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tpbiii

Eary birds report -- 1962 Hummingbird and 1965 Dove

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Hi all.  I promised to do this earlier, although these were discussed somewhat in the   Hummingbird Scalloped X-bracing  thread. 

My late wife and I collected vintage instruments both as a retirement investment and as a passion for traditional and folk revival music.  I have about 50 pre 1969 Gibsons and an equal number of Martins.  A major focus for us was the power instruments of the golden era (c 1930-1944).  As an example, her are (most of) my Gibson J size guitars.

a1qEaZG.jpg

The dates on these are 35, 35, 36, 36, 37, 40 (not shown), 43, 43, 43, 44, 53, 54, 62 (Hummingbird) and 65 (Dove).  So the Birds are the only post 1954 guitars.

To me there is a major break in 1955 (when Gibson quit scalloping the braces) -- before that they still sort of qualified as powerful vintage guitars -- after that they were folk revival guitars, and we used a different yard stick.  Folk revival music -- which was dear to our hearts -- was relatively mild and inclusive (on average), and most of the instruments used were often mild -- and cheap.   So we grabbed the HB and Dove (years ago) when we had a chance.

The history of acoustic flat top guitars from the big bang in the early 30s to the late 60s was a story of ever less powerful guitars.  This was generally true -- for Gibson, Martin and others alike.  Also as sound reinforcement and pickups became more common, raw power was less important.   The increasing popularity of these instruments caused manufacturers to make them ever heavier and stronger -- thus reducing sound.  A I said the cutoff for me was 1955 -- after that I used a different  "folk revival" standard.  My late wife and I played traditional bluegrass and folk revival music for 50+ years, but we never confused the two.

So both the Dove and the HB  are comparatively mild instruments.  But they are still substantively powerful compared to the late 60s and way more powerful than the 1970.  My sister has a 1972 Dove she bought new, and the 65 Dove eats its lunch -- everything is relative.  In the 1970s, it was hard to find GOOD guitars, which really started the vintage craze!  On these two instruments, the HB had a plastic bridge and adjustable RW saddle and Dove has a tune-o-matic bridge -- basically electric guitar technology where Gibson was focused at the time.  For people who wanted the power of the past, both of these guitars were often modified with new bridges and saddles.  We did put a ivory saddle in the HB for awhile, but it hardened the tone and for us took away the 60s vibe we loved  -- and we already had lots of more powerful Gibsons with harder tone.

Here are some pictures.

Eh9WA3T.jpgBhtXe1V.jpg

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As it turned out, the Hummingbird was a major advantage for us because it did stuff its more powerful cousins did not.  First of course to our folkie ears, it sound better for that materials.  Also it recorded really well -- something that the more iconic instruments are well known not to do. 

We made many 100s of videos -- I have over 1000 on line.  These were mostly demos of vintage guitars, a few shows, and lots of what you might call practices -- we just wanted to hear what we sounded like before we took😎 it on the road.

We used the HB to do folk materials and we also used it to do "bluegrass light" where we use less powerful vintage instruments so as to not overpower the room.  Maple is a bit more problematic -- just because most Gibson maple flat tops are laminated (even in the 30s and 40s) and maple does not cut as well as mahogany in acoustic string bands.  Nevertheless there are lots of places it excels -- particularly for solo stuff.

I have to cook dinner now -- microwave here I come.  When I get back, I will post more examples than anyone could possible want.

All the best,

-Tom

 

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I have no words...well just G.A.S!!!  lol  Congratulations!!the 63 Hummingbird cherry  wow...

Amazing collection!

 

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Well I am back.  Like I say, I have a lot of videos -- always "practices" because these guitars have never been on stage as far as I remember.

As I said before, we used the Hummingbird as a strumming folk instrument, as the rhythm guitar in bluegrass light practice recording session, and most recently for some solo and on-line jamming stuff.  First as many of you know, many years ago I made a short "standard" demo for all of our guitars.  Here is the Hummingbird.

 

 
 
Here is a link to all the large guitar demos and small guitar demos (for those with time to burn)
 
Here is a folk example
 
 
 
And a bluegrass light example

 

 
 
There are lots more of both here.
 
And my final current project example - on-line pandemic collaboration preparing to jam when the covid vaccine is here.
These are the parts.

 

Basic solo

Solo with harmony from Texas

Solo plus harmony (Texas), mandolin (Symrna GA) and harmonica (me)
 
This is work-in-progress -- here is a lot more.  If you want to participate,  grab a cut and record an audio or video a with audio track, and I'll work it in.  Then if we ever meet, we will be ready to go.😉
 
I am going to save this now so I won't lose it.  I'll be back to talk about the Dove.
Best,
-Tom
Edited by tpbiii
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OK, I have much less recorded materials on the Dove.  I really like it best when it is by itself -- I have that bias for most maple flat tops.

Here is its basic demo from the demo set with the link above.

 

 
Here is an interesting comparison between a 65 F25, 62 Hummingbird, 65 Dove, and 59 LG-1
 
 
 
Here are a couple of folk revival example.
 


 
Note the amazing F25.  Also I am sort of bonded to the LG-1 because that is the same model and at least nearly the same year as I owned in the 60s.
 
Let's pick,
-Tom
That's it for now.
Let's pick,
-Tom
Edited by tpbiii
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On 10/25/2020 at 8:25 PM, tpbiii said:

Well I am back.  Like I say, I have a lot of videos -- always "practices" because these guitars have never been on stage as far as I remember.

As I said before, we used the Hummingbird as a strumming folk instrument, as the rhythm guitar in bluegrass light practice recording session, and most recently for some solo and on-line jamming stuff.  First as many of you know, many years ago I made a short "standard" demo for all of our guitars.  Here is the Hummingbird.

 

 
 
Here is a link to all the large guitar demos and small guitar demos (for those with time to burn)
 
Here is a folk example
 
 
 
And a bluegrass light example

 

 
 
There are lots more of both here.
 
And my final current project example - on-line pandemic collaboration preparing to jam when the covid vaccine is here.
These are the parts.

 

Basic solo

Solo with harmony from Texas

Solo plus harmony (Texas), mandolin (Symrna GA) and harmonica (me)
 
This is work-in-progress -- here is a lot more.  If you want to participate,  grab a cut and record an audio or video a with audio track, and I'll work it in.  Then if we ever meet, we will be ready to go.😉
 
I am going to save this now so I won't lose it.  I'll be back to talk about the Dove.
Best,
-Tom

Hey Tom,  What's the purpose of that sleeve you wear on your strumming arms some time?  Is it to protect the guiars, or other reasons?

Rgds - br

 

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It is to protect the guitars.  For much of the year I live in Georgia and at least before the pandemic I attended lots of outdoor events in heat and high humidity.  It is not unusual to come off a summer bluegrass stage so wet from sweat it is like coming out of a shower!  That is no exaggeration.  More playing is done off stage with hours and hours of jamming.  Since during most of my life, the guitars were also an investment, I also needed to protect their condition -- whatever it was.  The arm covering helps to keep the guitar dry and clean.  Guitar playing often generates sweat.

I also have several of these.  They slip on and off, and they keep the backs dry.

5KwQJBV.jpg

  Also the excellent cosmetic condition instruments only went to more benign  places -- so the equally good sounding player grade instruments got a lot more action.  The Birds are not really great bluegrass instruments,  but I have several 30s slopes that are!  I love the impact they have in bluegrass!  Also many genres are played in bluegrass parking lots -- particularly as you get farther from the southern highlands.

1935 Jumbo player

5t5lxI0.jpg

Best,

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii

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Not the first time I visit your rich well of videos. The Dove takes gold here. Don't ever underestimate a Tune-o-matic saddle. 

A hep to your musical wife as well - she may be listening. 

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The Dove surprised me for some reason, but I don't know why. I like Doves, near as I can tell. It did certainly have character. Nice!

Tom, thanks for posting another nice mini-tours of your retirement portfolio. Good times.

 

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Tom, every time you post regarding your collection and equally impressive voluminous work over the decades in helping to define this era of acoustic guitars -  I get knocked off my feet again.   That H'Bird looks like it should be in a museum.  Hope you got some background on it's early years - 'provenance'.  You and your wife are to be commended for this.   And, I understand your aside re. 'bonding' with your LG1.   I had a '64  for 40 years. My only guitar ... in my 'formative years'.   You be we bonded.   Gave it to my son. Breking Up Is Hard  To Do !    

Thank You ! . 

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4 hours ago, fortyearspickn said:

Tom, every time you post regarding your collection and equally impressive voluminous work over the decades in helping to define this era of acoustic guitars -  I get knocked off my feet again.   That H'Bird looks like it should be in a museum.  Hope you got some background on it's early years - 'provenance'.  You and your wife are to be commended for this.   And, I understand your aside re. 'bonding' with your LG1.   I had a '64  for 40 years. My only guitar ... in my 'formative years'.   You be we bonded.   Gave it to my son. Breking Up Is Hard  To Do !    

Thank You ! . 

 

I'm lucky to still have the J-45 that I bought when a sophomore in college, almost 55 years ago. It's hard not to bond to a guitar with those kinds of memories attached to it. I'm starting to worry about what will happen to it when I shuffle off this mortal coil, which I hope is still some years in the future.

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7 minutes ago, j45nick said:

I'm lucky to still have the J-45 that I bought when a sophomore in college, almost 55 years ago. It's hard not to bond to a guitar with those kinds of memories attached to it. I'm starting to worry about what will happen to it when I shuffle off this mortal coil, which I hope is still some years in the future.

Let it not happen soon. Did burning the old guitar ever cross your thoughts, , , if I can be that free. . 

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24 minutes ago, E-minor7 said:

Let it not happen soon. Did burning the old guitar ever cross your thoughts, , , if I can be that free. . 

No, I would rather find someone who would appreciate it.

I've seen wealthy people who order treasured old family yachts sunk when they die, several of which were brilliant examples of design and construction that could never be replicated. I've always thought it was selfish to do things like that, unless there was literally no alternative.

Granted than one old highly-modified 1950  J-45 wouldn't be much of a loss to the world, but still...

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2 hours ago, j45nick said:

No, I would rather find someone who would appreciate it.

Can only follow that philosophy - somehow your spirit and the songs played on the instrument travel further that way.                                                                                                                                                                 Still leaving its story on a note in a small leather sleeve wouldn't be a bad idea. .

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7 hours ago, fortyearspickn said:

Tom, every time you post regarding your collection and equally impressive voluminous work over the decades in helping to define this era of acoustic guitars -  I get knocked off my feet again.   That H'Bird looks like it should be in a museum.  Hope you got some background on it's early years - 'provenance'.  You and your wife are to be commended for this.   And, I understand your aside re. 'bonding' with your LG1.   I had a '64  for 40 years. My only guitar ... in my 'formative years'.   You be we bonded.   Gave it to my son. Breking Up Is Hard  To Do !    

Thank You ! . 

Mine was stolen out my office at Georgia Tech.  Otherwise I am pretty sure I would still have it.  I did rescue a 59 LG-1.

Best,

-Tom

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