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Modern L-00 variants


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Hello everyone, 

I was playing my Lg-2 this evening and was thinking about the tonal differences between it and a similar L-00. But then I wondered what all is out there for L-00 made now or in recent years past and what all the differences are. 
I know currently there’s something like a Studio, Standard (like a 50’s Lg2?), Sustainable and maybe another? And in recent past there’s been Blues King and others. 
Basically what’s the difference between them? are some particularly more sought after than others? 

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, CJB said:

Hello everyone, 

I was playing my Lg-2 this evening and was thinking about the tonal differences between it and a similar L-00. But then I wondered what all is out there for L-00 made now or in recent years past and what all the differences are. 
I know currently there’s something like a Studio, Standard (like a 50’s Lg2?), Sustainable and maybe another? And in recent past there’s been Blues King and others. 
Basically what’s the difference between them? are some particularly more sought after than others? 

Thanks!

Lots of varieties in recent years.  I have a 2010 L-OO Legend, which is the highest of the high-end versions.

It is an exact copy of a specific 1937 L-OO, with adi top, accurate vintage appointments such as interior fabric side stays, Madagascar  board and bridge, and all hide glue construction.

They have recently made other models that have 90% of those features for substantially less money.

There are probably people here that have some of those other models, and can comment.

I bought mine after spending more than a year looking for a really good vintage L-OO, and being generally less than happy with what I found in the vintage market for substantially more money.

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3 minutes ago, CJB said:

Good info, guys.  Thanks. 

@Dave F my understanding was that the L-00 is a short scale guitar as well as the LG2.  Is this not right?

The typical L-OO, like my Legend, is short scale. I just measured mine to confirm. I don't know if there are any long-scale variants.

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14 minutes ago, CJB said:

Good info, guys.  Thanks. 

@Dave F my understanding was that the L-00 is a short scale guitar as well as the LG2.  Is this not right?

L-00 and LG-2 are both 24.75 scale. The LG-2 doesn't seem to be as pinched at the waist as the L-00 is.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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7 minutes ago, j45nick said:

The typical L-OO, like my Legend, is short scale. I just measured mine to confirm. I don't know if there are any long-scale variants.

I owned a 1994 Blues King which was the full 25.5" long scale...that's why I bought it, as (before I fell ill at least) long scale suits my big hands better. 

Having said that, short scale suits the L-00 better tonally in my experience. Warmer and less "tight" sounding. My short scale 2009 Blues King was sweeter sounding than the long scale '94.

I've had a couple of LGs in the past, and would say that the pinched waist and small upper bout of an L00 gives them a much more mid-forward tonal characteristic. Bottom end is good but not massive, trebles are a little sharper and less lyrical than the warm, folky top end of the LGs, and it's all about that big, juicy, very musical midrange. 

An LG2 is almost like someone zoomed in and cropped a J45, both sonically and visually. They are sweet, focused strummers and very warm, mellow fingerpickers. Much more versatile than an L-00 but perhaps less characterful. 

The L-00 Legend is a wonderful, wonderful guitar...back in 2010, a dear friend lent me hers for six months and I lent her my Blues King, so we could compare. I was so sad to see it go, it was leagues ahead of my BK and an astonishing instrument. The current crop of Walnut L-00s are very nice too, much more affordable than a Legend and really sweet. I love Walnut as a tonewood and it brings out some lovely treble overtones in the L-00 body which aren't there in the Mahogany/Bubinga iterations. 

If I was buying new, it would be a close call between a modern LG2 and a Walnut L-00. Certainly a nice quandary to have if you're considering going shopping!

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Thanks again guys!  

I love the 'big little guitar' sound of my LG2 and mainly attribute that to the body thickness and less squeezed waist.  Isn't the L-00 more like 4" at the tail block?

I have enjoyed the few Studio L-00 I've played and like the walnut but one thing I don't understand is the 16" fretboard radius when it seems the others are all 12".  Unfortunately if I were to be in the market for one that would be a deal breaker for me.  

One thing I enjoy about the L-00 is that they, like @Jindersaid, have a definite character to them. More snappy to my ear.  

Again, thanks for the conversation and information guys! 

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The L-00, of course, had a wider lower bout so a bit more real estate than the LG.  The key to the Advanced L body guitars though was first they  had a  very light build  and second the slight taper non-scalloped bracing that was used .  These guitars have a raw power  where the notes leap off the strings loudly but then quickly get out of their own way.   While I do not know about Dave's LE as far as I do know the Legend version was Bozeman's only attempt to duplicate a 1930s build.  

This is not a good or a bad thing just different.  I actually like the modern versions of the L00 particularly the 12 fret versions they have come out with.  They ring out longer and are  richer in overtones/harmonics but not over the top so.  I have not laid hands on enough Bozeman-made LG2s though to compare them.

 

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52 minutes ago, Jinder said:

I owned a 1994 Blues King which was the full 25.5" long scale...that's why I bought it, as (before I fell ill at least) long scale suits my big hands better. 

Having said that, short scale suits the L-00 better tonally in my experience. Warmer and less "tight" sounding. My short scale 2009 Blues King was sweeter sounding than the long scale '94.

 

 One of the most sought after versions of the J35s remains the early Custom Shop runs which also had a long scale.  

Edited by zombywoof
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Here's some links to some recent runs (including mine) with some showing the scale length. The majority of them are 25". The Studio is the only 24.75" that I found in this group.

For my comparison small body wise besides the '32 RI, I have a '42 LG1, '94 Centennial LC Century, Nick Lucas RW 12 fret, L1 F-hole, and a custom non-Gibson L00. My favorites are the '32 RI, '42 LG1 and the Nick Lucas.

http://legacy.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/2014/1932-L-00.aspx       (Mine)

http://legacy.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/2018/L-00-Vintage.aspx

http://legacy.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/2018/L-00-12-Fret-Rosewood.aspx

http://legacy.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/2017/L-00-Standard.aspx

http://legacy.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/2019/L-00-Studio-2019.aspx

 

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1 hour ago, CJB said:

 

I love the 'big little guitar' sound of my LG2 and mainly attribute that to the body thickness and less squeezed waist.  Isn't the L-00 more like 4" at the tail block?

 

 

My L-OO body  is 4.375" at the tail block, 3.5" at the neck block.

For comparison, my all-original 1950 J-45 (as opposed to my other re-topped 1950 J-45)  is just under 4.875" at the tail block, and 3.875" at the neck block.  (Just measured these to verify.)

Don't know how those numbers compare to the LG-series guitars.

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I just measured  the scale on my '32 L1 and it is 24 3/4" which is what the Fabulous Flattop Book states Gibson went to with the L series in 1931 or1932.   The body depth at the neck and tail block though is a bit less than j45nick's L00.

Edited by zombywoof
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I’ve played a studio, standard and a deluxe, and I think I’ve also briefly tried out a sustainable as well. To my ears the standard was a noticeable step up in tone from the studio, fuller richer sweeter etc. The deluxe I didn’t think sounded any “better” than a standard and visually it didn’t appeal. So I went with the standard. This was before the original series was released, which I think is a standard with a few cosmetic changes 

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My first Gibson acoustic was my 2005 Gibson Blues King L-00, still have it and love it but really, it is not much like my real 1937 L-0....different woods, different neck, different bracing, different tuners, different...everything! 15 years on, it is a really nice sounding guitar but probably the cynical could say Gibson are making something to sell, instead of an accurate model L-00. And the current models are the same guitar really... a new, modern guitar shaped like an L-00, sort of.

When Collings brought out the Waterloo WL-14 models, I played the X braced model in the shop and thought: "Yep, that is what I wanted all along!" Bought it! And later, bought the ladder braced model, modeled on the Kalamazoo KG-14. Both these sound 'older' than my old guitars! Fat V necks like a 35 Gibson!

Here is the review from 2015 that got me hopping!

https://www.musicradar.com/reviews/acoustic/waterloo-wl-14-x-615994

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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So looking through the links @Dave F provided above as well as a few others I found the following details for the variations listed on the Gibson site:

1932 L-00 : adi/mahogany, 1.75" nut w/ 1930's V shape, 12" radius, long saddle, top binding only, (made in 2014, LTD?)

L-00 Vintage: adi/mahogany, 1.75" nut w/ v shape neck, 16" radius, long saddle, top binding only

L-00 Vintage: identical to above but 12" radius, case with blue lining(?)

L-00 12 fret rosewood: sitka/rosewood, 1.75" nut w/ V shape neck, 16" radius, gold tuners

L-00 Standard sunburst (there are two different ones listed): sitka/mahogany, no scale listed*, 1.725" nut w/ slim taper profile, Grover tuners, black nut, 16" radius

L-00 Standard sunburst or ebony finish: same as above but with a 24.75" scale, 12" radius, different tuners

L-00 Studio walnut and rosewood b/s option, sitka top: 24.75" scale, 1.725" nut advance response profile, 16" radius, natural or burst finish

L-00 Blues King: sitka/bubinga, 24.75" scale, 1.725 comfort contour neck, gig bag

L-00 Elvis Costello: Adi/flame maple, 24.75" scale, 1.77 nut vintage V shape, pearloid fretboard, other super fancy stuff

L-00 Keb Mo Blues Master: adi/mahogany, 12 fret neck, belly bridge, 1.805 nut, 12" radius, 25" scale

L-00 Sustainable: sitka/walnut, 24.75" scale, 1.725" nut slim taper, 12" radius

L-00 Deluxe: LTD 2019, sitka/rosewood, 24.75" scale, 1.725" nut slim taper profile, 12" radius

L-00 Acacia and Mystic: either acacia or mystic rosewood/sitka, no scale listed, 1.725" nut slim taper, 12" radius

I'm sure there are more but this is what I could find info on.  

So, looking at these, there are some similarities and subtle differences.  Some with the exact same names but one important difference (i.e. the L-00 Vintage with 12" radius which I find most appealing).  Kinda crazy to look at all these.  

That's all for now.  

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4 hours ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

My first Gibson acoustic was my 2005 Gibson Blues King L-00, still have it and love it but really, it is not much like my real 1937 L-0....different woods, different neck, different bracing, different tuners, different...everything! 15 years on, it is a really nice sounding guitar but probably the cynical could say Gibson are making something to sell, instead of an accurate model L-00. And the current models are the same guitar really... a new, modern guitar shaped like an L-00, sort of.

When Collings brought out the Waterloo WL-14 models, I played the X braced model in the shop and thought: "Yep, that is what I wanted all along!" Bought it! And later, bought the ladder braced model, modeled on the Kalamazoo KG-14. Both these sound 'older' than my old guitars! Fat V necks like a 35 Gibson!

Here is the review from 2015 that got me hopping!

https://www.musicradar.com/reviews/acoustic/waterloo-wl-14-x-615994

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

 

I've owned and tried several Waterloos (thanks to your reviews!) but have not been able to try a ladder braced WL14.  I may have to do a little searching for one.

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1 hour ago, CJB said:

 

I've owned and tried several Waterloos (thanks to your reviews!) but have not been able to try a ladder braced WL14.  I may have to do a little searching for one.

 

I played my WL-14L in my lunch break - instant Robert Johnson tone for some people but I was playing fingerpicking parts of some holiday songs from Acoustic Guitar Magazine for a while - they only gave us half the song and then you had to buy. But I found some more holiday tunes elsewhere online and the ladder braced just cries out a melody - whatever makes them good for that is the same thing that makes them great for slide guitar. I play bare fingers and can't imagine liking a pick on these guitars - would be too raspy.

One way to describe the difference between new Gibson L-00s and old ones is the old 30s models are 'Dry' while the Blues King L-00 is 'Wet'. Somehow the Waterloo WL-14s are 'Dry' as well - no idea how but thanks to Bill Collings! Gibson la modern don't seem interested but Collings make many Waterloo models of old Gibson styles.

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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10 hours ago, CJB said:

 

I've owned and tried several Waterloos (thanks to your reviews!) but have not been able to try a ladder braced WL14.  I may have to do a little searching for one.

 

You might try  the Waterloo take on the Kel Kroyden.   From what I gather with a truss rod they still only clock in at around three pounds.   

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@zombywoof I owned one for a few weeks earlier this year and loved it.  Such a responsive guitar with a fantastic tone - was sad to let it go.  Mine was just under 3 pounds and had that dry bark of a guitar much older.  

 
I'm wondering if there are any tonal similarities between the WL-14L and the WL-14Mh - as in if the ladder braced tone somehow resembles a mahogany top tone?  Or if that's just crazy thinking. I've played a WL-14MH and really enjoyed it and is what got me to be interested in Waterloo's to begin with.  @BluesKing777 have you compared a WL-14Mh with yours?

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8 hours ago, CJB said:

@zombywoof I owned one for a few weeks earlier this year and loved it.  Such a responsive guitar with a fantastic tone - was sad to let it go.  Mine was just under 3 pounds and had that dry bark of a guitar much older.  

 
I'm wondering if there are any tonal similarities between the WL-14L and the WL-14Mh - as in if the ladder braced tone somehow resembles a mahogany top tone?  Or if that's just crazy thinking. I've played a WL-14MH and really enjoyed it and is what got me to be interested in Waterloo's to begin with.  @BluesKing777 have you compared a WL-14Mh with yours?

 

I did play a WL-14Mh for a mo.....honest thoughts were: "I want it, I want it, but....I surely can't buy another Waterloo the same shape as my..........can I?"

The one I played was much 'smoother' sounding than my ladder braced.

Here are a couple of Artisan Guitar videos:

 

 

Some 12 fretters!:

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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@BluesKing777 - that's pretty funny.  I just found those videos about an hour ago. Very educational too!   I'm with you on the WL-14Mh - that was the first Waterloo I tried and loved it. Why I didn't go back for it, I don't know.  It's still for sale though.  I might have to take a socially distanced drive to check it out again to see if it's what I remember it being.  

 

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