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S.Ustain

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Everything posted by S.Ustain

  1. Back to the OP. Yes, unfortunately, many makers are trying to emulate the (godawful) automobile industry by making model year changes, and limited editions, special runs, etc., so that they can goad/force the consumer to buy something either to stay current or because they think it's special. To me, this is all nonsense. It does translate into closeouts, etc., once a model year is ending and the undesirable guitars remain. I never think of these as savings, or even good deals -- it's just that the final price is closer to what the guitar was really worth. If it were worth more, someone would have paid more. I buy used, not because I have to, but because there is a vastly greater selection of used guitars, and it is generally easy for me to identify which used ones are the great ones because they've had time to settle in physically, and become stable. I have bought new, but rarely. I usually find that all the NAMM specials, year-end closeouts, and GC specials are not guitars I want, and not worth more than the discount/sale/special price... which is really just the going price. To me, it's all about homework and patience.
  2. Yes -- the issue w/ the '15s has not been the quality of the build, but the bad design choices and bogus features. The adjustable nut is an undesirable, tonally deficient substitute for a properly cut nut. I'm guessing Gibson went to it because a good nut job requires expert handwork (= less profit) and can be a problem in the aftermarket if the owner changes string gauges. It's easier to just adjust the lousy metal nut that get a new one made -- something few can do properly. So it's a compromise design -- a step down for the sake of ease. On the other hand, I don't know why the wider fretboard got so much hate, as it's a small deal, well within the general ballpark, and I like it as much as the traditional width -- maybe more. The robot tuners are great if somehow tuning is difficult for you -- and let's face it, most players do a crap job -- but for a proficient player, they are a terrible joke. Don't people have tuners on their board, or a clip-on? And then there's the Les Paul signature... an insult to Les, and an eyesore. What were they thinking? I don't ming the '15s as I can reverse all of the above (except the signature), but why buy a guitar that is so compromised?
  3. II often wonder who buys the really ugly paint jobs. I guess there are enough people with weird/bad taste out there so that they end up somewhere... Personally, I like inventive colors and finishes; the problem with a large % of Gibson's attempts is that they just aren't much good, visually. I don't know who does their color designing (or that of some other makers), but they're not good at it. Taste is individual, ultimately, but reliable, effective color schemes are pretty possible to develop rather than just using the "do something weird/anything" approach. I'm actually tired of the old school finishes, now that every lousy Epi can duplicate the look with a paper-thin veneer. But most of Gibson's other color schemes are just bad. And there's a reason why you don't see blue finishes widely used on anything but guitars. Blame Scott Chinery, RIP, for making this ugly combo (wood/blue) "cool."
  4. Gibson notches its saddles. Sure, maybe some make it through un-notched, but they are exceptions. No, having strings find their own spot is not the way to go. It is generally the case that an exact straight pull from tailpiece to nut, which is what strings will do on their own, will not be optimum given polepiece location and/or fretboard edge, and spacing w/ other strings. It's easy to notch saddles properly, though easier to do it wrong, which is what will happen if you take the strange advice some have posted here. Just do the hammer method described in many places, and deepen the bass strings a tad, if needed, with a small file. Yours should have been done at the factory, and Sweetwater should have caught it, but there's a general level of carelessness, and this stuff happens.
  5. One problem buying internationally is the cost of shipping, which ups the ante more than is comfortable, and makes for difficult returns especially if there's shipping damage. The listings from Japan on eBay are a waste of time unless you want to pay absurd speculator prices. I've had only good results buying online myself, because, as others have said, I do my due diligence and stay away from anything iffy. Most buyers follow their impulses (and their wild imaginations) which is a recipe for disappointment.
  6. Poorly made ABRs have long been a reason doing an upgrade, but I think the newer ones are properly made and solid, so that may not be necessary. Kluson tuners have long been just plain terrible, but I believe that they are now pretty decent and so not longer require swapping for functional reasons. The one change I always make is from chrome to nickel (if the guitar is in chrome) because chrome is glinty and ugly, and nickel is lustrous and ages nicely. So my view is that Gibson now installs pretty decent hardware, so there is no need to swap it out. I think most people change parts because they can, and they often do it seeking results that may or may not actually accrue. Practicing is a more promising mod (that is, modding your playing by actually improving) than swapping out Gibson hardware.
  7. Sorry that I don't know if the G Force holes are big enough for good Grovers or Gibson or Kluson or Schaller vintage lookalikes. That's the question you asked. You can easily find the specs for specific tuner sets on the web, since everyone (who is halfway careful) has the same "does it fit?" question. I'm sorry not to have that info, but you can easily find it. Now, how can I turn your question into a post about me...?
  8. I don't know if it's a refret or a leveling/crown job, but whichever it is, it's very poorly done -- a classic "hack job." From the varying top contours of the frets --some are rounded, some flattish -- to the extremely poor job dressing the fret ends, it really looks like one of the really terrible fret jobs I did when I was learning how to do it right. I'm sorry to be so critical, but those pics show some really lousy frets. One reason why so many companies and shops are going to PLEK is because there's a real scarcity of people who can install and maintain frets properly. I think robots installing stainless steel will be the standard pretty soon, since human beings just cannot do this job (or, while we're at it, cut a proper nut) anymore. Sorry to see that. Hope you can make it playable without having to do a whole refret.
  9. Yup. They color-matched when new, and then aged to different colors. They're not the same plastic.
  10. I was lucky to see Cream on their first US tour, and as is well known, they played unbelievably loud. the live recordings are nothing at all, absolutely positively not at all like their live sound. To be honest -- and I loved Cream -- the recorded tones are just plain awful, and the live tone wasn't even tone -- it was like they were playing jackhammers. An SG through a Marshall might well sound incredible, but I know from experience that the Fool SG through a wall of Marshalls sounds like hell. Hendrix, who I also saw, was similar, sound wise. Fantastic, but not in terms of sound quality. And his recorded tones, at least as originally released before everything got remastered, were pretty lame, too. I loved that music, and still do, but if you heard those guys in the flesh, you probably understand what I'm saying. There wasn't a whole lot of tonefulness. Jack Bruce's short scale bass into a Marshall sounded like a brontosaurus farting. Great notes, horrible, horrible tone. Baker's drums probably had the best sound of any of them! I saw Blind Faith when they toured the US, and that was loads better in terms of sound quality. A lot of people who swaer by the sounds of those players are really swearing by the remastered sounds as we hear then through recordings today.
  11. The OP asked about music stores, and half the responses list mega online dealers. Those aren't stores. Some great guitar stores are Music Emporium in MA, Truetone, Norman's, and, yes, the Hollywood GC in LA. I like the places that have great new and used, and some vintage, guitars -- the whole range -- and that are honest, set up their instruments, and know more than you about guitars. Sure, these places are vanishing. The online dealers are another story, and some are fine for what they are, but they are nothing -- nothing at all -- compared to these shops and the people who run them. I buy from individuals in person or online, or from guitar shops. I do not support mammoth online retailers. I know some people live in areas where that's the only option, but I'm lucky enough not to. Still, I've hit some great shops in seemingly out of the way locations -- try Midnight Joe's Guitar Heaven in Arroyo Grande, CA, for instance.
  12. Hmmm.... What do you mean by "nice day"? And are you just ordering me around? Who are you to tell me to do anything? What? No "please" have a nice day? And why only one day? I have the whole of my lifetime in front of me. And the best you can do is order me to have one single nice day? And maybe you mean only daytime... so that's what? 16 hours? That's it? This kind of chintzy garbage, with such questionable value, is why [insert boring anti-Gibson rant here, then explain how to restructure the corporation around your own odd preferences]. Just kidding. What I really want to say is, "Thank you very much. And the same to you." Having my Gibson '87 '61 reissue Les Paul/SG Custom in reach will surely contribute to making another good day. Love music, love guitars.
  13. People are quick to say they "hate" something when it's really merely preference. There are a few features of the 2015 models that I do not like (automated tuning, and the awful Les signature), one that I think is truly terrible (adjustable nut), but that's it. The slightly wider neck gets lots of criticism for reasons I cannot begin to fathom, since it seems just fine to me. That's the only feature of this year's production that is not easily changed, and it doesn't seem to be an issue. My guess is that most players have never really used a Deluxe and so think of them as inferior to HB models (rather than somewhat different, but great) and simply never give them a chance. Too bad. These are excellent guitars!
  14. S.Ustain

    fretboards

    Well, the word "torrefied" sounds classier than "baked" (or "roasted," which is also common) and therefore should cost more. Tonally, torrefied wood has a tighter bass, while baked wood has a more prominent midrange, and roasted wood his high-end chime... depending on tenon length, of course. Just kidding. I wonder if there really is an industry standard for this process. Now, back to my experiments on torrefied Richlite and fossilized walrus Corian.
  15. Can't tell for pix, but it looks like a legit Gibson that someone chose to upgrade/ruin. Unless Paul Gilbert has switched to a belt sander from an electric drill, and to a LP from his Fireman, this is almost surely the result of the Wprst Relic Job Ever Done. Ripe for a refin.
  16. Hard to estimate the UK price based on my experience here in the US where the availability is vastly better, but on the surface of it I'd say that the cost seems reasonable. The headstock break devaluation depends somewhat on the quality of the repair, as a lousy job is even more of a detraction than the loss of value in a well-repaired break. This one sounds like it was repaired well, in which case 1400 seems justifiable.
  17. If the situation in the OP is real, regardless of who write the post, the issue really is with the retailer, not Gibson. Get your money back and find another supplier who has the guitar you want. Delivering the wrong product is inexcusable. As for the heartbreak, well, most of us were way older than 12 when we got our first Gibson, and most of us earned the money we paid for it, and for many of us it was a dream deferred again and again. It's not the end of the world when it's hard to locate and purchase the guitar you really want. They don't grow on trees. I'd be bummed, too, but this is the real world and it's a good time to learn lessons about how to transact business and deal with disappointment on the way to what is a freaking big, big reward -- for a kid! I remember very well what it's like to be 12. You have to stop moaning at some point and swing into action -- that is, if you really want an awesome guitar.
  18. Oh, for under $1K I would check it out for sure. Visible repairs may be hack jobs, but also may be solid repairs needing finish touch up. I would happily pay $1K for a solid Classic that looks as good as that one, and has a good neck repair. If it's a crappy repair job, I wouldn't buy it at all. I think it depends on what you are willing to accept and what work you can do. I can readily undertake a finish repair, etc., so a guitar like this could be a great deal for someone like me. Someone who doesn't want to do their own repair work would want to avoid it.
  19. Here's my '87 '61 reissue Les Paul SG Custom. It's my first and only SG and wow -- it plays like the wind and has a beautiful voice. As I understand it, this was one of the early post-Norlin, "new"/revived Gibson creations, and I really appreciate the many things the company got really right in producing this run.
  20. Can't tell from the picture -- it does look so light and uniform that I would guess grenadillo, but much of the rosewood being used, and often by Gibson, these days is remarkably light in color. And I guess grenadillo is now called, generically, "rosewood" so who knows? It seems like every major builder (except PRS?) is using an increasing variety of fretboard woods (and "mahoganies" as well) so I guess we're going to have to get used to this somewhat lower standard. The stuff, whatever it is, probably works fine -- it's just unremarkable. Other makers, including Asian budget lines, seem to have access to more traditional looking rosewood, but I suspect this may be because they make far less substantial (that is, thinner) fretboards than Gibson does. Most of these lighter boards can be easily darkened -- I'm surprised Gibson does not do that.
  21. Wow -- I must live in a different universe. I encounter LPs with broken headstocks all the time. I have never broken one myself, nor have my player friends. I'll bet most members here have not broken one, either. That's because we are a peculiar subgroup, and are more conscientious and respectful of our guitars than most. Also, I'll bet that few of us are working musicians, setting up on stage and travelling 3X a week. And finally, there are a bo-zillion LPs out there, so yes, most are unbroken. That still leaves many that are. Including many of the famous Bursts that belong to actual players (not collectors). In the market here, a broken headstock is indeed a 50% devaluation, regardless of the fact that many can be fixed wonderfully. (The old Peter Green "Greeny" has been broken twice -- maybe more.)
  22. Gibson's financial challenges are well-known, and hardly astonishing in the world of guitar manufacturing. I suppose they are "facing bankruptcy" if the steps they are taking to restructure, shed some assets, etc. do not provide funding sufficient to cover payments due, but it's a tough business and at this point, probably a near thing for Gibson as it currently exists. They've certainly done some stuff in their guitar business that baffles me, but I'm no expert and no guitar maker hits the nail on the head with every development. I am very critical of aspects of Gibson's guitar-making and selling, but it is also true that my best/favorite guitars, both acoustic and electric, some vintage, some old, some new, are all Gibsons. There's terrific value in Gibson, and I expect they will reorganize, change some managers, or whatever else may be needed to become a better, guitar-oriented company that maintains its place in the guitar world. I don't understand the viciousness and glee that some express at the possibility of the company really crashing. It won't; and we ought to support American guitar making.
  23. Wow. I usually dislike ornate guitars, but whoever spec'd this one -- was it you? -- has an amazing eye for how different visual features work together. This is a really gorgeous piece, and has a look that is not found anywhere else. It also retains that special SG vibe. Congratulations. That is a really beautiful piece of work.
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