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EuroAussie

Maple Hummingbirds - who owns one ?

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I know there was a recent purchase recently, but who actually owns a Maple Hummingbird here ?

 

And for those that do own them a few questions:

 

- what is your oveall impression, what do you like about them ?

 

- How do they compare to standard Hummingbird, if you had a chance to compare ?

 

- Do you have any dislikes about it ?

 

- Do you play live with it, and how do you like the plugged in tone ?

 

Im asking as after a long time I took my Hummingbird TV to a gig again, and it wasnt a great reunion. I got feedback from the bar manager that the tone was muddy and too bass heavy. It sounded fine to me standing close to the amp but as the sound spread it apparently got overwhelming in the low frequncies. I had this problem with the Hummingbird in the past, it really does have a heavy nectarish botttom low end, and that gets mulptiplied when plugged in. In particular in small venues, when you go through a big PA in large venues it seems to be more balanced and even.

 

For 16th not strumming, of which I do a lot it then get quite muddy, something whis is not an issue when I use the maple, evenly balanced J-150.

 

So Im thinking more and more whether a maple Hummingbird could be the answer to have a short scaled dreadnought at my shows, but one which will still have that great note seperation you get from maple and Gibson midrange. Was looking at a Dove but Im thinking i want the softness of shortscale rather than the power of the long scale, which I already have with the J-150.

 

cheers,

EA

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I'd suspect something changed with the bar manager's audio system and not your guitar. Maybe he was at a rock concert the night before and had his eardrums assaulted by one of those 15 foot tall amp/speakers.

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I'm really interested in what responses come in on this post. But in the meanwhile EuroAussie I was wondering about your stage setup and if you are playing solo? If you run into a preamp, like a Zoom A3 or the like, why you can't choose another guitar model/profile and then roll off the bass side of things and get your Hummingbird to sound more like you want it to when plugged in? That way you'd get to keep your Hummingbird for all of the great qualities that it has but still gig it by molding its tone to suit the occasion. But, being a biased J-185 guy, when it comes to short scale maple guitars I'm sold on all that I get from a 185. It's all that I use anymore when I play with other people sitting in. I love the balance across the strings but it has the bass when I dig just a little bit but only when I reach for it.

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Regarding the bar manager = Has he heard your other guitars, fx the 150'er.

Receiving sound is so subjective and comments sometimes fly in thin air, here, there, nowhere.

 

You really need to bring a long cable, walk out in the room during sound-check and trust your own ears (even though the acoustics might change when people arrive) , , ,

or to make a serious A/B with the guy if you believe he's competent enough to share thoughts with.

 

Apart from the live thing, I remember you talking about the Bird being almost too glazed with old steel about 10 days ago. Maybe you meant plugged in, I don't know.

I wanted to say the following, but forgot :

Just remember that maple syrup runs thicker than trumpet flower nectar, especially after string-fade.

Don't you recognize this from the J-150, , , and btw. isn't that (live-favorite) creature long scale like a Dove.

 

Just thoughts

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I'm really interested in what responses come in on this post. But in the meanwhile EuroAussie I was wondering about your stage setup and if you are playing solo? If you run into a preamp, like a Zoom A3 or the like, why you can't choose another guitar model/profile and then roll off the bass side of things and get your Hummingbird to sound more like you want it to when plugged in? That way you'd get to keep your Hummingbird for all of the great qualities that it has but still gig it by molding its tone to suit the occasion. But, being a biased J-185 guy, when it comes to short scale maple guitars I'm sold on all that I get from a 185. It's all that I use anymore when I play with other people sitting in. I love the balance across the strings but it has the bass when I dig just a little bit but only when I reach for it.

 

I actually have a pic from the venue, just before starting. As you can see its just a simple pub gig into a mid size room (20-25 people or so)

 

I run the guitar through an Aura Spectrum into the AER Compact 60 behind me. the volume goes from there. Use Play Acoustic for vocals, but dont run the guitar through it.

 

I probably could have dialled off the bass and made the mistake of not going into the middle of the room to check the volume levels, which I normally do. But being a maple player as you are the Bird will never give the string seperation that a J-200 or J-185 will offer. I think the Bird really excels for slower/ medium tempo numbers, kinda stuff that Sal plays is perfect for it.

 

 

BtdjGei.jpg

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The bar manager ONLY heard the J-150, Ive not used another guitar at the venue and been playing there for 12 months or so.

 

As you write Em7, the mistake i made was not going into the middle of the room, got a bit lazy and was satisfied just with what im hearing. But I do know that what I like to hear behind me is actually quite high volume, and while it might be good for me, not so good for the punters.

 

I find the Bird sounds glazy both plugged in and unplugged, but i would say with older strings it also sounds 'muddy' plugged in, but nice and warm unplugged.

 

The maple syrup is there and thats what I love about the J-150, BUT it also offers not seperation, even with older strings, which stops the muddiness.

 

Regarding the bar manager = Has he heard your other guitars, fx the 150'er.

Receiving sound is so subjective and comments sometimes fly in thin air, here, there, nowhere.

 

You really need to bring a long cable, walk out in the room during sound-test and trust your own ears (even though the acoustics might change when people arrive) , , ,

or to make a serious A/B with the guy if you believe his competent enough to share thoughts with.

 

Apart from the live thing, I remember you talking about the Bird being almost too glazed with old steel about 10 days ago. Maybe you meant plugged in, I don't know.

I wanted to say the following, but forgot :

Just remember that maple syrup runs thicker than trumpet flower nectar, especially after string-fade.

Don't you recognize this from the J-150, , , and btw. isn't that (live-favorite) creature long scale like a Dove.

Just thoughts

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The maple syrup is there

I find your new search incredible interesting.

 

Point 1 because I know your taste and can evaluate/learn from the way you report.

Point 2 because you are so close to your Bird and the J-150 and therefor seem to be the ideal reviewer of the coming short scale maple flier.

Point 3 because the A/B of the 2 Birds will be, , , , yes, incredible interesting. .

 

 

Good Luck

 

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Hoping for Mr. Hall to check in here with his observations. And Quake, as well.

 

 

Sounds like the maple Bird gas is contagious, lately; the challenge personally, to find a non-red maple example, fingerpicked low-end clarity being the objective, here. Quake and Hall's '07 = less red, '08's might be, as well. From times looking/listening to maple and other flavors of J-45’s, and AJ’s, and ‘200’s imho there is an good possibility of decline in nectar production with the hard maple. Em7’s "Just remember that maple syrup runs thicker than trumpet flower nectar, especially after string-fade.” line conjures a scene in a foreign intrigue spy thriller. The scene; the meeting of 2 undercover G-acoustic operators exchanging the code phrases:

 

G agent 1: “The maple syrup runs thicker than trumpet flower nectar”.

 

G agent 2: “. . . Especially after the string-fade"

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Hoping for Mr. Hall to check in here with his observations. And Quake, as well.

 

 

Sounds like the maple Bird gas is contagious, lately; the challenge personally, to find a non-red maple example, fingerpicked low-end clarity being the objective, here. Quake and Hall's '07 = less red, '08's might be, as well. From times looking/listening to maple and other flavors of J-45’s, and AJ’s, and ‘200’s imho there is an good possibility of decline in nectar production with the hard maple. Em7’s "Just remember that maple syrup runs thicker than trumpet flower nectar, especially after string-fade.” line conjures a scene in a foreign intrigue spy thriller. The scene; the meeting of 2 undercover G-acoustic operators exchanging the code phrases:

 

G agent 1: “The maple syrup runs thicker than trumpet flower nectar”.

 

G agent 2: “. . . Especially after the string-fade"

 

This is an excellent vid showcasing both the maple and mahogany Brids side side. The difference is clear, just not as thick and sirupy on the maple, yet both super sweet. I can tell these maple Birds would applify superbly.

 

Comparisement starts at the 3.00 min mark.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH7-iJ2msS8

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After all these years, Mark, it sounds as if you're finally warming to the J185. [biggrin] Jerry will be pleased. [scared] The maple Hummingbird thing is just the last thread of denial. [sneaky] Dress it up as a Hummer, but you still want a short-scale maple jumbo, which is essentially a J185. <_<

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I have a hard time thinking the back and side woods on the guitar are what will make the live sound, but maybe I am not informed.

 

Here are my thoughts anyway.

 

Keep your guitars as is. Instead ditch your really nice acoustic amp - and I know it is nice, and instead get a personal PA setup like the SA330 or Bose stick. These amps have "sound dispersion technology". I dont pretend to understand the physics, but whether we play through my SA220, my buddy Mike's Bose, or both... we dial in our sound... and it sounds great 50 feet away, and right up front. These systems have great EQ. These will make your live experience much better before a new guitar with different back and sides... that's just my thought.

 

By the way, Mike's HD-28 has so much bass we have to dial back, where as when I try to solo with the Taylor, it sounds thin and dies... So I guess the guitar does make a difference... or the pickup and/or light vs medium strings... but I think the difference between two Gibby's with the same pickups, yet different backs... would not be dramatic.

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EA,

 

Sorry to hear about the feedback from the bar manager!

 

I'd second the trying a different PA or some tweaks rather than ditching your 'Bird.

 

As far as the maple 'Bird, I've not compared it with the mahogany standard, though I have an SJTV (not apples to oranges). I really like the note separation. An interesting tidbit is I play with a friend who is primarily a singer and I like the sound of it more when he is playing the 'Bird than from behind the drivers seat, so to speak. I've not played live with it though yet.

 

If we were only on the same continent, maybe you could borrow it? [tongue]

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I like Sal's perspective because the main thing I've learned from the little that I have played plugged in is that each component added becomes another "instrument" I have to learn how to "play". And I'm still trying to just play the guitar. I think the best thing about the acoustic guitar, for me, is the simplicity of being able to just pick one up, tune, and play and sound somewhat decent. The closer an amplified rig gets to that ideal the more I like it. You guys amplifying, especially for an audience, have to get the other instruments in your chain dialed in to get a good sound so it makes sense to focus on those other components if you already have a decent guitar. And that's definitely established.

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I've not owned a maple Hummingbird but in my experience it's always a case of finding a pickup that sings with the guitar in question.

 

Are you still using the REB pickups live, EA?

 

I've found that the Baggs Element sounds lovely with dread and Jumbo hog guitars (long or short scale), but can be a bit sharp and non-dynamic with Maple guitars. Fishman USTs always work well with Maple and Rosewood, but not in Parlours. I've had great results with K&K gear in dry vintage guitars and parlours, But my #1 choice for a Hog parlour would be a REB.

 

The theory that body size and material is irrelevant to pickup performance doesn't hold water with me-to my mind the guitar is a constant conversation between strings, bridge, neck, top, sides and back, and sustain and plugged in tone is inevitably affected by this.

 

FWIW, my favourite plugged in sounds have been my '67 J45 (K&K PWM into Pure preamp), '07 Hummingbird MC (Baggs Element) and '15 SJ200 Standard (Fishman Aura Ellipse). My SJ100 is one of those guitars where the pickup and guitar work REALLY well together too. Too early to say just how well, but on first impressions it's a great combo!

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Jinder, what is the REB pickup ?

 

I use the Fishman Matrix Infinity though all my gigging guitars, but all go through the Aura Spectrum DI with the desired image dialled in for each guitar.

 

I find it somewhat amusing to read that folks here find it difficult to tell the difference between the tonewoods when plugging in. To me the difference is clear as day and night.

 

Maybe its the set up that I use , which really aims to deliver the most consistent reproduction of that guitars natural acoustic tone. The Aura Spectrum is specficially designed for that, as is the AER amp, whose goal is to simply deliver the cleanest and purest signal that goes into it, without any colouring.

 

As a result when I hear my guitars plugged in it sounds like a J-150, SJ or Hummingbird, just louder and more punchier. Nevertheless, I think the pickup and amp are the last things I would consider changing, perhaps adjusting the settings but the AER is one of the best amps in the world, why on earth would i want to consider changing it .. ? [confused]

 

This morning i played some progressions with the J-150 and the Hummingbird again, and it was clear the Bird sounded muddy, very little note seperation. I think these Elixir strings just became somewhat shot and its time to probably go back to uncoated strings. Its definitely at its best with uncoated strings. I might reluctantly try 80/20's again on it, no doubt there will be more string seperation but unplugged it sounds to me like the 80/20's suck out most of the nectar of the Bird and it sounds more like a square Gibson that a Hummingbird.

 

But definitely strings need to be changed, Ill either try the 80/20's or go back to the Sunbeams, which is the string that sound best on this guitar, until they start fading fast after a heavy and sweaty gig.

 

But I dont want to bash the Bird too much, and its at best it sounds superb, and very very 'Birdy' both plugged in and not. But its at its best with uncoated strings and through a larger PA, this is to me is a good example of my Bird' at her best.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-o-cBftXLQ

 

 

I've not owned a maple Hummingbird but in my experience it's always a case of finding a pickup that sings with the guitar in question.

 

Are you still using the REB pickups live, EA?

 

I've found that the Baggs Element sounds lovely with dread and Jumbo hog guitars (long or short scale), but can be a bit sharp and non-dynamic with Maple guitars. Fishman USTs always work well with Maple and Rosewood, but not in Parlours. I've had great results with K&K gear in dry vintage guitars and parlours, But my #1 choice for a Hog parlour would be a REB.

 

The theory that body size and material is irrelevant to pickup performance doesn't hold water with me-to my mind the guitar is a constant conversation between strings, bridge, neck, top, sides and back, and sustain and plugged in tone is inevitably affected by this.

 

FWIW, my favourite plugged in sounds have been my '67 J45 (K&K PWM into Pure preamp), '07 Hummingbird MC (Baggs Element) and '15 SJ200 Standard (Fishman Aura Ellipse). My SJ100 is one of those guitars where the pickup and guitar work REALLY well together too. Too early to say just how well, but on first impressions it's a great combo!

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Late getting in here. I've had two Quilt Maple Hummingbirds. The one I have held onto is around a 2006 with a Baggs element. It is one of the sometimes maligned runs for Guitar Center 10 yrs. back. Not as much bling as the current runs, but is billed as AAA quilt. It just caught my ear. It's maple, but it sounds like a Hummingbird still and first. EuroAussie, I don't see a Maple Bird as your answer, at least via the tone of my own. Wish you could get to play a Quilt yourself. ----------- To answer your questions though:

 

I like mine for vocals; no surprise there. I stay with soft tunes and mostly fingers even though it is a Hummingbird.

Have had the chance to compare, and as I said, it sounds more like the recognized Bird tone than the maple sound of my jumbos, (J-150, J-200). Not a totally fair comparison there though.

Dislike, was/is the flubber guard which I have had on and off it. Louder without it, maybe. But, the tone stays Bird either way. Among the other reasons, maybe its the finish thickness as well. Still reeks nitro after all these years.

Nothing live for a long time. But, I used to run in through a Fishman Platinum up front and then an old Peavey acoustic amp ( not a recommended amp choice!) . I got by. Can achieve tone mod with it that way, but it is the same guitar with that Baggs element.

 

Be it maple, 'nectar' is still the applicable sound term on mine. It's great unplugged on the deck or the couch, but I can see where through an amp at a small venue it would lean towards muddy before some adjustments. I use Pearse pbs. Just to sit down and play unplugged, the maple body hints at more separation and a shorter decay. So it does have an individual quality. But, to my ears it has the Hummingbird tone as the main characteristic. Reading what you have had to say on your Standard, my own Maple Bird would still have you pretty much in the same place. I hope that was of some help. Sounds like some of the replys have ideas. Good hunting!

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What kind of EQ mode do you use on the fishman box? it has two modes, 1) the eq only on the dry signal 2) the global eq which also applies the eq to the image signal.

 

Since I use the aura di with an soundhole PU the global EQ mode is the way to go for me, at least this mode helped me to get rid of overpowering bass frequencies.

 

One last thing: Maybe its time to give up on the PB strings, 80/20 is the way to go if you wanna get rid of muddy bass frequencies.

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Not sure what you mean by global or dry, ive not come across this on the Spectrum ?

 

I may consider 80/20's, made a comment about this option a little bit earlier, take a look up Johnny.

 

What kind of EQ mode do you use on the fishman box? it has two modes, 1) the eq only on the dry signal 2) the global eq which also applies the eq to the image signal.

 

Since I use the aura di with an soundhole PU the global EQ mode is the way to go for me, at least this mode helped me to get rid of overpowering bass frequencies.

 

One last thing: Maybe its time to give up on the PB strings, 80/20 is the way to go if you wanna get rid of muddy bass frequencies.

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Try nickel strings!! Tamed the boominess when recording my Martin dread. Absolutely perfect for adding note seperation and clarity. The tone with these strings reminds me very much of the tone of the hummingbird maple in that comparison video above.

 

Might be a very cheap solution. I would not be surprised if it would work perfectly for you.

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/daddario-ej21-xl-nickel-jazz-light-electric-guitar-strings?pfm=item_page.rr1

 

Lars

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Not sure what you mean by global or dry, ive not come across this on the Spectrum ?

 

I may consider 80/20's, made a comment about this option a little bit earlier, take a look up Johnny.

 

 

pordon my french [biggrin]

 

in the words of the aura user manual page 21

 

Global vs. Pickup EQ

When shipped from our factory, the low, mid, and high tone controls

are set to affect the sound of the pickup signal only. This is referred to

as Pickup EQ mode. However, a Global EQ mode may also be selected

which applies the same EQ settings to both the pickup and Image signals

simultaneously (or “globally”).

When you power on Aura Spectrum, watch the tuner display for a “P” or

a “G” indicating the currently selected mode.

To select Global EQ mode:

1. Hold the tuner button while Powering on.

2. The display fl ashes a “P” indicating that the unit is currently in

Pickup EQ mode.

3. Press the anti-feedback button once and the display now

fl ashes a “G” indicating Global EQ mode is now selected.

4. Press the tuner button to select Global EQ and resume

powering on to normal playing mode.

To return to Pickup EQ mode:

1. Hold the tuner button while Powering on.

2. The display fl ashes a “G” indicating that the unit is currently in

Global EQ mode.

3. Press the anti-feedback button once and the display now

fl ashes a “P” indicating Pickup EQ mode is now selected.

4. Press tuner button to select Pickup EQ and resume powering

on to normal playing mode.

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From the previous replies, it's quite likely that EA might want to look carefully at the signal chain of the amped sound used at that venue, although the video of The Kill @ the Propaganda had as ideal a plugged-in sound as one could ask for, really nice. However, for those of us curious about the acoustic properties of the maple Bird. . .

 

. . . It's maple, but it sounds like a Hummingbird still and first. AND:

Have had the chance to compare, and as I said, it sounds more like the recognized Bird tone than the maple sound of my jumbos, (J-150, J-200). . . AND: But, the tone stays Bird either way..

AND: Be it maple, 'nectar' is still the applicable sound term on mine.

 

. . . this that Mr. Hall mentioned is very encouraging, and does much to underscore how, due to scale length, body shape, and other build characteristics, you can take the Bird out of the Mahogany, but it's hard to take the nectar out of the Bird.

 

 

Try nickel strings!! Tamed the boominess when recording my Martin dread. Absolutely perfect for adding note seperation and clarity. The tone with these strings reminds me very much of the tone of the hummingbird maple in that comparison video above.

 

Might be a very cheap solution. I would not be surprised if it would work perfectly for you.

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/daddario-ej21-xl-nickel-jazz-light-electric-guitar-strings?pfm=item_page.rr1

 

Lars

 

A very good idea to try, Lars. Sal had mentioned putting the D'Addario NB1253 Nickel Bronzes on his Hummingbird, and felt that was a great match.

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62,

I don't want to Hijack the thread and make it about strings, but both my HD28 and my Hummingbird Vintage are LOUD. These NB strings tame them real nice. I feel I get some boom out, and make them nicer to sing along with.

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EA I meant the Rare Earth Blend when I said REB...sorry for the confusion!

 

I recall (maybe wrongly!) that you were using the Blend for a while after trying the M1A and not getting along with it due to it being phasey...I may be remembering this wrongly though!

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EA I meant the Rare Earth Blend when I said REB...sorry for the confusion!

 

I recall (maybe wrongly!) that you were using the Blend for a while after trying the M1A and not getting along with it due to it being phasey...I may be remembering this wrongly though!

 

Jeez, you do have a good memory Jinder, that was ages ago. Actually I still do have it, but its a bit of a backup pickup, and more specifically for guitars which I dont have a pickup installed. (like the LG-2 or the Martin).

 

But I really dont use it now unless Im curious how it sounds with those two guitars. I do like that tone, but I find it to be not as stable as the Fishman and doesnt provide the EQ and volume control.

 

But If anybody was after an external pickup to use every now and then at an open mike or something like that then this would be a great option. I like the mike / hummbucker blend concept a lot.

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