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Why does this Hummingbird sound so GOOD?!


mikeselmer

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Hi all, first post here.

 

For some time, I have been really impressed by the tone of the Gibson Hummingbird, as played by the Danish singer Tim Christensen. However, I haven't found a Hummingbird that sounds quite like this brilliant - full-bodied and warm, but the highs still ring great. The ones I've tried have sounded too thuddy, lacking mid-range articulation and have sounded kinda too compressed. Too mellow, in short. Mellow is ok, but I still need the mids/highs articulation,

 

Here's some sound clips (there might be two different Hummingbirds in these):

 

 

What kikd of Hummingbird should I be searching for to get these tones? I know that Tim Christensen is fond of 1973 and 1974 Hummingbirds, so that might be a start.

 

- What type of Hummingbird is he playing? Anything special?

- Is this sound a typical Hummingbird sound?

- Why does it sound better than the current ones I've tried? :-)

- If it's a 70s model - shouldn't the 70s models sound bad because of the extra bracing? That's what seems to be the consensus and that's why I've shied away from them.

 

Cheers!

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This Christensen knows what he's doin' - also when it comes to recorded sound.

 

If you dig what you hear, you should obviously begin searching vintage Gibsons.

 

You'll find they are highly different like old motorbikes of the same brand, model and year or individual lions, , , even puppies from the same father/mother-dog.

 

And again : Don't expect to just reach out and get this nice guy's sound. He has talent'n'touch*, , , and the engineer. . .

 

 

 

 

 

*not saying you don't ,-)

 

 

(Haven't yet heard the tracks in the cans - will do later).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Find an acoustic guitar whose overall sound and feel you like...add the strings that sound and feel best to YOU and if you play with a pick, find the ultimate pick for you. There are other things to do to an acoustic guitar that will change its tone a bit, but nothing like a good set of strings and a good setup...and the individual player.

 

FWIW, it is amazing how different two "identical" guitars can sound, even in this age of computerized manufacturing...this applies even to the "slab" type of solid body guitar, and much more so to the acoustic.

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Thanks for the replies...all good advice! The problrm is that there aren't really vintage Gibsons available where I live...

 

As for the 70s Gibsons bad reputation - are there generally more good or bad ones in among them? Is the bad reputation well-earned, or just blown out of proportion?

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You're most likely listening to what a "sound engineer" wants you to hear, they are able to do wonders. Once you realize this, you'll settle on a guitar you like.

 

Once it's processed, compressed, EQ'd and reverb and delay are added, that's what you're hearing. Not just the guitar. The key is to find the guitar(s) you like to play and find your own set up and sound. Most importantly, have fun.

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You're most likely listening to what a "sound engineer" wants you to hear, they are able to do wonders. Once you realize this, you'll settle on a guitar you like.

 

Once it's processed, compressed, EQ'd and reverb and delay ..... Are added that's what you're hearing. Not just the guitar. The key is to find the guitar(s) you like to play and find your own set up and sound. Most importantly, have fun. The other 80% is the musician.

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Once it's processed, compressed, EQ'd and reverb and delay ..... Are added that's what you're hearing. Not just the guitar. The key is to find the guitar(s) you like to play and find your own set up and sound. Most importantly, have fun. The other 80% is the musician.

 

These low key home recordings don't really sound so processed - aren't these quite raw format natural sounds of the Hummingbird? See here:

 

https://m.youtube.com/user/timchristensen

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You can also fiddle with the saddle. Different materials can slightly affect the sound. Not as much as strings, pick and touch - as has been pointed out. I would suggest you not get too obsessed with a single, certain sound or you might lose valuable playing years learning and enjoying what might turn out to be a great guitar you find today that you pass-by. A few years from now, your playing may lead you to appreciate more some different sounds. G'Luck.

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These low key home recordings don't really sound so processed - aren't these quite raw format natural sounds of the Hummingbird? See here:

 

https://m.youtube.com/user/timchristensen

It looks like he is playing three different guitars in these videos, all square-shoulders, but I can't tell if they are all 'bird variants or not. One is obviously a 12. Also not sure which of these might be vintage vs. modern.

 

Once you put a capo on, you are getting away from the "base" sound of the instrument. Some guitars change dramatically when capo's, others not so much.

 

 

The skill of the player (his attack on the strings, etc.) can make a huge difference in the tone of the guitar as well. This guy is very good, and gets the most out of all these guitars.

 

I wouldn't say they don't sound like 'birds. They sound like really skillfully-played 'birds to me.

 

If I handed by 000-28 EC to Clapton to play, it wouldn't sound anything like it does when I play it. I always marvel at the sounds good players get out of guitars.

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Once you put a capo on, you are getting away from the "base" sound of the instrument. Some guitars change dramatically when capo's, others not so much.

 

 

That's interesting. Tim Christensen plays with a capo more often than not. He also tends to tune his acoustics a step or half down, and then capo the guitar.

 

So is Hummingbird a guitar that changes dramatically when capoed, or maybe not so much?

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That's interesting. Tim Christensen plays with a capo more often than not. He also tends to tune his acoustics a step or half down, and then capo the guitar.

 

So is Hummingbird a guitar that changes dramatically when capoed, or maybe not so much?

 

 

It really varies with individual guitars, in my experience. Tim introduces so many variables in his playing--tuning down, capo'd up--that it's really hard to determine the "natural" tonal qualities of his guitars. I'd just say they all sound really good.

 

Em7 here has a lot of experience with both vintage and modern 'birds, and can probably provide the best insights on this. He is also good at painting word descriptions of tonal differences.

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Em7 here has a lot of experience with both vintage and modern 'birds, and can probably provide the best insights on this. He is also good at painting word descriptions of tonal differences.

 

Thank you so much, Nick, , , , and bbg - just you gentlemen wait till you see me paint

 

with paint ! Midtjuni201410c-1.jpg

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The guy came darn close to putting me to sleep. Guess I am not the sensitive singer/songwriter type.

 

As noted it is virtually impossible to judge a guitar from a video. Not only will a guitar sound different depending on setup and attack but as already noted you can never quite be sure of how much guitar you are hearing as opposed to processed sound.

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How were Hummingbirds in the 70s? When did Gibson start with the double-bracing? Did Hummingbird suffer a lot because of he new bracing?

 

And: how much of the 70s Hummingbirds are actually good ones (irrespective of the double-bracing) - are they very few and far between?

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The double X-brace pattern started with the so called Norlin-era in 1970 and continued up till the later 80's.

The 2 second half70's square shouldered Norlins I had around 1980, was fine sounding in the quiet midnite-hour, but in reality dead guitars.

Of course they were never given the chance to develop and they might be much better today. I played a 70's SJN some years ago, that was fine. It had the sound, but not much volume.

 

But frankly - you have to go out fishing yourself (if you allow that expression in connection with Birds).

It's all a matter of taste and you'll find them highly different, which is worth the trip anyway.

 

Any precise advise or answer 'bout the sonic nuances here would be misleading - so there you go.

 

Good luck - and do report

 

 

 

 

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