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Old? New? What to do?


KKV
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Hi All.

I mostly play acoustic of late, but started my Gibson relationship with a Les Paul Custom made in 1981.   Heavy beast, but I love it.  Have spent the last several years playing more acoustic in church settings and local venues.  I'm also a vocalist and a strummer and not much of a picker.  My Guild of 20 years has a neck issue and I'm not sure the cost of repair (and no guarantee of repair) is worth it.

I'm up to date on the Gibson journey from Guitar Maker to "Lifestyle Audio Company" and whatever other roads they tried to find.  I'm down with Ren Ferguson's legacy and what that meant to the brand.  I'm also down with the bankruptcy issue and that leads me to my question.

I'm looking at a 2016 J29 (mahogany / rosewood) which is new.  I'm also looking at a 2005 Songwriter Studio (Walnut / rosewood) and could be happy with either. And I get it...whatever feels good in the hand and feels right is the right choice.  I'm more curious if anyone can talk about what Gibson might have been experiencing in 2005 versus 2016 in terms of materials and craftsmanship.  Was 2005 a good material and "happy maker" time?  Was 2016 more tortured as the company was spiraling financially with perhaps lesser materials and builder morale?  Am I over thinking this?

I'm in the $2K range and while I've seen some J35 and J45's out there...that don't feel right to me.

Appreciate any feedback on this quandry.

KKV

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Get what you can afford. Play it before you buy if at all possible or try to have a return policy.  Be patient. You should be able to find a used J-45 for 2k. 

What Guild and what is wrong with the neck?  Almost anything can be fixed. Those things are build like tanks. I just sold  a 32 year old one and it could stop a rhino charging full on if whacked it in the snoot.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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Among my Gibson acoustics, I can get pretty close to the years you're considering.  I have a LG-1 limited edition (with LG-2 bracing) made in 2006, and a J-50 'custom shop' made in 2015.  My observation would be that the basic build-quality is very similar.

Other forum members may be able to provide specifics, but in general I would think the essential workings of the shop floor did not change much after Ren's departure.

Hope whatever you end up with is a winner!

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I find that since Ren Furgeson's revival of the acoustics department Gibson make their best, most consistent acoustic guitars with all the knowledge, techniques, and foresight of modern luthiers but never forgetting their rich legacy.

Speaking of Ren...

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tl2q6Fm.jpg

u33IrFE.jpg

8zdU57N.jpg

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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11 hours ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

Get what you can afford. Play it before you buy if at all possible or try to have a return policy.  Be patient. You should be able to find a used J-45 for 2k. 

What Guild and what is wrong with the neck?  Almost anything can be fixed. Those things are build like tanks. I just sold  a 32 year old one and it could stop a rhino charging full on if whacked it in the snoot.

It was explained to me that the neck has developed a twist.   High E and B strings between frets 7 and 10 do not ring clean and are making contact with the frets in front and behind.  ( if that makes sense.).  The repair would be a full neck removal and because Guilds are tanks as you suggest it would be a gnarly effort with no guarantee for a perfect outcome.   In the interim I am having the saddle replaced with hopes for more clearance to buy some time.  

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13 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

Yeah twists are bad. Can you level those frets to get anymore clearance?

Tech has it and working on it.  We shall see.   I’ve got the bug now so I think even with a reasonable repair I’m still itchy for a Gibson to acquire.   The 2005 Songwriter Deluxe is very clean and I’m staring at it.   Any thoughts on age of wood for a 15 year old guitar versus something newer?   They do mellow with time yes?    Appreciate the input.   Happy Holidays all.   

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 I will let others far more experienced with Bozeman-made guitars fill you in on happy times and materials and such.   With regard to your Guild, while yours was built  under Fender ownership it was still birthed in the Westerly, RI factory  which would only remain open for another two years.   How much work to deal with the neck depends on whether it is the truss rod or the neck wood which is  twisted.   Not sure why the heavier build impacts ease or difficulty  of repair.  A dovetail joint is a dovetail joint.  But I addition to dealing with the saddle you might try putzing with the truss rod.

 

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4 hours ago, Leonard McCoy said:

I find that since Ren Furgeson's revival of the acoustics department Gibson make their best, most consistent acoustic guitars with all the knowledge, techniques, and foresight of modern luthiers but never forgetting their rich legacy.

Speaking of Ren...

rSkT74g.jpg

xUqHc7B.jpg

tl2q6Fm.jpg

u33IrFE.jpg

8zdU57N.jpg

What a treasure!

Red 333

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Regardless of when the guitar was made, what materials the guitar is made out of or what the company was going through at any particular period in time, what's most important, as you pointed out already, is how the guitar feels and sounds in YOUR hands. 

I'd much prefer a guitar that was from one of Gibsons worst periods historically as long as it sounded and felt amazing, over a guitar that came from a supposed high point in the company's history that sounds like garbage. 

Edited by sbpark
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Anything from '89 onwards (Bozeman era) is generally going to be a well put together instrument with decent tone. I've owned a ton of Gibsons from this era and have come across very few duff examples. My advice would be to get it in your hands and make sure you love it before you shell out.

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