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Johnny A Standard or Custom?

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Hi, I'm looking at getting into one of these Johnny A Guitars...Most you see are the Customs with the Sunburst/Gold hardware etc...Pretty pricey... I'm wondering at the sonic difference with the Standard, i.e ginger or mahogany on mahogany? Anyone owe a standard or played both and could weigh in on differences? Thanks, Jeff

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Hi' date=' I'm looking at getting into one of these Johnny A Guitars...Most you see are the Customs with the Sunburst/Gold hardware etc...Pretty pricey... I'm wondering at the sonic difference with the Standard, i.e ginger or mahogany on mahogany? Anyone owe a standard or played both and could weigh in on differences? Thanks, Jeff[/quote']

 

They aren't as pretty for one.

I have no idea on sonic differences. The only guy on the forum that I know for sure owns one is DaveinSpain.

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I think the biggest differences with Johnny A guitars are that one is a hollow body and one is a semi hollow body. They both come with a bigsby or stop tail.

 

From sweetwater:

 

Gibson Johnny A. Signature Model Features:

 

•Color: Sunset Glow

 

•Body Type: Hollow-body

 

•Neck Wood: 1-piece mahogany

 

•Neck Shape: Johnny A. custom rounded neck profile

 

•Top Wood: Carved figured maple top

 

•Back Wood: 1-piece mahogany back and rims

 

•Machine Heads: Vintage tulip tuners

 

•Fingerboard: Ebony

 

•No. of Frets: 22

 

•Scale Length: 25-1/2"

 

•Position Markers: Custom pearl fingerboard and headstock inlays

 

•Pickups: '57 Classic humbucking

 

•Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone,

 

•Pickup Switching: 3-way selector switch

 

•Bridge/Tailpiece: ABR-1 bridge, Bigsby tailpiece

 

•Hardware: Gold

 

•Case: Alligator case, (certificate of authenticity, custom care kit)

 

 

 

Gibson Custom Johnny A. Standard

Semi-hollowbody Electric Guitar with Mahogany Body, Top, and Neck, Rosewood Fingerboard, and Two Humbucking Pickups - Ginger

 

It was all too confusing for me so I bought an es137 custom. Best bet is to be aware of which options you want and make sure that is what you get.

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Actually construction wise they are both the same as far as being true hollowbodies... No block etc... I'm looking for someone who may have played both. Wondering what the difference is between the custom which has a maple top, and the standard which has the mahogany top. Only other structural difference is the custom has the ebony fretboard as opposed to the standards' rosewood. On guitars I've owned, the ebony gives a guitar a bit more snap....Troy @ Wildwood has sold both, played both and says the Johnny Standard has a bit warmer sound. That is what I'm totally expecting. I should have this guitar in about a week, I'll write up a review...

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It has a higher grade maple top instead of mahogany. It has ebony fretboard instead of rosewood. Gold hardware and the binding on the custom is a triple type binding as well as the head stock. I just got my Johnny Standard and amazed at the playability of it. It may be the best playing neck I've ever had & I've had very nice Custom Shops, Andersons, Zions, McPherson guitar etc... And I really like the "understated" vintage look of the standard. Nickel hardware, nice inlays, cream binding. Absolutely a beautiful guitar for a "scaled down" model...LOL

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I think the biggest differences with Johnny A guitars are that one is a hollow body and one is a semi hollow body. They both come with a bigsby or stop tail.

 

From sweetwater:

 

Gibson Johnny A. Signature Model Features:

 

•Color: Sunset Glow

 

•Body Type: Hollow-body

 

•Neck Wood: 1-piece mahogany

 

•Neck Shape: Johnny A. custom rounded neck profile

 

•Top Wood: Carved figured maple top

 

•Back Wood: 1-piece mahogany back and rims

 

•Machine Heads: Vintage tulip tuners

 

•Fingerboard: Ebony

 

•No. of Frets: 22

 

•Scale Length: 25-1/2"

 

•Position Markers: Custom pearl fingerboard and headstock inlays

 

•Pickups: '57 Classic humbucking

 

•Controls: 2 volume' date=' 2 tone,

 

•Pickup Switching: 3-way selector switch

 

•Bridge/Tailpiece: ABR-1 bridge, Bigsby tailpiece

 

•Hardware: Gold

 

•Case: Alligator case, (certificate of authenticity, custom care kit)

 

 

 

Gibson Custom Johnny A. Standard

Semi-hollowbody Electric Guitar with Mahogany Body, Top, and Neck, Rosewood Fingerboard, and Two Humbucking Pickups - Ginger

 

It was all too confusing for me so I bought an es137 custom. Best bet is to be aware of which options you want and make sure that is what you get.[/quote']

 

 

No. I believe both are hollow.

I think the difference is cosmetics only.

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No. I believe both are hollow.

I think the difference is cosmetics only.

 

not completely hollow. i've had 2 of the customs. i remember once there was a diagram back in 2003 but i cannot find it. in any case, i inserted my pinky in one of the f holes and was surprised to find that there is a wood block by bridge and pup, and i suppose elsewhere. i knew this but was surprised to find it goes all the way from bottom to top. so at best technically these guitars cannot actually be fully hollowbodied. try this at home you will see what i mean. they do not actually have the acoustic properties of a 330 for ex.

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not completely hollow. i've had 2 of the customs. i remember once there was a diagram back in 2003 but i cannot find it. in any case, i inserted my pinky in one of the f holes and was surprised to find that there is a wood block by bridge and pup, and i suppose elsewhere. i knew this but was surprised to find it goes all the way from bottom to top. so at best technically these guitars cannot actually be fully hollowbodied. try this at home you will see what i mean. they do not actually have the acoustic properties of a 330 for ex.

 

Yeah, I was going to ask how they mounted a stop TP and ABR on a hollow top, but what you said makes sense.

 

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On the interior construction/design of the Johnny A: As I recall from back when they were launched (could be slightly wrong) I believe there is a relatively small oval-shaped block beneath the bridge to support it on the Johnny A (perhaps 4"wide across east-to-west and about an inch and a half wide north-to-south). My interest was mostly in comparison to the CS-356/CS-336 design which is similar but less hollow overall - the 356/336 has much more central block remaining inside between the neck and bridge, and an internal "dish" carve that matches the contour of the outside/back carve. I remember reading somewhere that the Johnny A has a flat carve on the inside/back instead. On all these guitars the block is integral to the back wood - the backs are routed from a solid slab leaving the block intact. The other main difference between the 356/336 and Johnny A is in the scale length - 356/336 has a standard Gibson scale length of 24.75" while the Johnny A has a 'Fender' scale length of 25.5".

Edited by clayville

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Yep, the back and sides are all CNC milled from a single block of mahogany - the only seams are around the edge of the top. When they rout out the cavity they leave kidney-shaped pillars to support the bridge and tailpiece. So the top is mechanically coupled to the back/side piece making for a very lively instrument. The same technique is used building the Epiphone Wildkat. Of course the Johnny A's are made with great wood. JA tops are thin solid maple (or mahog on the Std) rather than being laminated like the plywood tops of the ES series.

 

Great guitars - the longer scale length and ebony board add extra brightness and snap which complement the 57 Classics perfectly. I wanted one of these for quite a while; finally snagged one without a Bigsby coupla years ago. You don't see many of these for sale (because people love 'em and won't willingly part with them) and to find one with a stop tail piece felt like catching a unicorn. Very happy with it.

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