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Newbie with J-185 12 - a few questions for the Gibson vets


StevieD63

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Hi Everyone,

 

I'm new to the forum, just bought my first Gibson yesterday, and it's also my first 12 string. I picked up a 2001 J-185 12 string - in great condition and I just loved it's sound and playability. I had actually gone to the store (by the way, it's Retrofret, in Brooklyn, and I highly recommend it for anyone in the area) to look at a couple of Guild F-212s that they had - but I found the neck on the Guild to be a bit tough for me to play, and when I picked up this Gibson, it just felt (and sounded) right.

 

Anyway, I do have a few questions for those Gibson vets:

 

1. Is there any significance to the Maltese Cross inlays on the bridge - they look great, and I think I've seen these on other Gibsons, but wondering if they have any special significance?

2. Does anyone have any idea how many J-185 12 strings were produced in a particular year? Based upon a little googling, I don't really see many of these around, even though I know they had a production period of 2000-2005 of this particular incarnation - but the guys at Retrofret told me they rarely see these instruments (perhaps because all the original owners love them :-)

3. I didn't open it up, but does anyone know if these have a double truss rod?

 

Well, thanks in advance for answers. I love the maple on this thing.

 

Steve

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Hi Everyone,

 

I'm new to the forum, just bought my first Gibson yesterday, and it's also my first 12 string. I picked up a 2001 J-185 12 string - in great condition and I just loved it's sound and playability. I had actually gone to the store (by the way, it's Retrofret, in Brooklyn, and I highly recommend it for anyone in the area) to look at a couple of Guild F-212s that they had - but I found the neck on the Guild to be a bit tough for me to play, and when I picked up this Gibson, it just felt (and sounded) right.

 

Anyway, I do have a few questions for those Gibson vets:

 

1. Is there any significance to the Maltese Cross inlays on the bridge - they look great, and I think I've seen these on other Gibsons, but wondering if they have any special significance?

2. Does anyone have any idea how many J-185 12 strings were produced in a particular year? Based upon a little googling, I don't really see many of these around, even though I know they had a production period of 2000-2005 of this particular incarnation - but the guys at Retrofret told me they rarely see these instruments (perhaps because all the original owners love them :-)

3. I didn't open it up, but does anyone know if these have a double truss rod?

 

Well, thanks in advance for answers. I love the maple on this thing.

 

Steve

 

Congrats on your first Gibson. How nice that it's a J-185! :-)

 

I used to have a J-185-12, a '99 model. I think this body style and combination of woods and scale is ideal for a 12-string guitar -- there's good volume, note separation, clarity and decay.

 

The reason for the choice of the maltese crosses on the J-185 is buried in the mists of time; no one has found some obvious rationale for it. There are earlier Gibson models (rare ones) that sport a similar but not exactly the same inlay; these are mostly classical (gut string) guitars by Gibson. The Maltese cross has multiple associations; I tend to prefer think of its connection with firefighters and other heroes of that ilk.

 

Perhaps someone else can provide a tally of the number of these guitars built by Gibson. Most are blonde; a few are seen in the sunburst finish.

 

Fred

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That model went into production in the late 1990s. Don't have a clue about production numbers but I would say they while the J-185 12 is not common I would not call them rare either.

 

Gotta ask, while you were at Retrofret did you try the Galiano 12 string they have (or at least had)? That is one hard to come by 12 string guitar. As these were made by the Oscar Schmidt Company in Jersey City though, I would imagine the price tag on it would be pretty steep.

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Hi Everyone,

 

I'm new to the forum, just bought my first Gibson yesterday, and it's also my first 12 string. I picked up a 2001 J-185 12 string - in great condition and I just loved it's sound and playability. I had actually gone to the store (by the way, it's Retrofret, in Brooklyn, and I highly recommend it for anyone in the area) to look at a couple of Guild F-212s that they had - but I found the neck on the Guild to be a bit tough for me to play, and when I picked up this Gibson, it just felt (and sounded) right.

 

Anyway, I do have a few questions for those Gibson vets:

 

1. Is there any significance to the Maltese Cross inlays on the bridge - they look great, and I think I've seen these on other Gibsons, but wondering if they have any special significance?

2. Does anyone have any idea how many J-185 12 strings were produced in a particular year? Based upon a little googling, I don't really see many of these around, even though I know they had a production period of 2000-2005 of this particular incarnation - but the guys at Retrofret told me they rarely see these instruments (perhaps because all the original owners love them :-)

3. I didn't open it up, but does anyone know if these have a double truss rod?

 

Well, thanks in advance for answers. I love the maple on this thing.

 

Steve

 

 

1) I have no idea, but they do look great. I have them on my 1992-93 J185 6 string.

2) I have no idea on question 2 either, but I will assume it wasn't many. MF has a bunch of them know, but I think they'd order at least a dozen or so. Production runs were probably 100. The 12 string were made between 2000-2005, in regular production.

3) I believe all gibson 12 strings have a single truss rod.

 

I believe Forumite Advanced Member has a 6 string J185 and he might have more info.

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That model went into production in the late 1990s. Don't have a clue about production numbers but I would say they while the J-185 12 is not common I would not call them rare either.

 

Gotta ask, while you were at Retrofret did you try the Galiano 12 string they have (or at least had)? That is one hard to come by 12 string guitar. As these were made by the Oscar Schmidt Company in Jersey City though, I would imagine the price tag on it would be pretty steep.

 

 

I didn't see the Galiano - they had a '67 Martin D-12-20, a '67 Guild F-212, and the Gibson I bought. I looked on their website and it shows the Galiano as "on hold", which I suspect means "Sold", as they have my Gibson listed the same way on their website. In any case, they didn't show it to me - although that could have been because they heard me play and decided the Galiano was not to be trusted with my ham fists!! It's a great store, though, and I love how there are no advertisements, no door markings, nothing to indicate that the building holds a treasure trove of vintage guitars!

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They made a total of 72 in 2000.That was the big production year. 6 batches of 12 instruments. They typically would make 3 batches to see how they sold and if they sold them then they would make three more batches.

 

2001 they made a grand total of 2 J-185 12's.

 

Gibson typically made guitars to order so if they got 2 orders in 2001 they made 2. When they brought them out in 2000 they did the "Big" run on speculation. They must have sold them all as they took the two orders in 2001.

 

Yes the vintage sunburst 12's are rare. They made 17 between 2000and 2003. 15 of that total were made in 2003 and 12 of those were probably done for an international account. Possibly Yamano the Japanese distributer at the time.

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They made a total of 72 in 2000.That was the big production year. 6 batches of 12 instruments. They typically would make 3 batches to see how they sold and if they sold them then they would make three more batches.

 

2001 they made a grand total of 2 J-185 12's.

 

Gibson typically made guitars to order so if they got 2 orders in 2001 they made 2. When they brought them out in 2000 they did the "Big" run on speculation. They must have sold them all as they took the two orders in 2001.

 

Yes the vintage sunburst 12's are rare. They made 17 between 2000and 2003. 15 of that total were made in 2003 and 12 of those were probably done for an international account. Possibly Yamano the Japanese distributer at the time.

 

 

Wow, thanks for the info - where did you find the production numbers? So my guitar was only one of two they made in 2001 - that's pretty amazing that they only got 2 orders in 2001. Mine is a beautiful blonde maple, very nice quilting. It was previously owned by a musician here in NYC - he's played with a number of well known bands, plus lot's of session work - but apparently he didn't use this one too much, although the guys at Retrofret told me you can see this guitar on stage in pictures from various concerts he's played at.

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  • 1 month later...

The OP said he owned one of two Gibson J-185-12s made in 2001. I own the other one. It is a great guitar. I recommend Martin Marquis extra light phos Bronze strings. They aren't overly bright or overly dull. Pretty much the Goldilocks strings for this guitar.

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