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Dennis D near Milwaukee

Super 400 Western Sky - Wow !

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Just saw one of these at a guitar show today. ( Honeyburst ) Talk about gorgeous! I did see some posts and replies here about them, but not much info. Any info appreciated.

Played like a dream, a ton of low-end bark, and probably the best fingerboard I'll ever play.

Sure wish it weren't 18 in. at the bottom.

 

 

Thanks..

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Dennis...

 

I've a hunch your Super 400 opinion is not dissimilar to that of many others who have nice high-end archtops and less than serious interest in the big body of the beautiful Gibbie.

 

Then again, all of my archtops are 16-inch lower bout.

 

m

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Dennis...

 

I've a hunch your Super 400 opinion is not dissimilar to that of many others who have nice high-end archtops and less than serious interest in the big body of the beautiful Gibbie.

 

Then again, all of my archtops are 16-inch lower bout.

 

m

 

I can relate to the 16 in lower bout. My first archtop was a 175, then /now an L-4, and a '30's re-issue L-5.

I really think the real moral of this story is to keep looking for those 'one-offs' Gibson made that the rest of us never heard of - like these Western Skys. I was told they only made six, but can't verify that yet. The colors were honeyburst or solid white.

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My Western Sky was quite beautiful and sounded great, but, alas, too big for me to play for more than about 30 minutes.

 

 

13ddedc6.jpg

 

Danny W.

 

Man, that's gorgeous ! I always play seated, but it was still a little cumbersome, although I could live with it. My ( pro player ) friend and I figured that's where the good bottom-end came from. When we were alternating the playing - listening to it, someone noted it sounded better to the player playing it than it did in front of it. Interesting...

 

But that neck and fingerboard - - absolutely to die for.

 

Bottom line - - I now wonder how many other surprises from Gibson I may find. I'm thinking they may very well have built my ( next ) dream guitar some time in the '90's - - like my L-5 Reissue, or that 200 year Anniversary SJ from '95.

 

I had better keep my eyes open I guess !!!

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I think there's something about the geometry of different guitars that aid or inhibit a given player. Yes, you can play probably 85 or 90 percent of your best on about any decently setup guitar... but... it's the geometry of the player compared to how he/she holds it and the body shape and scale, fretboard radius and string spacing...

 

I have no claim to being any sort of a great player, but I know that I have two guitars that help me play better what I hear in my head, three or four others that are pretty doggone decent for it but not in the same class, and then a batch of others that are for specialty stuff that doesn't require much technique or that I bought to try and thought were "pretty" and sounded very nice.

 

m

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We are on the same page about length of play time. After half an hour my right arm starts getting tired. My J200 has a similar body shape/size...maybe a little thicker.

 

 

I got into the habit of always using a strap - even seated. I've used a 175 and L-4 since the '60's ( 16 in.), & then L-7's @ 17 in. ). No issues ever.

The only time I had arm /shoulder soreness was with a Les Paul. After 30 plus years w/ the 175, I never got used to the LP. I am over six feet tall, w/ long arms, and that guitar made my arms seem even longer. Never could get comfortable with it -- and I tried everything - with a strap, without, seated, left knee, right knee.

Finally traded it for another archtop.

 

Otherwise, if you're not using a strap all the time, FWIW, I believe in them.

 

MHO

 

Dennis

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I am over six feet tall, w/ long arms

 

 

Dennis, not all of us are as tall as you--if I were, I'd still own and gig with that Western Sky and a half-dozen other Super 400's I used to own. You have a good seven inches of height on me, if not more, as well as much longer arms. Believe me, a strap does not help me.

 

Danny W.

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Dennis, not all of us are as tall as you--if I were, I'd still own and gig with that Western Sky and a half-dozen other Super 400's I used to own. You have a good seven inches of height on me, if not more, as well as much longer arms. Believe me, a strap does not help me.

 

Danny W.

 

Danny

 

That's interesting, and makes sense. I myself can't be without a strap now.

I do have some questions, please:

Do you agree w/ the comment that it seemed to sound better to the player - unamplified - than it did in front ? Could that have been a function of the oval soundhole, which I've always liked ?

And how do those crank tuners work - do you open the crank part, tune it and then set the crank part back to lock it down, and or can you use it like a regular tuner ? Never had those and would rather not.

Did you like the sound amplified ?

Needless to say, I do know where it still is, and it keeps calling me.

 

Thanks for any info and suggestions .

Dennis

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OMG, it's like a Howard Roberts model on steroids! Very nice indeed. Color reminds me of the Viceroy burst.

 

 

 

My Western Sky was quite beautiful and sounded great, but, alas, too big for me to play for more than about 30 minutes.

 

 

13ddedc6.jpg

 

Danny W.

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OMG, it's like a Howard Roberts model on steroids! Very nice indeed. Color reminds me of the Viceroy burst.

 

 

Absolutely !! I thought of that too - - the Howard Roberts oval soundhole. I was just thinking today - - if it'd had a round hole I'd have thought " Ok, nice, but I don't have to have it." But when I saw that, it just fit, and then that fingerboard, the color, binding etc etc. Everything just goes together.

If I won the lottery I'd have someone build me one like that but with a 17 in. lower bout. And I don't think it'd look as nice even w/ a natural finish, and that says a lot.

 

 

Somebody sure got that right !

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Danny

 

That's interesting, and makes sense. I myself can't be without a strap now.

I do have some questions, please:

Do you agree w/ the comment that it seemed to sound better to the player - unamplified - than it did in front ? Could that have been a function of the oval soundhole, which I've always liked ?

And how do those crank tuners work - do you open the crank part, tune it and then set the crank part back to lock it down, and or can you use it like a regular tuner ? Never had those and would rather not.

Did you like the sound amplified ?

Needless to say, I do know where it still is, and it keeps calling me.

 

Thanks for any info and suggestions .

Dennis

 

I sold the Western Sky eleven years ago and can't really comment in detail on the sound, except that it was quite loud acoustically and didn't sound the same as an f-hole guitar. I found myself a jam session on the day after I first moved here--I had shipped my guitars USPS and they had already arrived, but stupidly forgot to mail an amp the same way, so all my amps were in a container on a ship not to be seen for another three weeks. I took just the Western Sky and was able to make a good contribution with it, although admittedly it was not a very loud session (although it did include an electric bass, drummer and several horns). Despite that, I borrowed an amp for the next session.

 

I put crank tuners on a number of semis thirty years ago. It's just a regular tuner with a flip-out section in the knob, which actually works pretty well. If you don't like them, it's easy to change just the knobs. When I sold those guitars I restored the original knobs, so now I have a box of crank knobs in my guitar parts drawer. The reason I don't use them anymore is that the regular knob works fine for tuning and I use a power winder when I change strings. Could be useful if you break strings at a gig, but I just carry a plastic winder.

 

My WS had a Fishman piezo bridge pickup from the factory, but no controls or preamp. My stage amp handled piezos pretty well, but I never cared for the sound of the WS when amped. I mostly played it acoustically.

 

Danny W.

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I sold the Western Sky eleven years ago and can't really comment in detail on the sound, except that it was quite loud acoustically and didn't sound the same as an f-hole guitar. I found myself a jam session on the day after I first moved here--I had shipped my guitars USPS and they had already arrived, but stupidly forgot to mail an amp the same way, so all my amps were in a container on a ship not to be seen for another three weeks. I took just the Western Sky and was able to make a good contribution with it, although admittedly it was not a very loud session (although it did include an electric bass, drummer and several horns). Despite that, I borrowed an amp for the next session.

 

I put crank tuners on a number of semis thirty years ago. It's just a regular tuner with a flip-out section in the knob, which actually works pretty well. If you don't like them, it's easy to change just the knobs. When I sold those guitars I restored the original knobs, so now I have a box of crank knobs in my guitar parts drawer. The reason I don't use them anymore is that the regular knob works fine for tuning and I use a power winder when I change strings. Could be useful if you break strings at a gig, but I just carry a plastic winder.

 

My WS had a Fishman piezo bridge pickup from the factory, but no controls or preamp. My stage amp handled piezos pretty well, but I never cared for the sound of the WS when amped. I mostly played it acoustically.

 

Danny W.

 

I can't remember if we plugged it in when we saw it at the show. My idea was it wouldn't get plugged in much, so as long as it had the wire at the bridge, w/ plug-in at the endpin, my luthier probably would have seen & repaired something like that it.

Do the tuners turn normally, or do you have to use the cranks every time ?

I'm still watching it.......still interesting and interested.....

 

.....Thanks.....

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I can't remember if we plugged it in when we saw it at the show. My idea was it wouldn't get plugged in much, so as long as it had the wire at the bridge, w/ plug-in at the endpin, my luthier probably would have seen & repaired something like that it.

Do the tuners turn normally, or do you have to use the cranks every time ?

I'm still watching it.......still interesting and interested.....

 

.....Thanks.....

You can ignore the flips and just turn the buttons as usual.

 

Danny W.

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I had one of the sunburst Western Skies. I bought it new from the House Of Guitars brand new sometime in the mid to late 90s. It always struck me as a beautiful guitar, but I never really thought much of the sound. At the time, I also had a 1939 non-cutaway x-braced Super 400 that sounded incredible. Ultimately I sold the Western Sky to a fellow in Arizona. A couple of years ago, I sold my 1939 to David Grisman.

 

That Western Siy sure was pretty, though.

 

Bob

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My Western Sky was quite beautiful and sounded great, but, alas, too big for me to play for more than about 30 minutes.

 

 

13ddedc6.jpg

 

Danny W.

 

Wow luv it!

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