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Road Trip and FB link test **** POST NOW FIXED BY CUT AND PASTE


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I wrote this story on the vintage Gibson FB page.  I am trying to share it here because it is largely about old Gibsons.  This is a test -- it may well not work.






I just got back from my first vaccinated (four day) musical road trip. I was traveling with a young couple who have become quite well known in bluegrass circles (fiddle and guitar), and it was a pretty amazing trip. They were involved in three shows (Marysville, TN; Nashville, TN; and Hiawassee GA) , but also we met with many friends, played in amazing jam sessions, and also visited some music stores. After being locked up for a year, it was way beyond wonderful. We had three guitars with us -- all vintage -- two Martins and one Gibson.

The Gibson I had with me was my latest acquisition (I am not supposed to be buying anymore) – a 1940 Gibson J-55 with rosewood back and sides. It is player grade, with repaired cracks and such – but still pretty much all there. I had acquired it after I recognized the similarity in tone and power to my 36 AJ. RW is almost unheard of in this model.

If you understand the history of traditional music in North America, you know the preeminent role played by the power of the golden era “dread sized” flattops In the days of the kerosene circuit, that brought a musical revolution as fundamental as (later) rock and roll. This did not happen instantly – for example bluegrass music did not emerge until 1945, and that set off the first vintage guitar craze (Herringbone D-28s) which were no longer built. 30s Gibsons are generally quite powerful, but there was a major drop in power after about 1940. The other aspect was Gibson built relatively few RW guitars in the 1930s – the big RW midrange roar of the Herringbone was a defining feature of traditional power bluegrass rhythm. As a result, Gibsons had very few followers in loud acoustic genres. It really wasn't until after about 2000 that they really found a lot of popularity for different stuff.

But it was not true that Gibson did not build large, powerful RW guitars in the 30s that had “the right stuff” – they were just rare. The AJ was the first to get wide recognition – I also have a 35 RSRG and even a 43 SJ (RW) that seem to be so qualified. I found the RW J-55 to be such a guitar (at a show). Eventually I negotiated a deal and it came home.

Playing such guitars at home alone is nothing special IME, so this was the first chance to take out the J-55 to where the real stuff was being played. I got into several heavy sessions with accomplished musicians, and all of them noticed and praised the sound of that J-55 – historically a bit odd in the land of the herringbone. To my ear, it is in the same class for BG rhythm as both the old herringbone and the AJ – Yee Yaw.

On this trip, we got to have a 1 ½ hour one-on-two with George Gruhn – I had never done that before. The J-55 was in the room, and he said he would like to see it. He played it a bit, and said I had a very rare guitar, that it sounded great, and in his opinion the two best acoustic guitars Gibson ever built were the AJ and the 1931 L-2. That was weird in it own way. My friend (Tony Watt BTW) has demoed a lot of guitars for me on vimeo, but as it turns out not the L-2. But he played it just before we left on the trip, and I don't want to speak for him – but he claimed to be really impressed with that guitar. When Allen St James played it at my house, he went out and bought one for himself. Having George say to me what I have often said to others was sort of an out-of-body experience. I love stuff like this!

Here is a comparison of the J-55 to the AJ – this is a pairwise comparison that plays the AJ clip repeatedly with the other clips sandwiched in between. It is a rhythm demo only. This is a standard technique for studying sound quality.




Edited by tpbiii
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2 hours ago, duluthdan said:

Clicking the link takes you to the groups Facebook page, where to view the content you need approval too join the group.  You may have to revert to good old 'cut-n-paste' to share your article here.


Smile Fierce !!!

Thanks so much -- I was afraid that might be true. I will add a cut and paste now.

All the best,


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  • tpbiii changed the title to Road Trip and FB link test **** POST NOW FIXED BY CUT AND PASTE

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