbun, Can you tell me if there's any "give" in your Gator case, namely if I could fit the extra 2" width of my Super 400 lower bout?
  10. Hi, Jeff--it's a 1937. I just got it, so I'm "christening" it this weekend. I expect it to be like my L-5, only even better at cutting through other instruments in a large session. One of the things I do most frequently is accompany fiddlers (I'm in VA, one of the capital-states for Old Time), and the bass-heavy, "reversed" BOOM-chuck of that style seems to have been designed to be played with such guitars.
  11. Hello, all, I'm having a hard time finding gig bags larger than 16" (lower bout). I have a RoadRunner that does (in a pinch) fit my 17" L-5, but my 18" Super-400, forget it. No luck even finding custom makers. I love the practicality of gig-bags, also because I carry several instruments to my weekly gigs. Yes I know, hard cases, more protective, yada yada. True, but habits are habits. Any ideas/ suggestions? Willing to go custom too--but even finding that seems to be hard: makers like MONO or even Glen Cronkite offer only up to 16." Thanks in advance.
  12. Hi, Billroy, I own a number of good vintage Gibsons (see my signature), plus other guitars such as a 1826 (almost 200 years old!) Lacote Romantic guitar that is so light, it feels like it's made of balsa wood. All of them have the strap around the headstock. Not only that, but to me the strap is an essential tool to keep enough tension between my body and the neck, so that I don't have to use the left hand to hold the guitar up even when I'm seated. Until about 1950, that was the standard way to tie a strap to the guitar. I wouldn't worry about it one bit. If there is fret buzz, it's due to the setup, or perhaps to a weak spot around the heel, which the strap is only bringing to light.
  13. Buddy, I feel for you. One of the few truths of life I've been able to grasp is this: late-night Pinot Grigio and Reverb.com are not a good mix for the old bank account. So one morning last week I wake up, open my email and find this notice: "Congratulations, your offer has been accepted." After the obligatory "WTF?" I dig through the links and find out that, apparently, I'm now the proud owner of this: Bottom line: money is replaceable. Great guitars aren't. So, live happy, I say.
  14. I don't use capos, but your review was very interesting. Quite the attention to details, that manufacturer. The pouch reminds me very much of a mid-19th-century military cap pouch.
  15. So, I finally took it home (after a nightmare 8-hr drive through a WV winter storm). First impressions: The V-neck is only slightly deeper than that of my 1935 L-4. As soon as I feel a bit more rested, I'll measure it for comparison. But although I don't have big hands, it feels perfectly comfortable to play. Since it's pre-1921, it doesn't have a truss rod, so it's somewhat reassuring to have a beefier neck (less likely to warp?). I had it strung with 13's. I was expecting it to be somewhat quieter than my other archtops, but this one has amazing volume, punch (very mid-rang-y) and its sustain is about comparable to that of my L-4. I'm sure it will stand up more than nicely to a roomful of fiddles. I wish I had my 1947 L-5 to compare it to, but that guitar is in the shop undergoing a repair. I play all my guitars with Wegen 2.5mm picks--I wonder if this is what makes a difference between my experience and other people's, as far as the volume and sustain of the guitar (I'm not super-technical, but I've read somewhere that thicker picks help the strings impart more vibration to the soundboard, especially if this is on the thick side). One thing that impressed me was the radius of the fingerboard--it is distinctly convex. I don't know if that is what compensates for the deeper neck, but I find bar chords ring quite easily thanks to this feature. One small problem of this particular guitar is that the bridge is already set at its lowest setting. I predict that in the warm and humid VA summers the action will get higher. But I've spoken to the luthier and having another ebony bridge made specifically lower for this guitar should be an easy and inexpensive fix--that way I can save the 1920's Gibson factory-replacement bridge as-is. The weight is less than my L-4 and definitely L-5. I'm thinking of rigging up a parachord strap to the upper bout (rather than the neck) to avoid placing stress on the heel, which has the (from what I hear fairly typical) repaired crack. Anyway--when I feel a bit more rested and "with it" I'll post a few more measurements, impressions and perhaps a sound sample.
  16. Well, it was still too hard to resist... I found one for a super price with a very reputable dealer/player, and I pounced on it. It's a 1918. 100% original save for the bridge and tailpiece, which are factory 1920's Gibson replacements. I'll pick it up later this week and post my impressions.
  17. Does anyone have experience with this guitar? I'm talking about the one with the mandolin-style upper bout. If anyone has ever played / heard / owned one, I'd appreciate some feedback about its sound, as compared to other archtops or even to Maccaferri-style guitars. BTW, I play mostly accompaniment for fiddlers, plus old-time flatpicking and Western swing.
  18. I live in VA, where I get the worst of both worlds. Extremes range from RH up in the 70's between May and October, 20's and 30's the rest of the time. Worse yet, my house is rather open-plan, so I don't have an enclosed music room. And even worse yet, I have mostly F-hole archtops, which preclude the use of devices you can hang into the soundhole. To humidify my guitars in the Winter (which is the part that scares me most) the best I can do is use a combination of D'Addario Humidipacks in the case (near the headstock and near the heel) plus damp-it tubes in the F-holes. Besides getting the action a couple millimeters lower, though, I have never had problems. The real test is one of my most prized guitars, an 1826 Lacote that I use as my nylon-string go-to. It has remained playable throughout the Winter by using the same combination--although this one has a traditional soundboard hole, so I was able to hang a plastic-encased sponge. I know that Gibson advocates a RH between 40 and 50 (IIRC), but I have to wonder what people did throughout the history of music, with prized instruments lasting centuries nonetheless. In the end, it can become a bit of an end-in-itself obsession.
  19. Somehow, the red finishes have never appealed to me, although perhaps one day I'll learn to appreciate them. They look a bit too artificial to me.
  20. Eddie Lang Maybelle Carter Django Reinhardt (when he didn't play his Selmer) Big Bill Broonzy (really cool Style 0 guitar)... Elvis Presley (J-200!) Mark Knopfler (I hear that these days he loves his 1938 Advanced Jumbo)
  21. Awesome! And they get supple with use, no need to put any product on them.
  22. I'm a Walker & Williams guy through and through. They make padded and non-padded straps from rockabilly to hippie style--great to go on any kind of vintage Gibson without looking too busy. Best part? They seldom cost more than $40.
  23. Does anyone mic their strictly-acoustic guitar through an amplifier for performance in smallish venues and, if so, what combination works best for you? I love my EH 185 and since I only have vocal mikes, have been reading up on instrument mikes to plug into that "microphone" channel. It's extremely hard to find information about this combination (mic==>amp) though, unless it's for a mouth-harp. And it seems a pity to mike a fine guitar through the PA system without being tempted to exploit the awesome tone of the EH. Any thoughts?
  24. Hello I'm Tom from Virginia. Acoustic archtop guy mostly but not exclusively!
  25. Mark is a class act. My favorite CD of his is "Neck and Neck" with Chet Atkins. Never tire of hearing the two of them together.
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