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Hello and a couple of questions


DiscoPimp

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hi everyone,

 

i've been silently following this thread since i ordered my DF in early January. I have to admit that after reading this thread and a couple of other opinions on the web, my initial excitement has been replaced with a ton of worries ...

 

i've never ever bought a guitar without having seen or played it first .. but since i live in a country/city where you can rarely 'choose' your guitar in the shop i sort of had to since the day i called my dealer he told me that there was only a single one left for Switzerland ... so, still under the influence of the beautifull pictures on the Gibson site, i ordered straight away.

 

I hope i'll fall back in love the day i open the case .. and won't have a collection of nasty surprises like some of you. In the meantime I have a couple of questions maybe some of you can answer:

 

How many DF's have been released ? ... the Gibson site still talks about 2000, my dealer says it's 4k .. the initial 2k for US and now a 'second batch' of 2k for Europe ... not that it's a huge deal, but since guitars at that price-point should be sort of a collectors item i think it's a bit borderline marketing ... since it appears that i'll be getting a "not so limited edition second run" and not what it says on the white case :^o

 

What is the street price in Europe for this guitar ? I'm trying to assess if i got a decent price for mine, since very often shops here take a rather huge markup when it comes to sought after instruments. I for example paid close to 2k€ for a Variax 5 string Bass and two weeks later i could have gotten it for 600US$ all over the US. Would love to avoid this once again. The list price here in Switzerland is apparently 5500CHF .. which would be around 3700€ which strikes me as very expensive compared to the prices i've seen on the web. I'm getting it for much less than that, but i'd love to know the exact value of this apparently 'great deal' my dealer offered me ...

 

Are there any in the shops across europe or have all DF's been pre-ordered ? Has anyone seen one, a couple, many ?

 

Lastly a bit more subjective question about the craftmanship on the DF. To be honest buying such an expensive guitar is a bit over my budget and i'm starting to wonder wether all the gimmicks of the DF make up for the poor quality i've been reading and hearing about. So i'm wondering if i shouldn't better buy a PRS, a regular Gibson, a Custom Shop or even a vintage axe or any other beautifull, well made, great playing guitar.

 

So in your opinion, how does the quality of the DF's manufacturing compare to other guitars in that price range ?

 

What sold me on the DF was:

The pickup system + piezo. I'm not a fan of guitars that have only 'one kind of sound', i couldn't care less about 'classic sounds' .. since i write my own music i'm not trying to emulate other peoples sound .. i just want a beautiful sound with if possible several 'different' tones.

 

The tuners. I love playing open tuning, most of the time inventing my own .. but i always forget to write them down or loose the post-it where i scribled the tuning onto. So the ability to store my own tunings in the guitar immediately made me drool ... being able to switch between them in under a second is just a bonus ...

 

The possibility of a decent MIDI guitar - that remains to be seen since as far as i understood the cable ain't even shipping so nobody has been able to try this out ...

 

The looks - although i have to say that i saw a couple of DF's on this site which really made me wonder. What i also really don't like is the 'rubbed off / worn out' finish on the back of the neck. I think it looks horrible and really can't understand what the designers were thinking.

 

peace n luv

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Hi,

 

I paid 4.5K CHF in Switzerland, but if you are based in Belgium as well, it might be worth checking with Thomann as they offer (so have I heard) 3 years warranty. And even with a Euro VAT at 20% or so, compared with the Swiss 7.6%, you might still get a better deal with Thomann. However, since I got mine from Switzerland, I can effectively believe there is still one available left in this country, which might not be the case with Thomann who may have to wait weeks, or month before delivery.

 

In fact in America DF was sort of available just before winter NAMM, so we may logically think that it will be officially available in Europe around Musik Messe Time (April 1 to 4).

 

Then, Switzerland must be some sort of 51st state of USA, to be delivered and the same time as America :-)

 

Now, I think the real first run had nice woodwork and prototype level packaging and electronic. So the one in Switzerland "may" have a nice flame top, and "may" have sticky MCK & Toggle Switch (from bad QC or from bad packaging, I still don't know) This was the case for me, so I had to return it, to Nashville, and that is not that quick and efficient, see here for current status. So if you have a chance to test this DF before committing to purchase, it might be a very wise thing to do indeed.

 

And if you wait for the so called "second run" you may have a more healthy overall package, but who knows, since nobody has seen one of these yet. And who knows what will happen to the nice flame top.

 

Also, of course, looking back at Robot, we supposedly may expect a lower cost version later this year... provided the first 4k sold OK.

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How many DF's have been released ?

 

It's 2k total.

 

All guitars were originally scheduled to be released Dec 15, 2008, however shipments were halted when initial examples of the MCK multi-function control were determined by Gibson QC department to not be operating to specification.

Part of the shipping delay is due to replacement MCK's from Tronical being re-integrated into Dark Fire wiring harnesses in Nashville.

 

 

What is the street price in Europe for this guitar ?

 

Using Google - i see this European Dealers pricing:

Thomann ( Switzerland) 3111 EUR

http://tinyurl.com/bwwfs6

 

 

Are there any in the shops across europe or have all DF's been pre-ordered ? Has anyone seen one, a couple, many?

 

I believe they are all pre-order. A very limited number were delivered to Italy, Germany, UK - i figure store employees snagged the bulk of these.

 

Here's a Dark Fire in a Store in Rome, Italy December 18 2008

Chameleon Tone Rundown 8:48 (In Italian) with a perfectly functioning Dark Fire

 

 

 

Some folks around the globe were able to obtain early run Dark Fires from US Dealers via mail order - with the typical local customs hurdles for an imported instrument.

 

 

Lastly a bit more subjective question about the craftmanship on the DF. To be honest buying such an expensive guitar is a bit over my budget and i'm starting to wonder wether all the gimmicks of the DF make up for the poor quality i've been reading and hearing about. So i'm wondering if i shouldn't better buy a PRS, a regular Gibson, a Custom Shop or even a vintage axe or any other beautifull, well made, great playing guitar.

 

This will be a personal decision. The Dark Fire is the most i have paid for an instrument. But Gibsons are known to hold or climb in value I have a 1961 SG Special that I paid $200 for in 1969, and its worth over ten times that today. - even Gibson instruments I thought were sure to never be worth much - 20 years later I have eaten my words.

 

Its true 3111 EUR is a lot to pay for one instrument, but Gibson sells many models which are 4-5 times that amount.

 

Its important to remember the price we pay for Dark Fire is not just for a guitar - but a complete state of the art package which breaks down to:

 

* a Guitar with similar specs to a Gary Moore BFG - 1139 EUR

http://www.thomann.de/se/gibson_gary_moore_les_paul_bfg.htm

 

* Upgraded inlays, PU covers, Ebony Fretboard, Gloss painted top, adds aprox 300 EUR

 

*Tronical Robot II electronics, Piezo Bridge, string contact Tailpiece, 6 PowertuneII Tuners, Chameleon Tone PEQ, multichannel analog encoder electronics for muliplexed TRS Output. adds approx 1000 EUROS

 

 

* Echo Audio "RIP" Firewire Interface with low latency 8 channel inputs, ASIO/Core Audio Driver, 24 bit/ 96kHz operation 110 DB SNR adds approx 300 EUR

 

* NI Guitar Rig 3 full version - adds approx 300 EURO

 

* Ableton Live Lite - adds approx $100 EURO

 

Total 3139 EURO

 

 

 

 

So in your opinion, how does the quality of the DF's manufacturing compare to other guitars in that price range ?

 

The Guitar compares to to the quality of a Gary Moore BFG with a nicer looking gloss painted top, Ebony fretboard, and headstock inlay.

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Using Google - i see this European Dealers pricing:

Thomann ( Switzerland) 3111 EUR

http://tinyurl.com/bwwfs6

 

Hi Elantric,

 

Just a tiny thing in the middle of your very accurate and useful answer:

 

SE, with the yellow and blue flag is Sweden NOT Switzerland ;-)

 

Sweden = blond girls, lots of snow, Saab, Volvo, smoked fish, inuits, reindeers, home of Santa, way up north, midnight sun and somehow part of Europe and therefore delivered by Thomann.

 

Switzerland = Red & White flag (inverse red cross), mountains, cheese, chocolate, watches, knives, groundhogs, close to France and Italy and NOT part of Europe yet, so as far as I know from their home page, no Thomann here. Instead we have an old school distributor with high markups. 5500.- CHF / 5000.- USD list price for DF.

 

It is a very common mismatch, but we swiss would definitely know if we had the blond girls around...

 

Cheers

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But Gibsons are known to hold or climb in value I have a 1961 SG Special that I paid $200 for in 1969' date=' and its worth over ten times that today. - even Gibson instruments I thought were sure to never be worth much - 20 years later I have eaten my words. [/quote']

 

Last I checked 61's were asking more than 9K-10K so your reference should be " its worth over fifty times that today"! You're a lucky man. That SG must be a beauty.

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hey thx for the detailes response elantric ...

 

concerning my last question i was more thinking about finding out how the craftmanship compares to a PRS, a PRS PRIVATE STOCK, a 5k US$ Gibson or Fender, a Gibson Custom Shop, or luthier's guitar .. in terms of woodwork, finishing, quality of parts and materials used, setup, etc., putting aside the whole futurist aspect of tuners, rip and chameleon tone

 

i've seen many PRS guitars and two private stocks and was pretty amazed by the quality which seemed lightyears ahead of any other guitar in these particular shops. but i'm not a pro guitarist and haven't had the chance to play many of these high-end axes, so this was just a 'visual' assesment.

 

what i liked about the DF initially was that i had the impression this was first and foremost a great traditional guitar, similar if not better in quality than a Les Paul, or PRS of the same price. i am getting the impression that it's more like what you list, a rather cheap guitar with a lot of add-ons, which is i think what you are saying.

 

so from the pure guitar aspect of the DF, it's more like a 1200€ guitar than a 3ooo€ guitar like for example these ones, which i could get for the same price:

 

http://www.prsguitars.com/tremonti/

http://www.prsguitars.com/ce/

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there's loads in my neighborhood ... it's just that they speak russian and you have to pay them ... but they are all blonde and very beautifull :)

 

So you definitely are based in Geneva :-)

 

Back on topic:

I think you are right about the 1200 USD Guitar, but still it feels nice to play with and it sounds great...

 

In a way, we are like these dudes (or Geneva blonde girls, btw) buying an extremely overpriced VolksWagen with a Bentley Continental GTR logo on it, and enjoying it!

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Hi, Elantric/Steve...I would also like to know whether its really a 1200USD guitar....thats not what i thought i was buying. I'm starting to think i dont need all the extras. I just want a great sounding guitar, with automatic tuning.

 

I'm happy to pay 2000 GBP for a guitar, but would i be better off going with a "plain" guitar at that price level ? I think thats what DiscoPimp was asking.

 

Thanks!

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I’ve also been a silent reader (and student thanks to elantric O:) ) and I’ve to say that I share a lot of your worries DiscoPimp. I don’t care about the wait so much (ordered mine on 17 dec), but I do worry about the finish, the electronics and getting an ‘ugly’ top.

 

Yes, Steve… sensei... is it really a $1200,- guitar?

 

The DF sells for €2998,- in The Netherlands btw

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Sorry for the flag mixup

 

bummer about the heartless russian blondes

 

Read this thread

http://forums.gibson.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=12286&p=3

My point is - if you expect the build quality of a typical $3K guitar, look elsewhere. You will surely be disappointed.

The Dark Fire is not in that league - it does have the build quality of a Brian Moore BFG, which is typically available for $1300 USD.

 

add the Ebony fretboard and gloss painted front + $300 USD

 

Yes Dark Fire does have an Ebony Fretboard

 

We are paying for a $1600 USD guitar with value added technology which drives the cost up to $3.3K USD :

* Tronical Robot technology, Chameleon Tone.

* Hexaphonic processing

* RIP interface, Charger, Splitter box

* and the software bundle.

 

Some players seek a gloss lacquer feel on the neck, and binding.

The 1st Generation Robot in Blue Siverburst had a higher spec gloss finish neck sides and back, and Neck binding

 

The Dark Fire lacks that - in fact the finish is rather primitive on the back, sides and neck.

IMG_0707.jpg

IMG_0703.jpg

 

Instead, Dark Fire delivers great tone, and a PLEK setup with great playable low action, and the highest level of electronic technology ever offered in a Gibson guitar.

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Hi Elantric,

 

No worries about the flag thing, just an opportunity to promote swiss chocolate :-)

 

Thanks for the update on price structure.

 

I am happy to pay "some" extra for Robot, Piezo & Chameleon, these technologies are worth it.

 

Especially if we do get some of the wishes in forthcoming firmware enhancement

 

And also if we do get the SW Editing Utility for Chameleon / Tuning / On Board EQ... (another story altogether)

 

On the finish side, I sort of like the idea of the rough rear, if I may say so. It's a guitar for real men!

 

 

Dasvidania!

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Mmmmm. Steve - thats what I thought you might say. I'm not so worried about the finish as its going to take some knocks. I'm more worried about the sound and how it plays...esp as havent been able to try before buying.

 

Sorry to keep asking your opinion on this...but if you didnt have all the bells and whistles on this guitar...would you still use it live as you main guitar? Or would you use another in your collection ?

 

I agree with Ulhuru in that I'm happy to pay for those extras, but I dont want them on a "cheap" base.

Its difficult for us in Europe as we have just not seen the guitars and the longer I wait, the more I question my decision not to just buy a very good PRS.

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Well I do own many guitars

 

The Dark Fire is not an Epiphone - Yes if not for the bells and whistles I would play it regularly and be very happy.

 

It sustains like no other Les Paul I have played, even at low volume , and unplugged. its a wonderful instrument, and the thin lacquer paint promotes all the tone woods to sing. I know this sounds corny, but its true.

 

 

I'm so happy with the Dark Fire I've thought of finding a Gary Moore BFG as a backup - but I already have my '72 Les Paul Standard ( see avatar)

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thanks again Elantric for clearing that up, and repeating yourself so kindly as i found out reading the thread you linked to#-o ...

 

at the moment, i'm not sure what to do anymore ... i'll have to sleep over it a couple of nights, and go and play some high-end guitars the next couple of days since i'm in brussels where there is a decent selection in the shops ... i already have two 1'600$ guitars and i was hoping to warp into another dimension altogether ...

 

i do get the fact that the DF is a 'package' with a lot of expensive state of the art technology (although i already have Live and Guitar Rig) ... and i do want/need this, as i mentioned earlier the DF combines a couple of things that will be very usefull (Piezos w HEX out, robotuning and tuning presets). I'm just a bit disapointed that for that amount of money i'm not getting what i've been craving for for many years: a beautifully crafted wooden instrument ... i'm a sucker for beautifull woods, finishes and in general well engineered and perfectly finished objects.

 

it's a relief to know however that the DF sounds great and plays great, which after all is the most important thing, even to me.

 

just as dirtypurple, i hadn't really thought of it that way and thought i was buying something in the same class as a PRS ... but now that i think about it, it kinda seems obvious ... i shouldn't have been fooled by the Gibson marketing hype, but they laid it on so thick that the reality didn't simmer through enough ...

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The one thing that Gibson did correctly on Dark Fire - Visually ( at least mine) the Dark Fire from the front looks like a $3K guitar.

 

I play mine live at gigs, and I get compliments all the time:

 

" Thats a beautiful red Gibson Les Paul guitar you have there!".

 

I just say

 

"thank you"

IMG_0701.jpg

 

and keep the hidden robo - tech stuff my secret. Its like I own James Bond's Guitar, handed to me by "Q" .

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Thanks elantric (and others). I think you've put my mind to rest! I want some of the tech on offer, particularly auto tuning/alternate tunings and the chameleon tones. But most of all, i want this only if the guitar it sits within is a quality instrument from a tone/playability point of view.

I guess I'll find out sometime soon and can compare it to my tutors PRS which i love.

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