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2017 SJ-200 too mello


ScaryLarry

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The title should read MELLOW!

 

I Just purchased a 2017 SJ-200 sight unseen. I expected a much brighter sound from a maple super jumbo.

I am going to install a bone saddle and bridge pins, and was wondering if anyone can suggest brighter strings,

or anything else that might make it a bit brighter. The bass is great, the treble is what is lacking.

 

SL

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Unfortunately there is not much you can do to change the voice of a guitar. Some may recommend going with brass bridge pins or something. But I am one of those who believes anything behind the saddle is not going to make any kind of difference other than looks.

 

About the best you can do to goose the sound would be to maybe try 80/20 bronze strings. To my eras, J-200s are the best strummers on the planet.

 

I would say certainly play around with the guitar but live with it a bit.

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Good idea, I will try 80/20 bronze strings first.

It has the usual iconic pickguard that I see on all SJ-200 guitars. Is that what you are referring to?

 

 

.

I’ve got a 200 and went thru a similar situation. I would try strings first and then if you’re still not happy try your saddle/pins idea.

 

Additionally some folks have complained about the “flubber” pick guards as a tone killer, if yours has one.

 

 

.

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Thanks for the reply and advice. I am hoping the strings will make it a bit brighter.

I have been playing a Guild Maple jumbo (an F50 Std) and it is a much brighter/louder guitar,

so I was expecting the SJ-200 to be similar but not quite as bright. Everything I read about maple guitars refers to them as bright,

but I have now been reading about J-200s being mellow guitars.

 

 

Unfortunately there is not much you can do to change the voice of a guitar. Some may recommend going with brass bridge pins or something. But I am one of those who believes anything behind the saddle is not going to make any kind of difference other than looks.

 

About the best you can do to goose the sound would be to maybe try 80/20 bronze strings.

 

I would say certainly play around with the guitar but live with it a bit. Many years ago I bought an old guitar that I did not particularly care for the sound of. I only bought it because I got it for a whole lot less than it was worth and figured I could flip is easily for a nice profit. Something happened down the road though. Maybe I figured out how to approach it to get what I wanted out of it. Maybe my ears just aged. I do not really know. But today you ain't getting that guitar out of my hands.

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BigKahune is referring to the thick rubbery gel pickguards Gibson used on some of their guitars. Hence the flubbery description. I do think the J-200 Standard had these but I am not sure for what years.. I have never played one so do not have a clue is they are "tone robbers" or not.

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OK got it. This one looks thick, so is probably a flubbery one..

 

 

BigKahune is referring to the thick rubbery gel pickguards Gibson used on some of their guitars. Hence the flubbery description. I do think the J-200 Standard had these but I am not sure for what years.. I have never played one so do not have a clue is they are "tone robbers" or not.

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Regarding 80/20 Bronze strings, my experience (I use them all the time) is that they are dark and not bright sounding. Phosphor Bronze are the strings that are bright sounding.

 

Regarding your guitar, if it's new it will need to go through an opening up period, as all new guitars do, Each guitar has its own sound and characteristics after they open up. Playing a guitar and it aging opens it up.

 

A J-200 is a big boomy sounding guitar with great tone. Loud, too. I don't know that it is know for being trebly. Loud and full sounding...meaning its tones cover a wide spectrum.

 

It may just be that you need to get used to the full sound of it as you are used to nothing the size of a J-200.

 

Regarding these claims about a pick guard deadening the sound. I can't buy it. Never have heard it do so on any guitar. These things are not glued onto guitars, which would fill the pores in the wood (and deaden the sound. ). They are double sided taped on, so they have little or no affect.

 

Give your guitar some time to open up. It happens with most Gibsons.

 

Just my two cents.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Regarding 80/20 Bronze strings, my experience (I use them all the time) is that they are dark and not bright sounding. Phosphor Bronze are the strings that are bright sounding.

 

Regarding your guitar, if it's new it will need to go through an opening up period, as all new guitars do, Each guitar has its own sound and characteristics after they open up. Playing a guitar and it aging opens it up.

 

A J-200 is a big boomy sounding guitar with great tone. Loud, too. I don't know that it is know for being trebly. Loud and full sounding...meaning its tones cover a wide spectrum.

 

It may just be that you need to get used to the full sound of it as you are used to nothing the size of a J-200.

 

Regarding these claims about a pick guard deadening the sound. I can't buy it. Never have heard it do so on any guitar. These things are not glued onto guitars, which would fill the pores in the wood (and deaden the sound. ). They are double sided taped on, so they have little or no affect.

 

Give your guitar some time to open up. It happens with most Gibsons.

 

Just my two cents.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

 

 

Take your guitar and place it flat on a table and without touching anything strum it. Then take your wallet out and place it on the top and strum it.

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Some beat me at it, but 80/20 should work for a start.

If your guitar has already been setup, make sure saddle is not sanded too low.

I don't believe in flubber impact on sound.

Completely agree with QM, it is a brand new 2017, sound will already change alot during the first year of daily play.

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Almost sure I know what you mean.

Walking into maple territory 5 years ago, I had the idea they would be brighter than what I met -

(have 2 square Gibsons - 1996 and 2010 both with 80/20).

So says the rumour, but I too found them very distinguished, , , and mellow before anything else.

Especially the Dove was/and still is extremely fat'n'soft compared to fx a H-bird.

I'd call them clear, but not bright in the direction of brittle or sharp.

And sometimes wonder if there is a reason only the maple guitars came with the tune-O-matic concept back in the day.

Some here may know why.

 

That said, these squares are stellar acoustics and the Dove certainly opened up the last 21 years.

Can't say if it added more treble - apart from the fact the breaking in would have meant slightly more volume in general thus raised the highs too.

Regarding the mellowness, I crossed a taboo and did something semi-savage.

Placed a slice of sandpaper beneath the bone saddle to 'grain' it up.

A rock-shim !

Believe it worked, , , but not as much as bone components will on your guitar. Go bone pins as well and see/hear what happens.

I predict it'll be more distinct.

Then please report.

Have fun - Hey

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Regarding 80/20 Bronze strings, my experience (I use them all the time) is that they are dark and not bright sounding. Phosphor Bronze are the strings that are bright sounding.

 

Regarding your guitar, if it's new it will need to go through an opening up period, as all new guitars do, Each guitar has its own sound and characteristics after they open up. Playing a guitar and it aging opens it up.

 

A J-200 is a big boomy sounding guitar with great tone. Loud, too. I don't know that it is know for being trebly. Loud and full sounding...meaning its tones cover a wide spectrum.

 

It may just be that you need to get used to the full sound of it as you are used to nothing the size of a J-200.

 

Regarding these claims about a pick guard deadening the sound. I can't buy it. Never have heard it do so on any guitar. These things are not glued onto guitars, which would fill the pores in the wood (and deaden the sound. ). They are double sided taped on, so they have little or no affect.

 

Give your guitar some time to open up. It happens with most Gibsons.

 

Just my two cents.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

 

 

I have never found phosphor bronze bright sounding - more warm sounding.

 

I do agree on the pickguard. My 1960 J-200 had a second pickguard mounted on it when I got it. After many years, I finally had it removed. While the guitar looked a whole lot better I heard no noticeable change in sound or volume.

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I have both a Guild & Gibson jumbo, and both deliver the kind of strong percussive tone I expect from a large maple bodied instrument. But I've played quite a few J-200s that didn't have it & were pretty dead sounding by comparison.

 

If you are not happy with this one, I'd return it right now & look for another that's got what you're after right out of the box.

 

Best of luck in getting it all sorted out!

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When I got my SJ-200 I was surprised at how deep and mellow it sounded. I expected a brighter sound from maple and I like bright sounding acoustics. After a couple days of playing it, I came to really like it's deep full, warm sound. It gives me something a little different from my other acoustics, which are bright sounding guitars.

 

Change the strings to 80/20's and give it a bit of time. You may find that you really like it's sound.

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To go off subject a but. I was watching YT video or maybe was on Martins site. Jason Isbell has a new D-18 signature model and it has no pickquard. They said they did tests and the same guitar with and without a pickguard there was a 5db difference. Pickguards are tone robbers.

 

Having no frame of reference for what a 5 db difference might translate to (knowing it's not the numeric range on my TV's volume control) - I searched for 'decibel levels of common sounds'.

A pin dropping is 10 dbs. Rustling Leaves are 20 dbs. A rock band and a jackhammer are both around 110 dbs.

So - with my old ears, I don't think I'd hear a 5 db difference. Which - I might add SURPRISES me because when I took the thick p/g off my '64 LG1 ten years ago, I was CERTAIN that I heard something different.

I think what I heard was a difference in TONE - and not Volume. Sort of the difference between a rock band and a jackhammer.

 

 

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First thing needed, almost always, if you haven't done it - (or if the shop didn't offer to do it for you, and ask what type of string - just before shipping) - is a new set of strings. Preferably the same strings as whatever you're comparing your SJ200 to ... if you think it's too mellow - IE. compared to ...?

I think the SJ200 - 'King of the Flat Tops' was billed early on as a Singing Cowboy guitar - and later on, in the Big Band era, before electrics, as the best guitar to project loudly in a band. So, the size and the maple translated to a reputation of being 'bright and loud'.

Considering there were less refinements back then than there are now (there was no square shouldered guitars like the H'Bird and Dove on the market, let alone Taylors!) I think there are certainly other choices today that are 'brighter' as opposed to 'mellower'.

As Gruffy said - you may find you like it. I sure do.

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I have an SJ-200 I had built back when you could do such. Bright treble has never been its characteristic sound. It is clear, but not bright. I settled on Pearse pbs as usual for what that is worth to you. The guitar was made with a bone saddle. The SJ-200s are not the loud volume the body size suggests. The two I own are full and even across the spectrum, but not bright and/or loud to my ear. I have a J-150 that is the same also. Maybe all it need is strings. Hope so!

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Having no frame of reference for what a 5 db difference might translate to (knowing it's not the numeric range on my TV's volume control) - I searched for 'decibel levels of common sounds'.

A pin dropping is 10 dbs. Rustling Leaves are 20 dbs. A rock band and a jackhammer are both around 110 dbs.

So - with my old ears, I don't think I'd hear a 5 db difference. Which - I might add SURPRISES me because when I took the thick p/g off my '64 LG1 ten years ago, I was CERTAIN that I heard something different.

I think what I heard was a difference in TONE - and not Volume. Sort of the difference between a rock band and a jackhammer.

 

This is a test for +/- 6 DB.

Easily noticeable. So if 5db is truth (about pickguard), that's rather a whole lot... (but dunno if this result on the D18 has been proven...).

 

http://www.audiocheck.net/blindtests_level.php?lvl=6

 

You can also check 3 DB, noticeable too !

http://www.audiocheck.net/blindtests_level.php?lvl=3

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I don’t buy the idea of pickguards robbing tone and volume.

 

My old ‘03 SJ200 had an inlaid pickguard which lost its design after a year or two. I then removed this guard and played it without for a while, and later replaced the missing ‘guard with a “flubber” guard.

 

Zero tonal or volume difference. I’ve spent 20yrs working in and out of studios as a session player and producer, and have made 10 albums of my own, so I’m always on high alert for anything that is different or not quite right. I have ears like a freaking bat (not always a good thing!) and I’m the kind of persnickety audio/gear geek that would be the first to notice a change.

 

If pickguards made guitars sound appreciably worse, guitar manufacturers would leave the guitars naked. It’s hardly a great marketing strategy to affix furniture to a guitar that divides opinion looks wise and hinders the sound of an instrument.

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With regard to SJ200s, mine is mellow but incredibly balanced. Rings beautifully from top to bottom. I was playing it just now and laughing to myself about how wonderful it sounds, a really fantastic instrument.

 

To sparkle yours up, try a bone saddle and D’Addario 85/15 strings. 12 gauge strings are less dull than 13s, so maybe switch to 12s if you’re used to heavier wires.

 

If you don’t plan to plug in, taking the undersaddle pickup out will free the guitar up a bit too.

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I removed 2 p-guards from my guitars and added 1 (removed again).

1 was the 1953 J-45, which had an non-original guard and the other was my 2012 Bird.

They both changed sound. Got slightly freer/open and the Bird lost a bit of it's HB-identity without the thick non-flubber wildlife.

If I'm sure. . . ?

Well, the cake of wet elastic glue stayed on both surfaces so there was a good chance to go back'n'forth a lot.

Must have done it between 10 and 15 times over a handful of days (different moods, ears, circumstances) . T'was NO DOUBT.

And most luthiers would tell you the same (tho I admit they often seem almost otherworldly sensitive to keep their image/skills on the safe side).

 

I believe there could be a brighter hair or 2 hidden in a situation with a clean top, but the main thing here wouldn't be solved.

If your guitar doesn't get sharper with the bone components and some 'harder' strings, it's might not be the right 200, , , , or model.

 

Would be a good idea to find and post us 2 Tube-videos. One close to what you got and 1 close to what you want.

Regarding the latter write the player and ask him/her about the steel.

 

P.S. - The guard added was an extra upper teardrop on my HD-28V to dampen the huge rumbling bass.

Took it off again and taped a piece of leather there instead. That was it.

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