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SteveFord

My visit with the 2015 models

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I had the day off from work so I ran down to check out the 2015 models and play intrepid cub reporter.

 

My local GC didn't have the model I was interested in (Firebird V) but I did spend a little time with the SG Standard, the Les Paul Double Cutaway and a Les Paul Gold Top.

 

First the good:

 

The finishes all looked real good and the Gold Top was really handsome. I especially liked the mini humbuckers making a reappearance on that model. Good move!

 

The zero fret nut is not sharp and is a pretty cool idea. I like it even if it does stick out due to the color - maybe black anodized would be the way to go as it is a little industrial looking.

 

The Double Cutaway is a much more upscale piece than my old Faded TV Yellow one was; it felt like a serious guitar, not a knock around beater type. I can't say that I'm impressed with the two knobs and wrap around tail piece, though.

 

The bad:

 

The headstock is unattractive from both sides - the LP scribble on the front is kind of weird but even my wife did a mouth open double take when she saw the G-Force thing. That look alone was worth the trip. She asked about damage from ripping it off, ha, ha.

 

The Waving Les Paul hologram thing is just silly but at least it's small and on the back.

 

No nibs, of course, and the fret ends aren't all sharp but they're not perfect, either.

 

The wider necks - no thank you and I have really big hands, too. They should have kept the existing necks, added that new nut and moved the strings a bit closer to each other. The SG in particular felt really strange to me and seems like it would be a real bear to play but it might be really good for slid work. Picture REALLY WIDE 50s profile necks and you've got the idea for the new ones.

 

Having only 2 (or 3 knobs plus a mini toggle switch) is not what I would be looking for.

 

How do they sound? I don't know, I didn't bother to plug them in but I'm sure they're fine.

 

The winner of the day? It was in the acoustic room. The Taylors felt cheap, the Gibsons were handsome but it's so hard to say after they've been played by everybody who has just eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (if you know what I mean) but a Martin HD-28 just really stood out above the rest - THAT is the one to compare the pricier Guilds to when I have my pennies in a pile. As soon as I picked it up I knew THIS IS IT, it was just one of those guitars. Substantial feeling, great neck, wonderful build quality and the sound was far and away the best of the bunch. That guitar just rang when you hit harmonics and it had great projection when you did some old Jethro Tull tunes on it, too.

 

What did I come away with? $3.97 worth of high E strings as I'm busy saving up for a used Firebird VII.

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Thanks for the review man... Someone I can actually listen to their opinion on this subject as they have actually tried them :)

 

And what you say is much what I gather from reading the specs and a few other reviews ive seen from people who actually tried one...

 

And still I think the most baffling thing about all of these changes is the wider neck with HUGE gaps between the Es and the edge of the board.. I mean surely one of the things that so great about a Gibson is the neck and the way it plays and they have totally messed with it (cos so far every review says the necks are BAD, one compared it to a classical guitar).. Bizarre if you ask me?? :-k

 

And im a 60s neck guy.. Id imagine that means 2015, even my beloved Double Cut is out for me :( (were all of the necks on the gibbies the same including the DC?) Oh well... I will still try one if I see it for my own curiosity but am in no rush at all.

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Thank you for your report, Steve.

 

...

The wider necks - no thank you and I have really big hands, too. They should have kept the existing necks, added that new nut and moved the strings a bit closer to each other.

...

Please not. This would be a catastrophe for people with rather wide fingers like me. I would want wider fretboards and wider string spacings.

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I wish that they would have had the Firebird as that was the one I really wanted to try out - well, next time, perhaps.

 

The DC was kind of odd as it had this big, monster neck on it (picture LP Studio 50s style) but it was also a lot wider and then it was attached to this tiny little body so it felt like you had two different guitars in your lap. Look down and there's this little guy, look down the neck and there's this big honkin' thing. As I said, it felt a lot more upscale than the old Faded one (more like a carved top Les Paul) but you'll have to try it and see what you think.

 

Granted, they screwed up the plastic nut on some of them (my departed SG Classic springs to mind) and it was just way too easy to pull the high E string off of the neck. The answer wasn't to make the necks wider, though! Just move the strings a little closer together like they had them back before their Plek machine got set up oddly.

 

I only tried the 3 guitars and the Gold Top and Double Cutaway felt about the same to me. The SG was a different profile and was more like my cheapie Guild D-4 acoustic which is pretty darned strange for an SG.

 

One last thought - I don't think that G-Force doohickey weighs hardly anything as the necks didn't feel top heavy at all.

 

 

 

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...

Granted, they screwed up the plastic nut on some of them (my departed SG Classic springs to mind) and it was just way too easy to pull the high E string off of the neck. The answer wasn't to make the necks wider, though! Just move the strings a little closer together like they had them back before their Plek machine got set up oddly.

...

One last thought - I don't think that G-Force doohickey weighs hardly anything as the necks didn't feel top heavy at all.

In my opinion, it really depends on setting up the PLEK machine nicely. I encountered the E1st slipping off problem on just one guitar, all the others including mine are fine. They obviously beveled frets too wide on some.

 

Anyway, I think at least with those guitars featuring nibs they should go with the earlier, narrower binding. They are fine on all Gibsons of mine featuring them of which the 2013 Frank Zappa "Roxy" SG model is the most recent one. Gibson still CAN do it!

 

Perhaps they use wider bindings since the nib making job is cheaper due to them being less sensitive? All in all, when about nibs, the smaller the binding, the better the playability.

 

Interesting that you mention the G-Force weight. Good to know this is NOT a problem.

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Probably just a couple of ounces more for a circuit board, lithium battery and some weird gears...

 

which reminds me, one of the guitars was out of tune so I used a tuner manually and it has a stupidly low tuning ratio so sure, you could tune the guitar without it but you'd better not be in a hurry. If that thing croaks and you have to restring on stage you'd better have some off color jokes ready to entertain the audience as you turn the tuner and turn the tuner and turn the tuner knob some more.

 

Maybe they could fit it with those great flip out crank handles that they used to use in the 80s? That would speed things up.

 

 

 

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Thanks Steve very much for a great review of all the things that were of primary interest to me and most everyone else. Between your extensive review and others I have read - I have zero interest in purchasing any of the new Gibsons. You know, after reading gear reviews (and writing thousands of them myself) over many years - you get used to people bashing some things and you take them with a grain of salt until you try them out yourself. HOWEVER - when the people reviewing the 2015 Gibson models are devout Gibson fanatics for many years and they point out these things that you and others have - I take it with more than just a grain of salt.

 

The fact that many of us have been Gibson fans for most of our adult lives and have invested literally thousands of dollars into this company and they make radical changes like this is "personal". Its a smack in the face of Gibson's biggest supporters and "investors", so to speak. Yes I will try whatever 2015 models I can myself next time I'm out by the Gibson dealers here, however I'm absolutely certain I won't be taking any of them home. Thanks for you review brother - appreciate it!

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You're welcome. I'm looking forward to reading other people's impressions on the new ones.

 

The changes they made are just really odd and after 40 years of buying Gibson electrics this is the first year I've ever just said no thanks. Last year I was kind of on the fence and this year they're not even a consideration which is kind of sad to say.

 

The sales person asked me what I thought and I said what I said here - here's the good, here's the bad and I think that Gibson is in for a bad year. They weren't surprised one bit. I gather they've heard it before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I rolled my eyes so hard that I sprained them a few weeks ago when they first came out with the new models. My doctor says to stop going on this forum but I can't help it. I'm addicted. Plus, if everybody would just accept me for what I am, I wouldn't have to go on here looking for validation. I get depressed. [crying]

 

But then again, what they're doing at Gibson is funny. Really funny. Almost as funny as the movie "Airplane."

 

OJ - "Surely these new Gibsons will sell."

Leslie Neilsen - "No they won't. And don't call me Shirley."

 

:lol:

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I rolled my eyes so hard that I sprained them a few weeks ago when they first came out with the new models. My doctor says to stop going on this forum but I can't help it. I'm addicted. Plus, if everybody would just accept me for what I am, I wouldn't have to go on here looking for validation. I get depressed. [crying]

 

But then again, what they're doing at Gibson is funny. Really funny. Almost as funny as the movie "Airplane."

 

OJ - "Surely these new Gibsons will sell."

Leslie Neilsen - "No they won't. And don't call me Shirley."

 

:lol:

 

Lloyd Bridges: "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop looking at Gibsons!"

 

(I don't think OJ was in "Airplane". But he was in "Naked Gun")

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G-Force is limiting guitars.

It be hard enough to tune my synth to this type of scale but it could be done in a manner of speaking, but electronic tuning on a guitar means never.

 

Yes, it may be weird, but then so are some musicians and so is music sometimes.

 

(if you call this music I guess).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IBXRwORO2o

 

But then I suppose weird is sometimes the way to go, and then A=440Hz does not mean that the audience (only musicians) may actually know the difference if even that.

 

I can tune to A=432Hz or anywhere inbetween over quite a range of frequencies, and with the Master Tune, every note on my synth is done all at once. If a electronic guitar only has a limited tuner, then it never can be done on a guitar.

 

No guitar parts anymore because it could not be done.

 

Weird - yes maybe, but then.............................................dictating a tuning to me (if the electronic tuning on a guitar does not allow for any of this) does not allow freedom in music at all.

 

Everyone should be a robot I guess, might as well hang it up, for someone will think robots can play better than humans, and humans - they were not needed anymore.

 

What a way to go!

[unsure]

 

[scared]

 

A few smilies for the occasion.

 

And Jezebel Decibel I guess would not like it at all.

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And it is not the fact that a lot of people are going to have odd tunings, but then there is that option with having regular tuning guitars instead of thinking that it can not be done.

 

If you follow James Taylor and tuning on probably an acoustic guitar (not sure if it applies to electric or even some other videos there at utube) you would not be tuning perfect anyway, and for tuning with other videos, it is how hard you hit the strings to tune the guitar, not just tuning without.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2xnXArjPts

 

So tuning perfection may be in the way it is all tuned, not what should be by a so-called computer tuning.

 

Does it apply to electrics? Something to think about perhaps.

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[thumbup] Very great lesson. Thank you very much for sharing it here. =D> =D> =D>

 

Indeed, what James Taylor calls "wide tuning" here is in fact crucial for any instrument although widely unknown. This is due to the Railsback curve saying that tuning has to compensate the sharpness of harmonics present in any stringed and wind instrument as well. It is usually called "stretched tuning". See here for reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_acoustics#The_Railsback_curve

 

I always tune guitars that way basically but can't tell the exact cent deviations since my electronic tuners don't tell. Basically it would be best tuning all the strings that a fictitious A4 string would have 440 Hz, meaning that all the guitar strings have to be flat. For example, James Taylor's A5th's 10 cent flat open A2 note is 109.366 Hz instead of 110 Hz. I think this is a nice match in addressing the problem. The 4th harmonic might be exactly 440 Hz this way.

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G-Force is limiting guitars.

It be hard enough to tune my synth to this type of scale but it could be done in a manner of speaking, but electronic tuning on a guitar means never.

 

Yes, it may be weird, but then so are some musicians and so is music sometimes.

 

(if you call this music I guess).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IBXRwORO2o

 

But then I suppose weird is sometimes the way to go, and then A=440Hz does not mean that the audience (only musicians) may actually know the difference if even that.

 

I can tune to A=432Hz or anywhere inbetween over quite a range of frequencies, and with the Master Tune, every note on my synth is done all at once. If a electronic guitar only has a limited tuner, then it never can be done on a guitar.

 

Somehow my reply got inserted into the middle of your text (oh what have I done [scared]

I am not one voting for electronic tuning. However I'm pretty sure I read on the Gibson site that one of the differences between the new Gforce and the old Mini-E-Tune was that you could assign a frequency or tone and then have it tune off of that. The example was that you get a gig somewhere accompanying a piano and the piano is a half tone flat. You assign a half tone flat to your low E string, press a few buttons, and the Gforce tunes the guitar to that flat piano. That was the impression I got anyway - have no experience with using either system. END OF REPLY

 

No guitar parts anymore because it could not be done.

 

Weird - yes maybe, but then.............................................dictating a tuning to me (if the electronic tuning on a guitar does not allow for any of this) does not allow freedom in music at all.

 

Everyone should be a robot I guess, might as well hang it up, for someone will think robots can play better than humans, and humans - they were not needed anymore.

 

What a way to go!

[unsure]

 

[scared]

 

A few smilies for the occasion.

 

And Jezebel Decibel I guess would not like it at all.

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Thanks for the review; particularly of the double-cut. Out of all of their 2015 offerings; it is the only one that has any appeal to me.

 

I'll be off to my local this weekend or the next to see how it feels, otherwise I'll be looking out for something older off eBay or something!

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Well, someone stated (have to see who it was again) on the LP forum that you can tune manually the 2015 guitars.

 

I actually do not know anything about it, but I thought there were just several tunings one could use and that was it.

 

If you can change the tuning that would be fine then, but I suppose I would have to find out all that stuff first, and well, ya know, who is ever working in the guitar store may not know and may just tell someone stuff that is not true.

 

If it works fine, if it does not, then perhaps somewhere someone explains exactly what G-force tuning does.

 

I do not know.

dry.gif

 

On the video with James Taylor tuning, then my Snark goes -50 to +50 on the scale, be kind of hard to tell, but still it could get close.

 

On the other hand if computer tuning does not allow anything like that "wide" tuning, then is it all wrong??

 

Again, befuddled and I do not know.

 

 

And it is not that anyone is going to tune a guitar that weird as that one video, but then maybe not all the time A = 440Hz either. (but most of the time I suppose).

 

??????

 

Have to look it all up if it can be found (about G-force tuning or any electronic computer tuning).

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Well, someone stated (have to see who it was again) on the LP forum that you can tune manually the 2015 guitars.

 

I actually do not know anything about it, but I thought there were just several tunings one could use and that was it.

 

If you can change the tuning that would be fine then, but I suppose I would have to find out all that stuff first, and well, ya know, who is ever working in the guitar store may not know and may just tell someone stuff that is not true.

 

If it works fine, if it does not, then perhaps somewhere someone explains exactly what G-force tuning does.

 

 

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Ya, know after all of that, a lot of guitar players just turn up the amp to 11 volume and say "So What?" Tunings??

 

[rolleyes]

 

Yes, I will watch the mini-E-tune but that is not G-force!

 

ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

 

I suppose if you can store it in there, that then that is better. (different tunings).

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Ya, know after all of that, a lot of guitar players just turn up the amp to 11 volume and say "So What?" Tunings??

 

[rolleyes]

 

Yes, I will watch the mini-E-tune but that is not G-force!

 

ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Lol.. yeah they are totally different :unsure: lol....

 

Also Gibson just put an article up about the alternate tunings

http://www2.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/Fun-with-Alternate-Tunings.aspx

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I looked at it all, and well, not judging but not quite there yet, from what I see.

 

My synth goes from 415.3 to 466.2, although I expect a guitar not to go that far (maybe in a few years with a really, really small chip on that guitar's headstock).

 

I expected just a little more though, and not just 434Hz to 446Hz I think it was on the guitar.

 

Well, around here, may be a few gibsons, some epiphones, but mainly for some reason Telecasters and Strats, and some other variety at a jam session.

 

Getting too old for about any of it, so with my 78 effects and 1 vocoder = 79 effects on a synth, most of which I do not know:

 

When it gets up to "you can work with it for the next 30 years", I probably won't be around then anymore.

 

And a guitar player having a 255 page manual like my synth to read, just does not seem right.

 

(a little joke there at the end).

 

The head hurts.

 

Farewell!

[blink]

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