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To scallop or not to...


acme97
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I bought a Gibson J185 Custom Quilt 2015 awhile back. This is not the Adirondack top version...I believe that is only the guitar with stock ivory keystone tuners. Mine are stock gold button grovers. I had a thread about this guitar a month or so ago.

 

I was underwhelmed with the guitar, which was not cheap...but very pretty of course. And feels great to play, I'll give it that. The body shape/size for me is super comfortable, neck and action are really great. That's the only reason it's still here.

 

I know it's maple and won't give you booming bottom end, but I had hoped for more. The strings that sound best to my ears (and I tried 3-4 different kinds) are Martin Retro mediums. That's what I'll use, I don't really like comparing strings.

 

I don't have a mirror to get in there but...if the braces are NOT scalloped, would having them scalloped by a well-known shop help bring out the bottom end a bit? I know that weakens the top, and I imagine medium gauge strings will always be used on this guitar.

 

I sure don't need any more top end, it's all good there. I've also heard of tapering the braces, but I don't know the sonic difference.

 

Any input is appreciated. Thanks. I'm not super committed to the idea, but want to find out more.

 

p.s. and how did I REALLY solve the problem? I did find a J185 EC Rosewood, any rosewood 185 seems hard to find. Now that one I like quite a bit. It has a cutaway, and electronics panel, those I'm not crazy about. But life is full of compromises and that's ok. [thumbup]

Edited by acme97
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It may just be a matter of the guitar breaking in over a year or so of playing it. New guitars’s tops are sometimes a bit stiff and after awhile it begins to loosen up and the top begins to vibrate more with playing as well as the wood aging.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

 

 

Of course, point taken.

 

But I've played many an acoustic this far down the road. I bought this one online. Never surf reverb.com on a Friday night. Had it been in a store, I would not have purchased it. BUT, the purchase having been made and the thing being here...blah blah blah. Indeed making the effort to play it in, including tonight's gig. I took the LR Baggs Anthem (which I love, but hated it in this guitar) out, and put a k&k pure mini in it with that on-board preamp and that helped for sure...so far the solution has been to turn the bass up and all mid/highs down and adjust a bit from there.

 

Thanks.

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I hear ya. On one of my guitars, I just dial the bass, mid, and treble in the middle, but on another guitar I turn the bass up and the treble down with the mid in the middle, , while on another the bass is up, the treble down, and the midrange is turned up to 6-7. It’s no worry to me though, each guitar differs and that’s why they have the setting knobs on my solo amp/pa. Sounds like the same as what you are dealing with, too!

 

Remembering the settings for each guitar is the actual challenge.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark
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I agree with JC in that as far as I know every guitar to come out of Bozeman with the possible exception of the L-00 Legend has the same Ren designed scalloped bracing carve. Plus, re-voicing a guitar is not something you undertake lightly. Yeah, it sometimes takes a while to figure out a guitar. But based on my experience, 9 out of 10 times if you do not like it after having it around a couple of months it is not going to change.

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I agree with JC in that as far as I know every guitar to come out of Bozeman with the possible exception of the L-00 Legend has the same Ren designed scalloped bracing carve. Plus, re-voicing a guitar is not something you undertake lightly. Yeah, it sometimes takes a while to figure out a guitar. But based on my experience, 9 out of 10 times if you do not like it after having it around a couple of months it is not going to change.

 

 

Agreed. The guitar was in mint shape with no discernible play wear at all. Although too thin for my taste, it does sound Gibson-y enough. Will probably improve a bit with play. Likely my first and last all-maple guitar. At least it's a looker.

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I’d say that if you’re really not enjoying it, it may be best to move it on and look elsewhere. J185s are very, very balanced guitars with no particular frequency range that pushes through, just a very even sound that is “there” and nowhere else.

 

My J180 was perhaps lacking a smidgen of bottom end when I bought it, but a change to Martin SPs and two months of hard gigging later, and it’s all there and sounding terrific. YMMV, of course.

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I figure a good guitar, as you have, is very likely to turn into a great guitar. If it's comfortable and easy-to-play, chances are you're going to bond with it. When I bought my Koa AJ, the guy who owned it was a strummer, not a fingerpicker, and he made it roar. So I buy it from him and after gently fingerpicking it for a couple weeks I find myself still listening for the roar that he got out of it...lol....Well, don't know that any of my guitars roar when I play them, but I've found this AJ (or whatever a koa, short scale dread with AJ bracing is) to be a wonderful guitar to play and I've really grown to like this guitar. It's another extension of who I am in regards to expressing myself through my songs. Really glad I didn't sell it those first few months. The bass isn't a rosewood sound or a mahogany sound, but I don't measure any of my guitars that way. I just go by how great it is to play and how it sounds to me and in those two areas it's the equal of any guitar I own. Hope you find the guitar you need.....You might have already found it, but don't realize it yet.....Keep playing it.

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Maple is the wood you either love for it's simplicity or stay away from for the same reason .I'm sorry you couldn't bond with it but trust YOUR ears over anything else.My hope is you will find a rw that you love in the correct size.

 

 

 

 

JC

 

Thanks...and see above, I did find a rosewood J185, no easy feat. But I kept this guitar as well so let's see where the road goes.

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I figure a good guitar, as you have, is vehttp://ry likely to turn into a great guitar. If it's comfortable and easy-to-play, chances are you're going to bond with it. When I bought my Koa AJ, the guy who owned it was a strummer, not a fingerpicker, and he made it roar. So I buy it from him and after gently fingerpicking it for a couple weeks I find myself still listening for the roar that he got out of it...lol....Well, don't know that any of my guitars roar when I play them, but I've found this AJ (or whatever a koa, short scale dread with AJ bracing is) to be a wonderful guitar to play and I've really grown to like this guitar. It's another extension of who I am in regards to expressing myself through my songs. Really glad I didn't sell it those first few months. The bass isn't a rosewood sound or a mahogany sound, but I don't measure any of my guitars that way. I just go by how great it is to play and how it sounds to me and in those two areas it's the equal of any guitar I own. Hope you find the guitar you need.....You might have already found it, but don't realize it yet.....Keep playing it.

 

 

Yeah...it's a good guitar based in general terms based on maker, shop (Boseman), and list price (quality of materials). I entirely see your point. The other side...this could be a very good recording guitar. Worked with enough guys who've done great things to know they prefer an acoustic that's kind of bottom-light as opposed to bottom-heavy like my ears prefer, less work for them. This does sound Gibson, if you know what I mean. And now, listening more closely to let's say Pete Townshend on a J200, I have to admit that I more clearly hear what maple does. A learning process. This guitar does what I'm hearing elsewhere, so I get it. Thanks again all.

 

BTW do you still have to link to pix hosts to post a picture here?

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There was one guitar which really did take a lot of time to grow on me. Over a decade back I snagged a mid-1950s Epiphone flattop. I only bought it because it was dirt cheap and a perfect player although cosmetically challenged. A very determined store owner gave it to me no less than three times over the course of a year to take it home and give it a try. I kept bringing it back. It had that railroad tie X brace similar to what you saw in 1969-1970 Gibsons and just did not seem to do anything particularly well. Finally he dropped to price so low I figured what the heck. If nothing else I liked the very soft V French Heel neck so it came home to live with me. Over the next two years I did some work on it to make it look more presentable figuring I could use it for trade bait down the road. Funny thing happened along the way though. I actually did put it up for sale/trade not once but twice. Despite having offers, I yanked it both times. For whatever reason it had just taken me a longer than usual to figure that guitar out and learn how to pull music out of it. Today, it is one of the last guitars I would part with. Go figure.

 

Here is a trip down Memory Lane - what it looked like when I brought it home.

 

Epi_FT79-3.jpg

Edited by zombywoof
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