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62burst

12 Fret Gibson Rosewood Slopes (& co.): An Comparisement

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A sample of some rosewood 12 fret guitars. I've rambled on before how the classic Gibson slope shoulder, short scale design seems well suited to keeping rosewood's overtones in check; but finding a 12 fret Gibson in 'rose was not such an easy task until the recent Stage Deluxe line was offered either in rosewood, or as the Stage Deluxe Limited, in mahogany. Both with a deeper body depth, as on the Roy Smeck Hawaiian guitars of the '30's. A great deep tone- 12 fret and short scale playability. What's not to love? Not much, but you don't want to be playing it's deep body all night. Also- combination of that depth and reduced 3.75" soundhole combine to make it not the punchiest player in the pack. Strong emphasis on low-mids, though:

 

Gibson Stage Deluxe Rosewood:

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-12-05%20at%204.07.10%20PM_zpspydnv2b1.png

 

Body depth comparison with standard J-45 Rosewood (SDR, left. Also note the 12 fret bridge location on the top):

 

photo-36_zpsycp6fg1m.jpg

 

Enter one Martin 000-28vs slot head. This guitar has punchy in spades. And a sweetness when you back off. Just not much in the low end department, though. If there was only a guitar that had the punchiness of the Martin, but with the Gibson bass response. 'Found out that Wildwood Guitars did a run of Advanced Jumbo 12 Frets. Yes, with long scale bass note propagation, 12 fret tone, and the AJ's forward-shifted bracing. Is it a combo of the two?

 

The Martin 000-28VS:

 

photo-42_zps5gicmmv7.jpg

 

Wildwood 12 Fret AJ:

 

IMG_1696_zpsr1ipjiso.jpg

 

To add a little perspective, an Epiphone Masterbilt AJ500rc was included:

 

photo-33_zpsxmw8btkc.jpg

 

A couple of attempts to demonstrate the differences. All guitars strung with DR Sunbeams, 12-54 PB installed 3 weeks prior. I will try to add another recording, as the rosewood slopes do well at single note low end clarity type-stuff, which I don't think is captured here (*Note- higher resolution when viewed on YouTube):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0estV1_6FEY

 

Last part of Comparo-2 (in E) may show the lower tones better:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5PRf9EZTps

 

 

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Thank you, SB. Give it a shot now.

 

Also- resolution seems much better when viewed in YouTube.

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Hey 62.Enjoyed that.They all sound rich and full.I've never seen that Epiphone before but it was impressive.

The recording was a bit boomy on the fully struck chords on my computer speakers.Single note stuff was clearer.

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Thanks FB, Dan. FB- Sorry if it overdrove the computer's speakers. One good thing about getting the USB interface was that it enabled getting some nice powered monitors for all of the YouTubes and Sound Clouds that are shared here. Backed off a bit on the mic gain for this one, and a bit further from the soundhole, as well.

 

The wife of the seller of the Epi told him the Epiphone AJ500rc was too loud. As I'd mentioned earlier, the Stage Deluxe Rosewood might have deep lungs, but it's not big in the projection dept.

 

Tried to get some bass and single notes of the AJ here, but I was in a Bad Mood for a Day:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aPzdk0Qu30

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Very nice!

 

I think the Epiphone AJ-500RC 12-fret hangs in there very nicely with its more spendy brethren. Definitely one of the most interesting Epiphone acoustics ever made, past or present, in my opinion, if not one of the best bargains. The cedar top must certainly contribute to the extra lushness. As you know, I have one myself, and love it.

 

All four models sounded lovely, though different. The AJ was a revelation. Muscular. The Martin seemed to me to have very forward but rounded mids. Very pleasant. can't judge from the recording, so not sure what you mean when you say your Stage Deluxe doesn't project well. Mine does. I had a friend over recently and we were passing around the Stage Deluxe, 1942 J-45 Legend, Fuller's 1939 J-35 RI, and the McCartney Texan, and we both noted it. It's redolent in overtones, so maybe the fundamentals are getting swamped, so sounds less clear and muted from a distance. Maybe a different string choice will improve things. I've got Gibson Masterbilt PB 12's on most of my guitars, though I think the Stage Deluxe has the new 80/20 formula.

 

Great recording. Thanks for sharing all those wonderful sounds.

 

Red 333

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I just noticed the link to Comparo 3 in your last post. It's a funny thing, but the four sound less distinct from one another to me in this particular (though short) recording. All sound good, though! I guess it just illustrates how small changes in mic placement and recording setup can impact a recording.

 

Nice job again on the recording and playing.

 

Red 333

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Thanks much for checking in, R- . . . I was hoping you'd do so. I had pm'ed you recently with some production/recording questions; as most here are familiar with, and always look forward to, your Christmas greeting/tune.

 

Yes, I did back off on the mic gain, and mic proximity also- it helped a little, but also what you were suggesting about strings: I had been on a DR Sunbeams jag lately, but it's true, the Gibsons just sound real nice with the Masterbuilt strings. . . ordered more yesterday. Also- aren't the Sunbeam (round core) strings lower tension? The Martin never had a problem sounding slappy until the Sunbeams went on, and they're 12-54's. Am also thinking some more bass clarity might be had by trying the 80/20's.

 

Thx again.

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Thanks much for checking in, R- . . . I was hoping you'd do so. I had pm'ed you recently with some production/recording questions; as most here are familiar with, and always look forward to, your Christmas greeting/tune.

 

Thx again.

 

Finally saw your pm and replied as best I could. You seemed to fine without me, though!

 

Red 333

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Interesting, great comparison.

 

I took my Stage Deluxe Rosewood to a small jam Monday, also present were an early 70's D-35 and a recent D28-vs. The SDR more than held its own and had a much fuller tone, no problem with projection. The Martin guys were impressed.

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I thought this might be an interesting few videos for this discussion The are demos of our 1935 Gibson Roy Smeck Radio Grande -- I think this is the only 12-fret slope RW model from the Golden Era (mid 30s).

 

The recording setup is specifically designed to give a faithful reproduction of the actual acoustic sound in the room.

 

Demos

 

The demos include a piece by David Dugas, a general demo by me, and a comparison of the 35 RSRG and a 35 D-28. That last demo shows how amazing these old RSRGs really are.

 

Best,

 

-Tom

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Interesting, great comparison.

 

I took my Stage Deluxe Rosewood to a small jam Monday, also present were an early 70's D-35 and a recent D28-vs. The SDR more than held its own and had a much fuller tone, no problem with projection. The Martin guys were impressed.

 

Good to hear, Telemaster. Projection is a funny thing; some see it as the ability to "cut through" the mix, but I also think about what keyboard players refer to as velocity curve. Maybe it's just dynamics (?). Lots of things can affect it, too; I thought break angle might, but it's actually better on the Stage Deluxe Rosewood than it is on the 12 Fret AJ. And string height was measured to be similar to the AJ's. Maybe it just needs to be played more ; ).

 

 

TPBiii-

 

Thanks for adding those fine demos. As you'd mentioned, you've captured the room's sound very well. Where was the mic? Lots of reflective surfaces (floor included) could've gotten out of control, but not a problem hearing differences between the guitars. The Radio Grande and Martin demo states their cases well. The ideal Vintage clip there. Also, kudos for taking off the pick(s) in part of your RSRG demo, as my demos were done sans pick; using picks can introduce more variables, imho.

 

And what was that beautiful tune David Dugas was doing? I thought I'd heard Russ Barenberg doing that one before. Thx.

 

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TPBiii-

 

Thanks for adding those fine demos. As you'd mentioned, you've captured the room's sound very well. Where was the mic? Lots of reflective surfaces (floor included) could've gotten out of control, but not a problem hearing differences between the guitars. The Radio Grande and Martin demo states their cases well. The ideal Vintage clip there. Also, kudos for taking off the pick(s) in part of your RSRG demo, as my demos were done sans pick; using picks can introduce more variables, imho.

 

And what was that beautiful tune David Dugas was doing? I thought I'd heard Russ Barenberg doing that one before. Thx.

 

 

I set this system up about eight years ago for recording single (vintage) guitars. There are two mics -- a pair of AT 4033a's. They are set back five feet on the left and right sides. This room integration approach is quite insensitive to the exact guitar placement and after analyzing the room and equalizing with a real-time DSP processor, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the guitar and the playback in the room. As you noted, this approach includes the room effects -- but that is not severe at all for a single guitar. and it is common to all the recordings. When we put more instruments/people in there, that breaks down, but if you don't overpower the room, it still sounds good -- but not as faithfully.

 

The tune is "Cascade" -- written by David Greer. Both these Davids are very tasteful pickers IMO.

 

Best,

-Tom

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I set this system up about eight years ago for recording single (vintage) guitars.

 

Best,

-Tom

 

Thanks for the links to the demos, Tom. Fascinating as always.

 

You are providing an important resource!

 

Red 333

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Thanks for the links to the demos, Tom. Fascinating as always.

 

You are providing an important resource!

 

Red 333

 

Thanks,

-Tom

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I have never played a 12 fret and there is something I would like to know about it. The distance between the frets gets smaller as you go up the neck to higher notes. The widest distance being between the nut and the 1st fret. With which distance does a 12 fret start at the nut: with the same distance as between the nut and the first fret of a 14 fret neck or with the same distance as between the 2nd and 3rd fret of a 14 fret neck? Personally I would very much prefer the second option because (for me) that makes playing more comfortable. Please tell me what it is? I guess it depends on the scale length.

 

Cheers, Bob.

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A bit of a head twister, that question. The twelve fret design just moves the the fret board further over the top of the guitar, and the bridge goes further into the lower bout- supposed to give a deeper tone. Fret width stays the same, since the scale length is unchanged.

 

Making this photo (with a J-45R on the right), to help illustrate, really shows what a big nasty the deep bodied Stage Deluxe is:

 

IMG_1992_zpsbmxnjw9f.jpg

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Frets to the body will not change the distance between frets.

Scale length will effect this but stretched out over 25" it should not be that detectable to most.

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Thanks 62burst and Dave F that completely answers my question. Unfortunately it is not the answer I was hoping for. I was hoping the scale length would be changed and the frets would be closer together as that would make things easier for my fretting hand. Thanks also for taking the nice picture 62burst, makes it very clear. Cheers, Bob.

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Thanks 62burst and Dave F that completely answers my question. Unfortunately it is not the answer I was hoping for. I was hoping the scale length would be changed and the frets would be closer together as that would make things easier for my fretting hand. Thanks also for taking the nice picture 62burst, makes it very clear. Cheers, Bob.

 

No prob.

 

As far as making the guitar a shorter scale length, have you considered finding a low profile capo, drop the tuning down a step or so, and capo'ing up a fret or 2?

 

. . . And that's a cool avatar pic you have there, Songman.

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No prob.

 

As far as making the guitar a shorter scale length, have you considered finding a low profile capo, drop the tuning down a step or so, and capo'ing up a fret or 2?

 

 

Yep, that's exactly what I do, drop to D and capo on the second fret [thumbup]

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