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NGD...Gibsonish related!


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Hi all,

             In my ongoing recovery from the various health nightmares that have befallen my poor self this year (cue sad violins whilst I gaze forlornly out to sea 🤣), I've been desperate to start playing again. My long scale guitars are a bit of a stretch for my hands and make playing quite painful after a few mins due to the deterioration of the connective tissue in my joints.  I've tried tuning down and capoing up, lighter strings etc but it all just felt like a workaround rather than proper playing and rehabilitation. 

I have thought for a while that an inexpensive small bodied, short scale (24.7" or so) guitar would be a good choice for a practice workhorse to enable me to build my hands back up with as little pain or discomfort as possible. I started looking around online, and found, in one of my favourite local stores, both the new Epiphone EJ200 Coupe parlour and an intriguing Sigma copy of a CF100. 

After visiting the hospital for my last dose of a two month regimen of nuclear strength antibiotics this morning, it felt like a good time to go along and see whether either guitar would suit my needs. My partner Amy kindly drove me over to the store (I'm still off the road due to risk of seizures etc), and I gave both a lengthy test run. The Epi was very nice and beautifully finished, loud and present with a slightly shy bass that sounded likely to blossom with some playing time. The string spacing at the bridge was a little tight for me, but the guitar was very good, and ridiculous value for money at the sale price they had it up for. 

However, the Sigma was absolutely magic. Really beautiful fit and finish, perfect neck, very responsive and lightly built, just great all round. It was more expensive than the Epi but felt like it was absolutely worth the upcharge. I've always enjoyed Sigma guitars and have always taken the time to try a few whenever I visit a guitar shop since coming across an LG2 copy (sadly already sold at the time, but not marked as such) a few years ago which deeply impressed me. 

This is the first time I've bought one, however...the store offered me a great deal on it, including a TGI hard case, and I couldn't pass it up. Oddly enough, on the Sigma website the guitar is clearly specced as having a Micarta fretboard and bridge, but mine is definitely Rosewood. The bridge is stained slightly darker than the neck but both clearly have the Dalbergia Latifolia grain pattern and colouring. Maybe it's a prototype or an outlier, who knows. Who cares! It's a great little guitar for comparitively little coin, and I'm happy.

Besides my delight at finding the CF100 copy so impressive, a real scoop for me was finding out how impressive the Sigma Hummingbird copy is. It is visually indistinguishable from any of the MC/Standard Birds I've owned, and was sonically SO close to them that it caused me to exclaim out loud on the shop floor. Everything about it was perfect...the action, neck profile, neck angle, response, tone, projection, fit, finish, the lot. Rotomatics up top, Fishman pickup, ready to go. Even complete with an identical Flubber pickguard! Out the door for under £500. Absolutely astonishing. 

I know these aren't Gibsons, won't appreciate or age like them, don't support American workers like Gibson and, ultimately, will always fall a little short of the real thing, but it's fascinating to me that it's possible for companies like Sigma to get SO close to the real thing for such little money. In the case of the Bird the concessions are the Micarta board and bridge and lam back and sides, but for once I couldn't hear any tonal loss as a result. No brittleness, no "cheap guitar" attack transient, just big, thick, nectar tones. I've been playing, recording, producing and gigging with Gibsons for many years and I know the tone of the ones I own/have owned inside out. I genuinely think that in a blindfold test I would be unable to tell the Sigma Bird from a Gibson Standard Bird. I cannot convey how surprised I was.

If I didn't own my Dove, which covers similar territory, I would have bought the Bird in a heartbeat. However, the CF100 copy both fits what I need right now and fills the small body niche in my guitar collection which has been empty since I parted with my '94 Blues King last year. It's so easy and comfortable to play. After previously being unable to play for more than five minutes since being discharged from hospital to continue my treatment as an outpatient, I got the Sigma home and was able to play for just over half an hour until my hands called time, which was a wonderful feeling. 

Anyway I have rambled enough. Here is a pic (pics or it didn't happen, right?) My playing is still too clumsy and hesitant to record a demo right now, but once my dexterity returns a little more and my joints improve, I'll do a video review 🙂

 

IMG-20201229-WA0005.jpg

Edited by Jinder
Grammar correction
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Nice looking guitar and description of it and what figured into your choice of it!  Keep regaining your health and pick’n and grin’n!

I am under the impression that the new Sigma brand is not available in the US due to some restrictions due to the CF Martin Company previously having their similarly named, now defunct, different Sigma brand.  But, I’ve heard good things about the new unrelated Sigma brand guitars.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark
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Yes, glad to see a NGD and some playing going on!

2 local shops I have bookmarked carry Sigmas but after a quick look, 37 different models but not your CF copy.  I honestly have never seen a Sigma at these shops but they have 37! Must be hiding near the bass guitars somewhere.

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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Ha! You are the man, Jinder!

Jumping out of the coffin and finding a new love on the same day!
I thought about you quite often during the last weeks since my mother suffered from some similar illness a few years ago and that was scaring. Didn’t want to mention that before. Good thing was, she recovered fully and quickly after the right medical treatment. I can somehow imagine what you are through. It’s great to see you that powerful and active. Well done! 

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Jinder, I'm so glad to hear you are well enough to go guitar shopping. Your music is a source of inspiration (and quite a bit of envy) for me. Lets hope the guitar, and the music you will make on it, will speed up your recovery. 

All the best,

Lars

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I loved reading that you're able to get now back to a regiment Jinder.  I hate hearing when players are not able to play.   

I usually play a few hours a day, I can't fathom how life is without being able to.  Nice Sigma you scored too,  a suitable tool to enable weathering the storm.

 

 

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Thanks all! For both replying and the kind words 🙂

I'm really enjoying the little Sigma. It's loud, supremely responsive and very mid-focused, much like a good LG2. It still has some "newness" about it which will fade in due course, but the scale and neck make it supremely comfortable to play, and owning it has got me playing again, albeit for just twenty mins or so at a time at the moment as my hands come back to life.

I've ditched the factory fitted D'Addarios and fitted a set of DR Veritas 11s, which have eased the playing experience even further. I'm really impressed by the Veritas (Veritases?), I've only had them on for a few days but they are very articulate and enjoyable to play. 

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Nothing like a great new guitar to put a spring in your step or, in your case, spring in your hands. Here’s to your continued recovery!

There’s a guitar shop near me in Nicosia (although I’m in Manchester UK as I write this) that has a couple of Sigmas. They seem good guitars for the money.

The best guitar is the one that lets you play....

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Great find! I have a great J-160E & missed out on the reissue Gibson CF-100E's from a few years ago.. 

Every Sigma I've ever played have very impressive. They look, play & sound close to my Martin's.. I know they're built differently but very nice Guitars.. I'd like to have one like yours..

Is there a specific model number? I don't see any Sigma CF100's.. CF100 is the Gibson model name... I imagine Sigma probably calls it something else?

Enjoy your new Guitar & Get Well!

Thanks for sharing..

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1 hour ago, Larsongs said:

Is there a specific model number? I don't see any Sigma CF100's.. CF100 is the Gibson model name... I imagine Sigma probably calls it something else?

I believe the model number is LGMC-SG100F...a short and catchy name of course!

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