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NGD: J-185

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Indeed an oversized ukulele!  Well..........not really.  It's a 2003 J-185 and for 20+ years old it's in very good condition.  There was an empty Gibson string pack in the case marked '4-14-2022'......yep.........it needs a set of strings fo' sho'.  Tightened the rod about 3/4 turn and the neck responded as it should.  Saddle is a little tall so I'll bring that down a touch; pin holes are properly ramped and the neck set is very good.  Finish checked as expected with an older instrument; ugly oversize strap button on the heel that I'll replace; no plans to play out so the K&K pickup might be removed, might not; machine heads are smooth and tight; gloss is worn off the neck and it feels very good;  the original case is a bit battered but intact and serviceable.

All in all it's a very nice used guitar..........I'm pleased with it.

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Too soon for sound impressions? Perhaps you’re waiting on the string change and saddle tweak before you lean in.

Lotsa folks have lotsa string theories, and I’ve done my share of experimenting, but fwiw, I always come back to D’addario’s EJ19s for my maple jumbo. 

What are you thinking of throwing on there?

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts and a tune. Congrats, Buc!

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The J-185 is the one model of the classic Gibson designs I have never tried. A very nice looking guitar. Please post a little recording when you find the time and the setup is done. By the way, this is maple b/s right?


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Looks great, Buc. Glad it made its way to you in one piece, too.

It's so easy to fall into a Goldilocks scenario when there are several guitars around- to do a/b/c comparisons and seeing the pluses and minuses in each, and forgetting to just enjoy the one that's in your hands. The super clear bass is perfect  for fingerstylie things, and the comfy curvy body shape makes for a great strummer. Rich mids can be found in there somewhere- very sensitive to where its played- i.e., near the fretboard extension.

The Elixir PB's I have on the 185TV will have only been on there four years next week. 😑. 'Am half tempted to replace only the wound strings, #6 -> 3. Definitely trying to keep the bright nature under control. Maybe even consider slightly heavier E & B for that reason. But . . . 

15 hours ago, Buc McMaster said:

 Tightened the rod about 3/4 turn and the neck responded as it should.  Saddle is a little tall so I'll bring that down a touch. . .

. . . if you're the sort that needs have an acoustic play like an electric, bear in mind that bringing the saddle down lower may also move the eq to the higher side of things.. 

Congrats, and enjoy your NGD weekend.

ps- glad to see Bozeman remembered to put your split parallelograms in left->right.

Edited by 62burst
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The saddle may well stay as it is........with the t-rod adjustment the action resolved itself pretty well.  True......the t-rod is not intended to adjust action but it certainly has an effect.  The pins have got to go.  They appear to be rosewood......light in color and grained like rosewood.......and very small in diameter, measuring 0.196" under the skirt while nearly all Gibsons use a 0.210" pin diameter.  I have three sets of bone pins I have used on other Gibsons in the past and none of them fit........never run across a pin this small on a Gibson.  The wood mellows the tone more than I like.......inserted one of the too-big bone pins on the low E and the string came alive.  Hello, Mr. Colosi!

In the case was another saddle.  Seems to be bone with a maple shim glued to the bottom and it's compensated on the low E as well as the B.  Not seen this low E compensation before.

I ordered a set of double-ring Kluson machine heads..........I prefer them over the single ring found on most Gibsons.  I will string it with round core DR Sunbeams to begin with though I also ordered some Martin Retros in monel...............one of these two should do the trick.



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