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Jesse_Dylan

Finally getting my 2015 Hummingbird--anything I should know?

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Hi guys!

 

I have been out of the loop for a while. I am finally making my pilgrimage to Music Villa, July 22 or 23 I think it is, with my boatload of trades. Going to have to make a 9-hour drive in one day without stopping, A/C all the way, humidifiers in the cases, because I don't want the guitars to get hot/dry/wet in the back of the Jeep!

 

Anyway, the plan has always been to trade it all in for a 2015 (presumably) Gibson Hummingbird. Is there anything I should know? I thought they had some changes planned for 2015, but I guess not? I keep hearing about a price increase, too. Maybe that is for 2016? Baked tops?

 

I need to e-mail Music Villa soon to inform them of everything I'm bringing and to see what they have in stock. If they don't have a Hummingbird (or don't have one I like), and they have to order me a fresh one, will that be subject to the price increase?

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Jesse,

 

Only Music Villa can answer those questions with authority. I'd be checking with them to make sure they're going to have some Birds on hand for you before anything else. No point in getting there and discovering that none are in stock and the best you can do is a J200 when you want a Bird.

 

I sincerely hope you've played a Bird before. They are unusual instruments. Not always what people think they are. They're generally quieter than many guitars their size. Their tone is also sweeter and subtler, which is not a problem for people who come prepared. But if you're thinking about firepower, you may be disappointed.

 

Good luck and report back!

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Jesse,

 

Only Music Villa can answer those questions with authority. I'd be checking with them to make sure they're going to have some Birds on hand for you before anything else. No point in getting there and discovering that none are in stock and the best you can do is a J200 when you want a Bird.

 

I sincerely hope you've played a Bird before. They are unusual instruments. Not always what people think they are. They're generally quieter than many guitars their size. Their tone is also sweeter and subtler, which is not a problem for people who come prepared. But if you're thinking about firepower, you may be disappointed.

 

Good luck and report back!

 

Nope, don't need firepower! I have a Martin D-28 and D-18 (hoping to someday choose between them) and a Martin M-36, all of which have plenty of firepower, sometimes too much. I like the sweet sound of the Hummingbird and the shorter scale and that Gibson thump.

 

If they don't have any Hummingbirds, I definitely won't come home with a J-200 (or anything else, period--I hope!). In that case, I would leave all my trade-ins with them and have them ship me a Hummingbird when they get one. I wouldn't get to play it first, but maybe I'd be able to see a photo of it at least.

 

I'd be pretty comfortable buying a Hummingbird without playing it first, and that's probably what I'd be doing, but I really want to trade in all my stuff and get rid of it. I just have too dang much stuff, don't want to sell locally/individually or ship guitars, and I would not be able to afford a Hummingbird otherwise.

 

I'll get in touch with them this week though to find out how much I can expect from each of my trade-in items.

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Sounds like you know what you want.

 

The HB is definitely a mellow sounding guitar and great for strumming.

 

I've had mine a couple years and really like it.

 

I like every finish I've seen on them too.

 

You can't go wrong dealing with a 5-star dealer.

 

Good Luck.

 

 

 

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I forgot to mention this is all part of a trip to Yellowstone and the Black Hills with my English fiancée, so even if they suddenly had no Hummingbirds I'd still be going. ;)

 

I would feel safe rolling the dice though. I've loved every Hummingbird I've played for a few different reasons and for a lot of the same big reasons.

 

The finish sure varies, and I'd love to be choosy there, but I agree that I've never seen one I didn't like!

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The Heritage finish is really beautiful. I have that on mine.

 

I also agree that if need be you could comfortably order through Wildwood. I've bought two Gibsons and my D35 through them.

You should also know that Grover makes a tulip tuner... 135N. I put them on my Hummingbird and they look and feel great. Mind you Grover Rotos are great tuners as well.

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You might find you don't like the PG placement. They often cover some of the outer rings of the rosette. But, it's a fairly easy fix. Just heat it with a hair dryer and carefully peel it off and move it back. And, if the PG placement offends your sensitivities - then, yes - you might prefer tulip tuners. But, the slight variations in the colorbursts and sound are not really relevant to a true Bird Watcher. G'Luck.

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Slight variations in sound are what can make the difference between a good guitar and a great guitar. A few years back I played three of the same model Gibson. All were built the same year and had almost identical price tags. And all were really good sounding guitars and had what I would describe as the characteristic voice of that model. But when I got hold of the third one I would have been pissed if I had rushed into it and bought one of the first two. Not dramatically different but different enough to make it stand out in the crowd.

 

I think many of us though look at the guitars we have accumulated and time to time ponder dumping a few and replacing them with just one really nice guitar. I just would have a heck of a time choosing which ones would go on the chopping block. So I just procrastinate.

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The Heritage finish is really beautiful. I have that on mine.

 

I also agree that if need be you could comfortably order through Wildwood. I've bought two Gibsons and my D35 through them.

You should also know that Grover makes a tulip tuner... 135N. I put them on my Hummingbird and they look and feel great. Mind you Grover Rotos are great tuners as well.

 

Yes, that's one thing I forgot to mention. I have to have that cherry finish, most likely the heritage cherry. There sure is a lot of variation just from one heritage cherry to the next. I might prefer one over another, but I love them all.

 

I had no idea Grover made tulip tuners! Are they a drop-in replacement? I actually love Rotomatics, to the point where I think they're my favorite tuner, but I have to admit the 135Ns might be a future purchase for me, maybe after I've had it 6 months or a year and feel like making a little change for fun.

 

 

You might find you don't like the PG placement. They often cover some of the outer rings of the rosette. But, it's a fairly easy fix. Just heat it with a hair dryer and carefully peel it off and move it back. And, if the PG placement offends your sensitivities - then, yes - you might prefer tulip tuners. But, the slight variations in the colorbursts and sound are not really relevant to a true Bird Watcher. G'Luck.

 

Luckily, I'm okay with the pickguard, and okay with the tuners, too (although I do like the tulips as well... also love rotomatics). I am a little obsessive about the variations between the bursts, but even there, they are really all pretty fantastic. I like the slightly darker variations on the heritage cherry, with more contrast within them, but even the very even, light and "faded" ones look so darn nice. As you said, not really relevant to a true Bird Watcher. :)

 

Slight variations in sound are what can make the difference between a good guitar and a great guitar. A few years back I played three of the same model Gibson. All were built the same year and had almost identical price tags. And all were really good sounding guitars and had what I would describe as the characteristic voice of that model. But when I got hold of the third one I would have been pissed if I had rushed into it and bought one of the first two. Not dramatically different but different enough to make it stand out in the crowd.

 

I think many of us though look at the guitars we have accumulated and time to time ponder dumping a few and replacing them with just one really nice guitar. I just would have a heck of a time choosing which ones would go on the chopping block. So I just procrastinate.

 

Yes, I have to admit, I do hope that I get to try out a few and compare. I have played a few Hummingbird standards, and I played a 2014 quilt maple Hummingbird as well (which blew me away, but it was a little flashy, and I think my Hummingbird has to be mahogany, as much as I loved it). Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll have a couple Hummingbird Standards and maybe even one of the non-flashy Hummingbird Maples to compare. I'll e-mail them today and check in.

 

But I feel confident that my "one" is there, whichever one it is, and if there are none there, or the one they have there is not my one, I'll just have to be patient and hope they can take my trades and order me one.

 

I think I forgot to mention that this stop in Bozeman is just the first leg of a long trip through Yellowstone and the Black Hills. Probably trying to do too much at once! Typical of me! I couldn't get away any sooner though, didn't want to wait any longer for my Bird, and we had been wanting to see Yellowstone and the Black Hills while we can as well.

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Two things Jesse...

1) you can't go wrong. I just bought mine a few months back, and even though I love mine, I almost sold it, because I felt guilty, having purchased a D35 just weeks ago. I backed out from an understanding buyer. Just buy it and hold it.

2) black hills? Buy the Bird, and don't forget to play Rocky Racoon as you pass through the black hills!

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Two things Jesse...

1) you can't go wrong. I just bought mine a few months back, and even though I love mine, I almost sold it, because I felt guilty, having purchased a D35 just weeks ago. I backed out from an understanding buyer. Just buy it and hold it.

2) black hills? Buy the Bird, and don't forget to play Rocky Racoon as you pass through the black hills!

 

Good old Rocky!! I live in North Dakota myself, though the Black Hills are in SD (or black mountains, as Paul called them, ha--he originally said something about Arkansas, which thankfully didn't make it into the final version, as Arkansas is not really nearby the Dakotas :P )

 

And you're right--about the only way I could go wrong is if I got there and they didn't want my trade-ins! That would ruin the trip and my purchase. :)

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Can't go wrong with a Hummingbird. My Hummingbird was my first nice guitar (I had owned just an ovation before that). I got it a few years ago for my 27th b-day. I can say my quality of life has increased since I purchased it and I smile every time I see it and play it :)

 

I didn't get to play mine before buying either. Took a gamble, and it's still my favorite acoustic I've played, rivaled only by a Martin D-42 I got to play about year ago.

 

Good luck on your trip and on your purchase!

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Thank you!!!

 

Yeah, all my Martins (!) were bought without playing first. In a few cases, I had never even played the specific model! I have probably watched more youtube videos of guitars than anyone else on the planet. Of course, that is about a million miles away from actually playing one. Luckily I've played a few Hummingbirds!

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Be aware of the new cheap flubberware rubbery jell ---overseas made hummingbird pick guard. They are known to peel off when the guitar goes through humidity and heat adjustments. They are now made of gooey thick rubber jell material, glued to the top. I was not aware of this economical change when I bought my new $3000 Hummingbird. .....Gibson conveniently forgot to place that change in the specs.

 

And if it peels off at the corners it ain't pretty. These were made because people complained that the picture was wearing off, which is now on the underside of the rubber jell guard....so instead of making them right, properly engraving them, they took the cheap way out.

(Push your fingernail into the rubber pick guard, and watch it dent in, then later flatten out again...if your lucky.)

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Be aware of the new cheap flubberware rubbery jell ---overseas made hummingbird pick guard. They are known to peel off when the guitar goes through humidity and heat adjustments. They are now made of gooey thick rubber jell material, glued to the top. I was not aware of this economical change when I bought my new $3000 Hummingbird. .....Gibson conveniently forgot to place that change in the specs.

 

And if it peels off at the corners it ain't pretty. These were made because people complained that the picture was wearing off, which is now on the underside of the rubber jell guard....so instead of making them right, properly engraving them, they took the cheap way out.

(Push your fingernail into the rubber pick guard, and watch it dent in, then later flatten out again...if your lucky.)

 

Yeah, I had wondered about those pickguards. I noticed they were quite thick and that the picture was under the guard. I did think, good, then it won't wear off. I also wondered what the thickness does for the sound. However, the ones I tried still sounded great, but they are all I know since I've only played Hummingbirds with these thicker, rubbery guards. I don't like the idea of them peeling up though! Guess we'll see what happens.

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Be aware of the new cheap flubberware rubbery jell ---overseas made hummingbird pick guard. They are known to peel off when the guitar goes through humidity and heat adjustments. They are now made of gooey thick rubber jell material, glued to the top. I was not aware of this economical change when I bought my new $3000 Hummingbird. .....Gibson conveniently forgot to place that change in the specs.

 

And if it peels off at the corners it ain't pretty. These were made because people complained that the picture was wearing off, which is now on the underside of the rubber jell guard....so instead of making them right, properly engraving them, they took the cheap way out.

(Push your fingernail into the rubber pick guard, and watch it dent in, then later flatten out again...if your lucky.)

 

They stopped engraving them after the Norlin-era. They only started the engraved Hummingbird pickguards again on special runs more recently so I guess they feel like it's now an "upgrade". The story was that they actually didn't have the pickguard moldings in Bozeman until 2003. What baffles me is how they started doing this on the SJ-200 too which always came with a stock engraved pickguard. Is the Dove next? I hope not.

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I have what I guess is a 2014 Hummingbird Standard in Heritage finish. I suppose it has the pick guard that is rubbery?

Honestly it looks and feels like hard plastic, and it is glued on tight, and nothing it turning up anywhere. The tone is great. Don't assume you are going to be buying a jellyfish pick guard that is curled up with vomit on it.

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Yeah, every Hummingbird I've played has had the "jelly" guard, and I have to admit, I like that I'm not going to be wearing the Hummingbird off with my pick, because I think that looks a bit bad. :)

 

And the Hummingbirds I've played have all sounded sublime. Sometimes I do think the Country Western ones do sound a bit more open, but I had attributed this to the fact that they have a natural top. Maybe they just lack a jelly guard. :)

 

On a guitar this large, I don't know how much difference it'll make, jelly vs. plastic.

 

Still waiting to hear from Music Villa! I'm getting nervous!

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I noticed they feel nice under the hand/fingers when you bang into it while strumming, or when you anchor a pinky while picking with the pick or fingerpicking. :)

 

And so darn pretty. I have seen Hummingbirds (like the Quilt 2014 I fell in love with) that were a little too ornate for me, but the standard Hummingbird is just so simply ornate. Or maybe it is not simple and is gaudy and I am just obsessed, I don't know. :) Love the look, love the sound, love the feel--the heritage cherry, the bird and flowers, the short-scale, the rosewood fingerboard, the inlay, the mahogany/spruce, the voicing, the way it sits behind one's voice--great for strumming, great for flatpicking, great for singing, great for fingerpicking... I think they just work well with how I play. I would not play in a bluegrass band with one, but I have never played in a bluegrass band anyway. :)

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Jesse I heard a few of your songs a few years ago on the UMGF.

Singers /songwriters need a Gibson. It just is.

 

Yeah, I agree. I adore my Martins, but...........

 

I was hoping to decide on parting with either the D-18 or D-28 but still can't decide! I have time though. Think I'll be good with the 7-28, either D-18 or D-28, the M-36 and, of course, a Hummingbird! (Is that all???)

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Heard back from Music Villa! (They had an e-mail difficulty.) They said to just go ahead and bring it all in and they'll give me a fair price. I'm going to make a full list with descriptions and send some photos as well, just in case, and so I don't lug something there and then have to lug it around the whole rest of the trip if they don't want it.

 

He said they have two Hummingbirds right now--I'm assuming Standards, and that they usually go for about $3100. I hope all my trade-ins can cover it!

 

I've heard tell of new 2016 Hummingbird types as well, including a "vintage" with a baked top and the like. It would be really cool to try them all out. I do think my heart is with the Standard, though.

 

Leaving in about a week, and a day after that, I'll be in Bozeman, hopefully unloading all my gear quickly and painlessly, and deciding which of those two Hummingbirds to ask them to ship home to me.

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