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my acoustic roadmap


uncle fester
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I build roadmaps for a living, so while thinking aloud (interpreted as daydreaming on a con call) I put together my 'acoustic' roadmap.

 


  1.  
  2. K&K mini, tonedexter, and a myrtle mic
  3. Jumbo Reissue
  4. 2000 ish Hummingbird
  5. '34 Jumbo
  6. Banner J45

 

I can think of a billion others to add the list (Zombies CF100, something maple, LG-00...) don't know how realistic a '34 Jumbo or Banner J45 is, or have a shovel big enough to dig ourselves out of our baseball induced hole (BTW - 3rd in the country) but this is where my GAS is currently focused.

 

Anyone else have a shout out or two to a coveted Gibson?

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I do not think anything out in advance. I never planned to buy most of the guitars I own. They just turned up at the door handed to me by somebody hoping to sell them and knowing the best way to get me to buy anything was to let me have my hands on it for a bit. There was one particular guitar, a NYC-made Epiphone, I had in the house no less than three times for a test drive. Each time I returned it to the owner he shoved it back into my hands with a lower price tag. Because I moved last year opportunities have declined but I still get photos of guitars somebody wants to send me to check out. In the past year, I have turned down an early 1960s Epi Frontier and early 1950s Gibson J-50. I did jump on a 1956 Harmony H-40 which is actually harder to come by than the other two and which I may not see pop up again for sale a very long time.

 

My particular dilemma is I just sold a guitar. Even though I made a heck of a profit on it I am not sure I should have sold it. The only way to make myself feel better is to replace it.

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Awesome, I've been listening to a bit of Charlie Parr lately, and he does a lot on a 12 string, it should be on my list!

 

I do not have a clue who Charlie Parr is but I do know who Leadbelly and Barbecue Bob are. For me there is a certain itch that only a 12 string can scratch. I pretty much can and do play everything and anything on a 12 string but tunes like John Hardy and Searching the Desert for the Blues just do not sound right on a six string

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Owned a 12 string many years ago. Soon found out it’s not for me and sold it soon after.

No regrets

 

 

I find it impossible to resist that Leadbelly thunder.

 

If I have learned anything from this Forum though it is when somebody posts about a guitar they have found never ever make the offhand remark "if you don't jump on it I will." If you all will recall that is how I ended up with my slope shoulder Gibson B45-12.

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I find it impossible to resist that Leadbelly thunder.

 

If I have learned anything from this Forum though it is when somebody posts about a guitar they have found never ever make the offhand remark "if you don't jump on it I will." If you all will recall that is how I ended up with my slope shoulder Gibson B45-12.

:unsure: …

Edited by Cabarone
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My roadmap....

 

Over the last couple of years I traded a few guitars for one better guitar and a new mental roadmap hatched that anything that is not close to my ‘thing’ will join others going towards a better guitar. It is a bit spoiling having the hand made guitars, though I do like cheaper guitars for certain ‘sounds’. I guess I like all of them. Current plan ‘was’ to sell 2 that I haven’t played much and buy a used Custom Shop Maton...but a brand new Custom hand made Maton lobbed at a shop the other week and I have only sold 1 of the 2 and the other one is too rich for the locals and hasn’t sold. I am considering a bit of a loss by using the money from the sold plus trading in the unsold to make the Maton before someone grabs it, but I have been cooling my heels. Not usually my style, cooling heels, but Mars must be retrograde to the Guitar Planet or something......

 

I do really enjoy playing a new or different guitar and I think I have more idea of what I want these days, but still loving my guitars I bought years ago shows I made some good intuitive buys! Or fluked it. eg. My Blues King L-00 gets better every day and I have recently found a better pickup that I like the sound of for it.

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777
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Any time I hear about a "roadmap" that old John Lennon quip pops into my head - Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.

 

I have reached the point in my life were I can pretty much buy anything I want. I always figured when I got there it would be a true guitar fest. Never happened. That 1939 J-35 or Jackson Browne Model 1 has still not made an appearance. Part of it is I guess I am just a notorious cheapskate. I just turned down a deal that would have brought me a nice used Collings. Reason - I just could not see paying a whole lot extra for all that 42 style trim. Then again, I think a guitar with neck binding is blinged out. But also lurking in the back of my brain is the knowledge that these days I only play out maybe twice a month at most. And then I seem to be as happy as a pig in clover grabbing one of my Harmony Sovereigns. Congratulations, you have entered the guitar zone where reason and logic do not apply.

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I do not have a clue who Charlie Parr is

 

I was introduced to Charlie Parr via this forum, only really recently started to listen to him, but he plays a lot of fingerpicking stuff, 12 string, slide ... I've only been listening a bit but 'Falcon' and 'Boiling down Silas' are my two favorites. I recommend at least giving him a listen on you tube.

 

Rgds - billroy

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We ask that question 40+ years ago, and more or less completed our list about a decade ago. We were very interested in acquiring excellent sounding examples of the major models and model variations that formed the sound pallet of the first 60 years of the 20th century. That included a lot of Martins and Gibsons both -- we have a lot of both, but not all the Gibsons are guitars -- also banjos, mandolins, a mandola, a mandocello, banjo ukes, etc. The last one we got was a Banner SJ RW -- something I thought would not happen but it did.

Here are the Js -- 1934 to 1965: 35 RSRG, 36 AJ, 43 SJ RW, 35 Jumbo, 36 RSSD, 36 Trojan (Jumbo35), 43 J-45, 44 J-45, 43 SJ, 54 SJ, 53 J-45, 62 Hummingbird, 65 Dove.

 

IPNMDM8.jpg

 

Let's pick,

-Tom

 

 

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We ask that question 40+ years ago, and more or less completed our list about a decade ago. We were very interested in acquiring excellent sounding examples of the major models and model variations that formed the sound pallet of the first 60 years of the 20th century. That included a lot of Martins and Gibsons both -- we have a lot of both, but not all the Gibsons are guitars -- also banjos, mandolins, a mandola, a mandocello, banjo ukes, etc. The last one we got was a Banner SJ RW -- something I thought would not happen but it did.

Here are the Js -- 1934 to 1965: 35 RSRG, 36 AJ, 43 SJ RW, 35 Jumbo, 36 RSSD, 36 Trojan (Jumbo35), 43 J-45, 44 J-45, 43 SJ, 54 SJ, 53 J-45, 62 Hummingbird, 65 Dove.

 

IPNMDM8.jpg

 

Let's pick,

-Tom

Good Lord! Now I know what Heaven looks like.

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We ask that question 40+ years ago, and more or less completed our list about a decade ago. We were very interested in acquiring excellent sounding examples of the major models and model variations that formed the sound pallet of the first 60 years of the 20th century. That included a lot of Martins and Gibsons both -- we have a lot of both, but not all the Gibsons are guitars -- also banjos, mandolins, a mandola, a mandocello, banjo ukes, etc. The last one we got was a Banner SJ RW -- something I thought would not happen but it did.

Here are the Js -- 1934 to 1965: 35 RSRG, 36 AJ, 43 SJ RW, 35 Jumbo, 36 RSSD, 36 Trojan (Jumbo35), 43 J-45, 44 J-45, 43 SJ, 54 SJ, 53 J-45, 62 Hummingbird, 65 Dove.

 

Let's pick,

-Tom

 

I mam impressed you knew enough about these guitars 40 years ago to have a roadmap. When I snagged my first L-00 some 50 years back now all I knew was what model it was and that was because the guy I bought it from told me. There was no place to look up specs or the FON so I never even knew what year it was made. I would not have known a Trojan if I tripped over one. Then once I started to figure it out it became a matter of having the scratch. I am the guy who walked away from an AJ which I could have scored for $750. While it is nothing today back then it might as well have been a million.

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I mam impressed you knew enough about these guitars 40 years ago to have a roadmap. When I snagged my first L-00 some 50 years back now all I knew was what model it was and that was because the guy I bought it from told me. There was no place to look up specs or the FON so I never even knew what year it was made. I would not have known a Trojan if I tripped over one. Then once I started to figure it out it became a matter of having the scratch. I am the guy who walked away from an AJ which I could have scored for $750. While it is nothing today back then it might as well have been a million.

 

Well I guess we are just old. I don't feel all that old. By 40 years ago, we had already lived quite a bit. I had started playing around 60 years ago, and bought my first Gibson -- an LG-1 just because it was a Gibson -- a couple of years later. Not much later -- certainly more than 50 years ago -- I hooked up with my wife, and we played most of the 60s around Boston as amateur "folk musicians." Everyone did. By 50 years ago, that genre was already dying, I had a Ph.D. and had been doing research in acoustics for 5 years already, and (in a state of musical mourning) we went up into my ancestral home in the mountains and found bluegrass. Up until then, we paid no great attention guitars -- I mean a guitar was a guitar -- but we found our mild musical style that had stood us in good stead in the 60s was almost worthless in the strong acoustic world of traditional mountsin folk and bluegrass. We could have plugged in, bought Taylors, and played in coffee houses where it was just you and the sound system, but that did not appeal to us. Why eat pablum when you can have chilli? So 40 years ago, the table was set -- I had tenure (a job in other words) and access to the rural southern highland culture which was the first (and in many ways the only) serious power acoustic flat top American guitar culture.

 

The only way we could rationalizing filling out our "table" was to make it into a retirement investment -- that was, it turned out, a financially successful thing to do. It was our love of traditional history and music that guided how we built the portfolio and economics that put limits on what we could have when.

 

I have a good Trojan story. Sometime in the 1990s, we had bought a really nice old J-35 from Atlanta Vintage Guitars. It had come out from under a bed from the time in the 30s when Atlanta was pretty much the center of country music. Well later in the early 2000s, I was watching the Canadian Antiques Road Show, and they had an old J-35 where the guy said "it might even be a Trojan." I perked up immediately and eventually found Lynn Wheelright's article about Trojans. He said in that article they they had an untapered body. Well I examined ours, and it did not pass the test -- the taper was small, but there was one. He also said that there was only one guitar where the Trojan name was matched to a FON -- 960-12. I had recorded our J-35 as (I think) 901-12 or some such. I had just glanced inside and come up with that number. Well a few years later I was photographing the bracing on our guitar, and I took a hi-res picture of the neck block. I realized it was 960-12 -- we actually had (have) the only fully documented Trojan on earth. There is a cautionary tale in there somewhere.msp_scared.gif

 

Let's pick,

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii
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I'll give it a shot.

 

I'm good at this stuff....

 

No Taylors.

 

More Bluegrass.

 

Chili !

 

[thumbup]

 

You are indeed -- you captured the essence of our roadmap (and perhaps our souls) in only 5 words.msp_biggrin.gifeusa_dance.gifeusa_dance.gif

I guess if it were only bluegrass, we would only have banjos, mandolins, and the AJ. But however flawed its narrative, we will be forever bound to the folk revival as well -- the music of our youth. So we have small bodied Gibson flat tops as well. Here are a few from the 1930s.Wks2ioT.jpg

 

And Zoos.

Zoos.jpg

 

Let's pick,

-Tom

 

 

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Well I guess we are just old. I don't feel all that old. By 40 years ago, we had already lived quite a bit. I had started playing around 60 years ago, and bought my first Gibson -- an LG-1 just because it was a Gibson -- a couple of years later. Not much later -- certainly more than 50 years ago -- I hooked up with my wife, and we played most of the 60s around Boston as amateur "folk musicians." Everyone did. By 50 years ago, that genre was already dying, I had a Ph.D. and had been doing research in acoustics for 5 years already, and (in a state of musical mourning) we went up into my ancestral home in the mountains and found bluegrass. Up until then, we paid no great attention guitars -- I mean a guitar was a guitar -- but we found our mild musical style that had stood us in good stead in the 60s was almost worthless in the strong acoustic world of traditional mountsin folk and bluegrass. We could have plugged in, bought Taylors, and played in coffee houses where it was just you and the sound system, but that did not appeal to us. Why eat pablum when you can have chilli? So 40 years ago, the table was set -- I had tenure (a job in other words) and access to the rural southern highland culture which was the first (and in many ways the only) serious power acoustic flat top American guitar culture.

 

The only way we could rationalizing filling out our "table" was to make it into a retirement investment -- that was, it turned out, a financially successful thing to do. It was our love of traditional history and music that guided how we built the portfolio and economics that put limits on what we could have when.

 

 

I started out as a folkie as well. Oscar Brand lived nearby where I was raised which attracted folkies from all over so I began playing at local hootenannys. But I had already drifted into the blues trying to learn them from 78 rpm "race records" a friend of my Dads had collected. While I heard enough guys playing bluegrass, I never did get into it. Part of it was I had taught myself to play with my fingers and never got the hang of a flattpick. To this day I still have the odd habit of relying primarily on my thumb and middle finger rather than my first finger.

 

You got me trying to think though about why I got that first Gibson. I honestly did not know a Gibson from a can of tuna. I mean I knew they existed but really not much else. Plus everybody I knew who played kept telling me a Martin was the guitar to own. I first spotted the L-00 sitting in a corner of a small music shop owned by a local jazz player. The first thing that caught my eye was the burst. The second thing that got my attention was it cost less than say something like a B-25 so was doable for me. Then I picked it up. It did not take me long to figure out that low end thump and quicker decay would work out real well for me. Part of it was that I had fallen under the spell of Dave Van Ronk. Not that he played an L-00 (at least not that I knew of) but the story was in order to cut down sustain he would not change his strings until they got so old they would no longer intonate.

 

But the point I guess is I bought the guitar not because it was a Gibson or even an old Gibson. No roadmap, plan, or anything entered into it. In fact no thinking that I can recall going on at all. I bought it because I liked it. Funny thing is I have reached that point where I can afford pretty much anything I want. I always figured when I got there it would be one heck of a guitar fest. Never happened. I am more likely to buy a Harmony or a Kay while the Gibsons I have been thinking about have either been refinished or are basket cases. Old habits die hard.

Edited by zombywoof
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Tom / ZW,

 

Just wondering... are there any out there you still long for, or do you just see how opportunity happens?

 

(and ps - this is my internal thought process looking at your pictures ;) geeze i'd like some time trying out those j's, a good chunk of time, each one needs some good time. that one in the middle, in front of the natural one, has a big neck - gotta try that one. I hope tom has recently changed all the strings (and likes PB). well yeah but look at those small bodied ones - they deserve their due - gotta make sure to allocate time to them, what songs should I have ready for them? I do hope zombie's at the party because he's got a cf100 and 12 string I want to try... those 2 at least, and then - well I got to go back to those j's, those j's need a lot of time. I might of had too much coffee this morning...

 

 

- billroy

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BillRoy-am wondering if perhaps you are confusing guitar collecting (or vintage guitar collecting) with playing guitar. In my case, I am both a guitar collector (primarily Gibsons and vintage) and a guitar player. While I ultimately play every guitar I collect at some point, that is not the same as having some guitars in my collection that I regularly playing (such as my gigging guitar,a guitar I use for jams, a guitar I use for travel, etc.). Some people collect model trains, some civil war memorabilia, some guitars, some vintage guitars. Guitar collecting (vintage, used, or new) has its pleasures, going to guitar shows, the hunt of a certain guitar, shop talk with other collectors, etc.). Playing guitar also had its own set of pleasures. Sometimes the two intermingle, sometimes they have their own paths.

 

Just my .02.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Tom / ZW,

 

Just wondering... are there any out there you still long for, or do you just see how opportunity happens?

 

(and ps - this is my internal thought process looking at your pictures ;) geeze i'd like some time trying out those j's, a good chunk of time, each one needs some good time. that one in the middle, in front of the natural one, has a big neck - gotta try that one. I hope tom has recently changed all the strings (and likes PB). well yeah but look at those small bodied ones - they deserve their due - gotta make sure to allocate time to them, what songs should I have ready for them? I do hope zombie's at the party because he's got a cf100 and 12 string I want to try... those 2 at least, and then - well I got to go back to those j's, those j's need a lot of time. I might of had too much coffee this morning...

 

 

- billroy

 

 

I am not a collector. I am an accumulator. There is no rhyme or reason for what I choose to live with. I was just as thrilled when I got the call from a friend telling me he had a 1956 Harmony H-40 I could have as I was when I stumbled on my 1942 J-50. I figure if I ever stop feeling that way it might be time to hang it up.

 

As for guitars I would like to snag, my problem is I tend to get intrigued by guitars or perhaps the idea of certain guitars. Sometimes it works out great, other times not so great (a certain Kaywood Amplifying Guitar comes to mind). But I would say it would probably be a J-35. Most mid-rangey guitar I have ever held in my hands. Thing is I am too lazy to work at finding one so will wait till one falls into my lap.

 

And, as a side note, the CF-100E is on the chopping block. I will give Gibson folks a good deal. I am trying to live by the two out one in code. I just sold my pre-War 12 string so one down.

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