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Hummingbird gas and a video for starters


differentsky
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Hi there! New to the forum! Very glad to be here. I'm experiencing serious gas for a Hummingbird. I played the latest Sheryl Crow supreme in a store and was blown away. (I've never owned a Gibson acoustic). Great feel, great sound. Torrefied top, great neck, square shoulders, short scale. But I can't bond with the finish. That's the only thing that stopped me. 

So I reoriented my gas towards Hummingbirds. The current custom shop 1960 is the exact same guitar with a different finish. But they're on back order here in France, and God knows when they'll be back. The True Vintage series also come close. And mid to late 90s HBs too -they don't feature torrefied tops but they are 30 years old now 🙂 Any thoughts on these models?

I wanted to go vintage on this, but most vintage HB feature a long scale...

Except I saw a 1974 HB in a splendid natural finish for sale... Quite inexpensive because it needs a neck reset. Long scale. But gorgeous. I know the 70s have a super bad rep' mainly because of the double X bracing. I then watched this video (see below) about a 1974 HB. To me it sounds absolutely great. But I need the HB experts input here: The guitar player here plays beautifully. But do you hear a 70s dog hidden under the fingers of a good player, or is this an exceptional example from the 70s? Is this what your standard 70s HB with a good set-up will sound like?

I hope you catch my drift. I'm not familiar enough with the classic HB tone yet. People always talk about dogs, but you never hear one on youtube vids ha ha! So, how would you rate this HB?

Thanks for your time and help

 

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Welcome to the forum. Not many of us here like Hummingbirds at all, or even remember sometimes that they exist.

Just kidding!  🙂

One of the differences in the Country Western and the '60's Historic Collection is advanced bracing on the CW.  I've seen a couple comparison videos on the CW and HB Standard, but not the historic Collection HB.

There's a thread I'm sure you've found by now that started off as another which pick on a hummingbird discussion, but turned into mini bird-fest.  

 

 

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Welcome!  I have a 74 SJ I still maintain .  The double X bracing is one concern, but the huge bridge plate is probably the real item of sound concern on Gibsons from the Norlin era. I don't know for a fact, but I guess the Bird of that year has such a bridge plate.  Like any guitar, but particularly a Gibson from that time, I would have to play it no matter how good the price!  The resale value for these Gibsons, though improving of late, has always been low.  My SJ does not have socks inside,  but it requires the right strings to keep them away and to give it good projection for sure.   That Bird in the video sounds good, probably due to the fingers and the recording quality, don't you think?    *  edit:  notice the pins are not factory on the Bird.    I bought my SJ new (I'll admit it) and it came with rosewood pins.  I went to bone for looks and sound, and have always stayed with such on it.

Edited by Hall
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Hi - you landed on the right branch. Pip-peeep. .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The Bird above has been posted before (by me) and it still sounds beautiful. The guy and his tool simply glides into a symbiosis - it's a nice man'n'machine scene. 

But please listen : You can find very fine sounding square shouldered Gibsons from the Norlin era, no doubt.                                                                                                                                                                                                         However they just won't be your clazzik quintessential Gibson Hummingbird/Country Western/ Southern Jumbo.                                                                                                                       This is something that will shout you right in the face when playing them against each other. You will hear and feel it so clearly it'll be almost like badminton vs tennis.

So if you are smitten with the urge for the legendary sound-look'n'feel of the real square deal, you must try one/some first. Impossible where you are, , , actually very bad luck.

Then take my words. You'll hear response, bass, room, even boom on a whole other level with the oldies. They will speak and sing in an other tongue.                                                                                                                       That said, you may be among the small group that prefers the 70s versions. Who knows, but you, , , , after you compared the dear creatures. . 

Edited by E-minor7
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With video clips you never know what sort of signal processing went on before we hear the clip.  On this particular clip, there is a Vibroverb amp in the background that is definitely turned on and it could be that one or both of the microphones is plugged into it (they are plugged into something) as I think I can hear just a touch of reverb in that recording.

As you mention a lot of the tone of a guitar has to do with the player.  You could play this exact guitar and it probably wouldn't sound like it does in this fellows hands.  Not better or worse, just different.  Bottom line you have to get out and try to play as many as you can find (new or vintage) to see what you can get out of them. 

No one can sit on the internet and tell you that all 70s Hummingbirds sound a particular way, or that the ones from the 90s are better or worse.  They are all individually made and all different.  Once in awhile you find a real gem and sometimes you find a dud. 

Good luck in your search. 

Edited by Twang Gang
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The Hummingbird is an incredible guitar.  It’s not just the tone/volume/treble/bass/mids and playability thing.  It’s “the bird” itself.  Just its appearance makes a huge statement.  It’s an iconic instrument.  Perhaps even the most well-known and recognized guitar in the world……I admit that I’m biased.  If you can get a “bird,” get it!

Edited by MissouriPicker
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8 hours ago, E-minor7 said:

Hi - you landed on the right branch. Pip-peeep. .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The Bird above has been posted before (by me) and it still sounds beautiful. The guy and his tool simply glides into a symbiosis - it's a nice man'n'machine scene.

So if you are smitten with the urge for the legendary sound-look'n'feel of the real square deal, you must try one/some first. Impossible where you are, , , actually very bad luck.

Then take my words. You'll hear response, bass, room, even boom on a whole other level with the oldies. They will speak and sing in an other tongue.                                                                                                                       That said, you may be among the small group that prefers the 70s versions. Who knows, but you, , , , after you compared the dear creatures. . 

Thanks guys for chiming in! Keep it coming!

Well I was looking at that vid because I saw a 1974 listed and it's cheap and gorgeous. Other than that, I should remain loyal to the tone I found in the Sheryl crow supreme, and that was  a short scale. I'm positive the ss accounts for the really well balanced, focused sound. Now, vintage HB with a ss go from 1960 to 1962. And they're like 10k, so that's out of the equation for me. From 1962 to 1984, they were long scaled. I agree, I might find one with a great sound even if it has long scale, but then there's the neck width issue. Gibson necks went thin. I don't mind thin necks, but again, I enjoyed the SC neck too much.  From 1987 to the mid 90s, HB were long scale again. Thats why I'm considering birds made after 94 only.... (with the exception of that 1974, cheap and natural. the natural finish is even rarer on the old ones on the second hand market)

8 hours ago, Twang Gang said:

With video clips you never know what sort of signal processing went on before we hear the clip.  On this particular clip, there is a Vibroverb amp in the background that is definitely turned on and it could be that one or both of the microphones is plugged into it (they are plugged into something) as I think I can hear just a touch of reverb in that recording.

No one can sit on the internet and tell you that all 70s Hummingbirds sound a particular way, or that the ones from the 90s are better or worse.  They are all individually made and all different.  Once in awhile you find a real gem and sometimes you find a dud. 

Good luck in your search. 

Do you think they would do such a thing as plugging an iconic guitar into an electric guitar amp? Maybe... that would be weird though, we're on the verge of "hidden defect"... maybe a tad of reverb in the mix?  I agree with you, a good mic'ing and a good player and you have a good tone.... But that raises another question: if we take that assumption too seriously, well, there's no such thing as a dud then ! Like you said, there are gems and duds (I'm inclined to think that duds are not as common as people think), so it's kind of impossible to determine whether what we see on that vid is dud + good player, or gem + good player...

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15 hours ago, BoSoxBiker said:

Welcome to the forum. Not many of us here like Hummingbirds at all, or even remember sometimes that they exist.

Just kidding!  🙂

One of the differences in the Country Western and the '60's Historic Collection is advanced bracing on the CW.  I've seen a couple comparison videos on the CW and HB Standard, but not the historic Collection HB.

There's a thread I'm sure you've found by now that started off as another which pick on a hummingbird discussion, but turned into mini bird-fest.  

 

 

Thanks for pointing that out. I hadn't read that thread, thinking that picks were a topic a bit out of my subject. Very interesting. The 1963 HB vid is phenomenal. Probably too expensive or too difficult to hunt down. This re-ignites the gas for 1960 Custom shop with fixed bridge. It's a quasi twin of the Sheryl crow. It must sound amazing. But they won't be available in France before spring... unless one pops up second-hand.

Edited by differentsky
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1 hour ago, differentsky said:

Thanks for pointing that out. I hadn't read that thread, thinking that picks were a topic a bit out of my subject. Very interesting. The 1963 HB vid is phenomenal. Probably too expensive or too difficult to hunt down. This re-ignites the gas for 1960 Custom shop with fixed bridge. It's a quasi twin of the Sheryl crow. It must sound amazing. But they won't be available in France before spring... unless one pops up second-hand.

And never mind. I goofed and mis read something on a store's website. My bad.

Edited by BoSoxBiker
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I dug the Norlin SJ out this morning and played it next to  my Crowe Country AND Western ( 1st edition, not Supreme ).  No way would I purchase the 74 SJ again even at the 74 price of $400!  edit: include price 

Edited by Hall
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Round #2:

Called my luthier today and asked about that 1974 affair. He simply said "just don't". Ah ah. Well he said it could be a good guitar, but it probably won't be a genuine sounding Bird.

Then I went and played 2 birds that appeared a few days ago on listings. The first one was a beat up 1978 cherry sunburst. Old strings and super low saddle... Stunning looks but I wasn't impressed at all. I think I met a dud! The second one was a neat 1996 HB. This was a very nice sounding guitar. With a fresh set of strings, it must be really good. But it didn't cry "take me home"...  Ok. More pressure on trying to find a True Vintage or Historic 1960.

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10 hours ago, differentsky said:

From 1962 to 1984, they were long scaled. I agree, I might find one with a great sound even if it has long scale, but then there's the neck width issue. Gibson necks went thin. I don't mind thin necks, but again, I enjoyed the SC neck too much. 

Regarding scales, they varied in the early 60s too.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The 1963 SJ and the 3 Country Westerns here - 64-65-66 - are all short. Like the contemporary TVs - but unlike the 1968 SJ and fx the Dove and Firebird.  

32 minutes ago, differentsky said:

Round #2:

Called my luthier today and asked about that 1974 affair. He simply said "just don't". Ah ah. Well he said it could be a good guitar, but it probably won't be a genuine sounding Bird.

Then I went and played 2 birds that appeared a few days ago on listings. The first one was a beat up 1978 cherry sunburst. Old strings and super low saddle... Stunning looks but I wasn't impressed at all. I think I met a dud! The second one was a neat 1996 HB. This was a very nice sounding guitar. With a fresh set of strings, it must be really good. But it didn't cry "take me home"...  Ok. More pressure on trying to find a True Vintage or Historic 1960.

Have a good hunt and send reports. 

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Well,  as you know, since they're not making the H'Bird True Vintage, or Vintage models  anymore so that may be like looking for a unicorn in France.  I'm sure the 1960s Historic is  just as good. Better be for $5.299 USDollars.  Since they're in production, you will have a better chance.  If money and time are not an issue, I'd back order one and stop my search.    Otherwise,  I would encourage you to stay the course and at least only look at the Country Western, Southern Jumbo or a Sheryl Crow from the Bozeman era.   You'll increase your chances of finding the sound you want.  And, of course, you can dial it in with strings and picks.    

Although you've said you can't bond with the Sheryl Crow Supreme you found due to the finish, I would encourage to you re-think that.  I got an instrument not a guitar that had neck finish I did not like because it was too 'tactile'.  I've come to prefer it, especially on an instrument where you move up and down the neck a lot.   The SCC is, from what I've seen, as good as you'll get in the genre you've zeroed in on.     

As usual, when someone mentions a guitar I have - I pull it off the wall and spend some time with it.    I did that yesterday with my Hummingbird TV.  I have tried for years to convince myself my other 2 Gibsons (an SJ200 and a J45 Custom Koa)  sound, feel look better.  I'm no longer in denial:  They don't !!     You're  most of the way there; don't let other wanna-be's distract you. 

Good Luck and Welcome Aboard ! 

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34 minutes ago, fortyearspickn said:

Well,  as you know, since they're not making the H'Bird True Vintage, or Vintage models  anymore so that may be like looking for a unicorn in France.  I'm sure the 1960s Historic is  just as good. Better be for $5.299 USDollars.  Since they're in production, you will have a better chance.  If money and time are not an issue, I'd back order one and stop my search.    Otherwise,  I would encourage you to stay the course and at least only look at the Country Western, Southern Jumbo or a Sheryl Crow from the Bozeman era.   You'll increase your chances of finding the sound you want.  And, of course, you can dial it in with strings and picks.    

Although you've said you can't bond with the Sheryl Crow Supreme you found due to the finish, I would encourage to you re-think that.  I got an instrument not a guitar that had neck finish I did not like because it was too 'tactile'.  I've come to prefer it, especially on an instrument where you move up and down the neck a lot.   The SCC is, from what I've seen, as good as you'll get in the genre you've zeroed in on.     

As usual, when someone mentions a guitar I have - I pull it off the wall and spend some time with it.    I did that yesterday with my Hummingbird TV.  I have tried for years to convince myself my other 2 Gibsons (an SJ200 and a J45 Custom Koa)  sound, feel look better.  I'm no longer in denial:  They don't !!     You're  most of the way there; don't let other wanna-be's distract you. 

Good Luck and Welcome Aboard ! 

Hey thanks for all that. There's a true vintage vos (one of 167 made) listed in France... But the specs on the listing mentions a 25 1/2 scale... That's weird because usually HB vintage renditions are short scale. Then again, it's hard to follow Gibson on that. What do you guys think? Is that a mistake or is this TV nos from 2014 a long scale-bird ?

edit: by the way, about the CS supreme and finish, I meant the looks... The aged top + bright cherry red is a weird combination. It looks like 2 different guitars put together. On pics it looks gorgeous, and I can fancy having an unusual/bling guitar... But when seen in the flesh it's a different story. It will probably age well and darken, but it will take years. I can't see myself hitting the stage with the plastic-looking cherry sides. The simple tortoise pickguard doesn't really  connect to the rest of the guitar either. That's just me.

Edited by differentsky
forgot to address a question
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46 minutes ago, differentsky said:

Hey thanks for all that. There's a true vintage vos (one of 167 made) listed in France... But the specs on the listing mentions a 25 1/2 scale... That's weird because usually HB vintage renditions are short scale. Then again, it's hard to follow Gibson on that. What do you guys think? Is that a mistake or is this TV nos from 2014 a long scale-bird ?

edit: by the way, about the CS supreme and finish, I meant the looks... The aged top + bright cherry red is a weird combination. It looks like 2 different guitars put together. On pics it looks gorgeous, and I can fancy having an unusual/bling guitar... But when seen in the flesh it's a different story. It will probably age well and darken, but it will take years. I can't see myself hitting the stage with the plastic-looking cherry sides. The simple tortoise pickguard doesn't really  connect to the rest of the guitar either. That's just me.

Could you link to some pics?  I you might be looking at a one-off. Does it have a quilted maple back & sides?

 

edit - Here's an example, though it's not the bright red like they did a year or two before. Hummingbird CS Quilted

 

Edited by BoSoxBiker
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20 minutes ago, BoSoxBiker said:

Could you link to some pics?  I you might be looking at a one-off. Does it have a quilted maple back & sides?

 

edit - Here's an example, though it's not the bright red like they did a year or two before. Hummingbird CS Quilted

 

Here's the link:

https://www.zikinf.com/annonces/annonce-1976583

No, that's mahogany. But there's no torrefied top and it's a long scale. I don't think it will sound close to the CS supreme but it could be very good too.  I believe this was a limited edition after they stopped making the True Vintage...

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Photos look like a real TV in most respects except the Orange Label doesn't seem to state as much.  Probably is though. Pickguard, tuners, truss rod cover. As you note, the Specs do not say the face/top is "terrified" aka baked, which is consistent with the TV also.   Bet the bracing is too.   I really can't explain the long neck  though. Like you said - one of Gibson's many variations.  so a bit of a gamble.   I think you could fall in love with the unusual paint job if the sound was really good.  99% of your audience just registers - Oh, an extra nice looking guitar.   We here are the only ones that are picky.  The face/top coloring is pure TV.   G'Luck ! 

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1 hour ago, fortyearspickn said:

Photos look like a real TV in most respects except the Orange Label doesn't seem to state as much.  Probably is though. Pickguard, tuners, truss rod cover. As you note, the Specs do not say the face/top is "terrified" aka baked, which is consistent with the TV also.   Bet the bracing is too.   I really can't explain the long neck  though. Like you said - one of Gibson's many variations.  so a bit of a gamble.   I think you could fall in love with the unusual paint job if the sound was really good.  99% of your audience just registers - Oh, an extra nice looking guitar.   We here are the only ones that are picky.  The face/top coloring is pure TV.   G'Luck ! 

Any chance it could be seller error on the scale length?

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I can recommend the 1960 HBird Fixed Bridge model. I currently have one, which replaced my HBird Standard. The 1960 is much better sounding. I don't know if it's because of the thermally aged top or thin VOS finish or what, but it sounds beautiful, so much better than the Standard. Mine came to me as a used instrument so not nearly as pricey as a new one. Well worth the extra cost over any other Bird I've played. I have no experience with the TV Bird, so can't compare it to one of them. Best of luck on your search and welcome to the Forum!  

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10 hours ago, fortyearspickn said:

As usual, when someone mentions a guitar I have - I pull it off the wall and spend some time with it.    I did that yesterday with my Hummingbird TV.  I have tried for years to convince myself my other 2 Gibsons (an SJ200 and a J45 Custom Koa)  sound, feel look better.  I'm no longer in denial:  They don't !!     

Now this is quite strange - can I from serious curiosity ask : Why ?

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17 minutes ago, E-minor7 said:

Now this is quite strange - can I from serious curiosity ask : Why ?

The SJ200 is “King of the Flat Tops”. And The J45 is arguably the most recognized acoustic of all.  So I didn’t expect another Gibson model could be better.   I pursued the SJ200 and J45 while the H’Bird just  fell into my lap. So it got a lot less play time.  

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