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Interesting? Top Wood Coloration on A. J. Custom


john e cage

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Hello, Need opinions. I ordered this 2006 Advanced Jumbo Custom from GC. Not sure what makes it a “custom.” I am test driving it to see if I will keep it. I could not see in their pictures the center “racing strip” look of the top. The wood is a much lighter color where the top pieces join. Is this a flaw? Is it something to be concerned about? The guitar sounds pretty good but I will put new strings on tomorrow. I traded my J-45 in as the neck is just too slim for my aging hands. I like the feel of the AJ’s neck so far. Also it was listed as Rosewood but is actually KOA. Are there any differences in tone between the Rosewood and KOA? Any other Gibson models I should consider for a thicker neck? Thanks for reading, John

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If the back and sides are indeed koa that's what makes it "custom".........the standard dress for an AJ is rosewood. The top does look a little strange in that very little grain is obvious, but that could just be your photo. The light racing stripe up the center is just coloration in the book matched top, a little unusual but not in itself a flaw of any kind. If this oddity doesn't bother you and the the guitar is otherwise acceptable, I say enjoy it!

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The Koa AJs that I have seen were more of a "Honeyburst" than the traditional "Vintage Sunburst". Your guitar

looks correct for this limited run. You may want to confirm the scale length. At least one run of the

Koa AJs was a short scale (24-3/4").

 

Thanks for the reply.

Measuring from nut to the bridge I get 25 1/2"

Can't upload a back photo due to this site's upload max quota (daily)?

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The Koa AJs that I have seen were more of a "Honeyburst" than the traditional "Vintage Sunburst". Your guitar

looks correct for this limited run. You may want to confirm the scale length. At least one run of the

Koa AJs was a short scale (24-3/4").

 

Thanks for the reply.

Measuring from nut to the bridge I get 25 1/2"

Can't upload a back photo due to this site's upload max quota (daily)?

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If the back and sides are indeed koa that's what makes it "custom".........the standard dress for an AJ is rosewood. The top does look a little strange in that very little grain is obvious, but that could just be your photo. The light racing stripe up the center is just coloration in the book matched top, a little unusual but not in itself a flaw of any kind. If this oddity doesn't bother you and the the guitar is otherwise acceptable, I say enjoy it!

 

The picture is low resolution to meet the site requirement. The grain is very close together. Thanks.

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I am guessing what you are seeing is sapwood. It is softer and a lighter color than heartwood when first cut and dried. It will simply not darken near as quickly as heartwood. As it has no impact on sound it comes down to aesthetics. Either you like it or you do not.

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Gibson makes quite a few standard models with their 'Round' neck profile. They are fuller and feel quite a bit more substantial than the 'Slim Taper' neck used on the newer J-45's. Some models that come with the Round profile are: J-35, Hummingbird, Songwriter, SJ 100, SJ 200. For those that like the J-45's (there are many here)I think the J-45 Vintage comes with a Round profile. There is also an endless stream of limited runs from Gibson that may come with profiles other than the slim taper.

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Gibson makes quite a few standard models with their 'Round' neck profile. They are fuller and feel quite a bit more substantial than the 'Slim Taper' neck used on the newer J-45's. Some models that come with the Round profile are: J-35, Hummingbird, Songwriter, SJ 100, SJ 200. For those that like the J-45's (there are many here)I think the J-45 Vintage comes with a Round profile. There is also an endless stream of limited runs from Gibson that may come with profiles other than the slim taper.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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The standard neck profile on Gibson acoustics other than the LGs up to 1960 was a roundback D. The LGs had more of what I would describe as a medium C neck. They varied a bit over the years. It may be a fig newton of my imagination but I always felt guitars built in 1959 had a slightly fuller feeling neck than any others from that decade. The HB, of course, was never originally available with anything other than a skinny neck.

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It doesn't look like anything bad to me but it does look a little unusual. It might bother me too. I like figured wood on guitars and it doesn't matter where. It could be the neck, back, or sides but there are some markings that detract from the look of a guitar. I had a friend come over yesterday and use a pick on a guitar without a pickguard!!! There are now several 3 inch pick scrapes on the face of the guitar from hard strumming but I can't really be mad. At least they are honest playing wear. I can accept that. However if he has put an awkward looking scratch that didn't come from play wear I would consider that an ugly mark. Good luck and have fun on the hunt!

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That is a truly beautiful guitar. You could send it back and get a cookie cutter looking one, if that's what you like. I'd love to have that AJ. I don't think that wood is a flaw; I'd call it a cosmetic variation. I've seen it before on guitars so I think it's probably structurally fine - though I'm no expert.

 

As far as Koa is concerned, it is an excellent tone wood, described by many as being tonally between rosewood and mahogany. Every Koa guitar I.ve played has sounded exceptionally fine to my ear. As for the aesthetics of that guitar, I can only say wow. Were I lucky enough to have gotten that guitar in anticipation of a cookie cutter Gibson custom, I'd of bought a few lottery tickets that day. I think the guitar is spectacular and I'd expect it to sound as good as it looks.

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Well...

 

I returned the AJ to GC today. We did not bond. Put new strings on it and it just sounded dull/flat next to my D28 and Taylor 310 and the neck was not as beefy as I'd hoped.

 

I ordered a used J-45 True Vintage from GC and we'll see...

 

Played a Hummingbird Pro while waiting on the paperwork. The strings were old and was not setup but it had very nice tone... Any thoughts on this model?

 

Thanks,

John

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My understanding is the Hummingbird Pro is an exclusive guitar to Guitar Center and its sister company, Musicians Friend. I have played a number of them owned by jam friends (I do not scratch other people's guitars with my picks.). They are good Gibson guitars and they sound and play well and their owners all seem pleased with them. And, they are a bit less expensive than other models in their category being an exclusively made guitar for GC/MF. What they are not is they are not actual Hummingbird model guitars, except in name (a marketing ploy, and a smart one, too to utlilize the HB name on a different model. Nothing wrong with good marketing ploys.). However, they do not much resemble HBs.. They actually have more similarities with (and likely are repackaged versions of) Gibson Songwriter models. But, they are no Songwriters either. In other words they are very good Gibson guitars, but they are not an iconic Gibson model like HBs or even SW or AJs or J45, 50s, 100s, 200s, 15s, 35s, or 00s, SJ, etc. (or even 29s) That is also why they are less expensive a bit. Good guitars, though, but If you have ordered a J45TV, an icon, go with that!

 

Don't get me wrong, maybe years from now the HB Pro will also be an icon model, but it isn't at this time and may not be later.

 

Note: in my collection, one of my guitars is a Gibson Gospel Reissue. It is a very good guitar, but not an icon model. Thus it sold for less and is worth less and doesn't have the charisma of my J45. Good guitar, though (and I enjoy playing it)..

 

Just my thoughts as you asked for thoughts.

 

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Thanks Jeff.

 

My understanding is the Hummingbird Pro is an exclusive guitar to Guitar Center and its sister company, Musicians Friend. I have played a number of them owned by jam friends (I do not scratch other people's guitars with my picks.). They are good Gibson guitars and they sound and play well and their owners all seem pleased with them. And, they are a bit less expensive than other models in their category being an exclusively made guitar for GC/MF. What they are not is they are not actual Hummingbird model guitars, except in name (a marketing ploy, and a smart one, too to utlilize the HB name on a different model. Nothing wrong with good marketing ploys.). However, they do not much resemble HBs.. They actually have more similarities with (and likely are repackaged versions of) Gibson Songwriter models. But, they are no Songwriters either. In other words they are very good Gibson guitars, but they are not an iconic Gibson model like HBs or even SW or AJs or J45, 50s, 100s, 200s, 15s, 35s, or 00s, SJ, etc. (or even 29s) That is also why they are less expensive a bit. Good guitars, though, but If you have ordered a J45TV, an icon, go with that!

 

Don't get me wrong, maybe years from now the HB Pro will also be an icon model, but it isn't at this time and may not be later.

 

Note: in my collection, one of my guitars is a Gibson Gospel Reissue. It is a very good guitar, but not an icon model. Thus it sold for less and is worth less and doesn't have the charisma of my J45. Good guitar, though (and I enjoy playing it)..

 

Just my thoughts as you asked for thoughts.

 

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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If memory serves, now is about the time for someone (can't remember who) to add a post about the evils of sapwood. Can't say it ever bothered me or posed a problem. 😒

 

 

Nothing evil about sapwood. As I said, it has no impact on sound only looks.

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