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About stevo58

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  1. To be honest, I never saw any particular point to it.
  2. Yeah that’s it, but the 2015 added a locking tailpiece, too.
  3. There are rosewoods, and there are rosewoods. I have a Prucha tenor banjo with the most amazing piece of rosewood I’ve ever seen as a fingerboard. It’s not pretty, but nearly as fine-grained as ebony, and hard as can be. The banjo is played heavily and I see no wear on it at all. No idea what species it is.
  4. I agree completely with you - except for the fingerboard. As a matter of fact, when they came out, the red-with-black-binding appealed to me immediately. I think it is a very elegant, restrained combination, and I made up my mind immediately to buy one. As I said, I played Teles for decades, and the only 4-knob guitar I own (a highly modified Qing Dao Casino) still confuses me in the heat of a gig. I make heavy use of guitar volume and tone controls and I would always grab the wrong one. The studios aren’t in the lineup anymore, but the last one was creeping up in price close to the 335 Satin, so I suppose it no longer made sense. I’m glad I got mine when I did, as I haven’t seen these on the used market.
  5. I have a wine red 2015, and for the most part love the guitar. (Half-) Significant changes to 2014: different truss rod, rounded fingerboard edges, locking bridge and tailpiece. Insignificant change: f-hole on trc. Mine has black binding on the body and fingerboard, I assume the ginger burst has it, too. That may have been new in 2015. To my taste, the black-on-wine red is very restrained and elegant, and not so in-your-face as white or ivory would be. What I don’t like: the binding is not scraped, not even on the dot side, so the the position markers are wine red on black. One of these days I’ll scrape it myself. I’m not a fan of the baked maple fingerboard - I find it very rough, but usable. I would have much preferred Richlite. I played Teles for 40 years, so the single vol/tone makes sense to me, but I confess it looks goofy on a 335. All in all I like the guitar, and it is my go-to when I want a humbucker guitar (but I only have one other; an LP) but generally I prefer P90s or (not so much any more) Fender single coils. Lately I’ve been playing it more and more. Works very well with a Twin. Some day the pots will have to be switched out, then I’ll probably drill it out for 4 controls and put sealed pots in it. I don’t understand why sealed pots aren’t used in every open guitar. Steven
  6. The absolute best trapeze is the ABM 1504. It’s made in Germany of nickel plated bell brass, is expensive as all get-out, and, in my experience ( I put them on my Casino and my Loar) it actually improves the string definition on the bass strings. Everything else is Asian pot metal. So just order the usual one from Stew Mac or Ali Baba or wherever. I went with ABM because I’m obsessive compulsive and wanted the correct nuts, not the huge long ones that most trapezes have these days. In the photo you see a vintage 125 with the original Gibson tailpiece, and the ABMs on the other two Note that the ABM is longer than the Gibson Steven
  7. stevo58

    ES 125

    Especially since it’s fully hollow. It may have been a ‘student’ guitar but (imho) they are excellent. They just don’t have any bling at all. They are also very, very light and easy on the back. There are full depth and thin line versions, with and without cutaway, and one or two pickups. I believe (but am not certain) all non-cutaways, regardless of depth, are single pickup. The full-depth cutaway versions are rare. Mine started its life as a 125T (thinline, no cutaway, one pickup) but someone added a cutaway and when I got it I added the bridge pickup - it had been so abused it had no collector’s value anyway. This is my absolute favorite electric guitar, it covers everything from jazz to blues to, say, AC/DC should that interest you. Bad choice for metal. It’s hollow, so you learn to work with feedback - although, since I use small amps and low gain, I’ve never had an issue. The thinline version is directly comparable to an ES-330 or Casino. The full depth version could be compared to a P90 175. I will say this - P90s on a completely hollow body are about as close to heaven as I’ll ever get. Steven
  8. Happens to us all. In the early 80s I had to sell a beautiful Gretsch Streamliner to pay my rent. Another one I regret.
  9. That was my first good guitar, too. I traded it in 1980 for a SF Vibrolux. Wish I still had both of those. I’ve kept an eye out for one, but they are rare here. steven
  10. Hi. This is, I think, my first post. I went with a friend, pre-lockdown, to compare J-45s at a shop here with a large selection, among them the standard J-45, the Studio, and the Sustainable. I believe he also tried a Hummingbird Studio and a couple others. Of course there will always be guitar-to-guitar variation, so this only applies to those specific guitars. The J-45 was as you would expect a J-45 to be. It was an acceptable but not exceptional example of a J-45. The J-45 Studio sounded like a piece of dead, wet wood. I don’t think we spent more than two minutes with that one. Sometimes you know when a guitar is absolutely right, and sometimes you know when a guitar is absolutely wrong. This one was absolutely wrong. The J-45 Sustainable was MAGNIFICENT. If I had been looking for a new acoustic, I would have bought it on the spot. I’m a Martin OM player, but that particular guitar was the first in-shop guitar in years that nearly broke my neck doing a cartoon double-take. It was fabulous. For personal reasons, he wanted to check out the Hummingbird Sustainable too, which they didn’t have. They got one in two weeks later and that’s what he bought. Just like the J-45, it is a splendid sounding guitar. Very responsive and dynamic, you can go from delicate balanced fingerpicking to thunderous bass flat picking without a thought. I spent quite a bit of time playing it and it was the first guitar I ever played that made me consider giving up my OM. Having said that, he reports it is very sensitive to weather changes, which we attribute to the finish. More so than any other guitar he has owned. But the sustainables are winners in my book. Given a massive, statistically significant sample size of two, I’ve played exactly two very fine guitars. steven
  11. I have a 2015 Studio with single vol/tone. As a decades-long Tele player, I prefer it that way. Four knobs confuse me, and don’t work in the middle position the way I think they should. They can’t work correctly without an active buffer between the pups. I make heavy use of the middle position, and separate controls make it difficult. So I actually prefer the single vol/tone. But it does look a bit hinky. I do love the guitar. I’m not as much of a Tele player as I used to be. I never got along with LPs or SGs or other solid two-humbucker guitars, but the ES works for me. I like the stripped-down look, the black binding on wine red, and I have no issues with the baked maple fingerboard. It’s a hell of a guitar, and I bought it in used-but-like-new condition for about the price of a Sheraton+case+pickups+potswap+etc., so it really was a no brainer. The only thing I changed on it were the tuners, and only because I don’t like Rotos, not because they were inadequate. My current almost favorite of my dozen or so guitars (favorite is an old ES-125TDC). Normally I would replace the pots with sealed Bourns units, but I’ll wait until these start scratching before I do that. That shouldn’t happen for a few years. Adding two controls wouldn’t be difficult, but you would have to be careful to position them correctly, and you would want to ream them to size rather than drill them, to avoid chipping and finish damage. Then you get to install the wiring harness, which, if you never worked on semis before, can be frustrating. Steven
  12. I don’t really have a ‘dream’ guitar - but if I did, it would be a Martin, and I already own it. But if we limit ourselves to what could theoretically be built in QingDao, and if it were possible to custom-order at a reasonable price, I would order like this: Based on a Sheraton, but the neck 3-piece ‘mahogany’ rather than maple (with two maple veneer between the ‘mahogany’). Thinnest possible poly finish. Fralin Humbuckers, Bourns sealed pots, Switchcraft switch/jack. Faber hardware, with hardened steel bushings. Tusq or bone nut. Schaller ST-6K tuners. Simpler headstock. Split parallelogram inlay. Thinner laminate (3-layer? Probably not possible). Jack on the side. Access hatch on the back to get to the wiring harness. That would do it for me. Steven
  13. Oh, wiring a thin line is one of those things that gets easier with practice. The first time might be a disaster, but you figure out how to do it. The advice about playing the guitar stock for a while is good. No one is forcing you to use the split. The current Epi electronic harness is decent stuff. That said ... I have 3 thin lines: an ES-125, a Dot, and a Casino. The newer Sheraton has better pickups, but both of the Epis really benefited from upgraded pickups (I put Fralins in both). As long as I was in there I replaced the entire harness. I use sealed pots in open guitars, because at some point dust WILL start causing problems. It gave me the chance to move to 50s wiring, and find the right tone and bleed values. My free advice: if you play it for a while and decide you want to swap the pickups, pull everything out, unsolder it all, reassemble the old stuff, reinstall it, and repeat a couple of times until you can do it relatively easily. Once you get there, you can put the good stuff in. That way you won’t be learning with the expensive stuff and overheating pots or caps or cursing about getting the neck tone control in that hole. You’ll find what works for you. But if you are going to make the effort, go whole hog and put good pots, switch, and jack in there while you are at it so you don’t have to do it again down the road. Jmho Steven
  14. Apparently Vox, apparently very expensive, and apparently they only sell it with free bonus guitars: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/best-adjustable-wraparound-bridge-still-pigtail.1179539/ Steven
  15. We all know a Chinese (or Korean) Epiphone is not a Gibson. Poor? It serves its function well. I have a Qingdao Casino. I bought it because I didn’t want to gig anymore with my going-on-sixty-year-old ES-125TDC - it’s getting a bit delicate. The 125 is an amazing guitar; it sounds huge. I didn’t expect the Casino to measure up, and of course it didn’t. How could it? It hasn’t been vibrated for half a century. But I viewed the Epi as a platform and changed everything on it. Vintage-voiced Fralin P90s, pots, switch, jack, nut, bridge, tuners. Everything except the trapeze, the bridge bushings, and the frets. I’m looking at those bushings .... Does it measure up now? No. But close, or close enough. On stage in a bar with a drummer and you won’t hear much difference. It’s fun to play, it looks good, it sounds good, I’m not plunged into deep depression when I ding it, nobody is going to steal it; I don’t have to spend my breaks wondering if my guitar will be on stage when I get back. And it doesn’t have a Brazilian fingerboard, so I don’t have to worry about crossing borders with it (which I do often, living where I do - Germany/Switzerland/France). It sounds wonderful through a tweed for old-school blues. T-Bone, early Freddie - no problem. It’s not a 330. Or a 125 (basically the same thing). But it’s pretty darn good. Even the poly doesn’t bug me - but my hands don’t sweat much. All you HAVE to do is put reasonable pickups in it instead of the crazy overwound stocks. Steven
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