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Johnny A - What are the differences and what to look for?


maller
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I’ve been looking at these and thinking about getting one.  Have been trying to read up on them to get some info.

There are some listed on sale as new, so they’re still being made?  They don’t show as a current model on Gibson’s website.  Looks like they were first made around 2003.?  Are there differences among the years?
 

Is there much difference between a standard and a signature?  I’ve seen some posts that say it’s just cosmetic.  But, other posts that say they are made differently.?  Wildwood currently has a Signature and a Standard Signature.  Both Custom Shop.

I see a wide range in prices - $3k to over $6k.  Is this standard vs signature?

it looks like the newer ones just come w/a Bigsby and gold hardware.?  Correct?

Anything else to give me an overview?

I was planning on getting a CS-336, then came across the Johnny A.  It seems like people really love this guitar.  I’d have to order it, so I’m trying to get as much info in advance.  

There are a few on Reverb and over at Wildwood.  A mix of prices and specs.


Thanks!

Edited by maller
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The ones I look at on Reverb - it seems like folks use the term ‘standard’ or ‘signature’ interchangeably, or they just call it a Johnny A.  And, maybe just copying a description (wrong one) to describe guitar.

So, it’s hard to tell - I saw a nice looking ‘standard’, it looks like a signature.

Can you help me identify the different Johnny A models?

Thank you.

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I saw Johnny A live at a small coffee house in Phoenixville PA . I think it was in 2011. He was unbelievable! The tones he was able  coax out of his signature guitar were amazing.  He went from playing straight up Wes Montgomery jazz to led zeppelin.  Often in the same song! The versatility and beautiful tones of the instrument that night still haunt me to this day.  I am sorry that I can't help answer your questions  about the Johnny A signature model  but I do think you will love it if you get one.  After the show,  Johnny was kind enough to hang out and autograph posters that showed about 20 of his signature model.  I still have it hanging in my mancave to this day.  The three color sunburst models are really stunning. 

Edited by Montana Ed
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On 1/1/2021 at 7:14 PM, Montana Ed said:

I saw Johnny A live at a small coffee house in Phoenixville PA . I think it was in 2011. He was unbelievable! The tones he was able  coax out of his signature guitar were amazing.  He went from playing straight up Wes Montgomery jazz to led zeppelin.  Often in the same song! The versatility and beautiful tones of the instrument that night still haunt me to this day.  I am sorry that I can't help answer your questions  about the Johnny A signature model  but I do think you will love it if you get one.  After the show,  Johnny was kind enough to hang out and autograph posters that showed about 20 of his signature model.  I still have it hanging in my mancave to this day.  The three color sunburst models are really stunning. 

I saw him just after the first album...  this was before he had this signature axe gig with Gibson.  He really is a terrific player.  

 

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Hi Maller,

I'll give my 2 cents worth of experience. Nearly 10 years ago  I bought 18 guitars at a collector auction. All the guitars were case queens, in perfect condition, never played.  Along with 5 Les Pauls, 5 Strats and singles of a few others, I got a 2003 Johnny A., S/N 024 from the first mfg run and a 2004 Custom one-off CS-336. Long story short I kept the 336 as the "one" I bonded with. I really wanted to like the Johnny A since it had the longer Fender scale length and I was a big time Strat guy for most of my playing time. However the neck was nothing like a Fender or a Gibson and I just couldn't bond with it. I do have small hands and prefer 60's style necks to thicker 50's style. The 336 felt and played just like a Les Paul with much better upper fret access and lots lighter. The smaller body makes it much better for me than a 335, which I had 2 of. I loved the looks, tone and craftsmanship of the Johnny A. but couldn't get used to the neck. Plus since it was such a low S/N with a unique one-off quilt top I was able to get an excellent return on my investment. 

My advice would be to try one before buying, especially if you are used to playing Gibsons. The signature model was the only one produced for many years until they got priced so high they released the Std to have a less expensive version of the same model. The Signature model has much fancier inlays and an ebony fretboard. I'm not sure what else they did to make it less expensive. Both the Johnny A. and the CS-336 are very well made guitars, examples of the Custom Shop at its best. Good luck with your quest,

JO'C

 

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