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Thinking about Gibson L-00


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Hi Everyone, new to this forum here. First I must confess that I do not own a Gibson! I own one guitar, a Martin D15M, and it is wonderful.

 

I am posting here, however, because recently, I've been researching what I would like to buy for my second guitar (eventual purchase), and without playing, the L-00 has really stuck out to me (specifically the Standard, although I'm not married to a certain model just yet--suggestions welcome!). I'm looking for a smaller guitar that's mainly great for fingerstyle (with flesh) and also some strumming with nails. I also love the sound of mahogany, but would like to have a different soundboard such as spruce instead of all mahogany this time around. I really like the throaty, woody sound and I think it will offer something different to my Martin.

 

My four main questions are:

 

1. What can you all tell me about this guitar? My music preferences are Indie/Folk/Singer-Songwriter if that matters.

 

2. I know this has a slightly short scale, but how does it do with alternate/open tunings? My D15M is great for these and I don't do this THAT much, so not a huge deal, but would like to know nonetheless.

 

3. Why are these models lacking availability? Like I said, there don't seem to be any whatsoever in the area for me to try, and online availability even seems sporadic, whereas Martins are available everywhere.

 

4. I probably won't use it much if at all, but what can you tell me about the LR Baggs VTC pickup it comes with?

 

 

Thanks in advance for your insights!!!

Edited by FiggyPudding18
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Welcome to the forum!

 

I have a 2011 mahogany b/s L-00 Blues King, which sounds pretty similar to the L-00 standards I've played over the last few years.

 

I play it exactly as you describe - bare fingers for fingerpicking and strumming with nails and I find it the perfect guitar for this style. It's very resonant and 'alive' sounding. You can feel the notes in the neck, if that makes any sense. It's my only guitar.

 

I recently recorded and posted on this forum a couple of pieces in open tunings - 'Going To California' was recorded in double drop D, and 'Bron-Yr-Aur' was done in C6 tuning. Just scroll back a few pages and you'll get a decent impression of this guitar in open tunings.

 

Can't really comment on the availability thing. My local shop up here in Canada has an L-00 standard in now that I played last week. Have rarely used the undersaddle pickup so not much feedback for you there. Best of luck in your search!

Edited by countrybluespicker
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The L-00 is a versatile guitar, great for both fingerpicking and flatpicking. Certainly great for country blues. If you don't need a pickup, look for models without one.

 

A number of high-spec models have been built in recent years, and they can be great values as used guitars. I have an L-00 Legend--sort of the holy grail of modern L-00's--that I bought for about half the cost of a new one. And it was perfect after a little clean-up.

 

For a small guitar, it has a surprisingly big voice. It's my favorite fingerpicker.

Edited by j45nick
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My four main questions are:

 

1. What can you all tell me about this guitar? My music preferences are Indie/Folk Rock/Singer-Songwriter if that matters.

 

 

 

 

While the L-00 is my preferred size acoustic, and I have the 2007 Gibson Blues King L-00 and a number of other versions of the same size guitar including Martin CEO7, 2 Waterloo WL-14s, Maton 808s which are a deep body version of this size guitar, of different woods....I can't get past your first question...Indie/Folk Rock/Singer-Songwriter.....err, honestly - an L-00 is the wrong guitar for that totally. Hate to say it but you want a Hummingbird, old or used or new, or a J45 and its many sister guitars.

 

 

BluesKing777.

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While the L-00 is my preferred size acoustic, and I have the 2007 Gibson Blues King L-00 and a number of other versions of the same size guitar including Martin CEO7, 2 Waterloo WL-14s, Maton 808s which are a deep body version of this size guitar, of different woods....I can't get past your first question...Indie/Folk Rock/Singer-Songwriter.....err, honestly - an L-00 is the wrong guitar for that totally. Hate to say it but you want a Hummingbird, old or used or new, or a J45 and its many sister guitars.

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

Well those genres are just sort of a generalization to give a ballpark idea. I'm looking into this guitar because I already have a larger-bodied guitar and would like a smaller body mainly for finger picking--looking to do more of this than strumming in general. I like the sound so I'm not really sure how it's the "wrong" guitar.

 

If you elaborate maybe I can understand.

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Welcome to the forum!

 

I have a 2011 mahogany b/s L-00 Blues King, which sounds pretty similar to the L-00 standards I've played over the last few years.

 

I play it exactly as you describe - bare fingers for fingerpicking and strumming with nails and I find it the perfect guitar for this style. It's very resonant and 'alive' sounding. You can feel the notes in the neck, if that makes any sense. It's my only guitar.

 

I recently recorded and posted on this forum a couple of pieces in open tunings - 'Going To California' was recorded in double drop D, and 'Bron-Yr-Aur' was done in C6 tuning. Just scroll back a few pages and you'll get a decent impression of this guitar in open tunings.

 

Can't really comment on the availability thing. My local shop up here in Canada has an L-00 standard in now that I played last week. Have rarely used the undersaddle pickup so not much feedback for you there. Best of luck in your search!

 

Thanks for all this info, and for your playing and recordings! Sounds phenomenal and gave me a good idea of the guitar too!

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There are several advanced players here that can certainly play any given guitar outside of it's supposed playing style boundaries, but if you're looking for a full toned but not necessarily loud, comfortable small bod to fingerpick, this is one of your top of the list guitars. If you're somewhat of a beginner developing your style and skills, the genre of music you play might be secondary anyway, to the process of developing your own approach to songs. I hear on good authority that it takes around 10,000 hours.

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Since you have not played one, at this point the L-00 is a guitar you like the idea of. As you play an all-mahogany guitar pretty much anything with a spruce top is going to sound different. So the world is your oyster. But first, forget all the category stuff. Rather than worry about body style (other than for comfort) certain guitars will be balanced more toward the fundamental than overtones. Does a guitar that will ring out till Kingdom Come get your juices flowing or do you prefer one that has a quicker decay and blooms right out of the starting gate but then quickly gets out of its own way. Nothing good or bad about it. Just different.

Edited by zombywoof
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While I've nothing against L sized gibsons , a j45 will give you more scope , you can have the quick decay with certain strings and playing style, and you can have it sounding fuller with certain strings and playing style , although wont go as full as a Martin, I've a D28 to calm that urge when it strikes

 

Not trying to put you off , or force my opinion down your throat , merely trying to help

 

 

 

Theres a couple of examples , keep us all posted of your thoughts and the journey

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While I've nothing against L sized gibsons , a j45 will give you more scope , you can have the quick decay with certain strings and playing style, and you can have it sounding fuller with certain strings and playing style , although wont go as full as a Martin, I've a D28 to calm that urge when it strikes

 

Not trying to put you off , or force my opinion down your throat , merely trying to help

 

 

Theres a couple of examples , keep us all posted of your thoughts and the journey

 

 

Stu, those are really good examples of why the J-45 is the perfect singer's guitar. It can be as loud or subtle as you want, and it never gets in the way of your voice. It certainly goes perfectly with yours.

 

Incidentally, a version of the song you call "I was young when I left home" was the first song my high school folk trio performed back in 1964 or so. We stole it from the PP&M recording that was popular back then. We were the archetypal "two guys and a cute blonde" group that everybody and his dog put together in the early 1960's.

 

I like your version in open tuning (open D?) a lot, and think I will revisit it after almost 55 years.

 

My "new" 1950 J-45 has taken over everything, and nothing else gets played. I'm in love, again.

Edited by j45nick
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Yeah , I'm a huge Dylan fan and that's where I stole that version from

Tried it in standard tuning and it just didn't click for me

Bob's version just broke my heart and I had to learn it

Didn't even make it on any of his albums , was on his first bootleg series

It's so simple it's hard to believe , the ' I dont like it in the wind and I wanna come home again' following the verse setting up the wanting to be free just cracks me up

 

Genius stuff , love playing it

 

 

Edit , yes , open D , then capo which makes it ... er... open something

Edited by blindboygrunt
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Well those genres are just sort of a generalization to give a ballpark idea. I'm looking into this guitar because I already have a larger-bodied guitar and would like a smaller body mainly for finger picking--looking to do more of this than strumming in general.

 

Then IMO, a L-00 will be good for ya! You'll never know until you spend time with one......they can be highly addictivemsp_thumbup.gif

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I really like L-00 size guitars. They tend to look a bit odd on me (I'm 6'7" tall and built like an outhouse!) But I love the tone and feel. I've owned a couple and would love to own one again.

 

I have an ongoing shoulder issue with my rotator cuff tendon which is exacerbated by playing Jumbos all the time. I've kept an L-00 or the Epi equivalent in my rotation for many years, as cycling it in and out of gig service tends to relieve the shoulder issue.

 

At the moment I have nothing smaller than a J45 though...and my shoulder hurts like hell!

 

They're woody, throaty, snappy and very cool little guitars. Well worth a try, it may be "your" voice. It certainly is for Rodney Crowell.

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I've kept an L-00 or the Epi equivalent in my rotation for many years, as cycling it in and out of gig service tends to relieve the shoulder issue.

 

 

Have you ever played an Epi Bluesmasster? Since discontinued they have become darn near legendary and for good reason.

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Have you ever played an Epi Bluesmasster? Since discontinued they have become darn near legendary and for good reason.

 

I played one back in Hank's in Denmark St, must have been 2002ish time. Great little guitar, and was selling for peanuts secondhand, £200ish. They had taken it in as a PX I believe. I passed on it as I was impecunious at the time. I remember the neck being a big beast, but so much tone from such a small guitar! Great fun.

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I have an ongoing shoulder issue with my rotator cuff tendon which is exacerbated by playing Jumbos all the time. I've kept an L-00 or the Epi equivalent in my rotation for many years, as cycling it in and out of gig service tends to relieve the shoulder issue.

 

At the moment I have nothing smaller than a J45 though...and my shoulder hurts like hell!

 

 

Do you no longer have your early incarnation of the EL-00 in your collection?

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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Hi Figgy! I was responding to you on the other forum, good to see you getting some good advice here as well. I would not trade my L-00 for a Martin 00, frankly, I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I'm not trying to steer your answer one way or the other. Both probably great guitars, ideally, you would be able to A/B them both but I understand that it's not easy to do that.

 

I traded a Rickenbacker electric for my L-00, and that was a leap of faith and I was nervous about it (I liked the Ric, didn't love it). But all that went away pretty much immediately when I played with the L-00. For one, mine is an amazingly well playing instrument, not sure if that is common to the L-00 world or not but it plays like a dream. I do have six other Gibson acoustics and they all play great, but the L-00 still stands out.

 

Sound is subjective, but like I say, the L-00 has a haunting, dry and woody quality to it. It is an old fashioned sound but still a versatile guitar, I used a flatpick on mine for some recording and you'd never know that it wasn't a different guitar.

 

But when you want it to be, you can really make it sound like an old school sort of thing.

 

The Martins are great, but I've been noticing that they do a bright, in your face and modern sound a lot these days, and they do that very well. It's a great sound. But, if I wanted that sound, I really wouldn't want it from a 00 sized instrument, you know?

 

Just a few thoughts over here.

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Do you no longer have your early incarnation of the EL-00 in your collection?

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

Alas not, a friend took a shine to it and persuaded me to sell it! It went to a good home, but I wish it was still in mine.

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As a singer/songwriter looking for a small-bodied Gibson, I went through this same decision process a few years ago, and ultimately decided on an LG2 American Eagle instead of the L-00. It has the small body comfort, but the LG2 is a much better strummer IMO, and comes very close to a J-35 in terms of tone. It's no slouch as a fingerstyler,  either. 

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5 minutes ago, Charliehorse said:

As a singer/songwriter looking for a small-bodied Gibson, I went through this same decision process a few years ago, and ultimately decided on an LG2 American Eagle instead of the L-00. It has the small body comfort, but the LG2 is a much better strummer IMO, and comes very close to a J-35 in terms of tone. It's no slouch as a fingerstyler,  either. 

That's a pretty good summary. The LG-2 was essentially the replacement for the L-OO in the Gibson line-up back around 1942-'43. It is somewhere between the L series and slope-J body size and proportions, and is a good choice for someone who likes to both strum and fingerpick, but wants a smaller-size guitar.

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7 hours ago, Charliehorse said:

As a singer/songwriter looking for a small-bodied Gibson, I went through this same decision process a few years ago, and ultimately decided on an LG2 American Eagle instead of the L-00. It has the small body comfort, but the LG2 is a much better strummer IMO, and comes very close to a J-35 in terms of tone. It's no slouch as a fingerstyler,  either. 

 

I had an LG2 AE for a while too. Really lovely little guitar, sweet and punchy but tucks behind a vocal beautifully. I really wish I still had mine, it was a few years ago and I can't even remember what I traded it for now. 

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7 hours ago, Jinder said:

 

I had an LG2 AE for a while too. Really lovely little guitar, sweet and punchy but tucks behind a vocal beautifully. I really wish I still had mine, it was a few years ago and I can't even remember what I traded it for now. 

Same here! Great little Gibson![thumbup]

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