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mountainpicker

So what IS the deal with the Gibson Starburst

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Ok, so near the end of the book, "Gibson's Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars" they get all kinda gushy about the Starburst model. They even have a picture of Jorma (p.189) pickin'one and grinnin' and it looks to be all psychedelic-ed up. What is the deal with them? You never see one on ebay it seems. Were they just so great that everyone that owns one hangs on to theirs? Or were they just such a flop that they've gone quietly into the night? Where's a sound sample, etc. Them that know please enlighten?

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I bought a '97 EC 20 Starburst in red for my daughter last year. Absolutely beautiful guitar not a scratch or a even a finish check anywhere. Laminated maple back, solid maple sides, Sitka top. It is a typical nice Gibson Jumbo, very balanced, great for rhythm. It is not very loud, but honestly this one is just now getting played in. She was a very happy girl.

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I have played a couple of the Starburst and think they are good guitars. I see them come up on auction occasionally and in my opinion they are not a "well kept secret". Gibson seems to have carved their niche in repros. Even the artist, pro, songwriter, guitars are slow to be excepted. Taylor, on the other hand could put out a double neck 514 and sell a pile of them. I'm not sure if it's a marketing thing or customer base. I guess in the end you have to "dance with them that brung ya".

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Ok, so near the end of the book, "Gibson's Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars" they get all kinda gushy about the Starburst model. They even have a picture of Jorma (p.189) pickin'one and grinnin' and it looks to be all psychedelic-ed up. What is the deal with them? You never see one on ebay it seems. Were they just so great that everyone that owns one hangs on to theirs? Or were they just such a flop that they've gone quietly into the night? Where's a sound sample, etc. Them that know please enlighten?

 

 

 

I've had 3 of them, my first purchase being inspired by seeing Jorma's Amber Starburst sitting on a stand onstage at FPR.

 

He's had 3 AFAIK - he now has just the blue one left.

 

They get no love on the forums, being described as thin or tone dead, etc. Maple back sides & tops.

I think the idea was that they were acoustic-electrics & worked well onstage with little feedback.

They were designed, IIRC, by Ren Ferguson & were available from 92 - 93 or so.

 

I always liked the glassy crystalline tone of the Starburst - and I loved the bling factor.

I discussed the guitar with Jorma about a year ago & we both agreed that they had a particular tone that was underappreciated.

 

They do come up in spurts on ebay & CL, etc. Just keep a search running.

 

Jorma used it extensively on his early teaching DVDs and it can be heard on some of the mid-90s Relix albums - specifically "Embryonic Journey", "Too Many Years" and "Land of Heroes".

 

Probably others as well.

 

My last one was a Custom made in 1994, the year after the Starburst was discontinued. It's such a cool guitar, I've kept the page up on my site, even though I no longer own a Starburst:

 

http://music.jeffers...urstCustom.html

 

Frank

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I have a 92 Starburst, solid maple, very nice sunburst. To me it's a very sweet sounding, easy playing guitar. When strumming, has a nice low end, and is pretty balanced through out.. IMO .. The finish is lacking in quality, as the clear began chipping pretty early. But it's part of it's character now. We've seen a lot "times" together. It's one guitar that'll stay with me.. Never understood why it didn't get the love it deserves....

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There was a yellow quilt top Starburst hanging around a local music shop last year. I picked it up and then put it back - quickly. My impression is that this model was designed to be plugged in on a stage - not to slung over your shoulder and played sans electricity.

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There's one on ebay uk at the moment. Personally I wouldn't pay £850 for anything that had had a broken headstock. Not with J35s going new for £1100. There was a J100Xtra that went for less than that a few months back. It was battered and had capo grooves in the neck, but no breakages or cracks. But as this ad points out they didn't make many Starbursts - perhaps that's why you don't hear much about them.

 

Starbust/Neck bust

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Ok, so near the end of the book, "Gibson's Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars" they get all kinda gushy about the Starburst model. They even have a picture of Jorma (p.189) pickin'one and grinnin' and it looks to be all psychedelic-ed up. What is the deal with them? You never see one on ebay it seems. Were they just so great that everyone that owns one hangs on to theirs? Or were they just such a flop that they've gone quietly into the night? Where's a sound sample, etc. Them that know please enlighten?

 

The Star and The Starburst in 7 colors were big sellers for Gibson in 1992. 1993 saw the introduction of three models.

The Starburst Studio in antique natural-Cherry and Ebony retail $1,599.00

Starburst Standard in Antique Natural- Amber and Vintage Sunburst. Retail at $1,899.00

Starburst Elite in Antique Natural-Amber- VS. Retail $2,299.00

 

They made a bunch in 1992. 946 is the total for all models and colors.That is a huge number. 1993 saw the numbers drop off.

 

Why? It's really quite an amusing story. The Plant Manager promised the General Manager that he had secured a source for High Figured Quilted Maple and they could have uninterupted production. Well.... When they placed the order for the wood in 1993 they were told it was all bought by Paul Reed Smith. The same for all other suppliers. There was no "Quilt" available and Gibson had lost out because of poor planing. The Plant Manager lost his job and Gibson lost one if it's most popular guitars.

 

No one bought one for it's fine acoustic properties. They were stage ready and flashy as hell. This was way back in the dark ages and country acts were looking for a great looking guitar that they could use on a busy stage. Gibson learned a vaulable lesson and moved on. The folks that have them keep them. They are really that good.

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Thanks for that tidbit of info, Hogeye. That sounds about right and par for the course.

Don,t count your chickens type story.

Hard to believe they were 'snaked' by PRS of all companies.

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P

2 hours ago, fortyearspickn said:

 Z O M B I E   THREAD  ! 

 

 

Let's talk about them again! It's not like much is happening here. Glad you like yours Marcos. I liked mine too. I think Gibson was on to something there. A new design! Then they figured out everyone wanted an old J45. Venetian  or Florentine? 

..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I always thought the Starburst, which is based on the J-180 jumbo body and which only features AAA-grade wood, was introduced in 1993 to celebrate the new era of Gibson acoustic manufacturing in Montana. The 30th anniversary all-maple Starburst surely looks swag.

Edited by Leonard McCoy

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I have no issues whatsoever with Back From the Dead threads.  So long as newbies are coming onboard it gives them a chance to chime in.  

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